Mental preparation into minimalism

There are a few rules I've set for myself. What I basically want to end up with is a situation where the following will remain true: I can fit everything I need into a carry-on bag (a travel backpack that weighs 0.8kg) as per current airline regulations: 10kg max that fits into one of those size restriction thingies of budget airlines. Everything else I own, but don't need but I want to keep should fit in one box I can lift myself easily.

Here are some of my preliminary thoughts.

The easy stuff

Extra clothes, damaged clothes, fridge magnets, extra cables, books, unnecessary electronic equipment (like an extra monitor, old phone...) are all easy to get rid of. These surprisingly take up most of my binventory. Yes, I just made binventory a word.

The medium stuff

I have an entire kitchen that I brought over from Hungary. The initial idea / assumption was that there would be no white goods (plates, cutlery, pots and pans, etc), so I thought I needed to supply them. Turns out at pretty much every place I rented I always had enough stuff. I usually unpacked my knives, because I like my knives and they are far better to work with than the usual inventory, but that's about it. I always had the things, I just had nicer things. A luxury, not actually needed. I suspect these will be a bit harder to get rid of.

I also have a desk from IKEA that I bought for about £70 and a chair that I repurposed from my workplace as it was not needed there. Again, nothing that can not be overcome, but not trivial.

The hard bits

These are the things that I have an emotional connection to or are actually high value. Items include:

  • running shoes
  • climbing equipment
  • Tough Mudder memorabilia (headbands mostly)
  • suit and formal shirts, ties, cufflinks, formal shoes, and a nice leather bag
  • a LODGE cast iron pan and skillet
  • a huge pile of admin related papers: payslips, bank statements, contracts and other official things that I can't throw away

I suspect these will be the things that I will either sell anyway, or rent a tiny little shelf in Big Yellow Storage (£9.30 per week as of now for a 9 sq ft box) and pay in advance for 5 years, or ask someone with a more permanent setup to hold these for me.

The bits that need adjusting

My computer mainly. As a developer, I really do need a computer. Currently I own a 15" MacBook (early-2011 version), which in itself, with case and charger, is about 3.5 kg. If my computer takes up 35% of my allowance then that's a less than ideal situation. The 13" MBP is 1.57kg (better), the 13" MBA is 1.35kg (not much of a difference), but the 11" MBA is 1.08kg. Hm... not sure I'll be able to handle the minute size of a 11" computer, but this is a research I'll need to do. Apple shop assistants will hate me.

Ultimately it's going to be a balance between usability (because I do code, that's how I earn my living, after all) and portability.

Other than that the clothes I have will need adjusting. Some of the clothes are hard to keep clean and heavy. Bulk needs to be cut down, so ideally folding a t-shirt should take the least amount of space possible. I'd rather not transport air trapped between sheets of fabric :). I think the correct term is technical clothing for what I'm after. They tend to be rather expensive however.

Interestingly enough I do not actually need a lot of clothes.

There's a principle called BIT (buy it there) that can be summed up as "go to a place with minimum clothing, buy the clothes you need there (boost their economy in case you're going to a less developed country) and then at the end of your stay donate your clothes to a charity there". As a westerner with a good job this should not be hard.

Why am I even doing this?

My dad had a philosophy of sorts: always keep three things on you:

  • passport
  • sunglasses
  • bank cards

If you ever need to leave the country, these three should be enough for 99% of the time. I don't own sunglasses, so those two.

I want to be able, on a whim, to pack my stuff under 30 minutes and head to the nearest airport and not leave anything behind.

For that I need to be able to know, by heart, what exactly I need to move; how many of them there are; whether I'm missing something, and if so, where I can find them.

All of this in preparation for a remote lifestyle. Work* allowing, obviously.

*And by work, I mean source of income.**

**And by source of income, I mean a way to get food and shelter and electricity and the agency to do something meaningful and travel further. Money is thing to exchange for these.

Read this next: MacBook Pro won over MacBook Air.

Previously: My move towards extreme minimalism.