How to do more with less

I embarked on a basic plan to do more with less of late. At one point my closet was filled with clothing. I had this many collared shirts and a dress jacket and two pair of dress pants and a white dress shirt and polo shirts. Enough to last me through another three jobs and interviews. Truth is that this is my last job so I reckoned what do I need all that stuff for? When will I ever wear it or do another job interview at another tech company? Answer is never. I will never work again after this job.

So I donated it all. Now in my closet are two jackets, three pair of jeans and two remaining polo shirts. I still have t-shirts that I wear for work and enough socks and underwear to get me through.

I also went through papers. Old papers and photos and cards from another life. I removed the pictures from frames and put them in document protectors and got rid of the frames. I now have a single box that has the sum total of those things.

The last thing to go through is tech junk and gadgets and gizmos and cables. It will be the last thing I go through.

So where does this take me in preparing for leaving next year? Getting to a single box that is not filled up leaves me with indescribable joy and anticipation! I can see a path now to even have less of a footprint of stuff I have to care about. I think there are a number of paths of lessening or minimizing I’ve worked through.

Physical stuff. Clothing, gear, electronics. Ridding myself of this stuff means I can be more agile and nimble when it comes to the end game. Getting down to a single bag of stuff to carry wherever I go.

Mental stuff. We form attachments to the stuff and breaking those attachments gives us the elation and anticipation of moving forward. Having more perhaps with less. But the less we have is more important to us.

Financial stuff. this is the final thing. The first two don’t really matter if the third thing is not there. I have set the goal to completely remove a final bill that I pay over time this June. Its not that its financially restrictive or demanding. Its not. Its more like the dumping the clothing and paperwork but the reward is not just financial. Its stretches across being able to not only survive but thrive.

Lets face it guys. This country and particularly the Bay area is not meant for thriving unless you are Silicon Valley tycoon or a VC or a founder. Nothing is priced here to keep people thriving. To survive people have to take on several jobs and then I think the combination of rent or mortgage, bills, and all the attendant stuff is hard. I’m probably lucky because I only have a room and the rent there is so much less. It lets me live a better lifestyle and enjoy the moments but I don’t have the attendant worry about making ends meet.

What its really done is create the desire to leave. The Bay area is not compelling and its not a bubble and its not a location I wish to stay in. There’s nothing here that binds me or controls me.

Its been a gradual thing reaching this point and now I know that to reach tomorrow one has to find a way to have less but that less has to be more to the person. Each of us has the path and perhaps for you its family and possessions and cars and a nice home. Good for you. Maybe its this so-called rich texture of living in the Bay area with its cities and counties and places. Again, you may find a compelling reason to stay.

There are those of us disaffected and wanting less though. We don’t need expensive fuel for cars, rent that’s over 3k a month, and struggling to survive in an economy with no scale. For me, its been this process of minimizing things, finding the remaining things of value to hold on to. Building a plan that will let me go. I have to admit after next February, the no work thing will become its own joy. I will have minimized a final thing. Then I can move forward and perhaps forward is different directions. I can travel with no destination really in mind. Much like wandering the streets of Tokyo and Kyoto earlier. I knew the streets met up and perhaps turned left or right or went straight ahead. The direction was mine to choose.

By losing things I gain things. Consider it!

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.