Why I am Accepting Minimalism

I am currently in the process of pruning down the number of things I own, to the point where I can fit everything in 3 rucksacks and a briefcase. The list is as follows:

  • Laptop 
  • Smartphone
  • Adaptors 
  • Kindle
  • Camera 
  • titanium pan 
  • Knife – buy
  • 1 set of cutlery
  • Bowl
  • Sleeping bag 
  • Bivy bag 
  • Camping mat
  • big rucksack
  • small rucksack
  • Daypack 
  • Briefcase 
  • drybags
  • travel towel 
  • 5 blouses 
  • 2 bras 
  • 10 pairs of socks (inc. walking socks)
  • 10 pairs of underwear
  • Trainers
  • formal shoes
  • Hiking boots
  • Sandals 
  • Flipflops 
  • 2 pairs of shorts 
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Pyjamas x2 
  • Outdoor seat
  • Outdoor fleece
  • Walking trousers
  • shell coat 
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 1 dress
  • 1 scarf
  • Winter coat
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 jumper
  • Suit jacket
  • Nylon tights
  • Work skirt
  • Nail scissors
  • Water bottles and flasks
  • Tarpaulin sheet x 2 
  • Whistle, compass, map case
  • Sheewee 
  • Trowel
  • Diary
  • Pen
  • Notebooks
  • Folder with important documents (passport etc)
  • Duct tape 
  • Water purification tablets 
  • Inflatable pillow 
  • Eye masks and earplugs 
  • books
  • Swimsuit 
  • Goggles
  • washcloth
  • first aid and toiletries
  • insect repellent/suncream

The list reflects my interest in outdoor activities and hopefully will cover all eventualities. I hope that this project will help me keep track of what I own and what I have with me.

The choice of the word “accepting” in my title is deliberate; I am not choosing or seeking minimalism, and in many respects I feel it is something put upon me. Most importantly, I am doing it to make my life less stressful.

In the last 5 years I have moved 6 times. This does not include the ends and beginnings of my terms at Oxford where I have had to move all of my stuff out of my room and then back in again after the vacation. I am about to move again at the end of this month, and will make a further move at the end of August, to Germany.

It has got easier with time, but there is always a sense of dislocation, of scatteredness, of things slipping out of your reach. Things get lost and damaged. It becomes physically draining to carry and move things, unless you are willing to pay through the nose for help. It is not surprising that most people try to avoid having to move more than a few times in a lifetime. A minimalist approach offers at least some sense of control over what you possess; though it is marketed at the middle class as offering some kind of freedom or transcendence of the need for material possessions.

For my generation, who are trapped in a cycle of precarious jobs, contract based work and renting, this approach to life seems more a necessity to cope rather than a conscious lifestyle choice. Moving every year or second year has started to seem inevitable; I do not see how I could avoid it even if I did jump into the rat race in London or Bristol like most of my friends seem to be doing.

I find the one-upmanship that surrounds “minimalism” in travel forums and among bloggers totally baffling. The ultimate point of it is convenience, practicality and saving money. Let’s stop kidding ourselves.


5 thoughts on “Why I am Accepting Minimalism

  1. Clare Pooley

    My elder daughter has moved so many times in the last 13 years I have lost count. She is desperate to have some place of her own now but can’t find anything affordable. She has a few of her belongings at her father’s house and quite a few at mine but all of her other things fit into a collection of plastic bags and cardboard and plastic boxes. Minimalism has been forced upon her. I hope you find you are less stressed by having fewer possessions.

    Liked by 1 person

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