Maintaining Minimalism

Since the holidays are quickly approaching (and because reader Ryan Ricketts reminded me :-p), I created another video on minimalism. This week’s guide covers what to do after you have whittled down your possessions to your ideal number. If you are unfamiliar with this series, check out the other videos below:

Tips for Maintaining Minimalism

Allow yourself to purchase expensive high quality items – This took me longer to learn than it should have. Minimalists still buy things! In fact, sometimes they buy very expensive things. If you are going to minimize the amount of possessions you own, it makes sense to get the highest quality that you can reasonably afford. I have done this with my computer and with my jeans and have never looked back.

Continue giving items away (This is especially important during the holidays!) – I can’t explain it but somehow things are going to come out of nowhere. Be it new socks in the dryer or underwear gnomes who want to prank you, new stuff is inevitable. For this reason, it is important to keep giving away items in order to keep lean.

Keep a highly visible counter (of objects) – Use the same positive pressure that used to whittle down items in the first place and use it as a maintenance mechanism. (Note: For some reason I kept saying ‘public’ in the video when I really meant ‘visible’. I even redid a take to correct this. Somehow I made the mistake again and didn’t notice it until it was already up on YouTube. Excuse my repeated blunder. :-p)

Replace, don’t add – Again, this is especially important during the holidays. Go way out of your way to only replace items, don’t add new ones. Just because something is free doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost you anything. An emotional cost is often times far worse than a financial one. Be on the lookout!

Schedule quarterly stuff audits – I had imagined that once I got down to 100 items that I would no longer need to bother counting them. Unfortunately, this proved untrue. Somehow my number of items was still fluctuating even when I didn’t know it. As such, I recommend scheduling quarterly stuff audits in order to keep yourself honest! :-)

P.S. I am thinking about creating a free video series (same format at the one above) on storytelling. I have been doing a lot of research into storytelling lately and think it might be valuable to share what I have learned. Is this a topic that interests you? Do you think this would be valuable to you?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • A 100?! My books alone would come up to more than that
    I’m curious… How long will you remain this way? With just a 100-150 items?

    • > How long will you remain this way? With just a 100-150 items?

      Indefinitely? Or at least as long as I can keep on traveling. I really appreciate the flexibility being a minimalist affords me.

      • Yes, I suppose if you’re on the road all the time, then it makes sense to have as less things as possible.

        I hate clutter myself, and my house is bare, almost stark and looks unfinished compared to other homes I suppose. I have everything I need though. I like wide open spaces with a lot of light, and dislike houses with too much furniture and junk.
        But if you have a house, then I don’t think it’s possible to exist on just a 100 items.

        • It all depends. The goal isn’t the number of items, it is the freedom from possession. Perhaps you already have that.

          > But if you have a house, then I don’t think it’s possible to exist on just a 100 items.

          I don’t know about that. Have you checked out the Tiny House movement. If not, check out this blog:

          • Oh I have freedom from possession for sure. But that’s only cos I don’t really care about my possessions. :)

  • sam

    Quick question Danny, do you usually end up donating old items that you don’t want to goodwill or is there a different charity you have found and personally like? I have been working up to a big item purge but wasn’t sure the best place to donate old but still usable items too.

    • > Quick question Danny, do you usually end up donating old items that you don’t want to goodwill or is there a different charity you have found and personally like?

      For physical items I donate to friends/family first and Goodwill second. I chose Goodwill out of convenience. I have heard of organizations that you donate to and then people can come and freely pick up the items. I like that idea a lot but haven’t used one yet. More broadly speaking my favorite charity right now is Charity: Water.

      Good luck! :-)

  • Good stuff Danny, and good to see you’re actively working to stick with minimal things. I’ve been doing stuff audits as well, though not as scheduled since I’ve gotten down to ~100 things myself.

    @sam, good question, and like Danny, I gave a lot of my things to friends because I wanted to make sure things went to a good home.

    There are lots of resources for donating/borrowing/sharing stuff and my wife wrote a post about it here:

    Finding good homes for all of your old stuff takes more time, but it’s much more worthwhile than simply chucking it.

  • Stelian

    I would like to watch videos about storytelling.
    And,would be nice if you can talk a little slower.Sometimes is hard to follow you.

    • Thanks Stelian! That is extremely helpful feedback on both parts :-)

  • Symone

    I came across your blog not too long ago and your posts have really inspired me to make the goal of minimalism and travel. I’m still in my teen years so I guess I’m starting early. Thanks for all of the tips. Also, I would definitely watch a storytelling series.

    • Thanks Symone :-)

      I think starting early is smart. It is a lot easier to avoid bad habits if you never start them in the first place!

  • malena

    Danny! Where are you know? When will you come back to Europe?
    Feliz Navidad!!

  • I agree that having a few quality things is a lot better than having many cheap things. A good, well-made wallet, for example, can last longer and work out to be cheaper over the long run. This goes for electronics too.

  • Hank

    Hey Danny,

    I love the videos they are very entertaining. I was wondering if you could shed some light on what editing software you use, cameras, how you got started in film, how to make the best use of it when traveling and not miss the actual moment itself etc…? I know its a lot to ask for sow any info would be good.

    • Hey Hank!

      I am using Final Cut Pro X for editing, a Canon Rebel t4i for shooting and don’t have any formal training in film. I have found the best way to learn is to shoot a lot and edit a lot. That’s the reason why the videos you watched exist. Feel free to send me an email if you have more questions.

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