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-   -   How simply do you live? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=163801)

vrkelley 01-05-06 07:31 PM

I like Ken Kifer's philosphy on simple living. He has a lot of bike stuff too

http://www.kenkifer.com/Thoreau/index.htm <---Just read his comments on the right side of the page for starters....it'll take more than one pass to take it all in.

Sadly Ken is gone now... :(


we are so busy with unnecessary worries and works that we can't appreciate life.

bokes 01-06-06 12:07 AM

I own clothes, a few bikes, camping equipment, skis, bed, chair, kitchen stuff, laptop, projector (for dvds), a guitar, tools, and that's about it. I just rent furnished flats, or borrow excess furniture from my family.

I have a passion for adventure, travel, languages, and have a ton of hobbies, so 10 years ago when i graduated from Uni i decided to work a year, take a year off, work a year, take year off... at the expense of buying a nice house, kids, car, and lots of stuff.

I've had an incredible time but i always feel like i'm fighting the expectations of society that view me as an underachiever. But I always tell myself that if i were to die tomorrow, i'd be much happier than if i had climbed the corporate ladder.

jamesdenver 01-06-06 09:24 AM


Originally Posted by bokes

I have a passion for adventure, travel, languages, and have a ton of hobbies, so 10 years ago when i graduated from Uni i decided to work a year, take a year off, work a year, take year off... at the expense of buying a nice house, kids, car, and lots of stuff.

I've had an incredible time but i always feel like i'm fighting the expectations of society that view me as an underachiever. But I always tell myself that if i were to die tomorrow, i'd be much happier than if i had climbed the corporate ladder.

well done and well said. after working full time since 19 and two year college (i'm 30 now) i'm finally traveling and have a good job that gives me enough vaca time to do it.

i may want to go back to school down the road, or i may travel more, spend a year abroad, etc. but the good thing is the road ISN'T mapped out - given our simple lives we can choose as we like.

shokhead 01-06-06 09:35 AM

Lets see,i have a 2000gateway with ME and its crap. Maybe a $4000 HT with 125cd's and 50 DVD's. A 02 Altima and a 99 Caravan,both paid for. No CC debt. A $900 house payment for another 6 years.{paid 80,000 in 80,worth 600,000} Levis and T-shirts,dont own a suit. Mow my own lawn and no maid. Wife works as i do full time and 1 daughter moved out and the other in her 2nd year at LBCC. We live pretty simple. I have to watch tv,i was born with it.

smilin buddha 01-06-06 09:49 AM

This has to be one of the best sections on this site. I have realized a little late that I have to much stuff. I was always looking for books and buying all the latest ones. Sad, but I work at the library. I started to donate my items slowly at first and have been cleaning the house ever since. I donated a large amount of things to local charities during christmas, but have so much more to do. I have started to pair down the clothes. And purchased some Dickies work pants and shorts. Less items will give me less time to worry about them. So my friends think I am nuts. They run around with the latest ipods and electronic doodads. And I read books about letting go and simplifying. The hardest part for me was the realization that I was wrapping my self worth in the items I owed. Funny I thought I owed them, but they actually owned me.

stokell 01-06-06 10:52 AM

The watershed for me was when I started touring. I go light.

When I was younger success meant possessions. Now I see them as baggage that holds me down, keeps me back and prevents my freedom. The side-effect is now that I no longer have financial problems. When you don't own a car and don't buy 'things' you save lots and lots of money.

pedex 01-06-06 11:13 AM

Everything I own would easily fit into the back of a small p/u truck, I could be gone in under 45mins. My monthly expenses hover around $450/month including rent,food,etc etc etc. Other than my rather serious computer equipment and habit my life is pretty simple. No TV, no cars or trucks, no bed, very little furniture, cook all my own meals etc etc.

Just a few years ago I had 3 vehicles, 3 truckloads of stuff, and was your typical american uber consumer..........that life is history, and im alot happier for it. About the only complicated part of my life is the business I run, and a messenger business isnt all that tough to deal with, even being an army of one. Heck its about noon here and Im home nice and warm doing computer work while waiting for more calls for runs to come in, life is good.

TxBiker 01-06-06 12:17 PM

I gotta say, as a father of two and husband to one, this is a great topic. I have started my quest to simplify my life and love it. I sold "my" car last year and we are down to one family car. I have been biking to work for almost 6 months now. Love it!!

I too have been the "true" American consumer and hate it! I have joined a local freecycle group and have already begun "the purging". Of all the articles in the Living Car Free subforum, I keep hoping this topic gets updated so I can get more ideas!!!!

What excites me the most is that while I am doing this, my kids see this and will grow up with a more acceptable idea of "possessions" and not fall prey to consumerism. Of course....Santa and the grandparents have un-done a lot of what I was doing before Christmas to keep things simple and small. Oh well.....

Chris

jamesdenver 01-06-06 02:25 PM

i gotta check out freecycle. i used craigslist for tons of stuff.

i took down a frame on my patio consisting of heavy long steel pipes. took a picture and put them up figuring an artist or building/designer could find some use for them - and was helping load them into a truck within a few hours.

junk to me is of great value to others, and vice versa

Dahon.Steve 01-06-06 04:10 PM


Originally Posted by jamesdenver
in another post i referenced the phrase "manufactured wants" and someone argued with that term. we're so oversaturated with marketing;/advertising/commercial messages, i don't think enough people quickly disect whether they truly can use something or they actually need it.

Most of people's manufactured wants comes from the television set. It surprised me how little I wanted to buy things once I stopped watching television. I really believe this is the reason people want to buy the latest cars because you're programmed to need an SUV after watching hundreds of hours of commercials.

After nearly going bankrupt several years ago trying to live a lifestyle I couldn't afford, I'm through with commercialism. My TV cannot get reception without cable so I have a subscription with NetFlix and get to watch the movies without the commericals. My cable TV is gone and I log onto this forum at work and using my cell phone at 14.4K!! My large collection of books were sold during my recent move and I'm getting rid of the rest! I'm sick of clutter.

I've been bad with cycling in general. I'm discovering the reason I'm purchaing is to get rid of depression. I've found that nothing makes you want to go out and shop like being depressed so I have to catch myself. This summer, I'm selling off four of my bikes and live with two. You'll see people on this forum buying a bicycle each year on credit! Even though this is a procycling forum, don't fall into this trap.

I find it hard to believe that after living my life with credit card debt, I'm finally free for good. Don't get into this trap even for a bicycle.

smithers 01-06-06 05:10 PM

i've had great luck getting rid of stuff on ebay and craigslist; i agree with dahon steve-stay out of the credit card trap! i had myself in quite a $$$ mess when i had credit card debt and it SUCKS!
a great thread! i'm always excited to read about others living lightly / cheaply /clutter-free!!

naisme 01-06-06 11:27 PM

I don't know how simply I live, I think it is rather relative. In comparing myself to my family and friends I'm pretty simple. I do own a big TV but I watch DVDs, only Saturday night do the cat and I sit in front of the boob tube, Cops. I watch movies and DVD bike races (love Paris-Roubaix). I own a big American made van, that is back on the road. I have a one bedroom apartment, a mile from work, I let the guy below me heat the place, I've come home and it's been 70 in my apartment. I cook my own meals, with exception of what I eat at work and Friday afternoons I eat lunch with my brother, and one Saturday a month I eat with all three brothers and their kids. I used to be a regular at coffee joints, but I solved that when my step dad gave me his old Krups espresso machine, so the only reason I go to a coffee house is to get beans.
At Christmas I shocked everyone that I drove to the family get together, because I ride most everywhere I go.
I hang on to the van with the idea of using it as a camper/sag wagon, but I have been working on a touring bike for two years now, and think I'm close to being dialed in.
On the complicated side of things, I own a small bike shop, or so I am told, 16 makes me a bike shop, a couple (4) are frames that I'm slowly acquiring parts for. I have two track frames, and a bunch of road/fixed conversions, as well as a road bike, the touring bike and an MTB.
I just cleaned out the closet of my old cloths, donating them to the halfway house I work in. I bought a bunch of wool sweaters at Goodwill for Christmas, they are great for riding in.
Like others have said before me, I still have a long way to go. I dream of having two maybe three bikes, but I like all of them and have a little blood sweat and tears in them too. I have cross-country skies, a revived obsession from my youth, and camping equipment, both for car and bike camping.
I contemplate moving every other week, to a climate that is more bike friendly, and could get rid of the behemouth, it's an expenditure, like everyone has said that I can do without.
Currently my simplicity has run to Zen, and getting up at 5 am to go to the Zendo and sit, it is amazing what has been showing up on the junk pile on trash day, my old PCs and monitors. I still cling to things like books, mostly Zen. I could rid myself of a lot of pocessions and still live pretty comfortably. Maybe it will come with my awakening, or I'll awaken to the impermanence of pocessions... Hmm, must speak to the master...

karmical 01-07-06 03:51 AM

simplier than most, not as simple as some, since there is nothing wrong with pampering yourself and loved ones with the fruits of your labors-

we tend to cook most of our meals, but since we both work, there are plenty of days where i have no problem letting someone else take care of that burden, and have plenty of friends that are chefs, so i'm always taken care of in that department-

watch tv, no cable though, lots of dvds & vhs, tend to like the classics personally and all of norman lears stuff but not tied to it and don't have to watch everyday or weekly just when i/we feel the need.

too many books here as well, last move i had more crates of books than anything else-
have a bed, a few chairs, but not much else, going to be after the move then we'll expand a bit, but still remain as clutter-free as possible
barter/trade for much of everything

af895 01-07-06 09:59 AM

Hi iBarna!

Two quotes I'm fond of:

"Success isn't defined by the things you have.
It's defined by the things you don't need."

"It is desirable that a man be clad so simply...and that he live in all respects so compactly and preparedly
that, if an enemy take the town, he can, like the old philosopher, walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety."


As recently as 2004, I was living a rampant-consumer-based life. A number of events - 18-hour workdays, a failed relationship, failing health and the closing of my company - contributed to my reevaluating that lifestyle.

I live very simply these days. I might go out for food once every few months but prefer to cook for myself. I watch TV but try to limit it Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill and PBS/Nature/Discovery/Travel type stuff. (roommate has cable and the TV so I can't get rid of it completely)

My laptop is both a working tool and entertainment center (hp 17" widescreen - great for DVDs and it replaces a desktop computer). My futon is both a couch & bed.

I can't say all of my worldly possesions would fit in one box but certainly they'd fit in a small room or do a good job furnishing a bachelor pad.

All of the things said in this thread hit home with me.
My possesions used to own me. Now, I find comfort in stopping along my bike rides and watching the real world unfold. The things I keep in my home are out of convenience - tools, books etc - not from a desire to "collect" things.

Ultimately, my goal is find a steady "job" - I live on contract work - pay off one remaining student loan and "drop out" - touring by bike much like this fellow did: http://www.wildworks.co.nz/csr/photographs.php

Thanks for posting. It was a reminder to me that people are more important than things. "Love people and use things, don't use people and love things" perhaps? :)

CJ

jamesdenver 01-07-06 11:07 AM


Originally Posted by smithers
i've had great luck getting rid of stuff on ebay and craigslist; i agree with dahon steve-stay out of the credit card trap! i had myself in quite a $$$ mess when i had credit card debt and it SUCKS!
a great thread! i'm always excited to read about others living lightly / cheaply /clutter-free!!

i made the last big "chunk" payment on my CC last fall, and i have an obessesion with remaining free of credit card debt. intangible as it is, it's a trendemendous

i've had up and down CC for 11 years. i've gotton it down, racked it up, paid with some help my 'rents, racked some more up. there's so many "get out of CC guides out there" but i think they're missing one point: they tell you to cut back on things, cut out little expenses like $20-30 a month things, watch how much you eat out, etc. that's smart, but it won't happen without a fundamental life philosophy change regarding your goals, need, and wants. if you still like going to the mall to BUY stuff to make yourself happy, it won't happen. i believe spending is like an addiction, and eventually you'll relapse. if you hang out with friends who don't see a good time as anything else than spending $100 on dinner and martini, it's a tough call and you may see less of them. on the other hand you may find friends that enjoy things like drinking coffee at a diner, or practicing spanish together.

i noticed even last year, that when i had $4,000 in debt, it's a lot easier to justify spending 40-60 bucks on something. it's barely a dent in what you owe. now with a clean slate, i watch my purchases even MORE carefully than when i had a few grand on the cards.

also you can then using cards to MAKE you money. some cards offer 1-5% cash back on purchases, and i have a UAL miles card - so even though i prefer cash, i use mine for groceries, gas, etc.. and as soon as i walk in the door make an online payment from my checking account for $40-50 or whatever i spent.

oh i think ebay and craigslist are excellent tools for our culture. i find clothes, tools, books, gifts, and lots of new stuff too. i hope craigslist stays exactly the way it is and never sells out to registrations, ads, etc

all the best and happy saturday!!!

531phile 01-07-06 11:14 AM


Originally Posted by Alekhine
I make a good living, so it's tempting to spend the money on stuff, but I don't. I save it. The exception to this is the wonderful bicycle I am currently building up and my Steinway grand piano.

I definitely live more simply than most though.

-I don't eat out, EVER. I cook every meal myself, and I daresay I do a better job of it than most restaurant chefs I've run into.
-I am car-free.
-I live in a small cottage.
-During winter, I resist the urge to warm my home with the furnace, prefering to put on extra layers.
-I hand-wash all my clothes with a 1940's clothes plunger, and hang them to dry outside.
-I grow my own. :groucho eyebrows:
-I hate forms, credit cards, insurance companies, attorneys, etcetera. I try to avoid these things as much as possible.
-My favorite activity is camping by bicycle in summertime.


Your like one of those next door millionare neighbors that looks like everyone, dresses like everyone, but happens to be a millionaire because of extreme thriftiness

531phile 01-07-06 11:22 AM


Originally Posted by vrkelley
I like Ken Kifer's philosphy on simple living. He has a lot of bike stuff too

http://www.kenkifer.com/Thoreau/index.htm <---Just read his comments on the right side of the page for starters....it'll take more than one pass to take it all in.

Sadly Ken is gone now... :(

First Syndey and now I find out Ken Kifer is dead. Damn. Who else?

af895 01-07-06 11:47 AM


Originally Posted by jamesdenver
i made the last big "chunk" payment on my CC last fall, and i have an obessesion with remaining free of credit card debt. intangible as it is, it's a trendemendous

i've had up and down CC for 11 years. i've gotton it down, racked it up, paid with some help my 'rents, racked some more up.

Krikey James! Reading that was giving me cold sweats. I too went through the credit card thing. When I simplified my life in 2004, I paid them off and cut them up. On the occasion I want to order something online, I'll hand cash to a friend of family member and ask if they'd place the order.



Originally Posted by jamesdenver
... there's so many "get out of CC guides out there" but i think they're missing one point: they tell you to cut back on things, cut out little expenses like $20-30 a month things, watch how much you eat out, etc. that's smart, but it won't happen without a fundamental life philosophy change regarding your goals, need, and wants. if you still like going to the mall to BUY stuff to make yourself happy, it won't happen. i believe spending is like an addiction, and eventually you'll relapse. if you hang out with friends who don't see a good time as anything else than spending $100 on dinner and martini, it's a tough call and you may see less of them. on the other hand you may find friends that enjoy things like drinking coffee at a diner, or practicing spanish together.

WORD. You hit the nail on the head there.
A lot of the so-called friends I used to have are people I don't see anymore because they couldn't wrap their heads around just hanging out and talking - they had to be at a restaurant or mall spending.

I have a whole new set of friends now - people I have a deeper connection to - who play instruments, work on bikes together or let me cook for them. One of them was about to make an order from Nashbar for some bike stuff. I went into my box of bike goodies, pulled out a pair of road bars and brakes and saved him $100. Craiglist, Freecycles and the local bike co-op are great ways to save.

I think we're just a bit ahead of our time there: once our species gets over peak-oil and realizes the embodied energy tied up in the materials we throw out, we'll need to be frugal because, say, a set of handlebars will cost you $400 new on account of the mining, refining, manufacturer and transportation costs. (though that might not happen in our lifetime)

"It's not the big expenses you plan for that'll bankrupt you - it's all the tiny little ones you didn't keep track of that'll add up."

Durn good discussion here!

531phile 01-07-06 12:03 PM

Hey af895, if that's your picture as an avatar, you look really sad. Turn that frown unside down, now.

af895 01-07-06 12:07 PM


Originally Posted by 531phile
Hey af895, if that's your picture as an avatar, you look really sad. Turn that frown unside down, now.

That was taken at about 4am, in need of a shave and coffee. ;)
Changed! (a way more goofy shot at a "teddy bear shop" my friend works at. :p

madnomad 01-08-06 12:53 AM

As of right now, my possessions include:

- 35 Canadian dollars
- A few books and maps
- 6 sewing needles, a very small roll of black nylon thread, thimble
- A small tea tin filled with strike-anywhere matches
- Knife and razor
- Two lengths of braided nylon and poly rope, probably about 25 feet altogether.
- Shaving razor and gel
- Old sleeping bag
- Clothing worn on back
- Modified nylon hammock
- small tin cup
- small army-surplus shoulder bag

That is about it, I think it weighs about 4-5 pounds. I do need to pick up a cooking pot in the near future. I will leave the books behind (except for one or two possibly) to increase mobility when I am on the move again as I am staying with my sister at the moment. I spend a significant part of my life these days homeless on the street or countryside on the move on foot, so I have a vested interest in mobility. I gave my mountain bike to my sister over a year ago as I would just end up ditching it somewhere when I decide to hitch or take off somewhere where I won't require the use of the bike. All these possessions will fit into the small shoulder bag with the exception of the sleeping bag. I only carry the sleeping bag and hammock (or a tarp, or other portable shelter material) in winter. I certainly feel more free with a minimum of material culture. Depending on the situation I ditch things I don't need anymore and pick up new things as the need arises.

pakole 01-08-06 01:01 AM

Thanks for suggesting the kakebuton and shikibuton. I have never consider this before. I tell you this site has allow me to live a better life over the six months I have read posts here.

iBarna 01-08-06 02:47 AM

Come on madnomad, do you really need 6 sewing needles? Isn't that a bit excessive?

:p ;)

iBarna 01-08-06 02:48 AM


Originally Posted by af895
Hi iBarna!

Two quotes I'm fond of:

"Success isn't defined by the things you have.
It's defined by the things you don't need."

"It is desirable that a man be clad so simply...and that he live in all respects so compactly and preparedly
that, if an enemy take the town, he can, like the old philosopher, walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety."

I love these. Thanks. I'm saving them.

Good stuff everyone!!!

PVyrus 01-08-06 03:46 AM

I still live at home so most things that I use (television, movies, furniture) are not mine and I don’t plan on purchasing them once I do move out. All of my belongings (except the bike) are in my small room, yet I have so much free space that I can practice poi in there! I used to be a packrat, but one day did a little de-cluttering and it felt so good that I kept getting rid of stuff, and still do. My ultimate goal is to reduce everything down to everyday “necessities.” I feel I do live the simple life… no car, no debts, no enemies, no school (did graduate), no addictions, plenty of income from my part time job, and loads of free time. It’d be awesome to live so simply that I could transport everything by bike, but the marine biologist in me won’t part with the aquarium, so a pick-up truck will have to do once I decide to flee the nest.

It is also so much fun to fight societies standards. Who needs a car and two jobs while going to college and renting your own apartment? Not me! I also don’t wear make-up, shave my legs, shower everyday, or act like a normal 20-year-old female, and I have a blast doing it … even when people do mistaken me for a guy, LOL.

I also consider myself very lucky that I grew up poor… it taught me to enjoy the simplest pleasures and the value of a dollar. It just boggles my mind to watch people blow their entire savings account on a shopping spree and clutter their house with it!

becnal 01-08-06 05:08 AM

My awesome laptop means I don't need a tv, vcr, dvd player, desktop computer, radio, stereo, speakers, fax machine, etc cluttering up our apartment.

squire 01-08-06 07:42 AM

My wife and I live in a 32ft. motorhome and we have Way too much stuff. We are slowly giving it away on freecycle. STUFF is more of an issue than spending money. The motorhome does somewhat limit what we can purchase. Something comes in and something must go out.

cabana 4 life 01-08-06 09:57 PM

ive lived in a small camper for 2 years now. i have some stuff in a storage unit ,but im going to give it away because i havent missed it. im looking into buying a houseboat to live on i think it would be great. the biggest thing i have is two bikes and a padicab, (and im thinking about getting another one this year). i used to be driver for ups. i thought i had to have a huge house and a nice car, home theater all that crap. then one day i quite, i hated that job so much. im so much happier now. f*#k keeping up with the jones. .. they can keep there debt.

vrkelley 01-08-06 10:44 PM


Originally Posted by madnomad
I spend a significant part of my life these days homeless on the street or countryside on the move on foot, so I have a vested interest in mobility... Depending on the situation I ditch things I don't need anymore and pick up new things as the need arises.

Yes we have several members who post on Bike Forums who are homeless by choice, H. Katrina or for other reasons. I wish you the very best in the coming year :)


-vr

Mtn Mike 01-08-06 10:53 PM

I'll be one of the first to admit that I do not think I live minimally. I very much admire those of you who live minimally and are happy doing so. I lived fairly minimally throughout college and grad school (out of financial necessity), but even then still fancied the "finer things", such as computers, music, and of course bicycles. Now, I tend to buy what I want to, even if it's an impulse buy, and not feel too bad about it. I don't think I could list all of my possessions without spending a decent amount of time taking inventory of the house and garage. I'm sure I don't need everything I have. There are some things which I could have, but have no desire to own (such as big screen TVs, entertainment systems, cars, nice furniture, kitchenware, ect). But pretty much, if I want something, I buy it. :o


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