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

eofelis 02-09-10 11:04 PM

I just picked up a book, at the library of course:

In Cheap We Trust by Lauren Weber

It is pretty good so far!

Newspaperguy 02-11-10 12:44 PM

A few years ago, I got rid of probably half the books on my shelf. These are books I no longer needed and wouldn't go back to reread them. I also was able to get rid of a few bookshelves.

Right now, I'm trying to decide if I want to get rid of the stereo. It's nice, but I seldom use it anymore.

Smallwheels 02-11-10 08:44 PM

Don't Give Up The Stereo, Get A Tiny One
 

Originally Posted by Newspaperguy (Post 10391128)
Right now, I'm trying to decide if I want to get rid of the stereo. It's nice, but I seldom use it anymore.

These days iPods hold thousands of songs, audio books, or lectures and there are some really good sounding small speakers that can plug directly into them for big sound in a tiny package.

I've got an old high quality FM tuner with all of the adapters and two medium large speaker cabinets that I haven't listened to in years. Those need to go. I would much rather have a small Bose or other radio system that would fit on a counter top. That could be connected to my computer in order to play internet radio. I listen to internet radio all the time. I only listen to broadcast radio in the late evening because I can tune in Coast to Coast AM. It plays on three different radios throughout my apartment. That way I don't miss anything when I move from room to room.

I've got fifty-two vinyl albums that I haven't played in years. I could buy a turntable that would connect directly to my computer that would let me record all of them. I need to do the math to decide if it would be worth the expense. I wouldn't want to keep every song. After recording the music I would just sell or give away the vinyl and album covers. They weigh about ten pounds. I wonder if I could rent such a turntable somewhere? It certainly would help me to remove some clutter to get rid of the stereo and the albums and replace them with a good radio and a large digital file.

zoltani 02-12-10 07:51 AM

I paid about $120 for a turntable that allows you to record vinyl, very handy item. Still, I don't think I can give up my records (i do still listen to them however).

surgtech1956 02-15-10 06:20 PM

How did you get to living 'simply'? What did you give up first or did you just get rid of all the extras at once? My life is too cluttered and I find the more cluttered the more complicated it seems. I would like to start simplifying my life. I'm about 8 years to retirement.

Smallwheels 02-16-10 02:52 AM

My Change Has Been Gradual
 

Originally Posted by surgtech1956 (Post 10407669)
How did you get to living 'simply'? What did you give up first or did you just get rid of all the extras at once? My life is too cluttered and I find the more cluttered the more complicated it seems. I would like to start simplifying my life. I'm about 8 years to retirement.

My change has been gradual over decades. It began with the realization that money can't buy happiness. Then the other realizations followed, such as deciding that I'd rather have the money savings from not owning a car.

The most recent one has been my move in 2005. I was faced with the fact that I had too much stuff and had to move it all. I'm slowly getting rid of furniture, appliances, and everything else. My garage sale was a failure. I've begun listing things on Craigslist and ebay is next. My first listings will happen this week. I'm selling the expensive stuff first. By the time I get to the less expensive things I'll probably give them away or throw them out. :)

cerewa 03-11-10 11:49 AM

simple in haiti
 
One of my low-income friends in Haiti says to me that i live simple. (or at least that I wear old/inexpensive/wornout clothes).

I don't spend much on clothes or transportation. If you look at my clothes or my bicycle, you'd probably guess that's the case.

Spent a week in Haiti just now, having brought a bunch of tents & safe-drinking-water filters down. Slept in temporary housing that friends have for their families: tarps for a roof, tarps for walls, concrete for floors. One of the families has corrugated metal for their roof - pretty nice place to stay. No electricity, no running water, no heat or A/C. Car free too, and people have very little in the way of unneeded possessions.

I have allergies which is one reason I've cut down on my own possessions: less stuff means less dust. I only have enough clothes for a couple weeks now, which is good because if my clothes sit in a drawer for a long time they get kind of musty and i'll be allergic.

zoltani 03-11-10 12:04 PM

"Man seems to have more difficulty in gaining food than any of the Lord's creatures. For many in towns it is a consuming, lifelong struggle; for others, the danger of coming to want is so great, the deadly habit of endless hoarding for the future is formed, which smothers all real life, and is continued long after every reasonable need has been over-supplied."
-John Muir

ckfeng 03-15-10 04:13 AM

I am a bicycle fans, I often rode a bicycle to go very far away, so save fares,
at the same time exercise the body

Nycycle 03-16-10 08:11 PM


Originally Posted by Juha (Post 1993446)
I've thought about this. But it seems something's gotta give: I'm a music junkie, so I have a decent stereo set, a whole bunch of CDs and a grand piano in the living room. Also my friends think I could easily donate half of my bike related stuff and still be able to ride nicely. Personally, of course, I don't consider any of these excessive.

--J

I find it hopeless, I can't get anybody to take my stuff.

Newspaperguy 03-18-10 02:21 PM

A couple of weeks back, I was having a discussion with an acquaintance. She's a single woman, living in a townhouse with roughly 1,200 square feet. It's almost paid off. She said she's now thinking of selling and buying a house because of the better investment value.

I suggested she stay where she is, clear the mortgage and then put the same amount into a retirement savings fund.

I'm also in a townhouse of roughly the same size and it's more space than I need as a single person. A part of me would be interested in selling and downsizing, but right now it seems pointless to put the place onto the market unless I'm considering moving out of town.

Smallwheels 03-18-10 05:34 PM


Originally Posted by Newspaperguy (Post 10544507)
A couple of weeks back, I was having a discussion with an acquaintance. She's a single woman, living in a townhouse with roughly 1,200 square feet. It's almost paid off. She said she's now thinking of selling and buying a house because of the better investment value.

I suggested she stay where she is, clear the mortgage and then put the same amount into a retirement savings fund.

I'm also in a townhouse of roughly the same size and it's more space than I need as a single person. A part of me would be interested in selling and downsizing, but right now it seems pointless to put the place onto the market unless I'm considering moving out of town.

You gave some good advice. I would have said the same thing.

If you own your townhouse wouldn't it be great if you could just divide it some way so you could rent half of it? Could you modify the property to have a full bathroom and kitchen on each floor? If so you could just rent out the other half and never need to interact with your tenant. That would be easier than getting a stranger as a roommate.

A friend of mine turned a large closet into a small bathroom with a shower, toilet, and sink. It wasn't cramped at all.

renyay 03-18-10 05:56 PM

Man,
I always strive to not have much stuff and live more simply... but I've come to realize that I am just cluttered by nature and have given into it! In my 20's I tried to keep my possessions down to whatever would fit in the back of a hatchback: futon, laptop, some records, plants (hated giving up plants), a few kitchen things, clothes and tools. Wasn't enough into bikes then to hold on to 'em, I'd just sell them when I moved. Now that I am older and less nomadic, I find settling into a place kind of comforting. It still goes against my instinct to hoard a whole bunch of stuff... but I still manage to gather a lot. I have 4 bikes, a lot of tools, records but sold the turntables, furniture I've made, shoes I love but never wear, art supplies, etc... . Its, just stuff that I cant justify getting rid of (except maybe the shoes). I guess if its stuff you use or plan on using and it makes you happy, then its good to have.
Oh, and thank god for laptops. Otherwise I'd still have ton's of cracked jewel cases, heavy photo albums, and notebooks full of wrinkled writing. I feel like the era we live in and modern society is kinda focused on paring things down... creating less waste and producing more utilitarian products. It's a refreshing change... thinking about all the s#*t people had crammed into their houses in the '80's and the god awful furnishings and designs makes me cringe!

Newspaperguy 03-19-10 12:11 PM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 10545397)
If you own your townhouse wouldn't it be great if you could just divide it some way so you could rent half of it? Could you modify the property to have a full bathroom and kitchen on each floor? If so you could just rent out the other half and never need to interact with your tenant. That would be easier than getting a stranger as a roommate.

In terms of the space, that would be no problem. I could easily live in 600 square feet. The configuration, however, makes it impossible to divide it in two separate units.

Wiggles_dad 03-23-10 09:38 AM

I'm living in one room again. I moved out here to Utah for graduate school and only brought what I could fit in my car. I moved to a one bedroom duplex and accumulated more things (namely 3 more bikes) after shedding many of my belongings. I recently moved into a house with some friends and had to make all of my belongings fit in a small bedroom. I have 3 bikes and all of my stuff in my bedroom and I once again feel liberated!

mr geeker 03-27-10 01:22 AM

don't own a car. dont own/ rent a house/apartment (live with aunt). no credit cards (never even gotten an offer from one). all of my possesions could fit in my panniers and my backpack. i do own a desktop computer (baught on sale cheaply). i own several books, not sure if i could part with them. no tv. i do own a dvd player and a vcr, but could easily part with them.

i do have a couple vices, coffee being first and foremost.

phillyskyline 04-06-10 11:15 AM

This thread is fascinating. I can't imagine my whole life fitting into a few bags, but I'm also tired of accumulating stuff I don't need. Since my partner and I are ditching our car in the near future, we've decided to get rid of a lot of the clutter and junk we never use--clothes, dishes, kitchen equipment, old furniture, books, and so on. We are terrible about throwing things away and tend to just cram them into a closet or a box in the basement, figuring we'll use them later. Of course, we never do.

We're starting the decluttering process with our clothes this week/weekend and will move on to the basement as soon as we get up the courage.

rutibegga 04-06-10 02:20 PM


Originally Posted by phillyskyline (Post 10631298)
This thread is fascinating. I can't imagine my whole life fitting into a few bags, but I'm also tired of accumulating stuff I don't need. Since my partner and I are ditching our car in the near future, we've decided to get rid of a lot of the clutter and junk we never use--clothes, dishes, kitchen equipment, old furniture, books, and so on. We are terrible about throwing things away and tend to just cram them into a closet or a box in the basement, figuring we'll use them later. Of course, we never do.

We're starting the decluttering process with our clothes this week/weekend and will move on to the basement as soon as we get up the courage.

Ahh, but you didn't mention some of the stuff we do: we avoid factory-farmed and processed foods, cleaners with chemicals, and we recycle and compost. We consume far less than most of the people we know, and are working on paring that down too. We bake our own bread, grow our own herbs, buy local, and even make our own beer! Don't sell yourself short, Phillyskyline!

himfilth 04-08-10 01:53 AM


Originally Posted by rutibegga (Post 10632324)
Ahh, but you didn't mention some of the stuff we do: we avoid factory-farmed and processed foods, cleaners with chemicals, and we recycle and compost. We consume far less than most of the people we know, and are working on paring that down too. We bake our own bread, grow our own herbs, buy local, and even make our own beer! Don't sell yourself short, Phillyskyline!

Wow!!! You make your own beer, thats freaking awesome!!!

Smallwheels 04-09-10 04:43 PM

I Could Live Small Right Now
 
As I sell more of my clutter and plan to move in three or four months to be closer to work, I decided to do a square foot calculation of my apartment. It is a two bedroom with 865 square feet. I only use the spare bedroom for storage. Right now most of those things are in my living room because of a past garage sale. So I have just enough room to walk around comfortably.

I subtracted the square footage of the floor spaces that aren't being used in my daily life. All of the spaces covered with boxes of things for sale and areas that could be shrunken to be more efficient with a different floor plan were removed. It seems I could live in a 300-400 square foot space with ease once the clutter is gone. Now that I've decided to move it is even more important for me to speed up the sale of the items causing clutter.

In a way this is a revelation to me. It also opens the door to different living possibilities. For instance, did you know that the interior of a forty foot shipping container is three-hundred-four square feet? The interior of a Maxi shipping container is 44 feet long which would give even more space. The interior of a large bus is around three hundred square feet and with the storage compartments under the seating area it could go up another one-hundred square feet.

It is too bad that most cities have zoning codes that don't allow structures smaller than 1500 square feet. The Tumbleweed house company sells plans for tiny homes under 800 square feet. Most people probably build them on lots outside city limits or within their own back yards.

My next move will be into a one bedroom apartment if I can find one with built-in laundry equipment. I really hate having to monitor my clothes at a laundromat or within an apartment laundry room. It wastes my time.

How small is too small for you? How big is too big for you? Since I'm single I could do it without any complaints from a spouse.

Remember the stories of those tiny apartments in NYC that people love, and the story of the seven foot wide house somewhere in Ottawa that was built in an alleyway between two other houses? Some of those are occupied by two or three people not just one person. They like living small. Small spaces must have some inherent advantages over big spaces for people to remain in them for long periods of time.

atetrachordof3 04-12-10 10:38 AM

This is what I do--

1. No car-- instead, I ride two bikes- one as a foul weather/high theft area beater/back up, the other one is nicer and more comfortable to ride. I also ride the bus a lot and I walk.

2. Minimal furniture-- I have cheap/free desk, chair, futon that I got off craigslist. I put an air mattress on the floor as my bed.

3. I buy all of my clothes from goodwill-- but I do dress well.

4. I cook all three meals and I brown bag a lot. I rarely eat meat. Most of the things I eat come from the produce sections.

5. My entertainment consist of riding a bike outside, watching hulu, and used books.

6. I have one set (four of each) of dishes that I bought for $16 about four years ago. My sheets are from 7 years ago and they are still going strong.



I probably do own more possessions than most of the previous posters-- I do have a pot, a pan, and a small wok. I have dishes. I have furniture. However, I find that owning these things allow me to live free of worry or discomfort. For example, I can eat at home everyday without running out of paper plates. I can invite friends over on a whim. I can sit on something instead of the floor if I want to.

To me, simple living is not about owning as few things as possible. It's about achieving a balance where I can be free to think about more interesting things-- I don't want to have so many dishes I worry about which one to use, but I also don't want to have so few that I HAVE to wash them between 2 meals.

Whenever I move, I sell all the big furniture, and rent a van.

Whenever I buy things, I put in a good amount of time to research the sweet cost/performance spot and think about my likely trajectories. The result is that I really enjoy everything I have, so I take better care of them, and they last very long. I don't necessarily always buy the cheapest possible, but I buy the cheapest option that even years from now I will never have to worry about poor craftsmanship or outdated style.

And I do think that a well-groomed, clean appearance is a basic etiquette. So, I have maintained the same basic but tidy hair style all my life, and I generally dress well enough that my professionalism will not be questioned, even though my 'ensemble' of basics cost maybe $10 total.

zoltani 04-12-10 11:23 AM

Just signed for a new apartment, smaller than the one we have, but nicer and cheaper. We will save over 2000 euros a year with this one! It is 45 square meters, or about 484 square feet. Not too bad for 2 people, but I like the fact that it has a separate kitchen and a little alcove for the bed.
Now we need to figure out where to fit the 4 bikes we have within the space.

Any ideas on fitting 4 bikes in a small space? Yes, we need them all.

cZa 04-12-10 11:45 AM

Can you put hook's on the ceiling**********?

iron.wren 04-12-10 12:30 PM

i've been reading mnmlist.com it is ran by the same guy who does Zenhabits.com , i'm currently in college and i'm ready for the summer so that i can cut significantly down on what I own, right now i just have no time except the little stuff every so often. Clothing is definitely the first to go through.

FatBaldMen 04-12-10 04:00 PM

This thread could benefit from actual pictures (mine coming tomorrow).

Artkansas 04-14-10 07:40 AM

One thing I haven't seen in this thread is about one's inner mental life. What do you do to keep that simple?

FatBaldMen 04-14-10 02:15 PM

^ ride a bicycle

My place, as simple as I can possible live & its been this way for some 12 years now...its so relaxing to own nothing except what I absolutley need.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...3/IMG_3112.jpg

Roody 04-14-10 04:38 PM


Originally Posted by Artkansas (Post 10668602)
One thing I haven't seen in this thread is about one's inner mental life. What do you do to keep that simple?

I agree that inner simplicity is important. One thing I try to do is always keep in mind what is really important. If I'm bothered by something, I ask myself how important this thing that bothers me will seem to be in 5 days, or in 5 years. Usually the answer is that pretty soon it won't seem very important, so there's no sense in worrying about it now.

iron.wren 04-14-10 05:45 PM


Originally Posted by FatBaldMen (Post 10670722)
^ ride a bicycle

My place, as simple as I can possible live & its been this way for some 12 years now...its so relaxing to own nothing except what I absolutley need.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...3/IMG_3112.jpg

Props to you i don't know if i ever could go that far

Smallwheels 04-14-10 10:46 PM

Mental And Spiritual Work Create Simplicity
 
My inner mental life revolves around releasing past upsets. The more I do it the simpler my mind gets because I'm dumping complexity from everything. I learned how to do it from four different sources; Scientology, The Release Technique, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and Buddhism. Each of them in some way has a technique that shows an individual how to release unwanted feelings. All of them teach that one's natural state of being is love and happiness. The problem is that we cover up that natural state with other junk over time and become more ill and miserable.

The Release Technique is the one I use most. For instance today a driver passed me with only about two feet of clearance and it got me angry. I used the technique to just let it go. At the start of my interest in releasing unwanted feelings, doing that would take a concentrated effort for several minutes or even an hour. Now that I've been doing it for years it only takes a few seconds before I can just laugh at it.

One of my goals for this life is to get to the point where I can feel unconditional love for anybody, even people who are hated by most people i.e. Osama Bin Laden. That's quite a goal. After all--love is the simplest thing of all.


FatBaldMen I'm really impressed with your lack of possessions. It is too austere for me. My list of possessions to keep is about 300 items. It can grow if necessary. Since I'm not into "having the latest things" that list probably won't grow very much.


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