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

Newspaperguy 05-27-11 05:38 PM

There's one advantage to keeping paper documents. They remain readable. Digital technology changes constantly. The 5.5-inch floppy disk from the 1980s still contains information, but where will you find a device to read it? The same would hold true for someone who loaded computer data onto cassettes in the early 1980s. Or, more recently, it has been years since I've used a computer which accepts the once common 3.5-inch diskettes.

Platy 05-30-11 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by Newspaperguy (Post 12704594)
There's one advantage to keeping paper documents. They remain readable. Digital technology changes constantly. The 5.5-inch floppy disk from the 1980s still contains information, but where will you find a device to read it? The same would hold true for someone who loaded computer data onto cassettes in the early 1980s. Or, more recently, it has been years since I've used a computer which accepts the once common 3.5-inch diskettes.

Yeah, a document in ROFF format on DECtape might as well have been burned in a fire for all the good it's ever going to do me now. I think a lot of the scientific data from NASA's interplanetary exploration is now practically inaccessible due to this so-called "bit rot" even though it cost billions to acquire and may turn out to be irreplaceable. Besides the problem of losing the ability to read mechanically recorded media, I also doubt the data bits will remain physically intact on CDs, DVDs and flash memories for more than a lifetime or two.

For archival permanence nothing beats silver halide still photography or pigmented ink on acid free paper - both of which are very much out of the mainstream now.

I guess the idea of saving old stuff kind of goes against the philosophy of simple living, but I like to think there's a place in the world for archives and museums. Both of those kinds of institutions are ultimately fed by an informal network of collectors and clutterbugs who preserve documents and artifacts long enough for them to become things of historical interest.

gerv 05-30-11 03:33 PM


Originally Posted by Platy (Post 12713978)
For archival permanence nothing beats silver halide still photography or pigmented ink on acid free paper - both of which are very much out of the mainstream now.

Yeah my personal library has a large collection of paperbacks Signet classic and Penguins from the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, they are mostly unreadable now because they have turned completely yellow and have a rather stale smell.

wahoonc 06-03-11 04:56 PM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 12704303)
My community has a day every year when you can bring in old documents and they shred and recycle them for you. They usually do it late in April, right after tax time. I don't know if this is done in most places or not.

Also, I vaguely remember hearing that one of the office supply stores will shred stuff for free. I think it was Staples but I'm not sure. You could call around.

You can also find web sites that tell you how long you should keep records. It isn't as long as most people think.

A few of the local communities around here have shredder days. I usually burn my stuff, use it for starting campfires or lighting the wood stove.

Aaron :)

Newspaperguy 06-03-11 07:16 PM


Originally Posted by Platy (Post 12713978)
I guess the idea of saving old stuff kind of goes against the philosophy of simple living, but I like to think there's a place in the world for archives and museums. Both of those kinds of institutions are ultimately fed by an informal network of collectors and clutterbugs who preserve documents and artifacts long enough for them to become things of historical interest.

Saving old things and living simply are not necessarily at odds, but my idea of living simply means choosing which things are worth saving and which should be discarded.

Platy 06-05-11 10:11 AM


Originally Posted by Newspaperguy (Post 12737020)
Saving old things and living simply are not necessarily at odds, but my idea of living simply means choosing which things are worth saving and which should be discarded.

A lot depends on how often a person moves. I've lived a fairly mobile life, and it's served me well to not own much physical stuff. My brother is the opposite. He lives within walking distance of where he was born and he still has just about everything he's ever owned stashed away in some barn or another. ("Yeah, I still have great granddad's mule drawn plow, wanna see it?"). I think we secretly envy each other :lol:

Smallwheels 06-05-11 12:12 PM

Living Out Of A Suitcase
 
This week I rented the movie "Up In The Air". It is about a man that travels three-hundred-twenty-four days each year. His job is to go to companies and fire people. He loves his job and hates the idea of being home. His apartment is a spartan ugly place. He clearly doesn't value it the way others value their homes. In the film he eventually recognizes that the conventional lifestyle of having a home isn't all that bad.

The point about this is, he was very happy with living in hotel rooms, not owning a car, and eating all of his meals in restaurants. All he had with him was a small suitcase. Of course he had credit cards from his company to pay for all of his travel and meals, but still he wasn't desiring anything else in life. This character probably would own a Kindle or iPad if he wanted to read books or be entertained.

He was famous for giving a motivational lecture about a backpack. The backpack represented his life. All that he needed in life was within that backpack. Part of it was shown in the film. He demonstrated how all that was really important to a person wasn't in their possessions but in their mind. Memories and friendships weren't physical things. Relationships weren't physical things that needed to be carried around. That's about all that was said in the short segment, but it could have been expanded so much more. I really wanted to hear a lot more on the topic, but it probably wouldn't suit the movie for any more of it to be told.

His lifestyle wasn't inexpensive but it was very simple. One could easily afford buying a medium to big size house with the money spent living in business class hotel rooms all year long.

I could add to the topic.

Though I couldn't live out of a backpack I'm sure I could live in an efficiency apartment and be happy. After all, what does one really require in a place of shelter? Running water, a toilet, a shower, a well insulated structure, a place to store some food, a place to sleep, a place to prepare food, some form of climate control for different seasons, power, and the biggie, storage space.

It is probably the storage space that is the biggest variable for everybody. Even running water might not be a total necessity if one has access to a clean water source. RV dwellers must find water at different locations as they travel, so that isn't a deal breaker for everybody.

Could you share a bathroom and kitchen? If you've ever lived in a dormitory or rented a room in a house you probably shared those things. Growing up all of us shared these things with our family members and we were OK with it. Could adults do it too as part of a simpler lifestyle?

In warm climates food preparation could be done outdoors. Millions of people in the USA love to cook outside using barbeque grills.

These things all came to mind as I thought about the character in the movie. It has taken me even further into my transition to simpler living.

Roody 06-05-11 04:14 PM

Very nice post Smallwheels. You give me a lot to think about also. Thanks for taking the time to share. :)

I shared a bathroom and kitchen for a while. I didn't care for it, especially when the lady who was living there had her boyfriend move in, and he turned out to be a crack dealer. I need to have some control over who I share my living space with. In fact, I've gotten so used to living alone the last few years that I've come to prefer that. I have smallish two bedroom duplex. I'm happy with it, but if I could get rid of one bedroom (and ;ay a little less rent) I would do it.

wahoonc 06-07-11 03:53 PM

Interesting Smallwheels,

I actually spend a fair bit of my time on the road for work. I am constantly evaluating what I "need" and what I take with me. Currently I am unable to travel with a bike due to the company downsizing my vehicle...again. Saving for a Brompton.

Currently I maintain two sets of travel stuff. One is for when I travel by car and has a bit more in it, the other is for when I have to fly. I can go out for a week with a rollaboard suitcase and a briefcase. I can go longer than a week, but will have to do laundry at some point. I also have a small bag that stays in my car with a couple of changes of clothes and a shaving kit, comes in handy when I get caught out of town unexpectedly.

When I was working production and took a truck with me I would live in hotel rooms for up to 3 months at a time. I always carried a big rolling box that had my "kitchen" in it. Sometimes we lucked up and got the motels with kitchenettes. At minimum we usually had a small fridge, microwave and coffee pot in the rooms. I would add an electric teapot, hot pot and small George Foreman grill to the mix.

You can do without a lot of things if you really try.

Aaron :)

zoltani 06-09-11 11:53 AM

Read this yesterday, interesting read, and I feel it fits in here.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/op...%20full&st=cse

I particularly like the end of the article:
SNIP
We’re currently caught in two loops: One is that more population growth and more global warming together are pushing up food prices; rising food prices cause political instability in the Middle East, which leads to higher oil prices, which leads to higher food prices, which leads to more instability. At the same time, improved productivity means fewer people are needed in every factory to produce more stuff. So if we want to have more jobs, we need more factories. More factories making more stuff make more global warming, and that is where the two loops meet.

But Gilding is actually an eco-optimist. As the impact of the imminent Great Disruption hits us, he says, “our response will be proportionally dramatic, mobilizing as we do in war. We will change at a scale and speed we can barely imagine today, completely transforming our economy, including our energy and transport industries, in just a few short decades.”

We will realize, he predicts, that the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less. “How many people,” Gilding asks, “lie on their death bed and say, ‘I wish I had worked harder or built more shareholder value,’ and how many say, ‘I wish I had gone to more ballgames, read more books to my kids, taken more walks?’ To do that, you need a growth model based on giving people more time to enjoy life, but with less stuff.”
Sounds utopian? Gilding insists he is a realist.

“We are heading for a crisis-driven choice,” he says. “We either allow collapse to overtake us or develop a new sustainable economic model. We will choose the latter. We may be slow, but we’re not stupid.”

Roody 06-09-11 04:55 PM


Originally Posted by zoltani (Post 12763238)
Read this yesterday, interesting read, and I feel it fits in here.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/op...%20full&st=cse

I particularly like the end of the article:
SNIP
We’re currently caught in two loops: One is that more population growth and more global warming together are pushing up food prices; rising food prices cause political instability in the Middle East, which leads to higher oil prices, which leads to higher food prices, which leads to more instability. At the same time, improved productivity means fewer people are needed in every factory to produce more stuff. So if we want to have more jobs, we need more factories. More factories making more stuff make more global warming, and that is where the two loops meet.

But Gilding is actually an eco-optimist. As the impact of the imminent Great Disruption hits us, he says, “our response will be proportionally dramatic, mobilizing as we do in war. We will change at a scale and speed we can barely imagine today, completely transforming our economy, including our energy and transport industries, in just a few short decades.”

We will realize, he predicts, that the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less. “How many people,” Gilding asks, “lie on their death bed and say, ‘I wish I had worked harder or built more shareholder value,’ and how many say, ‘I wish I had gone to more ballgames, read more books to my kids, taken more walks?’ To do that, you need a growth model based on giving people more time to enjoy life, but with less stuff.”
Sounds utopian? Gilding insists he is a realist.

“We are heading for a crisis-driven choice,” he says. “We either allow collapse to overtake us or develop a new sustainable economic model. We will choose the latter. We may be slow, but we’re not stupid.”

That was a nice column that tied simple living with happiness and saner choices about how we treat each other and our world. People are in denial becuse they fear that simpler lifestyles and values will mean a lessening of happiness, when actually the opposite is probably true.

You should have credited the author, Thomas L. Friedman. Friedman shows that even writers who are pretty conservative politically can support simple living and environmentalism.

TomM 06-09-11 06:05 PM


Originally Posted by zoltani (Post 12763238)
Read this yesterday, interesting read, and I feel it fits in here.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/op...%20full&st=cse

That combined with :


On the whole, says G.F.N., we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth’s resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished, so we are eating into the future. Right now, global growth is using about 1.5 Earths. “Having only one planet makes this a rather significant problem,” says Gilding.
Are eye openers. Too bad their meaning will not be understood by the majority of people inhabiting the earth.

Smallwheels 06-09-11 07:08 PM

Buddha Had It Easy
 
I don't know if everybody will ever realize they don't need so much stuff.

About a week ago I was thinking about life and my irregular spurts into improving my level of spirituality. By that I mean increasing my wisdom about life in many areas of existence. It's always fun to discover something new about myself and the world.

The thought came to me that it was easier for Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha) to achieve enlightenment than a normal person like me because he was raised with everything a person could ever want. His father shielded him from any idea of lacking anything. Anything he desired was his for the asking. One day he discovered that there were people who couldn't have everything they wanted. It was that day that his life changed and he sought the reason why.

Gautama had everything. His life was full of opulence. As a pampered son he didn't know about all of the work done by others that went into satisfying his every desire. I think that because he already had everything, it was easy for him to give it up because he never lacked anything.

You, I, and everybody else in the world understand lack. We know that there is possibly more that we could have. We have this desire to have more because our inner drive for survival somehow directs us to have more. Even animals want more food, more territory, and more mates. Humans have this inner concept of "What if?" What if I had that sports car? How much better would I be? What if I had that prestigious job? Would I get a hotter mate? Would I get more admiration from others?

Our inner drives are unsated, thus we crave more of almost everything. It would seem unnatural for us to want less. Gautama already had the ultimate of everything therefore he didn't have that inner "What if" we have. Even though I have the logical understanding that I don't need everything or the best possessions, I still know that somehow I'd really like to own a Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe, ...someday.

My whole point is that it's tough to give up what you don't have. Desires are tough to give up because there is always the "What if" lurking around.

Will society at large somehow decide that less is better? It will take a huge spiritual awakening for humanity to reach that level voluntarily. I don't see it happening. More likely there will be an upheaval which forces mankind to make the switch.

Neil_B 06-09-11 10:04 PM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 12764781)
You should have credited the author, Thomas L. Friedman. Friedman shows that even writers who are pretty conservative politically can support simple living and environmentalism.

Perhaps the oddest statement ever made on Bike Forums. Friedman has wet dreams over Communist China and thinks it's repressive, murderous rule is a lot better than democracy. A real conservative, Jonah Goldberg, sets the record straight here:

http://nrd.nationalreview.com/articl...FlYTY4NDg5NmY=

"For instance, Friedman particularly loves the fact that China’s State Council banned plastic bags. “Bam! Just like that — 1.3 billion people, theoretically, will stop using thin plastic bags,” he writes in Hot, Flat, and Crowded. “Millions of barrels of petroleum will be saved, and mountains of garbage avoided.” It’s as if Madison, Hamilton, and Jefferson had been morons for not decreeing an annual Tyranny Day when all the work can get done. Regardless, as usual, “theoretically” means “not in reality.” China never did any such thing. It simply required that stores charge customers for bags. They do the same thing at my local Safeway, yet plastic bags continue to lurk, threatening all we hold dear. More to the point, it is either deranged or dishonest to suggest that China — with its ever-growing tally of coal factories, poisoned rivers, corrupt regulators, etc. — is some great steward of the environment. It may or may not be leading in the manufacture of green technologies — though don’t take Friedman’s word for it; he rarely sources his too-good-to-check claims — but it is also burning fossil fuels faster than any other country. "

I-Like-To-Bike 06-10-11 04:29 AM


Originally Posted by Neil_B (Post 12766201)
Perhaps the oddest statement ever made on Bike Forums. Friedman...

If I recall correctly the NYT's Friedman was one of the chief press cheerleaders for Bush's inasion of Iraq. Don't recall him ever having any regrets for supporting that ill conceived disaster. He will never, ever have any credibility with me.

Ekdog 06-10-11 06:59 AM


Originally Posted by Neil_B (Post 12766201)
[China] is burning fossil fuels faster than any other country...

Is that per capita?

Roody 06-10-11 12:44 PM

I guess it's barely possible that somebody could be right about some issues and wrong about others.

AdamDZ 06-15-11 10:24 AM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 12743002)
This week I rented the movie "Up In The Air"...

Housing and meals are the most expensive and unavoidable expenses in my life. If someone was paying for them I suppose I wouldn't have too many problems with living on the road with a couple of suitcases or duffel bags.

AdamDZ 06-15-11 10:47 AM


Originally Posted by zoltani (Post 12763238)
We will realize, he predicts, that the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less.

Totally. Some of you may see my thread about wanting to move out of NYC and live simpler life.

I would gladly work less and own less to have more time for myself. This is the #1 problem I'm dealing with right now: I don't have enough time for myself. We (wife and I) are slowly preparing to move out of NYC and we both want to work less, have less junk but have more time that we could spend biking and hiking or just hanging out. I'm not sure yet how we're going to pull this off, but we don't want full time jobs any more. Right now, I'm able to save almost half of what I earn and we're trying to get rid of stuff and live with less possessions. But it's clear that we can live off of much less money.

But... Majority of people are conditioned to believe they need lots of money and lots of stuff to live a proper life. If you don't want that, you're weird or poor. That's how the economy is set up. One thing I am afraid of is that it may be hard to find jobs flexible enough to fit our needs. Then you have the issue of health insurance that you usually need a full time job for. But we just can't freaking live any more with 4 weeks of vacations per year. Neither of us can easily take long leave of absence either, most employers would have a problem with that. So there are significant obstacles for people who want to work less and have more free time for themselves.

Newspaperguy 06-15-11 11:27 AM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 12765418)
You, I, and everybody else in the world understand lack. We know that there is possibly more that we could have. We have this desire to have more because our inner drive for survival somehow directs us to have more. Even animals want more food, more territory, and more mates. Humans have this inner concept of "What if?" What if I had that sports car? How much better would I be? What if I had that prestigious job? Would I get a hotter mate? Would I get more admiration from others?

Our inner drives are unsated, thus we crave more of almost everything. It would seem unnatural for us to want less. Gautama already had the ultimate of everything therefore he didn't have that inner "What if" we have. Even though I have the logical understanding that I don't need everything or the best possessions, I still know that somehow I'd really like to own a Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe, ...someday.

My whole point is that it's tough to give up what you don't have. Desires are tough to give up because there is always the "What if" lurking around.

Will society at large somehow decide that less is better? It will take a huge spiritual awakening for humanity to reach that level voluntarily. I don't see it happening. More likely there will be an upheaval which forces mankind to make the switch.

Wanting more stuff is not the same as wanting more knowledge or enlightenment or power or self-control.

It's easy enough to acquire more stuff, especially if we choose to finance our possessions, enjoying them now and paying for them later. It's more difficult to acquire more of the things we cannot physically see or touch.

If I want a nicer guitar, it's easy enough to go to the music store and buy one. Or I could go to a custom builder and have one built for me. That's not too difficult. If I want to be able to play that guitar well, it will take years of dedication, discipline and practice. Every hour I spend in the pursuit of that skill is an hour I cannot spend doing something else. And when I finally attain that skill, it has cost me something. Owning a nice guitar will eventually leave me feeling empty unless I also possess the skills to play it.

If I want a nicer bicycle, I can go and buy one. If I want to become a better bike rider, however I choose to define that, I need to invest the time on the bike, honing my skills. If I have a bike I cannot ride, there's not much point in keeping it.

zoltani 06-15-11 12:01 PM

I'm currently in the process of making my like more complicated as I have just made an offer on a house. This will be the first time in a long time that I will have debt. The house is not in Seattle, rather in my home town where houses are super cheap. This will be an investment and bail out option for the future. It's amazing how low a mortgage can be when you put down a large down payment on a cheap house! With my Seattle salary and income from renting the house I should be able to pay it off in a few years (hopefully sooner).

Smallwheels 06-15-11 02:15 PM

Purging For Money
 
I've been laid off for the summer and won't have an income for almost three months. This is the best time in a long time for me to become an ebay and craigslist master. I'm good at taking photos with my digital camera and I can write good ad copy. Now is the time to purge as many possessions as I can.

In the last week or so I read an article that stated most people have about $2500 worth of unused stuff laying around their house that could easily be sold to others via the web. In the last two years I've sold most of my expensive stuff. There are about twenty items I have worth nearly $100 each. They won't sell for that on ebay but they're worth something to somebody. The rest of my stuff is probably the same stuff everybody else has laying around. My biggest problem will be getting boxes to my apartment. The free USPS boxes are just too small.

Today I'm starting with moving everything I don't want out of my bedroom. Then as I go through the list of items I really want to keep, I'll put them into my bedroom closet. This might sound like an easy task but my apartment is very full already. It's going to be like one of those sliding block puzzles. Just one space is free to rearrange all the others. http://us2.ixquick-proxy.com/do/sp/s...%2Frateymp.gif

Curious LeTour 06-20-11 05:55 PM

zoltani, nice investment move.

Smallwheels, best wishes with the online sales. I need to sell a few things online too. It makes lots of sense.

Roody 06-21-11 09:42 AM


Originally Posted by Curious LeTour (Post 12816141)
zoltani, nice investment move.

Since you brought it up, does anybody have more thoughts on investments that are compatible with a simple life?

I-Like-To-Bike 06-21-11 11:10 AM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 12819042)
Since you brought it up, does anybody have more thoughts on investments that are compatible with a simple life?

I'll make it simple for you:

Buy low, sell high. Works every time.


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