The Minimialist Audit – Part II

Posted by:     Tags:      Posted date:  December 10, 2010  |  No comment
Insert Drawing :)

cruisesurfer’s log sea-date: 33:3:2

It’s another sea day. The view from the ship is simply breathtaking. All you can see is water, right up to the horizon. One ship and the vast expanse of the Caribbean sea, the water reflecting an afternoon sun.

A little over a week ago, I announced that I was going to do an audit of everything I owned. Although I’ve recently done a major purge to significantly reduce what I own, I’ve never done a proper audit to see what I do own. And all these years, I thought I was just being a cheap bastard but now I’ve found out that minimalism is hip. Hooray! (I wonder if I can now use this as a valid excuse for not paying for women?)

Why do I hate having stuff so much? I don’t! In fact, I love having stuff. I’m happy to buy something if I need it as long as I will use it on a regular basis. And definitely rather buy quality over quantity (i.e. not “dollar store” crap).

I think the problem is most people in the developed world (especially in North America) are just addicted to accumulating crap they don’t need or won’t use. When I see someone with lots of clutter, I’m turned off. It’s like watching a morbidly obese person at a buffet going for another round of cheesecake. Actually, it’s exactly like that: consuming more than you need just because you can, without considering the impact of all that stuff.



“I am especially encouraged to see that thinking of consumerism as an end in itself seems to be giving way to an appreciation that we humans must conserve the earth’s resources.” – Dalai Lama
I’m not going to preach about the environmental side too much. After all living on a cruise ship possibly has a higher carbon footprint than say, anywhere else on Earth. There are however personal costs of having too much stuff. Basically, all that shit eventually owns you.

Background

A lot of this thinking goes back to my parents and my upbringing. We had enough growing up, but what we had was definitely modest – small car, small TV, no branded clothes or shoes. We didn’t even have a stereo or dvd player when I was a kid. A family holiday for us was to the local beach or a park (which is possibly why I’m now obsessed with world travel). On our birthdays we would go to a Holiday Inn and eat at the restaurant there.

At the time, my sister and I didn’t fully understand why and felt deprived, especially when compared with our wealthy relatives and classmates. Going to high school and wearing shoes bought in Chinatown is humiliating for a kid, when all his mates are wearing Nike and Reeboks. But for my parents, they did what they had to do to provide what we needed. And they were saving up to pay for our pending university education. My parents instilled in us the importance of delayed gratification: saving for what you need and never going into debt (unless it’s to buy an asset that will appreciate in value, like a house).

At university, most of my mates had to take loans, while my fees were already paid for. I worked part-time anyway, for extra cash. And I blew all that cash on shiny new stuff. Yeah baby! I went through a phase where I only wore satin boxers which cost $40 each. And I once bought a pair of “clubbing shoes” for $250 (I was going through a metrosexual phase). I had credit cards but always paid the balance off in full, each month (I used it just for the convenience of not carrying cash). As I never went into debt, I didn’t really saw a problem with that lifestyle.

It was only when I decided I to leave NZ that I realized what a hassle having all that stuff meant. After spending 3 months selling most of what I owned, I felt like I had destroyed my past lives. That’s when I realized that I never wanted to be owned by so much stuff again. (Incidentally, my sister seems to have taken the opposite approach.)

Results

I will be taking a few liberties with my list for simplicity sake. I won’t be counting scraps of paper or zip-lock bags (great for keeping stuff fresh when traveling). I have also counted sets as 1 eg. pair of socks, suit jacket and pants, macbook, case and cord. ie. I don’t want to be neurotic about this. Additional or spare accessories are counted separately though eg. external hard-drive, mouse etc. 

Without further ado here is my list:

1 ) sunglasses case 1
2 ) coin purse 1
3 ) creditcard holder 1
4 ) wallet 3
5 ) English-Polish dictionary 1
6 ) Buddist sayings book 1
7 ) notebook 1
8 ) comics 29
9 ) ethnic formal wear 1
10 ) sweater 1
11 ) pants 1
12 ) winter jacket 1
13 ) gym shorts 1
14 ) sarong 1
15 ) hoody 1
16 ) tie 2
17 ) suits 2
18 ) watch 2
19 ) jeans 3
20 ) long t-shirts 4
21 ) shoes 4
22 ) singlet 4
23 ) shirts 6
24 ) belt 2
25 ) swim shorts 2
26 ) sandals 2
27 ) hat 3
28 ) shorts 3
29 ) undies 12
30 ) t-shirts 13
31 ) socks 15
32 ) Kindle* 1
33 ) Macbook 1
34 ) nike earphones 1
35 ) iPod touch 1
36 ) cellphone 1
37 ) external laptop harddrive 2
38 ) hair clippers 1
39 ) external mouse 1
40 ) shitty old cell 1
41 ) sd card 2
42 ) degree certificate 1
43 ) travel towel 1
44 ) magnets 1
45 ) “Roy” sign 1
46 ) Paddington bear 1
47 ) bone carving from NZ 1
48 ) greenstone necklace 1
49 ) binder 6
50 ) pens 11
51 ) electric toothbrush 1
52 ) razor & blades 1
53 ) toothbrush 1
54 ) scissors 1
55 ) scapel thing 1
56 ) hand mirror 1
57 ) baby p
owder
1
58 ) baby oil 1
59 ) mouthwash 1
60 ) shaving cream 1
61 ) cologne 1
62 ) face moisturizer 1
63 ) bio oil 1
64 ) toothpaste 1
65 ) face mask 1
66 ) soap 1
67 ) face wash 1
68 ) face scrub 1
69 ) spritzer 1
70 ) lip balm 1
71 ) body moisturizer 1
72 ) sunscreen 1
73 ) floss 1
74 ) deodrant spray 2
75 ) underarm deodrant 2
76 ) passport 1
77 ) suitcase 1
78 ) duffel bag 1
79 ) sport nylon bag 1
80 ) eye-mask 1
81 ) ear plugs 1
82 ) sachel 1
83 ) sleeping bag 1
84 ) backpack 2
85 ) travel adapters 2
199

The 100 Pound Challenge

Okay, so it’s a little embarrassing how many toiletries I have (I guess I’m still going through my metrosexual phase). I don’t really mind having this much stuff as long as I can travel with it all (hence the 100 pound challenge). When I first left New Zealand, I made the mistake of getting rid of too much stuff. So I just ended up buying a bunch of stuff when I got to my new home base. That kind of defeats the purpose. When you travel slowly, it’s nice to take a few creature comforts with you. My goal now is to travel with all that I need plus a few extras that I want.

However, I noticed there’s quite a few things that I don’t use (old cell) or need (4 kinds of moisturizer), and can actually get rid off. So I’ll be attempting to down-size further before my next move in a few months.

P.S. Looking to downsize your life and go traveling? Check out some tips from Where Is Jenny.

*if you are planning on getting a Kindle, just get the wifi one not 3G. eBooks cost $2 more when purchased via 3G outside USA anyway. Bonus tip: You have 7 days to “return” an Amazon eBook if you don’t like it! (So only buy when you are ready to read it.)

About Me


In 2004, I sold everything I owned and left New Zealand to go see the world. In that time, I've run with bulls in Pampolona, watched the Man burn at Black Rock City, volunteered at a special-needs summer camp in New York, hosted & couchsurfed with 100+ people, taught English in Prague, trained with Muay Thai fighters in Phuket, worked on 5 different cruise ships, hugged strangers on streets in 7 countries and this one time, I even hitchhiked naked (but that was back home, so that doesn't really count). I moved to Vancouver, BC in 2012, to embark on new adventures. It's nice here, I think I may stay awhile! Let's connect: @roymarvelous, facebook & RSS.