Selling White Elephants: A Minimalist’s Project

Posted by:     Tags:      Posted date:  May 20, 2011  |  9 Comments
Insert Drawing :)

Ever since I started traveling, I’ve been preoccupied with leading a minimalist lifestyle, simply for practical reasons.

7 years ago, it took me 3 months to sell and give away all my stuff, my car, my furniture, even my beloved record collection and player. I was left with one backpack to travel with and a suitcase of “formal clothes” which I left with a friend (which I collected a few years later).

Every time I had a base I would accumulate a bit more stuff. But as long as I could take it all on the plane with me I was happy. Finally, after settling in Toronto for a while I had accumulated the most stuff I’ve had since leaving Auckland. I had lots of furniture, clothes, shoes, snowboarding stuff, a bike, winter clothes, comics and a ton of costumes (we had a rule in our house that all parties had to have a theme).

I made a feeble attempt at selling my stuff and most ended up given away to friends or to Value Village (a popular second-hand store in Canada) until I was down to 2 suitcases, 1 backpack and 1 computer bag. Roughly 120 pounds of stuff.

I was annoyed that I had spent so much money on crap I didn’t need. Like a couple of hundred bucks on comics which I hadn’t even read (I think I must have been trying to relive my childhood). Or all that camping gear, when I hate camping (that’s what happens when you hang around Canadians for too long – they convince you that you’ll like camping). But worse of all was the leather trench-coat “used by a villain an episode of Charmed” – purchased at a sample sale for $100 only because the cute salesgirl said I looked hot in it. Yeah i know, what a sucker. Ok so it did suit me but it also looked like I was about to go out and vanquish some witches. Which isn’t typically the look I tend to go for.

No matter, I left it behind realizing that there would probably be no scenario on my cruise ship where I could go “Hey, I’ll wear my leather trench-coat from Charmed, out tonight”. It’s hard enough already to pick up on ships, I did not need to dress up as a flasher with a fetish for cow hide.

My comics however seemed impossible to get rid off. I couldn’t sell them, nor did any friends want them for free. I hated the idea of just giving it away to a stranger, only to have them end up as insulation for some homeless person’s cardboard box home. So I stubbornly packed up my comics and took it on my ship with me, with the full intention of reading them all. Unfortunately, I soon realized that I prefer getting drunk to reading comics.

I was effectively lugging around a 15 pound white elephant and was tired of it. So this week in London, I posted ads on gumtree, eBay, Craigslist and emailed every comic book store in town. I finally got one reply from a comic book store and he offered me £35 for the lot, about a quarter of what I had paid for them. Considering I was ready to give it away for free, it was fine. I had finally gotten rid of my last white elephant.

My worldly possessions are now down to slightly under 100 pounds. I’ve stopped counting the number of things I have simply because I don’t think it’s an effective barometer for measuring minimalism. Weight is far more relevant, especially since that’s what airlines actually care about. Regardless, I’m happy that I can now travel without risking a hernia!

Do you have any white elephants for sale?

About Me

I'm a wanderer, couchsurfer, writer, illustrator, uncoordinated dancer, unwitting minimalist, party enthusiast, free hugger and now a crewman. Follow me @roymarvelous .................................................................................................................... Also, find out how to work on cruise ships. Or check out the new T-shirt & Card store.

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9 Comments for Selling White Elephants: A Minimalist’s Project


I had a bunch of books that I had a hard time getting rid of, I brought a list of the books to my office and sold them for a dollar and that was the end of the books!
My recent post Where everyone is dying to get in


    Well done. I gave away all my books and then bought a Kindle!


We had a lot of stuff to get rid of when – a few years ago – we downsized from a house to a small place. So, now, we try not to keep unneeded things around. We never want to look at piles of stuff we don't need.
My recent post A Welcome Surprise From Zambia


    I hate looking at piles of clutter too!


I have a white elephant of my own back at home in storage. I though that we had sold all the things, but we soon realised that all the other things in storage are not necessary either. I can't wait to get rid of all the other crap we have


    It's liberating when you realize you don't actually need that much stuff huh?


I'm in the process of getting rid of my white elephant and it's the most annoying process! Its the one big drawback of moving around, you always acquire so much STUFF! ugh.. I never seem to learn my lesson either.
My recent post Being an Independent Traveller – its really no big deal!


    I seem to only acquire stuff when I don't move around 🙂

2011 Year In Review from A to Z > Roy Marvelous – Cruise Ships & CouchSurfing. Work & Travel Around The World!

[…] Minimalism goals I managed to get everything I own to under 100 pounds. And I traveled the entire summer with just a 22 pound carry-on […]