How I Simplified My Life

by Roey B

It has been 5 years since I started simplifying my life. I didn’t know I was doing that at the time. I just moved to a new apartment in Tel Aviv, and being extra careful with my money, I decided I will not subscribe to cable TV. I can’t say I avoid it at all cost. I do watch some series occasionally, there are some exceptional ones out there (i.e “The Wire” or “Breaking Bad”), but choosing what to watch and when makes life much simpler.

And simple is a form of beauty. You can’t argue with the elegance of minimal architecture or interior design. Simple means easier to understand, cleaner, and leaves room for imagination.

I’ve done other things since, to make my life simpler.
A year ago I came across a (warning: cliché ahead) life altering book named “Simplify”. Written by Joshua Becker and based on his blog, it is a guide for decluttering your home and your life, filled with great advice and insights into the world of Minimalism.

The basic premise behind Becker’s book is that owning less will make your life better. He does not advocate giving up all of modern society’s perks and running off to live in the woods. It does however promotes realising the reason we collect and store so many items, and understanding why it serves a false need instead of making us happier.

I’ll share some of the ways I simplified my life over the years, and I hope it will get you thinking about your life and your material possessions in a different way from now on.

Owning no vehicle.
When I first moved to Tel Aviv I owned a car. Parking spots in Tel Aviv are a scarce resource. I had the worst since I lived in a neighborhood where most of the residents were families who owned at least one car. I bought a scooter instead (and later a motorbike), but even that got me feeling attached. Every time I wanted to go abroad for a long period, I had to ask a friend or my dad to take care of it, starting the engine twice a week and so forth.
Eventually I got rid of the engine two wheeler and started using public transport and the Tel Aviv hourly bicycles renting service to get around.

Canceled my gym membership.
I started running instead. I love running because you can do it anywhere you are in the world, all you need are a pair of running shoes (and even that said to be unnecessary), and off you go.

Gave away half of my clothes.
A year ago while moving out of my apartment, I went over my closet and realized I don’t wear most of what I own. I kept the things I love the most and gave away the rest. I don’t believe in neglecting your outer appearance. I also don’t think buying cheap outfits is the right thing to do. Instead, buy good quality ones that you love and that will last for years. When you buy a new jacket, get rid of the old one (do you really need two?). When you buy a new dress shirt, give away another shirt you seldom wear.

Lent all my furniture.
Having no place to live can be both freeing and terrifying  I’ll eventually settle for a nice spot, preferably in a tropical place with great coffee shops, high speed internet and warm people. But since last year, I’ve been living as a nomad.
I got lucky though. One of my friends rented the apartment after I left so I was able to leave all my crappy furniture and appliances there. It’s a win-win. I then relocated to Taipei, Taiwan (that story deserves a blog post of its own), got back to Israel to start up WisePricer, and am now in San Francisco. Who knows what’s next? anyway, I feel free to go wherever I want.

Stopped buying stuff I don’t need to impress people I don’t care about.
To live life the way I want to live them, which is to be able to live wherever I want, I need to keep the stuff I carry around to the bare minimum. Getting rid of the need to buy the latest gadget or a souvenir is not easy, but when your goal is to be able to fit your life into one suitcase, it’s totally worth it.
The souvenirs example is an important one. When you think about it, the value of the item you bought in a place you visited, or got as a present from a new friend, is in the memory of it. By having a picture of it, you’ll get the same effect, and carry less. Today I spend most of my money on experiences rather than physical items.

Being truthful whenever I can.
I read a great short book named “Lying" by Sam Harris. In an elegant way, he argues that lying is a burden in our life. Lying less will make your life simpler, period. The benefits of telling the truth far outweigh the cost of lies—to yourself, to others, and to society.

“Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” 
~Henry David Thoreau  James Jeffrey Roche

Keep it simple. It does not mean living spartan life. It means making sure we control our stuff rather than letting it control us.

“Simplify, then add lightness”. 
~Colin Chapman

Edit: this post had gone viral thanks to Hacker News

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