Reclaiming a Scarcity Mentality

 

As I write this, I’m waiting for a half-dozen people to show up at my apartment so they can cart off my furniture. One lady wants my bedroom set, a younger gentleman is interested in one of my three office desks, and a couple of college students want to take a look at my one remaining bookcase.

And I, like an organ donor who is systematically giving away his innards while still alive, am feeling a little empty (but fulfilled), very light and quite curious as to where I’ll be sleeping for the final 13 days I’m living in Los Angeles.

Fortunately, I’ve been preparing for this moment for several months. I cut my wardrobe in half, and then in half again. I sold off 3 of my 5 computers and all of my monitors. I’ve been slowly whittling down my gadget supply, even getting rid of my fancy Bluetooth headset (a staple of LA business: we aren’t allowed to talk on cell phones while driving here) that I’ve made myself go without most of the items I still own (but haven’t yet sold) for the past month.

The reason I’ve been denying myself use of these things before I have too is that I am trying to readapt myself to the scarcity mentality.

The scarcity mentality has been used to describe a lot of different things in a lot of different fields. One definition that is probably the most popular is the idea that there is only so much of anything, so if someone else has something, they are taking that thing away from you.

I am definitely not using the term in this way. If you have that kind of scarcity mentality, then you are seeing the work in black and white and will likely not have many good relationships (business or otherwise).

The scarcity mentality that I am working to bring myself back to is a reflexive response to certain situations, especially those involving consumption and saving.

Consider this: when I quit 3 of my 5 jobs in college in order to start up a culture magazine and design studio, I was incredibly broke for about 4 months. I’m not just talking “get a frozen pizza for dinner instead of going out” poor, I’m talking “man, I wish I could afford some Ramen noodles; looks like it’s water again for dinner” poor.

I was living alone in a fairly nice-sized apartment a few blocks from downtown, and the rent was eating up the meager funds I still had coming in from my columnist and lab monitor jobs.

I learned a lot of tricks in those 4 months; how to consume less, save more, find activities that didn’t cost anything to participate in and generally how to take more joy in common, everyday, oft-overlooked things.

Fast forward to now; I’ve been living in LA for a little over two years. For the first year I made a decent living working for a studio, and for a little over a year I’ve been running my own business and doing very well. If I want a new computer, I can buy a new computer. I could buy a car straight up without much trouble (though I’ve never been much of a car guy), and things like taking my girlfriend out to eat, going out for drinks with friends, going to movies and plays and networking events have all become quick and easy. I take for granted that I can afford to do these things without thought.

Not good.

The trouble with not having even the slightest trace of a scarcity mentality is that you have established a routine in which you could keep consuming at the level you are at forever and without thought…but only so long as nothing changes.

In the kind of economic conditions we’ve been dealing with recently (but really at any point in time), consistency of work and income is never a sure thing. Absolutely ANYTHING could hamstring this kind of lifestyle because at any moment you could lose your job, clients, health, significant other, family member, advantage, niche, etc etc etc. One little change and your entire lifestyle could collapse because its sustainability depends on a much higher level of income (this is what happened to me in college…drop in income leads to no food).

The reason I have been preparing months ahead of time to get back into this mindset is because I don’t want to experience another 4 months of famine like I did in college. Don’t get me wrong: the lessons that I learned were incredibly useful, and nothing but good came from starting my businesses and shaking up my life. I strongly believe, however, that I can spark the same kind of renaissance without the suffering this time around so long as I ease my way into it, rather than jumping in headfirst.

If all goes well I’ll be able to reduce my consumption, increase my output and completely alter my entire lifestyle without having to miss out on life. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Have you ever tried to reduce your consumption or dramatically change your lifestyle? What did you learn? Share your story in the comments below!

50 comments

  1. I love reading your posts on scarcity. As I get closer to my goal of figuring my life out by the end of the year, reality is starting to set in. I need to start spending less and saving more. More of my free time is being consumed by developing my coding, design and other skills that could help me become location independent.

    I think what you are doing is awesome and I can’t wait to hear how it works out for you. Keep it up man!

  2. I love reading your posts on scarcity. As I get closer to my goal of figuring my life out by the end of the year, reality is starting to set in. I need to start spending less and saving more. More of my free time is being consumed by developing my coding, design and other skills that could help me become location independent.

    I think what you are doing is awesome and I can’t wait to hear how it works out for you. Keep it up man!

  3. I love reading your posts on scarcity. As I get closer to my goal of figuring my life out by the end of the year, reality is starting to set in. I need to start spending less and saving more. More of my free time is being consumed by developing my coding, design and other skills that could help me become location independent.

    I think what you are doing is awesome and I can’t wait to hear how it works out for you. Keep it up man!

  4. My consumption is really low already (not the “I’m so disciplined I don’t buy things I don’t need” low but the “I’m broke” low). If I left today I’m pretty sure I’d have the necessary mindset.

    I’d really love to give a ton of my stuff away. Mostly books. I feel like I have a bunch of material crap weighing me down. It’s at a point where even just sitting there it bothers me. I definitely own too much.

    Great post, Colin… Inspiring me to start being more of a minimalist.

  5. My consumption is really low already (not the “I’m so disciplined I don’t buy things I don’t need” low but the “I’m broke” low). If I left today I’m pretty sure I’d have the necessary mindset.

    I’d really love to give a ton of my stuff away. Mostly books. I feel like I have a bunch of material crap weighing me down. It’s at a point where even just sitting there it bothers me. I definitely own too much.

    Great post, Colin… Inspiring me to start being more of a minimalist.

  6. My consumption is really low already (not the “I’m so disciplined I don’t buy things I don’t need” low but the “I’m broke” low). If I left today I’m pretty sure I’d have the necessary mindset.

    I’d really love to give a ton of my stuff away. Mostly books. I feel like I have a bunch of material crap weighing me down. It’s at a point where even just sitting there it bothers me. I definitely own too much.

    Great post, Colin… Inspiring me to start being more of a minimalist.

  7. Hey Colin,

    This is such an admirable endeavor! I’ve been wanting to go minimalist for a long time, and find it difficult to self-discipline myself into the lifestyle. I live in So Cal too, and it seems so backwards to hold this as an ideal goal in such a materialistic area. I’m moving soon, and have been slowly giving away more and more of my belongings. I would love to get down to just a few bags (and be able to live LIP lifestyle that way.) Good post, and good luck in you simplifying!
    :)
    Karen

  8. Hey Colin,

    This is such an admirable endeavor! I’ve been wanting to go minimalist for a long time, and find it difficult to self-discipline myself into the lifestyle. I live in So Cal too, and it seems so backwards to hold this as an ideal goal in such a materialistic area. I’m moving soon, and have been slowly giving away more and more of my belongings. I would love to get down to just a few bags (and be able to live LIP lifestyle that way.) Good post, and good luck in you simplifying!
    :)
    Karen

  9. Hey Colin,

    This is such an admirable endeavor! I’ve been wanting to go minimalist for a long time, and find it difficult to self-discipline myself into the lifestyle. I live in So Cal too, and it seems so backwards to hold this as an ideal goal in such a materialistic area. I’m moving soon, and have been slowly giving away more and more of my belongings. I would love to get down to just a few bags (and be able to live LIP lifestyle that way.) Good post, and good luck in you simplifying!
    :)
    Karen

  10. @Sean: Thanks! I find that going minimal almost always helps me save money, remove stress, travel lighter and, when I do make a purchase, buy much nicer things.

    I can’t wait to hear how your lifestyle changes progress, as well! Keep us all in the loop!

    @J.D.: Haha, I think we’ve all been there at some point or another. For some reason, most of the people that I know who are really dedicated to what they do find themselves in the ‘too poor to do much’ category for months (or years) at a time. It’s probably because they refuse to jump back into the more secure but less-fulfilling work environment they inhabited previously.

    It’s so easy to give books away right now. The last dozen or so books I’ve read have all been on my iPhone, bought from Amazon (or snagged for free off Project Gutenberg). The benefits are numerous, including 1) eBooks are cheaper, 2) eBooks are eco-friendlier, 3) eBooks don’t take up any physical space, and 4) even the digital space they take up isn’t your responsibility…if you want to unclutter your eBook readerm just delete the files and re-download them (for free) if you ever want to read them again. It’s glorious.

    Plus, then you get to give away all your awesome books to awesome people you think will appreciate them (or libraries, who DEFINITELY appreciate them).

    Let me know how the minimalism thing turns out! Everyone goes about it their own way, and we’ve all got a lot to learn from each other in that regard.

    @Karen: Thanks so much! I find that the easiest way to ease into a more minimal lifestyle is to eliminate the stuff you don’t care about so much first. Clothing that doesn’t fit very well, books you never read, clutter that’s just in the way, etc. As you do this, the benefits will become more apparent and tangible, and you can get rid of more. Rewarding yourself helps, too, because as you get rid of more, you’ll have more resources available that will allow you to buy much higher quality clothing, for example, just less of them. Let me know how it all turns out!

    Also: how have we not met up for coffee yet if you live in SoCal? I’m on the Westside of LA (near Playa del Rey)…you? We must remedy this situation before we both move!

  11. @Sean: Thanks! I find that going minimal almost always helps me save money, remove stress, travel lighter and, when I do make a purchase, buy much nicer things.

    I can’t wait to hear how your lifestyle changes progress, as well! Keep us all in the loop!

    @J.D.: Haha, I think we’ve all been there at some point or another. For some reason, most of the people that I know who are really dedicated to what they do find themselves in the ‘too poor to do much’ category for months (or years) at a time. It’s probably because they refuse to jump back into the more secure but less-fulfilling work environment they inhabited previously.

    It’s so easy to give books away right now. The last dozen or so books I’ve read have all been on my iPhone, bought from Amazon (or snagged for free off Project Gutenberg). The benefits are numerous, including 1) eBooks are cheaper, 2) eBooks are eco-friendlier, 3) eBooks don’t take up any physical space, and 4) even the digital space they take up isn’t your responsibility…if you want to unclutter your eBook readerm just delete the files and re-download them (for free) if you ever want to read them again. It’s glorious.

    Plus, then you get to give away all your awesome books to awesome people you think will appreciate them (or libraries, who DEFINITELY appreciate them).

    Let me know how the minimalism thing turns out! Everyone goes about it their own way, and we’ve all got a lot to learn from each other in that regard.

    @Karen: Thanks so much! I find that the easiest way to ease into a more minimal lifestyle is to eliminate the stuff you don’t care about so much first. Clothing that doesn’t fit very well, books you never read, clutter that’s just in the way, etc. As you do this, the benefits will become more apparent and tangible, and you can get rid of more. Rewarding yourself helps, too, because as you get rid of more, you’ll have more resources available that will allow you to buy much higher quality clothing, for example, just less of them. Let me know how it all turns out!

    Also: how have we not met up for coffee yet if you live in SoCal? I’m on the Westside of LA (near Playa del Rey)…you? We must remedy this situation before we both move!

  12. @Sean: Thanks! I find that going minimal almost always helps me save money, remove stress, travel lighter and, when I do make a purchase, buy much nicer things.

    I can’t wait to hear how your lifestyle changes progress, as well! Keep us all in the loop!

    @J.D.: Haha, I think we’ve all been there at some point or another. For some reason, most of the people that I know who are really dedicated to what they do find themselves in the ‘too poor to do much’ category for months (or years) at a time. It’s probably because they refuse to jump back into the more secure but less-fulfilling work environment they inhabited previously.

    It’s so easy to give books away right now. The last dozen or so books I’ve read have all been on my iPhone, bought from Amazon (or snagged for free off Project Gutenberg). The benefits are numerous, including 1) eBooks are cheaper, 2) eBooks are eco-friendlier, 3) eBooks don’t take up any physical space, and 4) even the digital space they take up isn’t your responsibility…if you want to unclutter your eBook readerm just delete the files and re-download them (for free) if you ever want to read them again. It’s glorious.

    Plus, then you get to give away all your awesome books to awesome people you think will appreciate them (or libraries, who DEFINITELY appreciate them).

    Let me know how the minimalism thing turns out! Everyone goes about it their own way, and we’ve all got a lot to learn from each other in that regard.

    @Karen: Thanks so much! I find that the easiest way to ease into a more minimal lifestyle is to eliminate the stuff you don’t care about so much first. Clothing that doesn’t fit very well, books you never read, clutter that’s just in the way, etc. As you do this, the benefits will become more apparent and tangible, and you can get rid of more. Rewarding yourself helps, too, because as you get rid of more, you’ll have more resources available that will allow you to buy much higher quality clothing, for example, just less of them. Let me know how it all turns out!

    Also: how have we not met up for coffee yet if you live in SoCal? I’m on the Westside of LA (near Playa del Rey)…you? We must remedy this situation before we both move!

  13. What’s up Colin,

    I need the scarcity mentality. You must be really excited to start a life in another country. I want to try the minimalist lifestyle but, how did you get over the need to stay with latest trends or “keeping up with the Joneses”.

    Anyways, I hope you have a great time in Argentina and any other country. Do not forget those important lessons in spanish class!

  14. What’s up Colin,

    I need the scarcity mentality. You must be really excited to start a life in another country. I want to try the minimalist lifestyle but, how did you get over the need to stay with latest trends or “keeping up with the Joneses”.

    Anyways, I hope you have a great time in Argentina and any other country. Do not forget those important lessons in spanish class!

  15. What’s up Colin,

    I need the scarcity mentality. You must be really excited to start a life in another country. I want to try the minimalist lifestyle but, how did you get over the need to stay with latest trends or “keeping up with the Joneses”.

    Anyways, I hope you have a great time in Argentina and any other country. Do not forget those important lessons in spanish class!

  16. What you are doing here and explaining in this post is incredible stuff. I admire you so much for it. I would love to cut down on my consumption of things. Mainly because I want to spend less time worrying and also to save more money for my travel fund. Great inspiring post, Colin.

  17. What you are doing here and explaining in this post is incredible stuff. I admire you so much for it. I would love to cut down on my consumption of things. Mainly because I want to spend less time worrying and also to save more money for my travel fund. Great inspiring post, Colin.

  18. @jonathan: Great to hear from you Jonathan! Glad to have you as a reader, and I’ll definitely keep all those Spanish lessons in mind (how could I forget, with the massive amounts of homework we had?!). I find that it’s easy to get out of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mindset when you’ve got a lot going on outside of the ‘trendy’ lifestyle. This can be tough in LA, but if you’re focusing on your career and your life’s path, it’s easy to justify saving that moving instead of buying the $300 jeans, paying the $40 cover to get into the club, or dropping $100 on a meal unnecessarily.

    @Nate: Thanks a lot, Nate! I highly recommend starting today, if you really want to make a change. Start small if you have too, but every time you cut back on something, that’s less you’ll be consuming in the future (and hopefully what you get rid of can be used by someone else who will put it to more use).

    Let me know how it goes, or if you need any more specific advice for what you’re trying to accomplish!

  19. @jonathan: Great to hear from you Jonathan! Glad to have you as a reader, and I’ll definitely keep all those Spanish lessons in mind (how could I forget, with the massive amounts of homework we had?!). I find that it’s easy to get out of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mindset when you’ve got a lot going on outside of the ‘trendy’ lifestyle. This can be tough in LA, but if you’re focusing on your career and your life’s path, it’s easy to justify saving that moving instead of buying the $300 jeans, paying the $40 cover to get into the club, or dropping $100 on a meal unnecessarily.

    @Nate: Thanks a lot, Nate! I highly recommend starting today, if you really want to make a change. Start small if you have too, but every time you cut back on something, that’s less you’ll be consuming in the future (and hopefully what you get rid of can be used by someone else who will put it to more use).

    Let me know how it goes, or if you need any more specific advice for what you’re trying to accomplish!

  20. This is my favorite post as of yet. You’re actually doing it. Actually making moves. Keep up the excellent writing, and I look forward to watch you transition from Minimalism/Preparation to Mobility/Exile.

    Alan

  21. This is my favorite post as of yet. You’re actually doing it. Actually making moves. Keep up the excellent writing, and I look forward to watch you transition from Minimalism/Preparation to Mobility/Exile.

    Alan

  22. This is my favorite post as of yet. You’re actually doing it. Actually making moves. Keep up the excellent writing, and I look forward to watch you transition from Minimalism/Preparation to Mobility/Exile.

    Alan

  23. @Alan: Thanks, Alan! I’m totally psyched to see what happens, too, and I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated (and I’ll be watching your progress at your blog, as well)!

  24. @Alan: Thanks, Alan! I’m totally psyched to see what happens, too, and I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated (and I’ll be watching your progress at your blog, as well)!

  25. @Alan: Thanks, Alan! I’m totally psyched to see what happens, too, and I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated (and I’ll be watching your progress at your blog, as well)!

  26. I need to do this! I have SO MUC stuff that I don’t need or want – not really because I’m incredibly materialistic, but because I’m a really bad hoarder.

  27. I need to do this! I have SO MUC stuff that I don’t need or want – not really because I’m incredibly materialistic, but because I’m a really bad hoarder.

  28. I need to do this! I have SO MUC stuff that I don’t need or want – not really because I’m incredibly materialistic, but because I’m a really bad hoarder.

  29. Not many people have the discipline to impose this sort of reality on themselves, or the foresight to understand why it might be necessary. I personally know a lot of people who took “good times” and who lived under the absurd notion that their current level of income was a given.

    Life is full fluctuations, and even those on an average climb experience varying levels of peaks and valleys in terms of personal success. Nor do most people ever bother to put anything away during the good times for when things aren’t so great.

  30. Not many people have the discipline to impose this sort of reality on themselves, or the foresight to understand why it might be necessary. I personally know a lot of people who took “good times” and who lived under the absurd notion that their current level of income was a given.

    Life is full fluctuations, and even those on an average climb experience varying levels of peaks and valleys in terms of personal success. Nor do most people ever bother to put anything away during the good times for when things aren’t so great.

  31. Not many people have the discipline to impose this sort of reality on themselves, or the foresight to understand why it might be necessary. I personally know a lot of people who took “good times” and who lived under the absurd notion that their current level of income was a given.

    Life is full fluctuations, and even those on an average climb experience varying levels of peaks and valleys in terms of personal success. Nor do most people ever bother to put anything away during the good times for when things aren’t so great.

  32. When I moved to New York and the airlines lost my luggage, I didn’t have the money to replace everything that I had. I only bought the essentials and a few nice outfits to feel confident in. A year later, I of course have more stuff, but I find that I am less inclined to go shopping at all and I’m living more minimally than I ever have. Its nice to have less items and less clutter. There is a more focused energy and when I do want to buy new things, I feel I need to give away what I do have first. Also, the incident reminded me that material things are replaceable and not important at all.

    It is more convenient as well if I were to pick up and move again, which is very likely, or want to travel. There is more freedom in having less.

    Now don’t get me wrong. When I am more settled in life, if that ever happens, and I have more money I definitely want nice things and whole closet full of designer clothes :) but for now and my situation… what I have is perfect.

    I think what you are doing is WONDERFUL and I look forward to reading about your journey.

  33. When I moved to New York and the airlines lost my luggage, I didn’t have the money to replace everything that I had. I only bought the essentials and a few nice outfits to feel confident in. A year later, I of course have more stuff, but I find that I am less inclined to go shopping at all and I’m living more minimally than I ever have. Its nice to have less items and less clutter. There is a more focused energy and when I do want to buy new things, I feel I need to give away what I do have first. Also, the incident reminded me that material things are replaceable and not important at all.

    It is more convenient as well if I were to pick up and move again, which is very likely, or want to travel. There is more freedom in having less.

    Now don’t get me wrong. When I am more settled in life, if that ever happens, and I have more money I definitely want nice things and whole closet full of designer clothes :) but for now and my situation… what I have is perfect.

    I think what you are doing is WONDERFUL and I look forward to reading about your journey.

  34. I am just starting to get rid of my stuff. I still have 8 months to go so there is no immediate rush, but I can feel it coming already.

    I did it once before but it was so rushed that I basically just abandoned everything. Now, it will be slightly more organized.

    It really is a change in mindset. Every potential purchase now is evaluated by whether it is something that I will take with me in a backpack. If it isn’t that essential it is not worth buying.

    Things are not entirely evil. Possessions help make us who we are, in a good away. Musical instruments, sporting goods, computer accessories, and books are all cherished so I can’t say that I won’t miss them. However, it is liberating to find out that we are not the defined by the purchases we make.

  35. I am just starting to get rid of my stuff. I still have 8 months to go so there is no immediate rush, but I can feel it coming already.

    I did it once before but it was so rushed that I basically just abandoned everything. Now, it will be slightly more organized.

    It really is a change in mindset. Every potential purchase now is evaluated by whether it is something that I will take with me in a backpack. If it isn’t that essential it is not worth buying.

    Things are not entirely evil. Possessions help make us who we are, in a good away. Musical instruments, sporting goods, computer accessories, and books are all cherished so I can’t say that I won’t miss them. However, it is liberating to find out that we are not the defined by the purchases we make.

  36. Great as usual, Colin. I’ve been taking an ax to all the clutter I can find, and it’s amazing how clearing space in my house clears space in my head. I’m a book lover and librarian, but I started to realize that every book I bought brought the walls a little bit closer.

    I’m not anti-stuff or anti-consumerism, but I’m constantly amazed at how immediate the relief at cleaning up a bit is.

    Take care friend, always a pleasure.
    Josh

  37. Great as usual, Colin. I’ve been taking an ax to all the clutter I can find, and it’s amazing how clearing space in my house clears space in my head. I’m a book lover and librarian, but I started to realize that every book I bought brought the walls a little bit closer.

    I’m not anti-stuff or anti-consumerism, but I’m constantly amazed at how immediate the relief at cleaning up a bit is.

    Take care friend, always a pleasure.
    Josh

  38. @Jane: Trust me, I was once the same way and it feels GREAT to make even a little dent in your ‘collection’ of stuff. Take a Saturday and choose a room and declutter it. It will quickly become your favorite place to spend time.

    @Phil: Very good point…if you zoom in close enough on the graph that shows a constant increase, there will almost always be periods where the line dips down to uncomfortably low positions. Being able to weather those times is vital for one’s sanity, comfort and survival.

    @Kristin: Thanks for visiting the blog, Kristin! That’s such a bummer about your luggage, but it’s great that you were able to spin the event into a positive life experience rather than a completely negative one.

    You raise a good point, too, that sometimes later in life it makes sense to have a bit more than when you’re younger. If you’ve got more space, then it makes a bit more sense, and you can still do it tastefully and without FILLING every nook and cranny.

    I imagine in your profession, too, it would be hard not to have that closet full of designer clothes :)

    J.D.: Amen to that, brother. It’s no fun being broke and starving. Life itself can be the most effective classroom.

    @John: I’ve been doing the same thing, evaluating every single new purchase as something I can take with me or something that I’ll have to get rid of before I leave. I’m moving away from LA in only 10 days, and I’ve still got a living room full of random stuff to sell or give away. Stressful? Mucho. It’s great that you’re getting a major head start on this.

    I totally agree that possessions aren’t inherently evil or anything like that. In fact, I love my possessions so much that I don’t want to divide my love between too many things. If I only have a bag full of great, super-high-quality clothes, devices, etc, then I can focus my attention (and protection) on them, rather than spreading myself too thin.

    @Josh: Thanks for the comment, Josh! I’m in the same boat, being anything but anti-consumerism, but at the same time being very anti-waste, anti-over-consumerism, etc. Digital products have definitely helped me cope with how to get the information and products that I need without creating a whole lot of waste (and wasting a whole lot of space).

    Purchasing only the highest (or near-highest) quality of whatever I happen to be buying helps, too, as it limits me financially from over-purchasing, makes me think long and hard about a purchase before I pull the trigger on it, and results in my being happier with my purchases at the end of the day.

  39. @Jane: Trust me, I was once the same way and it feels GREAT to make even a little dent in your ‘collection’ of stuff. Take a Saturday and choose a room and declutter it. It will quickly become your favorite place to spend time.

    @Phil: Very good point…if you zoom in close enough on the graph that shows a constant increase, there will almost always be periods where the line dips down to uncomfortably low positions. Being able to weather those times is vital for one’s sanity, comfort and survival.

    @Kristin: Thanks for visiting the blog, Kristin! That’s such a bummer about your luggage, but it’s great that you were able to spin the event into a positive life experience rather than a completely negative one.

    You raise a good point, too, that sometimes later in life it makes sense to have a bit more than when you’re younger. If you’ve got more space, then it makes a bit more sense, and you can still do it tastefully and without FILLING every nook and cranny.

    I imagine in your profession, too, it would be hard not to have that closet full of designer clothes :)

    J.D.: Amen to that, brother. It’s no fun being broke and starving. Life itself can be the most effective classroom.

    @John: I’ve been doing the same thing, evaluating every single new purchase as something I can take with me or something that I’ll have to get rid of before I leave. I’m moving away from LA in only 10 days, and I’ve still got a living room full of random stuff to sell or give away. Stressful? Mucho. It’s great that you’re getting a major head start on this.

    I totally agree that possessions aren’t inherently evil or anything like that. In fact, I love my possessions so much that I don’t want to divide my love between too many things. If I only have a bag full of great, super-high-quality clothes, devices, etc, then I can focus my attention (and protection) on them, rather than spreading myself too thin.

    @Josh: Thanks for the comment, Josh! I’m in the same boat, being anything but anti-consumerism, but at the same time being very anti-waste, anti-over-consumerism, etc. Digital products have definitely helped me cope with how to get the information and products that I need without creating a whole lot of waste (and wasting a whole lot of space).

    Purchasing only the highest (or near-highest) quality of whatever I happen to be buying helps, too, as it limits me financially from over-purchasing, makes me think long and hard about a purchase before I pull the trigger on it, and results in my being happier with my purchases at the end of the day.

  40. Great post, Colin!

    Just last week I emptied out most of the content of my closet and took them over to Goodwill. I am in the process of cleaning up my bookcase and I intend to list all my books in a post on my blog soon and give it away to my readers if they want it. I will then take the left over books to the library, as I have done in the past.

    I have always been a minimalist and don’t like to accumulate stuff, but they seem to gather up regardless, so I go through purging every year or two, and it feels good every time I do it.

    Keep up the good work and keep us posted on your adventures.

    Rasheed

  41. Great post, Colin!

    Just last week I emptied out most of the content of my closet and took them over to Goodwill. I am in the process of cleaning up my bookcase and I intend to list all my books in a post on my blog soon and give it away to my readers if they want it. I will then take the left over books to the library, as I have done in the past.

    I have always been a minimalist and don’t like to accumulate stuff, but they seem to gather up regardless, so I go through purging every year or two, and it feels good every time I do it.

    Keep up the good work and keep us posted on your adventures.

    Rasheed

  42. Having nothing creates an experience that cannot be replicated or simulated. Unless all the banks fail, I’m going to be (at least financially) secure for the rest of my life. My parents have tried to teach my sister and me about only buying what we need, not what we want. It’s harder to do when your kids grow up in one of the most affluent communities in the nation.

    I’m one of those people for whom Mint.com is like porn. I also manage my sister’s finances, even though she’s the oldest. We’ve never wanted for anything…ever. I’m sure that I would make different daily choices if I had a scarcity mentality.

    One question: Did you ever give plasma when you were unable to afford Ramen?

  43. Having nothing creates an experience that cannot be replicated or simulated. Unless all the banks fail, I’m going to be (at least financially) secure for the rest of my life. My parents have tried to teach my sister and me about only buying what we need, not what we want. It’s harder to do when your kids grow up in one of the most affluent communities in the nation.

    I’m one of those people for whom Mint.com is like porn. I also manage my sister’s finances, even though she’s the oldest. We’ve never wanted for anything…ever. I’m sure that I would make different daily choices if I had a scarcity mentality.

    One question: Did you ever give plasma when you were unable to afford Ramen?

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  45. I’ve been in my first apartment for about a year now, on a relatively meager income. It’s been an eye-opener, and I’ve really cut down on the things I was consuming. I used to buy quite a few books, but I’ve pared my collection down to a select few favorites, and now I get all my books at the library.

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  47. I think this is great. What I love about it is that it frees you up to do anything, regardless of whether or not it will affect your income. New startup that doesn’t pay for a year…no problem I’ve saved my money up and won’t have to eat ramen for months on end.

    It allows you to jump on opportunities without the “Its going to be so hard” mentality. I would even assert that it would make you perform better and focus more on that new project because you no longer have the “how am I going to pay rent” thought in the back of your head.

    Good show…keep it up.

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