Life Hack: Minimalism

Minimalism is the art and lifestyle of doing more with less.


When I left the United States nearly a year ago, all I had was what you see in the picture to the left.  No checked baggage.  No box of clothes and books.  This is part of the reason I am able to travel for so cheap.


Great as this may sound, what exactly is minimalism – and why is it so useful?


It can mean getting out of debt.  It involves spending less time on activities like shopping.  It means you can find your keys.  It gives you more room (physically and metaphysically).  It begets more time and greater peacefulness of mind.




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All of that is good, but it is not the core of minimalism.  Leo Babauta, of Zen Habits fame, has this to say on


It’s about minimalism, and why it’s important today.
It’s about stuff, and how it has come to overwhelm us.
It’s about distractions and commitments and a neverending task list.
It’s about the culture of more, of bigger, of consumption.
It’s about how less is the answer.


There are obvious benefits to spending less money, but what about the rest?  I could describe it to you in page after page, such as the peace of mind it brings, but that would not be very minimalist of me.  Instead I would like to invite you to find out yourself in an easy mini-experiment.


Truly becoming minimalist requires a bit of a plunge into the deep end, so Randy the Yearlyglot and myself would like to invite you to become minimalist for a weekend.


The idea is that we will all take a step back from consumerist society for one weekend and tweet about our experiences.  It’s an everybody-wins competition called the Minimalist Weekend (click to learn more).


Here’s some ideas to get you started.

  • Instead of paying for a hotel and food, get some non-perishable food and go camping in a new city.
  • Go on a weekend vacation with absolutely no luggage.  No carry-on, nothing.
  • Instead of paying to see a movie with the kids, put on your own show.  Get sock puppets and hide behind the table.  If you’re not creative, don’t be afraid to borrow stories.
  • Run a marathon.
  • Build a fort (or anything else, for that matter, that requires little).


What are you doing for your minimalist weekend?  Let me know below.


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  • Anonymous

    I sold my truck and only ride my bike or ride the bus every where.  Talk minimalist and saving on Gas money!!!

    This is my blog:

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Nice :)  Its a big leap to do something like that, but I think that once you commit to the change it has a really nice impact on life…

      • Anonymous

        it is a HUGE change, but I planned out how to get to the office on the buses and the rest of the time I use my bike.  I’m gonna get a motorcycle for the weekend to.  

        I read the book 80/20 by Richard Koch and he explains how to be happier with less. I agree, having more stuff means more maintenance, more money, more time… i move from a 3 story house to 1 story house, life gets easier…

        • Zane the Experimenter

          A good point – in computer science we talk about the idea of “task overhead” when multitasking. Because computers have multiple processors these days it may seem best to split tasks to run on each processor, but in fact the overhead of splitting up a task into two parts and then bringing the results together again often outweighs the potential reward. In other words, starting new tasks has an overhead associated with it that we must also factor in when we consider how much time we spend on something. The same goes for your house – there is additional overhead with increased space, so the assumed benefit is less when it comes to reality.

  • kc

    When I read about this minimalist weekend, I decided to make a plan for two days of what I like to refer to as streamlining my life. First of all, I planned to spend the weekend at home and not spend any money.  I gathered ‘stuff’ from all areas of my home and determined what was needed / what not and sorted for: to donate – to use – to recondition – to throw out.  I borrowed a good book from the library & put together a stack to donate (with a resolution to look for ways to borrow before I buy).  Same goes with boxes of clothes and house stuff.  Lots of exercise through good hard work (gardening, cleaning, sorting, etc) instead of the gym.  And finally, I spent time in reflection and meditation, minimizing thought clutter.  A truly rejuvenating weekend. I plan to schedule more of them.  

  • Anonymous

    I have been without my truck for over 3 months.  One of the other things that has come from me not having a vehicle was totally unexpected.  I’ve had several people say they have a new respect for me.  Being able to go without a vehicle, riding with ‘regular’ people on the bus, and having patience to wait for buses.
    When I go bike riding I try to leave everything behind, but water.  i leave my phone, wallet and carry as little as possible.  Although, having a phone and money and ID is probably important…
    My results. thanks for listening!
    my blog :

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