|Carrying the overweight backpack of useless consumer crap is an unnecessary burden.|
Starting out in life I didn't think much about minimalism until I started going on multi-day backpacking trips into the mountains. My longest hike was 72km over 12 days. During excursions like that the pain of too much stuff can not be ignored.
To play jokes on each other my backpacking friends would put rocks at the bottom of someones pack. I didn't think it much funny. Guess what? That is exactly what consumer lifestyles are doing. Putting rocks in the bottom of people's packs. Useless weight. It is also not funny. Especially because one has to pay for those rocks.
Wilderness backpacking trips taught me about reducing the weight of possessions to the bare minimum, and helped me set a long term goal - reduce the amount of stuff I was "carrying" through life to only what I truly needed to get by and thrive. And no more.
Since then it has taken several years and two major moves to winnow the useful and necessary things that add to life from the rocks that just make everything hurt. It was far more difficult than a multi-day self-supported backpacking adventure, and perhaps even more rewarding.
Being free in the wilderness is liberating, but freeing yourself from the excessive trappings of a consumer lifestyle is even more so. It makes me want to call out, "Emancipate yourselves from consumer slavery. None but ourselves can free our lives (and wallets)."
To succeed it was first necessary to take a hard look at everything in my lifestyle pack and ask, "What does all this stuff mean to me?" It requires one to look at every single thing. Serious backpackers have been known to cut the tags off shirts and underwear to save weight. While the savings may be minimal when taken in isolation, you don't need those tags, and it all adds up.
Then consider deeply the significance of that thing. Do you love it? Cherish it? Would you die without it? Or might your life be improved by removing it permanently from your life? Have you used it lately? Does it make your life better and more beautiful right now?
As if that isn't hard enough, then you must deal with what you come up with after all that honest brain work. Argh! More questions.
Keep? Sell? Give away? Garbage? Ceremonial consumer crap funeral pyre in the backyard marking the death of wasteful lifestyles? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Yes, like a difficult, risk-filled backpacking adventure into the wilderness, downsizing is one challenging activity. Even if you don't have a lot of stuff. But both are well worth doing if you are a freedom junky like me.
You may not be able to escape civilization forever at the moment, but you can escape from the burden of the heavy baggage of expensive and excessive materialist lifestyles. Only keep the things that matter to you. Be ruthless about what you keep, and from then on, be ruthless about what you allow back into your home.
And do regular checks for the rocks at the bottom of your pack.