3 Major Things I’m learning to live without

Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Minimalist Lifestyle | 11 comments

3 Major Things I’m learning to live without

3 Major Things I’m learning to live without


1) A Mortgage

2) The Television

3) Gifts

I guess some of these things are ingrained in the lifestyle of the UK, and possibly further afield. Everyone wants their own house and the burden of a mortgage to go with it. We’re expected to sit in front of a gazillion TV channels from the day we’re in nappies to the day before we meet our maker. Then at birthdays and christmas we receive the  junk gifts from distant relations, who’ve bought from the special pages in the high street store magazine. Sometimes you just have to wonder why we put ourselves through this.

My house is for sale, and no-one can understand the relief thats building when I give the mortgage company their money back. Thats it, the bill they sometimes call ‘the millstone around the neck’ will be gone. I can live in a smaller house, thats not mine, that when things break, I get someone else to fix. – Bliss.

I gave up the TV toward the end of February this year. Not completely, I still watch one or two items a week. But it doesn’t get switched on unless there is something specific to watch. I don’t channel-surf and it doesn’t get switched on at night, just because its there. In fact, the less its on, the better I feel.

Gifts are tough to give up. Both giving and receiving. We’re culturally aligned to giving stuff as a measure of love and respect. I still felt a little awkward when I met a close friend for birthday celebrations this week. I didn’t take a gift, or a card. Instead I brought affection, and bought dinner. An experience rather than a thing. I got a thank-you note the following morning, so I think she understood.


I don’t know if its the minimalist lifestyle, or the clarity of thought that comes with it, but more and more I’m questioning things we take for granted in our culture. I ask why, and I question the presuppositions.

Who says you need a mortgage, who says I have to sit glued to the box in the corner, why am I expected to bring worthless stuff, to people who don’t really want it, just because its 365 days past the last time I did this ?

Having less stuff, gives time to think more. Time to ask questions about our thinking and our society. Why do things we don’t want to ? Why not do things you like, rather than follow some prescriptive culture ?

[image eliduke - creative commons]

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  1. Just came by your blog and I must say we share many of the same thoughts, although i would disagree with you on the owning your own house thing. Having just bought my very first house the feeling I have about finally having a place I can call HOME is priceless! The bank may own most of it now, but i own every piece of home:)
    But thats me, we’re all different and look and strive for different things I guess. As for the tv you’re not alone. I have no reception here, and what a relief! Instead i can spend my time reading a book or take a walk in the beautiful nature outside. The people at work dont seem to share my point of view though, but then again they rarely do 😉
    Keep up the good work!


  2. I’ve read about your blog in BBC webpage.
    I periodically get rid of some stuff – break down of sorts (usually around moving to another apartment) – I just want it all gone! But I do accumulate stuff over time again. The building blocks seem to be there already. I think I just may give this lifestyle a try.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences

  3. I understand not wanting the millstone around your neck and hope that you have a good experience with your landlord. We’re renting because we are temporarily living in the UK, and it recently took 2 weeks to get the fridge/freezer fixed. Also we are not allowed to paint, put up shelves, can only hang artwork on those temporary hooks but have quite onerous obligations in terms of upkeep of a home that is not our own! I can’t wait until I get back to my home country to a place that I can really make my own.

    • Hi Linda, I think, as with many things in life, there are good and bad. I’m quite fortunate generally, though I can sympathise, the letting agent took months to fix the cooker door when I moved in. I guess in my case its not up there on the priority list, whereas in your case it may well be. Its all about concentrating on the important things and not getting hung up on those less so.

  4. Hi, love reading this, love you train of thought. Less ‘stuff’ really gives more time to think and just ‘be’. Why should we conform to a pre-disposed way of living. I have a partner and three children. I’ve made small changes and plan to keep making more as I go on. Really enjoying doing things my own way, my friends find it hard to relate to me at times. Don’t get me wrong like you I’m still ‘normal’ if there is such a thing!! We have one life, let’s live it our way!
    Kind regards!

  5. We rent although not through choice . We will always be paying rent even after retirement age , during the 5 years we’ve lived here we’ve paid of our landlords mortgage so not entirely sure why you think rantings such a good thing .
    Knowing that sooner or later we will have to move ….again , means I find keeping a strict eye on our processions a sensible thing to do .
    I always think that by ruthlessly getting rid of stuff it’s one less box to carry to the removal van !
    Never have so many of us owned so much , this problem of hoarding and clutter would not have existed on this scale before .
    I’m glad you are a uk based site as I have been reading about owning less and got a bit fed up with only American terminology .

    • You have a fair point about renting, though it does mean far more flexibility if you need to move home. I agree with you on all of owning so much stuff. Its so easy to come by and relatively speaking cheap. As a UCLA study described this; because of the sheer numbers of artefacts people today own, we are at a point of “material saturation”. We are coping with “extraordinary clutter” – facing a “clutter crisis”.

  6. I support getting rid of tv! When I refused from tv watching, I started to realize thing differently.

  7. We are living parallel lives. I am loving everything I’m reading.

  8. So great to find your blog …. now i know i’m not alone living this lifestyle. I never watch TV … just listen to some good music

  9. Hi Chris, I am also a minimalist, I have been for 10 years or so. I’m enjoying your blog, keep up the good work! When I look around my home, I still see too much stuff, but it all belongs to my husband. At the end of the day, I think I’ll have to leave him!

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