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Living with Less

Yes, I know I should be now checking my mail (which, as I already know, will contain some business regarding this blog, which in turn will involve you, my dear readers1), but I just have to post this, because it now follows me for some days, and I find the idea both awesome and a bit intimidating.

So, there is this guy, Kelly Sutton, who got rid of most of his possessions, to „live out of the hard drive“, as BBC put it:

About a year ago, I came to the conclusion that the most logical thing to be done was to rid myself of all (or most) of my possessions. After meticulously itemizing all of my stuff, I put almost all of it up for sale on a site I built in a weekend, Cult of Less. Yesterday, the BBC News ran an article about myself and a few other folks replacing their physical media with their digital analogs. There are many implications of selling everything, some great and some not so great.2

Well, after my own claims of „home is where my broadband internet connection is“, getting rid of most of the physical stuff would be the next step, indeed.

The greatest thing gained from Cult of Less has been an unprecedented amount of physical freedom. A willingness to drop your stationary physical possessions and move is the greatest freedom I have found in this project. Sure, you could get by without a bed, furniture and a few other essentials, but you will be miserable. No one wants to sleep on a floor if they can help it.

A minor yet pleasurable consequence has been interacting with people from around the world. It shot any hope of the project being hip and green, but I’ve shipped some of my belongings to places like Germany, New Zealand and the U. K.

Given the fact that I plan to move abroad, having not that many things that need to be hauled around is quite alluring and sounds convenient. Owning less would also work in an environment my s. o. and I dream of: public transport has to be around, and the workplace should be able to be reached by bike. In such an environment, this could really work.

Owning less is easier in urban environments with efficient public transportation; in New York, it’s mandated by the higher rent prices. Living in Los Angeles without a car is a difficult undertaking.

But there are some things that speak against it. My love for books, for example. The fact that some of my work tools (like game consoles) are rather big, as is my MacPro. Also: Most of the government stuff still works using plain old paper: you simply cannot turn everything digital, because the world around you just is not digital enough.

Also, there are some dangers involved with having everything on a hard disk, as explained by the BBC article. Putting everything into the cloud would solve that problem, but leaves you at the mercy of your internet provider (who might decide to charge you premium fees to get your data back in the future, when net neutrality drops) and the service provider who might collapse all of a sudden, or bought up. We have seen that happening before.

So where does that leave me? I do not know yet. I love the idea, but I doubt I can get it done.

Maybe it is already enough if I get rid of all those things I consider stuff. And maybe, in the future, more and more things will be considered stuff and be ready to go the way of the dodo, freeing me of the clutter.


  1. Who are you guys anyway? 

  2. All quotes from this article

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