What you see on the bed in the picture above is all I own (minus the super cute poodle). No, I’m not joking. All of my life’s possessions that I use every day (and even some comfort things) are contained in those 2 bags.
- Backpacker’s Backpack (15Kg)
- Backpack (11Kg)
I know what you’re thinking. That’s not a lot of stuff! But… compared to 3 years ago when I started freelancing and traveling the world, it is super streamlined and light. I went from 3 bags → 2 bags.
Want to know how I did it? Well… Slowly.
How I Got My Life Into 2 Bags (A Slow Process)
When I first started traveling and freelancing, I had 3 bags:
- Large Full Rolling Suitcase (20 Kg)
- Backpacker’s Backpack (15 Kg)
- Backpack (7 Kg) <- I had a lighter laptop than now
Most people would be aghast at getting their life into 3 bags, but I was extremely happy to do so at the beginning. I was tired of things bringing me down and causing me stress, so I decided to pack up and move to SE Asia as lightly as I could do so.
To do it, I sold off or gave to friends/family…
- 2 Guitars
- 1 Roadbike
- 2 Extra beddings
- 1 Xbox One
- 3 boxes of clothes
- 1 box of important documents
- ~2 boxes of random stuff
All of my friends looked at me like I was crazy. Getting my life into just 3 bags was a monumental achievement, and I was very proud of being able to do so. Also giving away a lot of my favorites (Xbox and guitars) was tough, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to travel with those things anyway. Why have things that you cannot use?
But even with just 3 bags, traveling was difficult. I found myself constantly dreading moving again with that extra rolling suitcase jerking behind my right arm. Climbing stairs was impossible, and paying an extra fee and relying on the kindness of airport check-in people to not count that backpacker’s backpack as a check-in bag was perilous.
So slowly, sloooooowly, I started to downsize even more during my travels by getting rid of some clothes here and there. I did this by creating a creed of some sort because by living in SE Asia, I didn’t need 3 pairs of jeans (just one). I didn’t need 3 sweaters (just one). I didn’t need that t-shirt that I never wear anymore.
Do I really need X # of this? Probably not.
At a certain point this year (2022), I asked myself a serious question…
Can I get my life down to 2 bags?
So turning this mental exercise from a priori towards a posteriori, I took my rolling suitcase and laid out everything on the floor, scrutinizing every single item in it. To see if I was keeping it, I asked myself some classic minimalist questions that I made into a decision tree.
The Super Minimalist Decision Tree of “Should I Keep It”
- Do I ever use this?
- Do I plan to ever use it again?
- Can I just buy it new each time I use it?
- It is cheap to buy it each time?
Following this decision tree, I was able to get rid of a lot of clothes and things that I thought I would need but didn’t really need. I was also able to think through how many items I had, how many I needed, and if there was ever a future in that I would be needing them. I’m glad I did it, and my back and arms thank me every time I travel through airports!
So now I’m down to 2 bags, but what did I decide to keep exactly?
So What Do I Own?
Most of my assets are digital, but from what I own in my bags…
- Laptop (1)
- Laptop Stand (1)
- Wireless Mouse (1)
- Mousepad (1)
- Hardrive backup (1)
- Phone (1)
- Earphones (1)
- Cables & Charing Cords (4)
- T-Shirts (8)
- Button Down Shirts (3)
- Jeans (1)
- Shorts (4)
- Workout Shirts (5)
- Workout Shorts (5)
- High-quality Underwear (Ex-Ufficio & others) (10)
- Socks (10)
- Nike Running Shoes (1)
- New Balance Walking Shoes (1)
- Sweater (1)
- Swimsuit (1)
- Phillips Electric Razor (1)
- Sonicare Electric Toothbrush (1)
- Glide Deep Floss (my favorite!) (1 multipack)
- Tooth-guard Retainer (1)
- Aeropress Coffee Maker & Gear (1)
- Fitbit Charge 3 Watch (1)
- Nintendo Switch (1) & Games (3)
- Puffin (my traveling stuffed animal)
All of this fits in my 2 bags, and I plan to keep it that way for a while. It keeps my life easy, and it only takes me 30 minutes to pack. It also forces me to do my laundry every week, and of course, it reduces my stress by not owning many things.
Help Me Keep Publishing Minimalist Content!
If you want to see more about the benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle, check out my post here on Minimalism: A Digital Nomad’s Best Friend.
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