Minimalism - the pursuit of owning less

Simplifying life through owning less and how I achieved it. Something which you can do too!


From my college days, I wasn’t interested in buying too many clothes, shoes etc. I had few clothes and 2 pairs of shoes, and I remember using my favourites more often. Almost 90% of the time I end up wearing those. Keeping it less, I guess I inherited it from my father, who always kept limited items. I remember when we said papa buy this, his reply used to be “Kya jarurat hai iski?” (“What is the need of this?”). That’s how he still is. But yeah his time was different. At that time people believed in keeping things less, holding them for long, valued reusing and fixing. The world wasn’t introduced to fast fashion, cheap stuff and use and throw mentality.

When I became part of the corporate rat race, I felt that the surrounding pushes you to maintain the lifestyle, behave in a specific way, dress well etc. Because we want to leave a good impression, we tend to create an imaginary audience for ourselves. We feel that these audiences are gazing at us all the time, and if I repeat my clothes too often, what will they think about me? For me, it’s always been ups and downs when it comes to dealing with these audiences. 

I’m not unique, and I have done many impulses buys just like others, especially clothes, watches etc. But the fact is after some time I tend to start not liking those buys, and naturally, I tend to go for what I love. I would call impulse buys ’thoughtless buys’ which I end up either discarding or donating after a few months/years. But, deep down, I always feel guilty about not using much, the environment, and I don’t know if the donation is genuine. There are so many reports about donations being misused.

Do you know Globally just 12% of the material used for clothing ends up being recycled? 

In total, up to 85% of textiles go into landfills each year. That's enough to fill the Sydney harbour annually."

Here are a few reads/watch for you if you are interested.


After lots of introspections, I was able to Identify my buying patterns which helped me to overcome impulse buy behaviour. Over time I have built a habit of deciding exactly what I want, why I want, and where I can get. I would say ‘targeted buy’. In some cases, when I’m confused with options, I do more research and try to close on 1-2 or sometimes 3 possibilities. It helps me to do a targeted exploration of what I want to buy. It’s just more like comparing if I’m confused. It helped me a lot to keep my life simple and clutter-free.

Over time the more I think about this, I started to believe that this really helped me keep things straight and simple. Today I can fit my life pretty much in this bag, except for my two boots and a jacket which I love. 


How can you?

Okay, so the question is how can you? I would like to share a few tips that I have been following when buying something that I believe might work for you!

I categorise my items into three buckets: need, want, and junk. What are these? In my case I see


Food, clothes, pair of sports shoes, water bottle, meds, pen, diary, kindle, phone, travel and laptop bag and laptop (it provides bread on the table :)


My boots, a few extra pens, diaries, books (most of them I donated to the library but a few I’m still keeping :), 2 more laptop bags.


None :)

The list of items to put in these buckets will vary based on people to people. But hope you get it.

Once you decide to buy something, try to put it into one of these buckets, and ask

  1. Why do you need this?
  2. Will it really add value to your life? 
  3. Can you survive without it?
  4. How long will it last? Can It be fixed? 
  5. What will you do with it at the end of the life cycle? Be cautious about mother earth.

    Once all are checked ✓

  6. Decide which brand
  7. What are the alternatives? 
  8. Where can you buy it?
  9. Last but not least is “One in, one out”.  Let’s say If I’m buying a t-shirt, one needs to go out. 

Hope this helps. If you are following minimalism or wish to start, I’ll be happy to share my thoughts about it. 

Simplicity is a choice, discrimination, a crystallisation. Its object is purity.”

- Le Corbusier

Few more reads

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© Sunil Shrivastav