The Start of Less | Pete Ruiz on

I was in college and I owned very little. In fact, I could carry all my possessions in both my hands. I had two guitar cases and a laptop with a case. One guitar case had my actual guitar. The other case had every clothing item I owned. I lived quite simple. I didn’t even own a cell at the time.

12 years later I have a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house. I have thousands of items in my house and I couldn’t carry everything I own if I wanted to. Then again, back then I was living in a dorm and couch to couch. Today, I have a family and a house. You tend to accumulate things as you grow and move.

Our third bedroom is sort of like an office with a walk-in closet…well, it’s suppose to be a walk in closet. We use it for storage for things we honestly don’t use. Six months after moving into our house nothing in that room was being used. We’d occasionally go search through a box for something small, but out of thousands of items in that room we really only need less than 1%.

I keep old songwriting notebooks. High school sports medals. Trinkets, souvenirs, things that provide no real value to my daily operations around the house. I won’t even go into what my wife keeps because I honestly have no clue what’s in there. That shows how often we use anything in the boxes.

I didn’t know it, but in college, I was a minimalist. I rarely bought anything and I lived with very little.

A few months ago, the documentary called MMINIMALISM: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE IMPORTANT THINGS hit Netflix and it has just gone world wide via Netflix. It’s gaining attention and has become a growing idea. The whole concept is to look at the big picture of what you actually own. Sometimes we chase happiness through material items and merchandise, but all the money in the world still wouldn’t make you happy because happiness is not something you own. You’d have to see the film to get the full scope, but that’s a good summary.

Two months ago I sorted through all of my clothing items. I found 55 items I did not need. Had shoes I never worn. Had t-shirts and pants with price tags still on them. I now own 3 pairs of paints and about 6 t-shirts. I have a few uniforms for work and a few pairs of shoes. I feel a bit more liberated with knowing that the next time we move I don’t have to pack so much stuff. In fact, I could pack almost everything in just a few suitcases if I had really had to. I still own a few things that serve no purpose and I will get to them. The Minimalists like to say, “One day or day one.” I believe I started day one two months ago, but I believe minimalism isn’t an overnight transformation. It will take time and I believe I’m on the right path. As The Minimalists said, “It’s not a radical lifestyle. It’s a practical lifestyle.”

There are things that I will keep and things that I will easily get rid of. I already know when I open my box of notebooks and journals that it will be a bit difficult to get rid of the writing I did 10 years ago, but I know I can do it and I know I will do it. Besides, if they really mattered I wouldn’t have them in a box.

My journey to be as minimal as possible is happening. Stay tuned.

You can see progress on my instagram page as I post items and such @iampeteblog.

Originally published at on April 4, 2017.

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