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Simplify (paulstamatiou.com)
157 points by PStamatiou 1630 days ago | hide | past | web | 36 comments | favorite

A few years ago I ditched all of my belongings and bought the stuff outlined in tynan's gear posts [0][1][2]. I highly recommend his suggestions.

It's nice to see people waking up to the idea that destroying your twenties by working in front of a computer is an unhealthy thing. Take the long view. Life is short.

[0] http://tynan.com/2010gear

[1] http://tynan.com/2011gear

[2] http://tynan.com/packing2012

> I used to be a slave to my startups. If I wasn't working, I had a perpetual feeling of guilt that I should be working. That lead to many all-nighters and eventually landed me in the hospital last year after fainting twice from fever and dehydration.

This is such a common story. I start work at 9 and stop at 6. That's it, no more, unless there's something urgent. It's amazing how much you can get done in those 9 hours if you concentrate.

I'm glad Paul wrote this. The work culture in Silicon Valley can be invigorating; but at the same time, it can be poisonous, especially for someone who is naturally inclined to be work-obsessed.

I left 5 years ago, and I'm so glad I did. It's enabled me to think to myself, away from the noise, and at the same time stay in touch with the "real" world, whom, eventually you're really working for anyway.

With all of the opportunities to do things, it can be hard to see that if you just chose to do fewer things, you could be better at the things that you did decide to do. Also, that if you take some time to relax, the quality of your work can be enhanced.

I was a consultant for 3 years during most of which I traveled 5 days a week. It wasn't exactly the case but I can say I lived in hotel rooms with a carry-on suite case for those years.

I realized that all I need for my life can be packed into a carry-on sized suite case and I had perfectly enough space in a hotel room. I will never feel the need for 5 bedroom house so that I can have a man cave, a home office or "an entertainment room" and a whole basement load of stuff.

There is this great movie about simplified life (yes there was also relationship and George Clooney) - Up in the air.

"Up In the Air" didn't promote the simplified life; it basically tore it apart.

I didn't say it promoted it. It's about it. Personally I think life is intrinsically complicated, it's a false hope that you can just follow a set of guidance and then declare that your life is simplified.

> I realized that all I need for my life can be packed into a carry-on sized suite case

Do you not have any hobbies?

I have hobbies and I'm a self employed barber. When the locals don't come to my garage I sometimes go to them. I can easily see me renting paintball gear, packing up a bathing suit, renting a surf board / longboard (I usually use my friend's since it's really his hobby, but if I go somewhere else in the world), renting a soccer ball, there are probably workshops that I can rent...somewhere, maybe, there's my old kindle fire to read, other places like bars, clubs, pool halls, bowling are all over the world, jet skii rentals, fortrack rentals, I only play videogames sometimes in friend houses so I can give that up. The problem is that boots and trail gear would have to be rented and I can see all of this renting stuff adding up. The simplified life is for rich people or people with hobbies that don't need a bike, or special gear.

Now I have only one hobby - photography. I used to have many more but I realized that I only need one and be good at it so that I can truly appreciate it and enjoy it. Luckily the one I pick doesn't require a lot of storage space.

I recently moved, and am much closer to work. I couldn't figure out what I was going to do with 5 extra hours a week that I wouldn't spend in the car. I could sleep in more! I'd be home earlier!

Except moving takes a huge amount of time and energy. Not just the move, but the shopping, fixing up and changing up random things around the house, visitors who want to see the new place, not to mention the new yard is bigger and will take more time to keep up.

I'm about 3 months behind where I was.

Paul thanks for writing this. I always got the vibe you were a bit strung out. Glad to read this. Looks like some hard lessons learned.

I can definitely relate to a lot of the article. The "perpetual feelings of guilt" that you should be working, thats a popular toxic Startup Machismo, Startupcore, mentality.

There is a book named exactly <Simplify> on Amazon. $2.99 and 46 pages, it changes my life greatly.

The Josh Becker or the Davis book?

I have to say, I finally caved last week and started buying things like mad from The Container Store (which is worth a whole post in and of itself). I finally understand the importance of spending a bit more to get quality items organize as much of your home as possible, and the sense of peace it can bring. It's also helping me get rid of a lot of unnecessary items, which is very cathartic.

It is the Joshua Becker one. It is very short but still the author makes his point so clear that I was immediately converted after finishing it.

> I got rid of my car.

I know this is a bit off-topic, but it got me thinking and I figure there's a large Redmond audience here. I'm moving there soon and I'm struggling with whether to ditch my car or not. I'll be living downtown and work is under a mile away.

Anyone care to comment?

I don't work in Redmond but I lived there for a long time and I still end up there from time to time via car or bike.

The bus system in the Seattle Metro area is not amazing but but you pick where you live knowing this, you shouldn't have a problem. Being near a main transit line or close to a transit center can get you to Bellevue and Seattle fairly easily (might take an hour for the latter).

If you're up for it, I'd really recommend getting a bike. You can ride about half the time during the spring/fall and all days in the summer. Redmond has a lot of bike-friendly areas but, on the Eastside (across the lake from Seattle, Redmond is considered in this area) the drivers are much less bike friendly and cautious so be careful.

In general, the area you're moving to is pretty car-centric but you can definitely make do and you'll be very glad you did on the nice days!

Feel free to contact me if you have more questions.

You're living up to your name.

> I'd really recommend getting a bike

For sure. Work is a mile away by road, but it's only two by trail. I'm really excited about that.

My main worry is that it'll be awful to go anywhere during the winter. Do people there bike through winter?

I assume you mean Redmond to Seattle (if not please ignore). I currently live in Queen Anne and can pretty much walk everywhere I need to go, and hardly use my car at all. The times that I need my car is when I am driving out of town or don't feel like walking. BUT I could probably replace the car with a bike for all my in city travel. I also get my groceries delivered via Amazon Fresh or Safeway. If you can get rid of car, and don't plan on leaving the Seattle area (Suburbs) where a bus can take you, You'll do just fine!

No, don't get rid of your car. You'll be horribly isolated if you do. The 545 doesn't run very often after the commute is over and the cab fare to/from Seattle is about $50 each way.

I got rid of my car when I moved to San Francisco. I haven't missed it.

It is hard to know where to simplify- I think you did a great job of pointing out things that most people think are absolute requirements. We didn't start out thinking we had to do those things, we taught ourselves to do that and you rightly point out that you can teach yourself that you don't need that stuff. Getting rid of a car and forgetting the "need" to check in allows you to put your focus on things that matter.

Keep in mind that getting rid of your things can turn into an expensive and long process. It took me about 3 years to dump most of my physical possessions and digital legacy and I'm still left with a bunch of stuff. During that time I've also started a new project at http://flipso.com that should help to sell/exchange stuff to or between your peers.

Really depends on your definition of getting rid of. For me, the cost of getting rid of something has to be less than the cost of keeping it. If you're controlled by your possessions, they're poisoning you, so you're best to just drop them like a bad habit. Sell it, donate it, do whatever is fast and easy.

No offense whatsoever, but taking three years to rid yourself of uneccessary material possessions is WAY too long!

It should take you 5 seconds to decide if you need something in your life. If not, it should take 5 more seconds to decide how to get rid of it.

I'm not talking about decisions but the actual process of selling, organizing, etc.

I need to simplify. I feel under pressure everyday to read so much stuff, when actually I think 80% of it adds zero value to my life. Great post!

Yes. Life is about balance. Too much working is bad. Too much relaxing is bad.

About getting rid of unnecessary things: For each item I buy (say a pair of new socks), one old has to go. Usually I throw away (or donate) more than one item while I am at it. It's a long-term lifestyle change. But the last time I have moved was the least stressful ever.

When you have a child, car becomes required. Also, makes you realize all your stuff is meaningless.

A few years back, my wife and I reset our lives: left our jobs, sold everything, were down to two bags each, and moved to India for a year. Since then we have kept things simple, and has made life more flexible and less stressful.

Great decision.

After reading this topic "India is drowning in its own excreta" on this site, I don't think I would live in India anytime soon.

hehe, it wasn't that bad. But now I live in San Francisco, and if not visually drowning, it sure smells like human and dog excreta everywhere!

As my father got older he threw out more and more of his belongings. I didn’t get it then, but I do now. I’m also trying to simplify, so I can focus on what’s important: my own projects, my friends and family, and my health.

Agreed, there's so much we don't need. We just canceled cable TV.

great post stammy

Great post.

I've been wanting to simplify my life for a while now, but where do I start?

Look in a closet, and get rid of one thing.

Then do it again. Then do it in other places. It's a long term thing.

But getting rid of a single thing you don't need is the start.

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