Don’t let your possessions own you

Written by Mike

Topics: Mobile living, Realestate

I have started a new category to my blog on Mobile Living. It is to write about my experiences working while traveling around the world. I finally bought a PDF version of the the “4 Hour Working Week” by Tim Ferrris from Powells. I am not sure why, but Amazon weren’t selling an electronic version. Some of the things he writes about I am already doing, but some other things I think I believe I can work into my life and business.

I have lived overseas for more than 10 years now and have moved house more times than I can remember. I have never owned any expensive furniture. I know my family laugh at me because I don’t like buying “stuff”. Whenever I moved I tended to just buy the minimal amount of household goods to live comfortably. I have also been surprised by the amount of free furniture and electrical goods I could get from friends. This worked especially well in Japan where you actually need to pay people to dispose of furniture and electrical goods. I was even able to sell some of the items I got for free.

Space being a premium in Japan they sleep on futons, which are nothing more than a fairly thin mattress and duvet. They also sit on the floor at a low coffee like table called a “kotatsu” which has a heating element underneath the table to heat your legs during winter. Adopting the Japanese Zen minimalist approach is one way of avoiding buying a lot of stuff.

If you would like to travel more for longer period of time, it is important not to accumulate or grow attached to your possessions. You need to ask yourself, are they really that important? They could very well be the things which are holding you back, if you would like to go traveling for a long period of time. Storage is fairly expensive and unless you pack things away well, they will slowly deteriorate. It is probably cheaper to sell or give things away and buying new household goods on your return. Electronic items like TVs and DVD players only get cheaper and eventually have no resale value.

Renting your place as a furnished property, presents new problems. Tenants may not treat your furniture well and some places have laws which you need to follow, like making your furniture fire-proof. Another option could be lending items to your friends and family. Again there is no guarantee they will take good care of them.

2 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Claire says:

    Hi Mike,

    This topic is becoming a very hot topic in many different areas. I’m glad you picked up on it. Oprah had it on her front cover (how to let go of things that are dragging you down). She really didn’t go into much detail and it was kind of disappointing. But, I also have heard from The Compactor group on Yahoo! that many people are now opting for “mobile living” in which they get park model mobile trailer homes and move them around the country. They are small, but you save BIG on real estate taxes and mortgage. You also have your own little swatch of land so it’s less apartment like. Many people are retiring to these. My only concern is that they are depreciating asset and so I can’t see taking money that is appreciating (like a home) and dumping it in a depreciating asset that might be hard to unload, if you ever get tired of it.


    P.S. See you found some links to monetize your blog! Good going!

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    Maybe Oprah is going to call me for an interview!

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