Subtract a lot with the cult of less, but not a roof over your head

Friday, 20 August, 2010

22 year old New Yorker Kelly Sutton is determined to clear the clutter from his life and aims to be able to fit all his possessions into just two packing boxes and two travelling bags.

By digitising his book and music collections, and the use of online/cloud applications such as Flickr, iTunes, and Facebook, he has been able to dispense with much of what he used to own. And rather than just being a personal goal, Sutton sees what he calls the cult of less becoming a wider trend:

This 21st-Century minimalist says he got rid of much of his clutter because he felt the ever-increasing number of available digital goods have provided adequate replacements for his former physical possessions. “I think cutting down on physical commodities in general might be a trend of my generation – cutting down on physical commodities that can be replaced by digital counterparts will be a fact,” said Mr Sutton.

There are weeks I find myself living the “cult of less” lifestyle as I move from place to place in digital nomad style, often with just my laptop and a bag of clothes. While I’m all for the minimalist life, I think it can be taken too far, particularly in terms of accommodation:

Mr Klein says the lifestyle can become loathsome because “you never know where you will sleep”.

Many “cult of less” devotees seem dependent on a friend’s sofa, or living room floor, on which to sleep, which seems a tad self serving. What happens when said friends decide to go the “cult of less” way themselves? Whose sofa will everyone sleep on then?

For “cult of less” to truly come into its own, one need to be far more self sufficient. What’s wrong with a network of hotels… two bags and two boxes will easily into even a modest hotel room.

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