Minimalism is about limiting yourself to the essentials in order to feel more liberated and happier at the end of the day. Buddha already knew that “happiness lies in us, not in things” and proves that the topic is still topical. Because there are more and more supporters in this country who cultivate this lifestyle as an alternative to today's consumer-oriented society. Instead of material abundance, they get by with less and walk through life with less baggage. What remains for them is more time, money, space and freedom.
And you can also find a lot on this topic on the Internet. Challenges in which you rigorously muck out your wardrobe and reduce it to a few parts are popular. Some people even manage to put all their possessions in one bag and travel around the world with them from now on.
On average we own around 10.000 things
This concept also appeals to me very much. However, if I look into my apartment, I see that I am far from putting my entire household in a single bag. I'm not alone in this: on average, an adult living in Europe owns around 10.000 things. If you look at their clothes, a German treats himself to an average of 60 new items a year. He only wears half of them regularly. The other half is forgotten in the closet or is thrown away unworn.
Maybe it's a bit extreme to pack your entire household in a single bag. Many of the things I own - my books, plants, photos, and other mementos from my loved ones - make me happy and are things of emotional value that I don't want to part with. But as far as my closet is concerned, I could actually clean it out again. Because it is full and I am far from carrying everything that is in it.
Travel can show what you really need
When I travel, I find out again and again that in reality I would get by with less. Then I only try to pack the bare essentials and usually get along just fine and don't miss anything. It is often the case that in the end I packed too much, which in turn annoys me. But at least then I know what I can do without on the next trip.
My luggage has also been reduced further and further in recent years. A few years ago I was traveling through the United States for four weeks with a giant suitcase, my next plan is to travel to Southeast Asia for six months - with a 45 liter backpack.
Travel minimalist - what should you look out for?
This is especially possible if you stick to the principle of minimalism described at the beginning and limit yourself to the essentials. Specifically for travel, this means: Don't pack for more than a week. It doesn't matter whether you are traveling for a week, a month or a whole year. If, on the other hand, you are traveling for a shorter time, you can of course reduce your luggage significantly.
If you're going to be away for more than a week, you should find outwhether you can wash on site. There is often a washing machine in holiday homes, some hotels offer a laundry service or there are laundries on site. If this is not the case, you can of course wash yourself. This works very well with curd soap, for example, which in turn does not take up much space. If you want, you can also pack an essential oil so that the laundry smells pleasantly.
Also, think about what you are likely to do on your vacation. Do you mainly go to the beach and go to fancier restaurants in the evening? Or do you go hiking in the mountains and you eat more comfortably in a hut? Depending on what you plan to do, you can better assess what you will need on site. Things that trigger the thought “what if” in you can safely be left at home.
Pack what makes you happy
Instead you should above all Things a.that make you happy. The author and regulatory consultant Marie Kondo writes in her bestseller: “If something doesn't make you happy, don't keep it”. Or don't wrap it up. Instead, take your favorite things with you that you wear often and with pleasure. If you like, you can muck out the wardrobe while packing. If that is too extreme for you, you can pack the things in a separate bag first and check whether they have been missed or not after the holiday. If not, get rid of it. So you clear out your apartment a little more automatically and easily with every trip. Step by step.
You have to do it once some forget, you can usually buy most of it on site. Few things, such as your passport, personal medication or credit cards, are not necessarily easy to replace. The rest will most likely also be in the destination country. Knowing that liberates.
Traveling with hand luggage only - that is possible
If you then pack to save space, you can even manage to travel with hand luggage only. Packing cubes and compression bags help bundle your clothes airtight and compactly. By the way, your luggage is also nicely organized. If you also sort your clothes in the respective bags according to categories - i.e. shirt to shirt, pullover to sweater, etc. - you will quickly find what you need on site.
Tip: Put a laundry bag, for example with lavender, with your clothes. Then the clothes smell fresh even when you are out and about.
The nice thing about traveling with hand luggage is that it is much less stressful. If you travel by bus or train, you don't have to carry heavy loads and you can easily get through the narrow aisles. At the airport, on the other hand, you don't have to check in your luggage and you don't have to wait for it afterwards. This saves time and is often even cheaper, as many airlines now charge extra fees for checked baggage.
In addition, it is not a problem if you cannot check into your accommodation yet, because with your light luggage you can easily explore the area. Even on public transport, you have significantly less stress with a small suitcase or backpack than with a large piece of luggage. And in the end, you have less to watch out for and less to lose.
“The waiver does not take. The renunciation gives. " - Martin Heidegger, German philosopher
Back to my closet
On my upcoming trip I will also pack a second bag with things that I will not take with me and when I return I will see whether I have missed them. Since I don't have to pack any warm things, the experiment will be limited to my summer clothes for now. After the trip, I'll see if I've missed anything. If not, I'll give it away, throw it at a clothes swap party with friends, or sell it at the flea market. I can then save the money I have earned. For example for a winter vacation. Then I can start a second experiment - this time for my winter wardrobe.
"Your worth lies in who you are, not what you own." Thomas Alva Edison, inventor and entrepreneur