Owning Nothing: Describing the Ultimate Minimalist Society.

October 27th, 2009 § 0 comments

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Leo Babauta just blogged at Mnmlist.com about a hypothetical minimalist society where no one owned anything, I think this is an outstanding idea.

These are ideas that I subscribe to already, but there are limitations to how far you can take them in a society that feeds on permanent ownership and throwing objects out when you’re done.

However, there are methods that we can put into play to make a system like Leo describes work.

Let’s develop some of those ideas, in my real world situation.

Obviously these get harder to execute with the more belongings you accumulate, but I think that’s kind of the point. If you cut down on your personal possessions than you can start to live in this society that Leo describes.

Car Libraries:
Zip Car has this down. Next week when my girlfriend flies in from New York we’ll be renting a Honda Hybrid and driving up to Seattle. We never would have been able to do this without Zip Car

Housing Libraries:
This isn’t easy, but I’ve seen it done. I’m doing it now, by renting a room month-to-month in Portland. I’m going to move out at the end of November and head to Chicago. We had a kind of a housing library system set up at The School House in Brooklyn–we had ten rooms in the place–and we subleased when someone was traveling. It was kind of like a housing library system, the only thing is that socially it was a lot more complicated than renting a house.

We need push for social change and start to install systems where it’s okay to rent a house for a week, or two months. We’ll call it Zip-house. Someone should get on this idea, there’s a lot of money to be made.

Bike libraries:
I’m really surprised that Portland doesn’t have these. They have a tool library, they have public libraries, but no bike libraries? I think I remember someone talking about how they tried to implement one and failed. Try again Portland.

How I’m renting a bike:

When I moved to Portland on September 21st, my first goal was renting a room, my second goal was buying an inexpensive bike that was nice enough that I could resell again just before I skipped town again. The bike cost me $140. I’m trying to resell it for at least that much before I leave on November 18th. It’s kind of like a free bike rental if I accomplish this.

Clothes rental:

This is harder, because clothes wear out. I personally just stick with a weeks worth of clothing, with a little extra underwear and socks thrown in. This way I just wear them until the clothes wear out.

It would be really nice if I could check a winter coat out of a library though, because right now my winter coat is in a box in my mom’s basement in Chicago, which I had to time ahead of time, because I knew I’d be in Chicago around the holidays.

Let’s build this minimalist society that Leo dreams of.

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