Real Life Minimalists: Cody

Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details. (Note: the schedule is now full through mid-December — but if you don’t mind waiting, feel free to send me your submission!)

I think you’ll enjoy today’s submission from Cody. He explains how he was able to start over with a clean slate, after living for years amidst his roommates’ clutter. He’s also shared some photos of his minimalist bedroom.

Cody writes:

I would consider myself a salty veteran of the minimalist lifestyle. Although there are people out there who take things an extreme level beyond even me, every day I am periodically searching my personal space and thinking and writing letters just like this one. I’ve actually been writing letters to myself for years now trying to describe and learn more about how I enjoy living. So here is one more story to sum it up.

In 2005 I ended up buying a house with a good friend of mine. One year later his soon to be wife finished college and moved in with us. Our life styles were like two rocket ships of difference just blasting away from each other at breakneck speed. I could not believe the way they lived. It was shocking. Towards the end of our shared living arrangement they mentioned gathering 120 litre garbage bins and filling them with survival supplies in case of a “national emergency”. She would not even let him throw out items that were broken.

I tried as diplomatically as I could to open their eyes so they could see what they were creating but nothing ever panned out. Deep down I think they knew that there was a difference. I systematically cut portions of the house out of my daily routine. I always ate out, never had company over etc. Anyways after being left to marinate in their filth for many years, the time came to go our separate ways. Them with a marriage, new house, new dog and new baby; and me with a place of my own. It was really a healthy and invigorating experience to begin with a clean slate. I wasted no time putting the new me into practice.

When the real estate papers went through, the roommates went to work and when they returned I was gone. I managed to move without any helpers in the space of about 1 day. The first thing I did was hide all my belongings in the new closets and chop up all the 7 foot lamps and throw them in the garbage. It was like buying well designed foot wear. They straighten your feet which helps your ankles which helps your knees, which helps your hips… was the same effect, but much more noticeable. I began to be able to face the most brutal disgusting messes (our fridge at work for example) and not even be phased by them just tackle them and clean them up.

I take huge pride in how I live and the standard I set for myself. When I was younger, I noticed how driven some people were. Some other kids excelled and plugged away at a certain sport or class, some adults worked tirelessly around me, and all I wanted to do was slink away from chores and play video games. Now I have something that propels me to work like a beast. 500 words is a fraction of what I need to describe it.


Cody's Bedroom

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider buying my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

15 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Cody

  • HK

    Lovely pictures, Cody! That’s a fantastic looking bedroom. You’re story is very interesting; I applaud your efforts in living with those roommates as long as you did. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I refuse to move out until I’m married… I’m afraid of the way other people live with their clutter!


  • Sue

    Congratulations, Cody. I enjoyed your story. It sure sounds like your life is back on track.

  • Wow…love your bedroom photos, Cody! It’s so great that you know how you want to live and are able to live that way now!
    Are you blogging about this new life of yours?

    • Cody

      well I am trying to start a business that centers around the whole “clutter coach” theme. Basically its in the VERY VERY early stages of creation. its more of a hobby than anything because although it generates no money so far, it has no costs either :P

      If I ever get a website going I’ll post the link.

  • NeedClean

    The photos of minimalism are very cleansing for the mind.

  • Kim

    I really enjoy these glimpses into lives of other minimalist. I learn something new or having something confirmed in almost every one of them.

    Loved the photos of the bedroom!

  • Thank you for sharing your story Cody! I like the way the silver color blends within your bedroom.

  • *high fives Cody electronically* :P

    This is how we live, too. On the floor, although no lamp….. and with a very open space around us.

  • coco

    Loved your story, Cody! you inspired me to declutter a bit yesterday!

  • Irene

    Great story! Funny, from reading this blog I have finally realized why I hate looking at houses that other people have renovated (as opposed to one that needs to be renovated): It is because the way most people decorate is way to cluttered for me! Even beige tiles in the bathroom put me off!! I just hate the bathrooms and kitchens that are fashionable around here now: dark granite, brown cabinets, lots of different textures… I just want a nice, white kitchen and lots of white walls! :)

    I don’t think I could do the mattress on the floor, though, so I guess I am not a real minimalist. I love my bed too much!

  • Val

    I’m clearly a bad minimalist :P because my dorm room had very plain walls, which I found depressing. I hung up two of my pictures (I do photography, these are both of the Rockies) right away and I want another few up. Surrounding myself with beautiful things like pictures makes me happy. I love looking at good photographs.

  • Jaime

    I *love* your place. There’s elegance in simplicity and that’s what I see in your place.

  • Tina

    There are so many styles of minimalism. The extreme to the more forgiving. I can’t stand hoarding myself and I grew up with Depression era parents–one a war orphan. Sometimes, I will buy 2 of something but that’s as far as it goes. A cousin stocked up on coffee and sugar once and I’ve been to garage sales where they have cans of food.
    If I find a super deal on something–like toothpaste for a dime, I buy a lot and give it to the local food pantry.

  • Tina

    I was helping a friend clean her basement and we found many bars of soap so I gave those away. Then someone was giving away pencils so they went to a school. I keep decluttering and passing things on. I’ve seen storage lockers full of years old broken junk.

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