Real Life Minimalists: Santiago

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.

Today, Santiago, a philosophy student, shares his story with us. He’s already made wonderful progress with his decluttering, and is striving to reduce his possessions even more.

Santiago writes:

My name is Santiago, I’m currently a college freshman hoping to major in Philosophy, and I work with my mother on our healthcare consulting company, eventually hoping to get contracts from the state and become non-profit. This means that I don’t have very much time to myself, much less to commit to large projects like cleaning out my mess of a room.

More on that: my family of six lives in a 5 story townhouse, needless to say, we have a lot of rooms and a lot of clutter to fill them. This is where minimalizing comes in.

Apart from the piles of books I’ve accumulated over the years, my hobbies also include computer repair. This meant that half of my room was covered with wires, screens, and all sorts of computer guts. The other half had my desk (covered with books and papers) and my bed, not exactly leaving much room for me.

After about a year of living with this mess, I finally decided to do something about it. Over the course of 3 days, I have managed to get rid of about half the things I own, for good, and it looks like my ‘pile’ is only going to get smaller.

Anyway, I recently started waging an attack upon my my little siblings’ ‘study’, in order to convert it into a small office space for my mother to work in. So far, it’s getting along really well. I’m really happy I found your website, because with this, along with some other blogs on Tumblr, I’ve become quite the minimalism proponent. In fact, I’ve started writing for a design blog called ‘‘ (4 ‘l’s) and I’d be more than happy to see some participation from the folks who frequent this blog (I’m the only writer over there, so it was extremely refreshing to stumble upon this blog!)

I feel like I’m working in a completely different room now, the light from the windows bounces off the walls, giving the whole room a brighter feel. Your ‘extreme’ minimalism (My girlfriend and I both love your bedroom and study) is really quite inspiring to keep cutting down.

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

13 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Santiago

  • Hey Santiago! Thanks for sharing your story! Isn’t interesting how once you “discover” minimalism, all you want to do is get rid of your stuff?! The same thing happened to me…more than 2 years ago. Good luck on your journey!

  • Maggie

    Less is definitely more… more decluttering the moment you start! After a while, it becomes hard to stop!

  • andres

    once you get minimalism you just cant go back to before, you just get concern about today

  • Santiago, like you I started on this path not long ago. Keep working at it, it may be hard sometimes but keep in mind that rewarding feeling you get when you are done with a room.
    I had some incredibly productive days and some others that seem not to go that well. So I decide to have a big trash-bag available at all times; on days I don’t feel too energetic I made the commitment to put at least one thing a day in the bag.
    Keep going:)

  • Mrs Brady Old Lady

    Tried your URL but it didn’t work??? Just some blocks but whenever I clicked on one I got an error message.

  • Great stuff Santiago – it’s always inspiring to hear new minimalist stories.
    It’s also wonderful that you can help others (your siblings) clear their space.

  • 3 days! That’s incredibly impressive! Unfortunately your URL didn’t work for me either… :(

  • Wow, discovering minimalism in college! That is the time when life is inevitably out of balance. Simplifying has got to take away some of the stress, though. And life will seem absolutely heavenly went you’re done! ;-)

    I also tried your link, but it didn’t work.

  • AussieGirl

    It’s wonderful that you’ve discovered minimalism at an age where most of us are living in excess.

    Good luck on your journey!

  • […] they lived before. Some of us can easily shed a large percentage of our possessions in just a few days.  This is not the case for […]

  • Tina

    While I am glad you can work so fast, I don’t have much and I want to carefully sort what I have. I have 3 pairs of shoes and flip flops. We never turn the heat on in the winter because we live in a condo. but I often sleep in a ratty sweatshirt and sweatpants. I saved some magazine articles because I liked the color combinations or the useful tips. I still have some knives to get rid of. I hope to get rid of a bookcase when my son takes the rest of his books out. It goes, just slowly.

  • Tina

    I am still donating a big bag or two every week to Goodwill. I am planning to give some beautiful china to my friend for her church rummage sale this spring. I give a lot of plastic odds and ends to the pre-school where my grandchildren go to school. They like shapes the kids can trace around. All my plastic bags that I don’t need for my cats go to my son so he can clean up after his cat and his dog. There is more I have to clean out and I’m sure I will find more to give away.

  • Tina

    I have another bag of art supplies to take to the public library. Years ago, I bought gift wrap at Sal Army and Goodwill and I still have plenty left. I just finished off another 2 big rolls. I also use comics and junk mail interspersed with real wrapping paper. One gift I give is used books from the library. Two books make a nice gift.

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