Midnight Pub

The Pursuit of Less: Anyone Else on This Journey?


Hey Midnighters,

Just finished another marathon with my two little whirlwinds, and while I was tidying up their battlefield, a thought washed over me. The thing is, I've been trying to simplify life lately. Has anyone else been wandering down this less-trodden path?

I look around, and my life is cluttered with possessions; objects I once craved, but now merely collect dust. Unopened Blu-Rays, video games whose titles I've long forgotten, gadgets I've barely touched. They're all silent reminders of a time when more was exciting. But, as of late, my desire seems to be shifting towards the exact opposite - less.

Less stuff. Less actions. Less commitments. Just less.

It's quite peculiar how this tendency to accumulate things turned into what now feels like a compulsion. My life feels like an episode from a reality show about hoarders, minus the dramatic score and commercial breaks. And what's the point? I don't even have the time or energy to enjoy these things anymore.

Instead, my real pleasure seems to lie in subtracting rather than adding. With every item I discard or every obligation I shed, I breathe a little easier. I feel lighter. It's as if each reduction is a step closer to a simpler, more mindful existence.

And so I find myself, day by day, increasingly craving the liberation of this newfound minimalism, this unique hobby of "less." In a way, it's not about losing possessions, but about reclaiming my space, my time, my life.

I'm curious if anyone else here has gone through, or is going through, something similar? How are you dealing with it? Do you feel the same sense of relief, the same sense of freedom, when you say 'no' to more and 'yes' to less? Are there any challenges you've faced during this process? I would love to hear about your experiences.

Sometimes, it's just comforting to know we're not alone in our struggles or triumphs, isn't it?

Looking forward to hearing your stories and insights.


Our greatest struggle is I have no sentimental attachments to objects, but my wife very much does. Every item has a story, and she fears that letting go of the item will lead her to forget, or is somehow a betrayal of the memory. Things are slowly getting easier, as even she is tiring of the clutter in her spaces in the house.

Some memories are absolutely deserving of totems; they can bring back strong emotions you might have thought lost. We have a single small item from every pet we have ever had, for example. Sometimes we hold them and share stories, so they are not forgotten.

I have a vague fear that while she remembers too much, and is often a prisoner of the past...I may in time remember too little, and become adrift. I don't take pictures or otherwise attempt to document my life in any significant way, preferring to focus instead on always being present in the moment. How many precious connections will I lose for lack of something to jog my increasingly fallible memory? I don't think there is a right or wrong way to thread this particular needle.



@alextheuxguy Cheers! 🥂



hey there, i've been a minimalist for about 5 years now and i have to say i love it. it's scary at first but nowadays, i couldn't live any other way. i get made fun of for living like a sociopath, sure, but i do genuinely feel better because of it. while it's not the end all be all, it most certainly has made my life better in so many ways. i'm glad to hear you're going on a similar journey because i can guarantee it'll lead to a better life, in a few ways.

also, yes, i have reached the point where i wear the same outfit everyday



~lufte Next drink is on me, really resonate with your words here. I've often find myself of the mindset "if I get rid of everything I'll be happy and able to breathe". But then there's sadness when I get rid of something and months/years realize I want that one thing.

But if I instead focus filtering what I add, and making use of what I have, I feel it's a more sustainable path to happiness.

The things we have, we originally got because they brought us joy, or solved a need, and chances are they can continue to do that if we stop looking at the next shiny thing. When we do need to add to our collection, being conscious of quality, durability and life-time usefulness helps complete this cycle. We'll grow bored of it sure, but when we again take a step back and look at what we have, that thing will still be able to fill a need.



I'm on the same journey, but I try to be cautious: it's not so much about having less but about not having more. That gadget you already bought but never used? Do not rush at throwing it away. Keep it. You may want to use it in the future, who knows? Or maybe you find someone to whom you could gift it, or maybe you even find a buyer. The real shame would be to throw everything away in a hurry to become minimalist and later you find out that you really needed that one thing, so now you need to buy another one.

I'm also focusing a lot on, when I do need to acquire new stuff (because who doesn't?), trying to pick things that last, things I can fix, used things that other people are selling, in short, sustainable things.

I really enjoyed your thoughts on this, I hope you stay on this path!






Only thing we cannot own is time. Someone said.

Why to desire a new car if we don't know we will be here next week.

Everyone realizes sooner or later.



Having just stopped in briefly this morning on his way to work, Tracker's ears prick up as he overhears the conversation on minimalism happening among several patrons standing around in a loose-knit group near the middle of the room. He waves to the ~bartender and requests a glass of ice water with muddled mint leaves, a little maple syrup, and a slice of lemon. Truly the taste of early summer.

"Morning, ~aftergibson. I empathize with your minimalist journey. For many a year, I prided myself on being able to fit all of my belongings in my vehicle in the event of a move. I slept in a sleeping bag on the floor in my apartment, worked on my laptop at a tiny folding table, kept all my clothes neatly rolled on a little blanket, and owned only a small number of reference books, preferring to borrow pleasure reading books from the local library. Once I had moved into a city, I donated my car to a local charity and went everywhere on my road bike for almost a decade. Having less possessions left me with more time and energy to dedicate to each of them and more mental clarity around what I wanted to do with my time."

He pauses to take a sip of his drink, and then with a pleased look on his face, he takes another.

"That was a decade ago now though. Since then, I moved off-grid in the forested mountains and built my homestead. I own a lot more things now than I did when I lived in a little city apartment, but I feel that most of the things that I own really are necessary to take care of my homestead and provide for all of my needs. It turns out that you just need more things when you are trying to be more self-sufficient. However, I do still like to go through my little yurt and my outbuildings top to bottom each year and dig out anything that I'm not using anymore, so that I can find a new home for it. There are some things that I've been having trouble letting go of, like some really nice reference books that I used a lot in the past but don't really need anymore. I'm working myself up to it though. There's still plenty of low-hanging fruit around here that I can purge."

Tracker tips back his flatcap and takes another long drink.

"One of the areas that you might not think of right away that can be really satisfying to declutter is your electronic life. I develop scientific software for a living, so sitting in front of a computer all day during the week is the norm for me. However, I make a point of spending very little extra time on my computer each day. (I make a small exception for Astrobotany and The Midnight Pub, which maybe eat up about 15-20 minutes each day.) Basically, I have a short checklist of things I need to do on my computer outside of work and zip through it each morning. Then at the end of my workday, I shut my computer down and shift back into the real world for the rest of the evening. I don't have (and never had) any social media accounts, and I have a LightPhone II (https://www.thelightphone.com), which doesn't have any always-connected apps or notifications, so I can focus on taking care of my homestead and spending time with my partner in the mornings, evenings, and weekends. I'm not perfect, and every now and again, something shiny on the internet catches my attention briefly, but I just try not to make it a habit. Ultimately, less is more when it comes to screen time, and there's a lot of life to live out there that I don't want to miss."

With a smile, Tracker sits back on a barstool and resumes his drink.



Good Morning ~aftergibson, good to see you around!

~bartender? A hot coffee with cream and sugar. Thanks!

I don't even have the time or energy to enjoy these things anymore.

I think, that is the point. I have collected a lot of stuff in my life as well. Books. Journals. Tools. Cameras, analog. Bicycles and components. Some computers, electronic components and nerdy gadgets. Physics toys, among those a full featured small telescope. Musical instruments.

And guess what: I don't have the time any more. My fingers fail on me, so my excuse to keep the guitar around is vanishing a little more every day. I will not pick up my beloved guitar ever again, regardless of all the uncounted hours I did use it long times ago. It is not going to happen. Along the same lines: scanning my slides into digital format? It is not going to happen either. Converting my LPs to flac files? Not either. I bought an expensive turn table instead. I have made an experiment with analog film again, only to find out that processing has become mindboggling expensive.

I have reduced the number of books in my shelf. It is kind of hard. Noone near is going to pick up this old (and outdated) stuff. So most of it ended in the paper bin. Sigh.

I have gotten rid of many things, but not nearly enough. I will ultimately have to "let go" when I move into that last small appartment. The one where I will not walk out again. This may still be some years in the future. But I have become generous about giving stuff away.

Example: My Dad created a set of chess figures on a lathe, plus a board. Made from walnut and maple wood. I kept the set as a token of my Dad, who passed away >25 years ago. However, I'm not ever going to pick up playing chess again. So I gave the set away to someone, who is playing regularly. He gazed in disbelieve, when I handed the set over. These are fond memories to have, when going down the "less is more" road.



Good morning, ew,

~bartender, a hot coffee with cream and sugar for my friend here, please.

I read your response with a strong sense of kinship and understanding. Your words struck a chord. Life, it seems, has a way of reprioritizing our interests and necessities.

Much like you, I've also spent many years gathering and holding on to possessions, things that at one point or another held a deep significance to me. The sheer variety of items in your collection - books, journals, cameras, and particularly the musical instruments - resonate with me. They're all physical representations of who we were, who we are, and maybe even who we aspired to be.

The process of letting go is, as you rightly said, a hard one. It can be quite heartrending to part with things we've clung to for years. The images you paint of the precious guitar, the vintage slides, the nostalgic LPs, they all echo sentiments I've experienced myself.

And yet, there's an underlying beauty to it, isn't there? In this journey of decluttering, it's as though we're shedding layers, creating space not just in our homes, but also in our hearts and minds. The act of giving away possessions, like the cherished chess set crafted by your father, is so incredibly poignant. In your generosity, you've not only lightened your own load but also enriched someone else's life. The chess set, rather than gathering dust in a corner, is now probably bringing joy to someone who appreciates the game.

And your anecdote about the chess set did make me think. Perhaps the beauty of this journey towards less isn't about loss, but about redefinition. It's not about what we're losing, but about what we're gaining - memories, experiences, a sense of lightness, and a newfound appreciation for the things that truly matter.

Thank you for sharing your story. It has added much to my reflections on this journey towards "less."



This desire to have less is a good thing. Even better would be to know, why. Have you wondered why? Because nothing in this world can make you happy. Your desires are bigger. Only God can satisfy them. This desire of "throwing stuff away" is a part of it. Just don't stop on it, but go deeper, to find God in the Catholic Church :) Btw. You can visit my gemcapsule: gemini://0x00ff.pl



That's certainly one path; I do agree that nothing in this world can make you happy.

But instead of looking for an otherworldly object of desire, you could also consider that desire itself is the problem? There is at least a well-defined and reasonably practical program for tackling the problem from this end.

What are the four noble truths?


I was raised (and was a devout) Catholic until my late teens, when I simply stopped believing. Unfortunately, after many years trying, I simply cannot force a belief on myself. In the same way, I couldn't force those with faith not to have it. I've tried to assemble some variant of spirituality to replace it, but it's never really stuck, but perhaps you're pointing to somewhere closer to the truth in terms of a root cause to this need to consume...



Well then. You can (and I think even *should*) ask yourself what happened that you stopped believing. Maybe this will help you find a way. Anyway - feel free to contact me if you like whisper@wireless4606.anonaddy.com

Take care!



Hey ~aftergibson,

This is something that is definitely a challenge for me. I feel like I want to simplify, but too often find myself drawn to "shiny new things". But just as you said, those things go unused.

One thing that has been helping me is finding new hobbies, and leveraging the public library. The library let's me act on the impulse of wanting new things (books/movies/video games), without the commitment of having more stuff. I recently borrowed the Silo series by Hugh Howey, the new Top Gun movie, and the new God of War game. I get the joy of a "new thing", but they go right back to the library when the appeal has worn off.

Our community has a yard sale coming up in a couple weeks, I'm hoping I can use that as another win, a way to get rid of some stuff that still sits in moving boxes, half a year after we moved.

Now all that said, I still have moments of weakness haha. I just impulse bought an old Palm Pilot, and I've been fighting myself hard over buying an e-bike. Stuff I truly don't need, I have a bike and honestly the Palm will be fun to play with for a few months, but I'll be shocked if I use it after that.

But I am getting better at reducing my impulsive buying, and that's worth something.



Alex, I think you and I have similar areas of weakness. I have two old Psion 5MXs I loved using, some old DOS laptops and an old Powerbook running an obscure variant of AmigaOS I had some fun with them but nothing I've used in years now.

The impulse buying is killer, I like decluttering but I also like buying stuff, particular during moments or periods in life are crazy stressful. I feel I'm coming out of that period, looking around and asking "Who the hell bought all this crap I need to deal with".