It was September 6, 2016, when I gave up on having a fixed home. I packed 64 things into my bag and left. Dive in to hear why and how I became homeless!
Hey! Today I wanna take the time to quickly talk about how I became homeless.
It’s been roughly two years, it was September 6, 2016, that I got up and I decided to pack my bags and never move back into an apartment ever since. I just wanted to talk a bit about what prompted that decision and how my life has changed since then.
So how much stuff did I own?
Quite some time ago, about probably like 5 or 6 years now, I was asked how much stuff do I own. It made me really curious. I have this weakness for questions that sound simple or very simple questions with a complicated answer. And that definitely fit this question. I had no clue how much stuff I owned. You know the question sounded so simple like it was fascinating to me to understand that the answered to that question was not obvious at all.
So I decided to start creating a spreadsheet. And I started going through my apartment and I collected everything and I indexed everything and came up with a list of everything that I owned.
You can still find that spreadsheet today on cedricwaldburger.com/list. That’s the full list of everything that I own. So that started a long time ago and as soon as I had that list, I had a number. I saw how much stuff I own.
Even though I considered myself living with very few things already after I’ve moved from New York to London, Berlin and everywhere, I thought I didn’t have much. But I had probably 600 plus items at the time.
A continuous process
Another thing that I found interesting was that it took me at least two or three months to put everything on the list. Because there was stuff I would discover here or there that I did not previously know I had consciously.
So I had this list and now I had a number. And, of course, that triggered me to start thinking about like how do I get lower. Like, what is the stuff that I actually need like how low can I go without compromising on the experiences and connections that I can have in my life?
So I started thinking like if I could only own one pair of pants, which pair would it be? If I could only have one pair of shoes which kind of pair of shoes would I keep and so on and so forth. And it was a continuous process that led me down to about I think 127 items including every spoon, every couch in my apartment back then.
The final drop
And so in September 2016 I just came back from I think it was a business trip to New York or Miami. I came back for just one night and the next morning I was gonna go to Amsterdam. That morning when I got up it hit me. I was like “why do I still have an apartment?” It kind of felt like I only came back to Zurich to be in that apartment and spend the night in an apartment there. Because if I’m already paying for it, I might as well use it, right. If I’m paying several thousand Swiss francs per month, I might as well use that apartment.
And that morning it kind of dawned on me and I was like “That does not make any sense, why would I ever want to be there for something physical, for a thing? Things should be there for me, give me value and it should not be vice-versa. It should not be me spending time for a thing.”
And that’s kind of when it dawned on me that I probably don’t even need an apartment anymore. And that’s when I moved out. That’s when I packed my carry-on, I think at the time it was probably 70 things, 70-odd things. And then after a week, I realized this is probably gonna be… live for a lot longer, this is not something that I can just do for a month or so; it’s something that I can do for longer. And I remember in October I, so roughly a month later, I went through my list, got it down to 64 items and I wrote a blog post detailing why I had given up on having more stuff.
It was just an experiment gone right
I got a lot of positive echoes and I felt like with all that support like there’s really nothing that can go wrong. I saw it as an experiment like I see many things in my life. Some go wrong, at least I’ve learned something, and some go right and I largely increase my quality of life.
And so it’s been that September 6 that was quite an influential day in my life. I gave up on having a home and I’ve never felt homeless since then. That’s the beautiful part. Like a lot of my friends have hosted me since then. Right now, I’m at my parents’ place. It’s a very convenient, beautiful place right by the lake. It’s just been one very positive experience.
That’s the story of how I became homeless. I hope you’re having a great day and I will talk to you tomorrow!
You can listen to the audio version here: