I am a high-maintenance minimalist. Like Jake Owen sings… “I travel light and my bags are packed”
Downsizing to a minimalist life style has been its own psychological “adventure”. I didn’t realize
how addicted I was to gently-used gift bags or that I had a true fear of running out of pens!
Don’t get me started on Brian’s collection of batteries and light bulbs!
Though we downsized substantially, I can’t say that I was completely successful. You see, I shop at
Costco. I couldn’t part with the four tubes of tooth paste, six boxes of sandwich bags (no exaggeration)
or twelve cans of black beans that had to come with us. Every meal so far has included a side of rice and
beans! The difference is that I know I will NEED these items soon. At least that is how I am justifying
As I started packing my clothes, I found myself inventing new minimalizing rules such as “accessories,
including scarves, purses, jewelry, hats, belts, etc. don’t actually count towards the allotted 14-days’
worth of outfits. The other rule that I tried to create was that if I could find somewhere else besides the
closet to store said items, they also didn’t count. They were simply bonus bags!
Well, I learned that… you can’t become a minimalist over night by simply donating a bunch of junk, it really
is an emotional process, even for someone that isn’t very sentimental. Now that I have gone through the process,
I can streamline the mind-game battle that is the downsizing process! (I am looking at you Team Baxter… place
Here are some things that really helped me:
– Have a BIGGER goal in mind. Something that excites you more than your grandmothers lamp! For us,
we used the money that we made from selling our furniture to help fund our sabbatical. It made it easier to
part with items knowing it will cover the cost of a night stay somewhere. Our rule was – If we can make $20+
we will try to sell it. Anything less than that wasn’t worth our time/energy.
– Recruit some cheap labor! We put Hannah, our 13-year-old, to work. She took a picture of the item and
researched the cost – both new and used. We determined a price and she posted it. All communication
with the crazy people buying USED carpet (true story) was handled by Brian or me. Hannah earned 10% on all items
she sold and because of her time and efforts, we made over $3500 from selling our junk!
– Give important items away to someone who will appreciate them as much as you have. “Loan” your possessions
out if you must, eventually, you won’t miss them or even want them back.
– You can always use the box trick. Pack the stuff that you feel like you simply can’t live without and store
it in the garage. If you don’t touch the box for 30 days then you don’t need it. Don’t open it, just donate it.
– Quality over quantity. I don’t mind living minimally, but the possessions I do have, I want to be of high
quality. Downsizing became a lot easier when I realized that I can donate my 6 pairs of black knee-high boots, for
one high-quality pair that can also make a cappuccino!
– Rinse and repeat. Room by room.
A clutter free life-style is more than just getting rid of material possessions. It is a lifestyle that is heavily
based on organization. My biggest weakness. It includes streamlining the internal processes of your life
(i.e cleaning out emails, scheduling meals, etc.). Yes, I am still the same Tina, but I am changing.
This trip is about resetting our life and our habits. Becoming organized is one of my personal goals (in addition
to gaining flexibility and mastering my splits, again. Yes, all three sides, right, left and middle. Was that TMI?).
The last few weeks prior to us moving were ridiculously chaotic and the interesting thing was….it ALL revolved
around stuff. Toxic. Stupid. Never again…
The game is no longer “he who dies with the most toys, wins” which can be stressful and suffocating depending on
your situation. I have joined a new game called “he that lives with the most passion and verve for life, wins”.
It’s not for everyone, but it’s for me.
Be free. Experience life.
Boondocks and Bliss
UPDATE: One month living on the road I can tell you honestly, I do not miss ONE thing that I have packed away in
storage. I don’t know why I kept 95% of the items that I did. Within two weeks we had taken donations to Goodwill.
Within the next couple days, we reach our 30-day mark and will do another major de-clutter. If we have not used the
items we packed this first month, they go! Not once have I felt that we are sacrificing comfort or going without.
I am shocked and feeling proud of this turn.