Over the last few years, “things” have really stressed me out. Even on the PCT, I felt like I had too many “things” in my backpack– everything I was living with could fit in my backpack and it still felt like too much? ha! It was the same struggle when I took a road trip across the US in 2013. It STILL felt like I had too much stuff in my car, but I just couldn’t get rid of it. The only time I remember feeling like I had an appropriate amount of luggage was when I took a few weeks to cycle Germany in 2015. I had only a daypack with a pair of jeans, a cotton dress, and a few other things. My spandex often doubled between bike shorts and underwear.
I had a roommate once who could fit everything from his bedroom into a plastic luggage trunk.
I travel a lot. And I have lived in multiple apartments. And I am SO SICK of moving stuff around! As I prepare to haul all my crap back to Delaware after living in Savannah for only a few months, I am ready to make an active effort to live minimally.
I can’t help but think I have always felt this way, but I didn’t understand that you could live with less. I grew up as the youngest and the only girl in a well off family. We weren’t drowning in money (and my parents certainly didn’t like to show off their wealth) but the kitchen was ALWAYS full of snacks and cheese and lunch meat and little debbie cakes and our rooms were always full of toys and books and puzzles. I remember always being a little stressed out about all my toys. How do I organize them? How can I make them all fit perfectly and neatly in my closet? but there was too much. They usually just ended up in a pile under my bed.
Even when I went off to college, I packed as much as I could fit in the car. Then I bought more stuff to fill my dorm room, then my apartment room, then a whole apartment. The story goes on across multiple moves, multiple states.
Today, I sit back in Georgia. I am getting ready to move to Laos, hoping to leave with one large suitcase and a day pack. Of course I will leave some things at home, but I want to be fully confident in my choices of what I choose to take with me, as well as what I leave to greet me when I return home in a few years. Some of the minimalist bloggers say you just have to binge, clean it out all at once and don’t look back. Some tell you to run a trial by pulling out only what you think you’ll need for 30 days. Some say to just get rid of one thing every day. I am choosing a series of mini binges. On my days off I go through and pull a few things I feel I don’t need. Its tough. I love that dress, and those earrings–but I can’t remember the last time I wore them. Incense burner, old water bottles, books I can never seem to finish no matter how many times I start them…
Having a move to the other side of the world planned is definitely helpful. I ask “Will I travel with this? Will this not be available when I arrive in Laos?” If the answer is no, I ask “Is it worth keeping at home? Will this really be relevant when I return?? Is it something I can’t replace?” So far, the hardest things to throw in the donation pile are gifts I have received from other people. Art supplies are difficult as well.
One thing at a time. One day at a time. I am really looking forward to seeing what this all develops into. And I am thrilled to have this blog to document my progress!