I’ve been reading many websites devoted to this subject and the advice they give ranges from sensible to the ridiculous. Some show how to donate, sell or trash items that have not been used for a long time. Others, try to make it a competition as in: “I only own 50 items.” (The latter is pretty ridiculous to me.)
As I was reading, it became apparent than most of these blogs were redundant. They said the same thing and very little I didn’t know or couldn’t figure out with common sense.
Was I that knowledgeable or was it something else?
And then it hit me–I was already practicing minimalism. Travel Minimalism. I, along with many of you, have figured out how to travel, sometimes weeks at a time, with only one small carry-on bag.
Think about it. How many strange looks do you get from friends or colleagues when you tell them you’re traveling with just that small bag? They look confused, surprised and in many cases want to know the secret.
It’s no secret; we just take what we need and nothing more.
Hmm….isn’t that the concept of minimalism in general? Only own what you really need.
During the Christmas holidays, I marked ten years living in my current home. In ten years, I accumulated a lot of stuff. And even though I’ve had clear outs in the past, there is still a lot of stuff. Stuff that has to be gotten rid of.
I tried a little experiment. I went around the house with a pack of colored post it stickers and put them on the items I wanted to keep when I move out in three months. Items that would go into a small storage unit. Items that would fit in the wheeled storage trunks and lockers I had.
With each item I asked myself…..have I used it in the last six months? If yes, do I use it enough to keep it or can it be easily replaced? Does it have any sentimental value? Will getting rid of it have any negative effect on my life?
When I was done with the first room, I looked at my pack of post it stickers and was shocked. I had used only a few. Then I did another room and the same thing happened.
I never thought of myself as a big consumer, a lover of “stuff.” But apparently, I got caught up like almost everyone else with buying things I didn’t really need.
Don’t get me wrong, if you love owning things and believe shopping is a pleasant experience, then continue to live your life that way. There is no right or wrong.
But, if deep down, you’re like me, and would much rather spend your money on life’s experiences rather than stuff, why not do a clear out of your own. Not only will you get rid of “stuff,” but you’ll find life somewhat easier as well. As I clear things away, my life seems to be clearing up as well. I feel lighter and have more energy since I have less to maintain.
There is, however, one area that is very difficult for me to purge. My travel closet. It’s full of travel related items such as bags, accessories, gadgets, and the like. It’s my favorite group of stuff. But that’s a discussion for another post.
During the next few months, I’ll talk more about purging your stuff for a full time trip and go into detail on how I got rid of things and decided what to do with them. I’ll also discuss replacing older items with newer ones that might make life, and travel, easier. (Think e-reader rather than a load of books as an example.)
In the meantime, enjoy the late, great George Carlin and his riff on “stuff:”