Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
Today, I’m happy to share an update from previous Real Life Minimalist Gigi. We first heard from her last July, while she was traveling through Europe with her little dog Luna. Read on to find out where she is now on her minimalist journey (for more details, surf on over to her blog).
After four months of full-time travel with just a backpack and a dog, I’ve become even more of a minimalist. So, when I returned to Colorado this fall to sell my car, re-pack my bag, and plan for my next adventures, I also took on an even more ambitious minimizing project.
What if I could take the eight or so boxes in my friend’s basement and reduce them to two?
I started with my clothes, trying everything on. The things that had gotten shabby during my first four months of travel, the things that were now too small, since I’d dropped a pants size on the road, the things that just weren’t me anymore…they all went to the consignment shop and/or Goodwill.
This eliminated at least one box. Maybe more.
Then I tackled my paperwork and electronics. For something like ten years I’ve been backing things up on CD—and, dear god, do I have a lot of those backup CDs. So I bought myself a high capacity removable hard drive and transferred all those backups onto one much smaller electronic backup device (and one that I can actually edit, even better!). I also took scans all of my photos and typed up my favorite recipes so that I can toss my photo album and recipe books, and still keep them electronically.
This eliminated at least two more boxes.
Next I tossed all the things I was keeping “just in case” my grand ideas of living and working on the road didn’t work out (because, after four months, I’m feeling braver…this thing really is working out!). This included blankets, spoons, towels, and electronics with American plugs. I rent furnished places and spend most of my time in Europe and/or other abroad locations, so I just don’t need these things. And if I do decide to come back to the states someday, I can always re-buy spoons and hair dryers. They don’t have sentimental value for me, so there’s no need to store them.
At the end of my five weeks back in Colorado, I’ve reduced eight boxes and a backpack to just one box (which I’ll keep in my friend’s basement), one small bag (which I’ll take with me to California for my two months there and then leave behind with a friend outside L.A.), and one backpack (which will go back on the road with me).
I’m more minimized than I’ve been…well, ever. And I feel amazing. Free. Excited for what comes next. Unhindered.
While not everyone can reduce their things to a single box, bag, and backpack (if you have a home, obviously you’ll need to keep your spoons), for me it was the right move. Now, when I get that visa for Italy or Switzerland, I can jaunt off unhindered. And if I ever want or need my things, they’re just one UPS shipment away.