Real Life Minimalists: Kim

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.

I love this story from Kim, who tells us how she gave up her possessions to travel the world. Follow her adventures on her blog, So Many Places.

Kim writes:

In a span of two weeks my husband and I sold almost every single one of our possessions.

We sold our house (furnished!), our car, our silverware and our patio furniture and our knick-knacks. We kept photos and old letters and the things that held meaning in our lives, which was a surprisingly small amount of stuff when we got right down to it. We sold it all with the gusto of a storming Calvary. Less stuff and MORE LIFE! we declared. It was our mantra, it had to be, because giving up that stuff was hard.

We gave all up because we were leaving to travel the world, indefinitely, and the life of a nomad doesn’t lend itself well to material possessions. But oh how I cried as it all went out the door (My books! My favorite coffee mug! That adorable orange teapot that we never use but look how cute it looks sitting on the burner!).

Here’s my point: back then, I didn’t know if what I was doing was sane or crazy. I didn’t know if, in losing all of my possessions, I would also lose a part of my identity. And I didn’t know if I’d miss the things that I spent a lifetime acquiring so much that I’d regret my decision altogether.

It’s been a year now since I whittled my possessions down to a backpack-sized load. And you know what? I’m still me. In fact, I might argue (ahm, don’t mind if I do) that I’m a better version of me. I’m a spunkier, freer, more carefree version of me.

I loved that stuff I used to own. Really, I did. But I didn’t need it. That’s what I know now. None of that stuff defined me. I was never my books or my coffee mug or my really cute teapot. None of it really mattered. And I know now that when the day comes to settle down and start accumulating things again, that I will look at each new item in a different light. I’ll look for function. I’ll look for value. Less stuff and MORE LIFE! I’ll declare. And this time I’ll know it’s the truth.

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

13 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Kim

  • Helen

    Love your story and the picture of you wearing your remaining possessions!


  • Kathleen Casey

    I love your photo! When I was young and decided to live overseas a few times, I also had to get rid of most of my possessions. I do clearly remember feeling that my identity was at stake, although I also enjoyed streamlining. I remember taking too much with me and wishing later that I had gotten rid of it. But that was a powerful fear for me, and I appreciate your pointing it out.

  • Congratulations on your new life. You both look so very happy. It truly is amazing how we become more when we have fewer material possessions.

  • Wow! Glad you both are living your dream. I checked out some of the pics on your blog and it does look like you’re having the time of your life! I’m looking forward to reading about all your adventures. I’ll admit though, it would be really hard for me to get rid of almost everything I own. Don’t think I could do it…at least not willingly :) Karen

  • Hi Kim (and husband),

    What a great story, oh, I mean life!!! I just took a quick peek at your site and not only is it beautiful, it draws me in. I’ll definitely subscribe. Like others here have said, I’d have a very hard time letting go of my treasures but I often dream of the life you have chosen.

    I can’t wait to read more of your story and get updates. Congratulations on being brave and committing to a life that supports your values and vision of prosperity.


  • Oh Kim, what an inspiration your story is. WOW!!!

    Thanks for sharing, and I hope your journey continues to be amazing.

  • Kim

    Thank you everyone for your support. A year and a half into it and I can tell you I don’t miss my stuff!

  • Joanna

    You mean “cavalry” rather than “Calvary”. “Cavalry” is an army on horseback, “Calvary” is the hill where Jesus died.

    I’m inspired by the “I am not the things I love” idea. I think that’s the hardest thing for me with letting go of stuff.

  • GattonFratton

    Just FYI- Calvary is the small hill where Christ was crucified. A cavalry is a fighting unit on horseback.

  • Britta

    And Calgary is a city in Canada.

    The ONLY way I can keep from mistyping/misspeaking Calvary/Cavalry is to first think of the Spanish word for horse = cavallo. Then I remember that the “caval”ry rode in on horseback to save some town, but it was on Calvary that Jesus gave his life to save my soul.

    Ah, mnemonic devices…

    CONGRATS on your spunkier self and life, Kim! You’ve given me fresh encouragement to, you might say, unburden my horses and go charging off to a free-er life!

  • Tina

    I love the stories of people ridding themselves of many possessions. We keep giving things away and recycling. I know what I need to do next, look at the collection of tea cups that my MIL kept in her closet and I’ve never displayed. The local historical society has a gift shop and maybe they can sell the beautiful cups and saucers. I have donated some fine china bud vases I got but have never used in over 40 years.

  • Tina

    I am taking another box of china to the historical society. I want nothing in my house that isn’t useful or beautiful. I’ve kept 3 china vases that I got for gifts. I kept some blue glass animals that my friend gave me. So much has gone. It feels great.

  • Tina

    I can’t imagine life as a nomad. But I can imagine paring down further. My mom is still building her towers of papers and junk in the nursing home. They tried to clean out her junk the other day. She is practicing her Spanish, French and German so she doesn’t lose them.

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