When I was preparing to move to London I had to go through several session of getting rid of stuff. I have always been a fan of de-junking and did it regularly (ask my sisters, I would show up to the parents house every so often with a bag (or two+) of clothes). But by this time in my life I had lived by myself for 6 years and had collected more than I had realized, by way of furniture, clothes, kitchen appliances, random cool objects to look at, etc. You know, stuff I thought I needed to live.
I had read stories about people who didn't have much - just lived with like 10 t-shirts one pair of pants and some shoes and one cereal bowl or something...the bare necessities. Wasn't that all you were hearing about a few years back? I thought that I would like to live similarly, but even with my several de-junking sessions I never quite reached a minimalist stage.
Until I was forced to.
And it was harder than I thought - ask my sisters once again - they were there with me through the process of letting stuff go and it was indeed a difficult and lengthy process.
I didn't see the point of putting all my stuff in storage. It seemed like such a waste of time, space and energy...and moving to London was the perfect reason to get rid of almost everything I owned and stay simple. Going to London, for me, was to be a new start and a re-birth in many ways, and logistically I couldn't take much with me anyway.
So once I knew I was going I started getting rid of stuff. I began with the easy things...clothes I hadn't worn in a while. Those kitchen items that I hadn't used in years. etc. I threw a bunch of items up on KSL and Craigslist...then planned and carried out a yard/garage sale (exhausting) where I filled an entire front yard with my past and exchanged it for much-needed cash. I even sold my face wash. For weeks I went through several sessions with my mom and siblings going through my closest and found myself trying to hold on to things, even up until just hours before I was to leave I was arguing about needing this coat or that jacket, but I had to make a choice, I couldn't take it all. It was so frustrating and I was so tired, but at the same time it was very liberating once I put it down and let it go.
I ended up storing very little - my Japanese wooden bed frame, my mattress, my drafting table and one plastic tub of clothes and some shoes. I kept most of my books, my paints and brushes and business papers, etc. as well. But a lot of my personal history, mementos, and lots of random papers went to the garbage. For several weeks I filled up all three garbage cans on L street over and over again. I was continually surprised at how I could keep filling them up - because really, it didn't feel like I had that much to begin with.
I had planned on two suitcases and a carryon, which turned into three large suitcases and a carryon...and a big backpack. But really, that isn't that much because some of it was school supplies - and some of it was a years worth of stuff like toothpaste and whatnot. And I was packing for four seasons. Still, I wondered if I was taking too much, or if I would wish I had brought more. Only time could tell. And time has passed!
What I have learned is that less is less. Less clothes means less laundry and less time getting ready for the day. Less stuff to look at means less stuff to clean. Less to get out and use, means less stuff to put away. Less material possessions means less time managing said possessions. Less is less. I am happier with less. I feel lighter with less. And my living conditions are such that I really can't own all that much. There's just not the space for it. My room is tiny and I have one small dresser, one small book shelf and one closet. It's all got to fit into that space. But my portion of the flat is so easy to keep clean and orderly because there's just not that much to keep clean and orderly. I love it! And really, I still have plenty.
I am not married and without kids, so I don't know how it will be once I have both of those in my life. But I feel like now is the time to create some minimalist habits that will carry into the future because I would like to keep living this way. I know it's not for everyone, but for me and my personality, well - it makes me happier.
I once said years back, "I don't need a lot. I just need awesome." And now that I am closer to living that way than ever before, I couldn't agree with myself more. :)