The other day I came home to yet another gift. As I walked towards my computer in the living room to work on my blog, I saw a book I didn’t recognize on the coffee table.
The book was, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts and Timothy Ferriss which I finished reading that night. It’s an easy read and although not new, I think it’s quite essential when starting a lifestyle that involves a lot of traveling for extended periods of time. Travel in general, actually.
The first several chapters of the book pretty much spoke directly to me. The words resonated with me. What I read comforted whatever fears I was having.
The third chapter was one of my favorites and what my post today is about because it really excites me. It’s titled, ‘Keep it Simple’, and its about minimizing!
I love minimizing! Minimizing is my jam!
I am not a full blown minimalist. I just like to minimize.
Many of my friends and family know how much I like to declutter and purge the house. I am a clutter purger. They think I have nothing left to get rid of. They are wrong. I can always find something to get trade/sell/donate/throw away. Random papers and junk mail is always an easy target. In our society, it is so easy to accumulate, and I’ve accumulate a lot!
I’m going to let you all in on something that may make you think I’m the worst daughter ever… Here it goes: one of the reasons why I wanted to clear out a lot of the stuff in the basement of my parents home was because I didn’t want to have to deal with so much junk once they left the earth. I obviously didn’t get rid of stuff they wanted to keep but I did do my fair share of persuading. I don’t think they realize that once they’re gone, none of us kids want any of it. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to live forever. But that won’t be the case.
The book talked about how in order to keep things simple, we need to reduce clutter – downsizing what you already own. Great! I’m already doing one of the points this book suggests!
Because we plan on having a home base where we will spend half our year, I won’t downsize too much! But if we do decide to rent out, I need to keep everything simple and be able to move things out fast and easy if necessary.
I started really getting into decluttering right before I moved out of my house into my condo. I was packing my own stuff and paying a mover by the hour so I didn’t want to deal with so many boxes.
I started off with getting my books. Omg, how did I collect so many books? I donated books I read once- and didn’t intend on reading again- that spilled over two laundry baskets. When I looked at it all, I just thought about how much money I had spent on them and it disgusted me. All of that money could have gone towards a trip.
Recently I got rid another basketfull of books that I couldn’t get rid of the first time around. Right now, I have maybe 10 of my favorite books left on my shelf. I also have a few textbooks laying around that I may refer to but probably will end up googling whatever question I had… Those will be next to go.
I then went through my clothes…
I had clothes from over 15 years ago that didn’t even fit, clothes that made me question what the eff I was thinking when I purchased them, and clothes that still had tags. Zoikes.
I held my first clothing swap less than 10 years ago.
My expensive clothes and clothes I found difficult to part with, I gave to my close friends. I couldn’t fit the items but I figured maybe one day if I lose the weight, I could ask for them back. It hasn’t happened yet. I probably sound horrible but I guess that’s who I am. Everything that didn’t get snatched up was then donated so I’m not all that bad.
I’ve gone to three clothing swaps since then, passed clothes down to coworkers, donated clothes, gave clothes to my friends and yet, why do I still have so much? If you were to include all the shoes and jackets along with the clothes I gotten rid of over the last few years, I would say its amounted to well over 6 large suitcases full…probably more because I love jackets and shoes.
What I found helped when you’re not sure if you want to get rid of an article of clothing is to try it on. It’s helped me get rid of stuff I was holding onto hoping they would fit. Also, every time I buy a new article of clothing, I have to get rid of something old. I’ve noticed myself spending a bit more money on quality, classic clothing as well that hopefully lasts longer. Maybe it’s just age that has me not interested in a wide selection of clothing. Im all about florals and solid print! OMG…how old am !???
Here is a great (at least I think so) tip: when travelling, try to pack the clothes that you wouldn’t mind leaving behind at the end of the trip. Works great because the backpack is lighter than when you started out!
Where to declutter your unwanted stuff
If you’re looking to purge, there are FB groups out there that allows you to trade/barter for things. You post what you want to trade and the things you are in search of. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff and in return, asked for and received chocolate bars or bags of sunflower seeds. Works out well because I’m not adding anything to the house
Also, kijiji and garage sales. They can be a bit of work but once you see people pay for your ‘junk’ and the money is in your hand, I think it’s totally worth it. I had a garage sale at my parents house. My 5yo niece helped me set up and my dad sat with me all day while dealing with the hagglers. I had a great time with my dad. Drinking coffee, telling jokes…just chilling. A lot of stuff was theirs that they didn’t even know they had. It felt really good letting stuff that was accumulating dust go.
There you have. Worst daughter award goes to me.
Stop expanding and clear the mind
As Rolf Potts puts it, ‘Stop expansion-don’t add new things. Whenever you see the chance to eliminate any expensive habits, take it’.
I don’t think I have any expensive habits. I do enjoy having people over for dinner and going out for dinner. That’s where my money is spent. But it’s also money spent on friends so I wouldn’t give that up. I don’t add much to the house. In fact, whenever I’m bored, I walk around the house opening drawers and cabinets and stand in my closet to see what else I can sell or trade or donate. Right now, there is a shopping bag of full of clothes that needs to be donated.
Minimizing for the future
Was I unknowingly preparing myself for my future actions? Deep down, did I know that I was going to do what I’m in the process of doing: reorganizing my life into something new? Was this the reason why Bumblebae and I met?
Probably not . But interesting to think so.
Decluttering a space makes a room brighter and less closed in. It clears the mind from the mess and weight feels like it’s been lifted off the shoulders. Plus think of all the money you’re going to save from not overconsuming – The likelihood of traveling seems more manageable and feasible.
If you’re in the Winnipeg, Canada area and are in need of some organizing and decluttering help, check out Three Pines Organzing. My friend Sara is amazing at what she does and she is amazing herself. I highly recommend her!
I’ve followed a couple of minimalist blogs, watched the Minimalism movie on Netflix, binged on the Marie Kondo series and I love it all! I really enjoy seeing how the weight on peoples shoulders is lifted after they organize and clear stuff out. Even I feel more relaxed when I see the transformation. Seeing clutter gives me anxiety.
Blogging and minimzing …it is freeing!
Whoa, did I go off on a decluttering tangent or what!
Back to the book
Getting back on track here. About the Vagabonding book. I highly recommend it. If you just need inspiration with where or how to start traveling or even just to find comfort in your traveling decisions, read the book.
If you ever plan on doing long-term travel, I think it’s really important to get into the mindset of being a minimalist. Lugging around so much unnecessary crap is going to kill your back.
If you have thoughts about wanting to declutter, definitely read chapter three! The entire book is chalk full of quotes, personal stories, and great advice (not only for the traveler but anyone, really). I personally don’t plan on being a vagabond, ever (it sounds quite extreme), but the tips the book provides translates to every other type of traveler out there!
I’m not sure why I’m receiving all these gifts but hey, I’ll gladly take it! It’s comforting to know that Bumblebae is supportive.