Simplify, simplify, simplify. Simplify possessions, simplify wants, simplify commitments. But how in the world do you go about this?
Before we left on our adventure, we spent months and months planning and reading to figure out how to approach a trip of this sort, what we would need, and where we would like to go. We also spent years preparing financially, even before we made the final decision to travel. Over the past two years, folks have asked me about how we’re able to do this, and I plan to get into this in later posts. But this post deals with what we did not do before we left, which was simplify possessions.
Sure, we simplified to a certain extent by necessity. We had to choose a limited number of things that would fit into our car. After about a week on the road in our Eurovan, we already had a list of things we would be jettisoning. When forced to reckon with the smaller space of our car after the death of our Eurovan (R.I.P. Bobby), we purged quite a bit, but still felt as if we had more than we needed. And yet, we continue to have an entire storage unit in rural Pennsylvania sitting full of items from our former three bedroom townhouse. I do not miss 99% of these items. Most of the time, if I’m thinking about missing something, it’s my crock pot. Strange – whatever! Sure, we will need some of these not-missed possessions when we have a home. And there are others that I cherish. But there are many, many items that we can do without.
As we have been focusing more on finding a home, I have been giving a lot of thought (some would say an unhealthy level of thought) to how we are going to simplify and minimize. I have begun following several minimalist and simple living bloggers hoping to get inspiration and insight into the process I look forward to going through. And I am planning on writing about why I am heeding the siren’s call of simplicity and why it may be something for you to consider, as well.
But enough on that, how do I (or you) get started? I kept seeing the same advice that I have tried in the past in many different places. And then I had the opportunity to read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. It changed everything. Is it a book for everyone? No. Was it a book for me and may it be a book for you if you are interested in learning how to simplify your possessions to increase peace, time, and contentment? Most certainly, yes!
The book can get a little cheesy from time-to-time. The author seems to have an unhealthy obsession with tidying and has been doing it since she was a small child. Her unhealthy obsession, however, is our gain. The book provides a number of specifics for decluttering, but not for organizing, since she believes this is unnecessary once you have pared down your belongings. The most important take-away points are:
- Do not tidy section-by-section. Do it all at once, and if you do it well, you only have to do it once. She estimates the average person’s “all at once” will take six months.
- Do not ask if you have used this item in the past six months to a year or if you need this item. Instead, pick up every single item that you own and ask about each item, “Does it bring me joy?” This, my friends was the magic formula for me. Of course! All these years I have been collecting things and holding onto items that I may need one day. But in the interim, I have to store the item, clean around the item, put away the item, and think about the item. If it doesn’t bring me joy, why am I doing it?
You may wonder how I will be transitioning to life off the road. If you listen closely enough, I will be somewhere in the distance, speaking to my things, donating a whole lot, and becoming freer in the process.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review; however, I am completely honest in my reviews. If I didn’t like the book, you would hear about it.