Preparing For Our Move: Getting Rid of More Stuff

I am abnormal; a part of me secretly likes moving because it’s always an opportunity to get rid of extra crap that I’ve been storing in my home. I get a slight endorphin rush every time I unload my car at Goodwill. As we are downsizing to a travel trailer for the time being and will only have a small amount of additional storage space, this week we’ve been forced to decide what we would put in the trailer, put into storage, and get rid of all together.

Sharing this part of the journey excites me because I’m passionate about minimalism. Coupled with a passion for minimalism is a fear of hoarding. Part of it could be that I’ve moved on average every 9 months for the past 5 years, so moving is LESS of a big deal if I have few things to move.

This move has been particularly interesting so far because we are moving into a 19′ travel trailer for the next 6-12 months. This means that we truly need to get by with as little as possible. We enjoy having a clean, tidy environment which means everything needs to be in its place, easily accessible, easy to keep organized, and that means being picky with what comes along for the ride.

While we have a good amount of storage in the trailer, we definitely don’t want to have to access the hard-to-reach stuff on a daily basis. Here is a summary of what stuff we will be putting in the trailer, what stuff will go into storage, and what stuff we are getting rid of.

Clothing

This has always been the most difficult category for me. We are programmed that we need to be super into fashion, that we need cute clothes to be attractive, that beauty is a result of our clothing and makeup, that we need 100 different outfits (95 of them which are not practical), and that we need to dress “cute” all of the time.

In my past, I’ve spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year (sometimes in a month!) on clothing. I remember after college when I had some money coming in, I went to my favorite clothing store on more than one occasion and spent $400+. I would go to Ross for fun and easily walk out spending $100+. Needless to say, I was hoarding clothing because I always wanted options of what to wear, even though I wore the same outfits again and again.

This is my wardrobe right now. Plain jane, and that's okay. It's versatile, comfortable and practical. If you don't like it then don't be my friend!
This is my wardrobe right now. Plain Jane, and that’s okay. It’s versatile, comfortable and practical. If you don’t like it then don’t be my friend, k? Thanks!

Over the past two years, I’ve gotten rid of many trash bags of clothing because I didn’t wear any of it. The rule was that I couldn’t go out and buy it again… I only let myself strategically buy clothing. I now think long and hard before I buy clothes and make sure that I’m only buying something because I’m going to wear it all of the time, or that it’s strictly for function.

Anyways, here is what our downsizing looks like:

TrailerStorageGoodwill
The clothes I wear all of the time which includes:
- My favorite camis
- My favorite solid t-shirts
- Five pairs of jeans I wear (work jeans, casual jeans, white jeans and capris)
- A few cardigans of various sleeve length
- Two jackets (one for outdoors and one for casual use)
- Enough socks
- Enough undies
- Swimsuit (There is a hot springs an hour North of Idaho ya know...)
- Shoes (flip flops, running shoes, flats, boots)
- A dress
- My three favorite scarves for the upcoming cooler weather
- One professional outfit just in case
- My hardcore winter gear (snowboarding jacket, snowboarding pants, etc.)
- Warmer clothes (wool base layers, beanies, down booties, things I will swap in/out when summer is over)
- Cute summer clothes that I want to wear again when we have the space
- Work clothes (although I work from home and work remotely with clients, I am not going to rule out that I will never need them again)
- All those pants that only fit comfortably if I drop 3lbs, are slightly too short, just fit stupid in general
- Most of my scarves since I haven't worn them for the past two winters
- Unisex t-shirts from my cross country days... I never wear the things
- Extra workout clothing as I only need a set or two
- High heel shoes that aren't comfortable and I have no need for living in remote Idaho
- Clothes that have lost elasticity or have been deformed
- Other clothing that I just don't wear or haven't worn in the past two years. If I haven't worn it then likely, I won't in the future or I don't like the clothes for some reason or another. Just get rid of them!

Kitchen

Food is another one of my passions and I look forward to the day where I can grow my own food, harvest my own food, can my own food, and spend much of my day preparing delicious food. Today is not that day, but we prioritize healthy eating so we are being fairly generous with what comes in the trailer as we have the space.

We love good food and prioritize healthy eating, so having our favorite kitchen items in our trailer is essential.
We love good food and prioritize healthy eating, so having our favorite kitchen items in our trailer is essential.
TrailerStorageGoodwill
- Vitamix
- Basic silverwear
- A couple bowls and plates
- A couple wine and drinking glasses
- Crockpot
- Skillet
- Soup pot
- Other utensils (bottle opener, can opener, vegetable peeler, etc.)
- Basic seasonings
- Bulk of the silverwear
- Bulk of dishwear
- Drinking glasses
- Anything that has to do with baking (bread pans, cupcake pans, silpat, etc.)
- Many mason jars filled with dry food goods
- Bulk of my seasonings
- Espresso machine
- Water filter
- Disgusting baking sheets
- Unused knives
- Excess storage containers
- Other unused nicknacks

Office

As we work from home and on the internet, it’s critical to have our office with us. As we upgraded our office, we have a lot of excess stuff laying around. Here is what’s staying and what’s going.

The reason we are even able to go on this journey is because we’ve transitioned to making our income from the internet. Thus, we need to make space for our work stations in our trailer. Eek!
TrailerStorageGoodwill
- Thunderbolt monitors
- Macbook Pros
- Office organizer
- Nikon camera
- Canon camera
- Handycams
- External hard drive
- Charging cables
- Our studio lighting setup
- Paper documents and records
- Printer
- Our desk setup
- Two extra desks
- Four extra monitors
- Two extra computers
- Extra keyboards, mice, cables

Other Stuff We Got Rid Of

Like I said, anytime you move, it forces you to take inventory of everything you have. I’m tired of collecting junk and having too much stuff, so I got in a giveaway frenzy of anything I wasn’t crazy about. I doubt I’ll miss any of it but if i miss one thing or two that’s okay.

  • Artwork – I’m no artist, I have pictures of everything I’ve drawn, and I’m tired of shuffling around large drawings and paintings from house to house. I don’t ever even want them up on the walls. Pictures shall suffice.
  • Throw pillows – I don’t like our throw pillows, they will add bulk to the trailer, and I see no reason to keep them.
  • Decorations – I have a good amount of decor that hasn’t been used in the past two places I’ve lived and we won’t be in decoration mode for a while. I got rid of mirrors, lamps, fake flower arrangements, artsy fartsy containers, a jewelry box (I don’t have much jewelry that goes in a box),
  • College projects – How long are we supposed to hang on to stuff we created in college when it has no practical use? I tossed out my college projects. I considered tossing my framed Chico State diploma… that’s another blog post or series… but I suppose it will go into storage for an indefinite amount of time.
  • Books – We like the idea of reading but honestly, we gather most of our information online. We are tired of shuffling too many pounds of books from house to house. We kept our favorites.
  • My printer – This has also gone from house to house, unused. It probably doesn’t even work anymore.

What We’re Left With

Every time we move, no matter how much stuff we get rid of, it always seems that we’re left with too much stuff. However, we are currently living in a 3 bed, 2 bath, 1800 sq ft house, and we are swimming in it. We can put all of our stuff away and the house is still completely empty! So that means we’re doing pretty good at not being hoarders.

In the end, our trailer should be neat, tidy, we should be able to work from the trailer, we will have enough clothes to do what we need to do, we will have what we need to prepare healthy meals, we can enjoy endless coffee, we can have showers, so we will be happy campers.

We will likely build a barn or a small shed for the sake of storage. We will have a handful of stack-able boxes for use when we have a home or different structure built.

Life Is More Enjoyable (For Us) With Less Stuff

I don’t know about you, but I hate swimming around in clutter. I hate packing, unpacking, and letting stuff prevent me from doing things in a timely manner. Whether it is going on a camping trip or moving across the country, I like to keep my belongings to a minimal amount so that no task is too daunting.

I also like that I’ve given myself permission to have a functional wardrobe and even to splurge on things that I will truly enjoy, wear, and are versatile. For clothing specifically, too much of it overwhelms me because I will stand in front of my closet for way too long deciding what to wear, trying on different outfits. If anything, Jesse loves me more for NOT obsessing over my looks and clothes because I’m slowly learning and believing that beauty comes from the inside, not from the clothes that I wear.

Join the conversation!

What is your experience with getting rid of stuff? Is it easy or difficult for you? Do you let the “but what if I need this one day” mentality prevent you from keeping things simple? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

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I am an aspiring homesteader on a journey to become self-sustainable and free. In my past, I've worked corporate jobs to make ends meet and get ahead a little; it didn't make me happy or confident in my future. Since taking the leap to self-employment and living a more simple life, my happiness levels have increased greatly and I've never felt more alive. I finally understand what I want in life and how to get there, and that is what this blog is all about.

Comments

  1. says

    Kudos on paring down! It’s easy to get caught up in the “stuff” society deems important. It becomes easier when you let go of the emotions and romanticism tied to the belongings. I found your blog on Pinterest and love what you guys are doing. It’s something we’ve considered doing for years, but fear has us trapped. Question: what are you doing about bedding? Being a quilter and knowing y’all are in Idaho, my thoughts automatically went to winter. How much does one practically need? I’m looking to declutter. Again. And since I have a ginormous pile of quilts, that’s a good place to start.

    • says

      We always say “that which you pay attention to you become aware of”. It’s all about finding a place to start and then slowly making progress. We didn’t pull the plug right away but from the time we decided we would like to do it (that is, completely overhaul our lifestlye) it took us two full years to get things in order. We still have fear at times but work through it together. I’m sure over time you will find ways to create the life you want to live :-)

      Hmm… bedding… we haven’t researched that heavily to be honest but we have a pretty average setup: sheets, a minimalist comforter and a down blanket. It seems it will do the trick, but I would think that having quality bedding that retains heat (or doesn’t if you get hot easily) would be the trick. I love my down blanket for that reason. That’s awesome you quilt! I’d love to learn one day. It’s definitely tricker trying to downsize when it comes to things you’ve made yourself. I had a lot of paintings / drawings that weren’t on display anywhere so I ultimately got rid of them, but if they mattered a lot to me I probably would have kept them :-)

  2. Victoria says

    Good luck on your wonderful “soul lifting” journey! I will be happily following! I am on a downsizing journey as well. I have gone from 3,900 sq. ft over flowing with furniture and stuff,all the way down to 650 sq. ft. (the size of my master bedroom before (yikes!) and am loving the smaller space!!! Its so exciting to let of of things and lighten your load!! Good luck with your journey!

    • says

      Wow Victoria, 3,900 sq ft to 650 is quite the accomplishment! Isn’t it amazing that you can be just as happy in a small space? I’m not necessarily a tiny house advocate (although the idea is artistic and interesting) but it’s great to know that you can be happy, if not thrive, in smaller spaces. Less to move, less to keep clean, less to furnish, etc. When we move, I still get annoyed because I feel we have too much stuff. Best of luck on your journey as well and keep in touch!

  3. Edith says

    Love this post!! That’s exactly what I’m going through right now…purging! I think we should all live by those rules, regardless of whether we live in a 19′ trailer or a 2500 square foot house in the suburbs…less is definitely more, and a neat and tidy home makes for happy, healthy souls!! :)

  4. Ginger says

    Melissa, I am a good deal older than you and yet I seem to have them problem when it comes to un-cluttering my space. 2016 is my year to declutter! I hope (she says under her breathe.) It is never easy to get rid of clothes; they cost so much! I have found myself wondering about this often. Most of what is in my closet I wear very rarely, yet there it hangs waiting for that day. Since I want to paint my room again and that includes the closet I will go through all the stuff I have and toss, shred that which is no longer usable or :might be someday”. I envy you and Jesse your new life – if only ( wishes are like horses, if everybody had one all would ride.)sigh; at 60+ with a long term (for life) illness I won’t be able to join you, but oh 20 years ago I would have jumped! Keep at you two you journey is important.

    • says

      You can do it Ginger! I’m down to a micro-closet that I share with Jesse and I feel that I have enough clothes! My new rule is to only buy things I LOVE and know for a FACT that I will wear all the time, or at least when it’s in season. I also have discovered Goodwill so if I end up not wearing something, well, it’s maybe $3-7 down the drain vs $18-50! I think the important thing to takeaway is regardless of age or health, there is always something we can do to reduce the amount of physical or mental clutter in our lives. Thanks for the encouragement, and have fun getting rid of stuff! It’s liberating!

  5. Tammy W says

    Love your posts! I just found your story and love following you. I belong on the side of getting rid of clutter. For me, a photo will suffice. I don’t need objects in order to enjoy my memories. The feeling of dropping off a car load of stuff at Good Will or other donation location is great!

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