A big part of our travel plans is trying to adapt to a new lifestyle all together – a more minimalistic lifestyle. I struggle with this more than Zachary does I think – mostly due to my love of clothes and all things cute and pretty! But I do believe in the core of this change – to (attempt to) be non-materialistic. It’s an idea to keep and hold onto only things you need or use often. Everything else gets donated or thrown out.
It also is a great way to de-clutter our possessions. For instance, we had in our desk possibly 200 pens and an assortment of pencils – half of which do not work. Why were we holding onto these? Goodness I can’t tell you how many times I’d pick up a pen to find it doesn’t work, then throw it back in the drawer, take out another, and so on. I should have just thrown it away the first time! Anyway, our plan was to reduce things like this in our life. Most of the de-cluttering happened as we packed up our apartment, but some happened the slow 6 months leading up to the big move.
One of the biggest areas that we did slowly was our clothes. With this came a lot of honest moments of myself. Like – am I really going to go to the store to find green thread to fix that cardigan I haven’t worn for 2 years because it’s missing buttons and that is now out of style or should I just go ahead and give it up? And if you can guess – I gave it up. I knew if I hesitated on anything it really just meant I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to it yet, but eventually I would need to face that sad moment of giving it up.
The honesty was really what helped get rid of things more than anything. Zach also did one trick that was helpful to him – he put the clothes that he wasn’t sure if he’d want to give up in a trunk. And, being Zach and his forgetful memory, he forgot about them until we were packing up our apartment to leave. He went through the clothes again and came to the conclusion he didn’t miss any of them and gave most of them away (save for a sweater and a few pairs of dress socks that I made him keep!) This strategy wouldn’t work for me because I wouldn’t forget they were in the trunk…I would just sneak them back out later when Zach wasn’t looking!
The hardest thing to give up was actually not clothes, but gifts we have received from people, but either never used or stopped using. It pains me just to write that sentence, but I feel like this is an inevitable trend in life – to receive gifts that just go unused. We felt so cruel to give some of these things up! Even when it came to gifts we had given each other and knowing this lifestyle we are trying to pursue it hurt to throw something out in front of the other person. For example, I gave Zach this wooden alarm clock stand that used his iPhone as the clock part. It was very cool at the time and he loved it, but we had to face it: he would never use it anymore, which was sad, but it didn’t mean anything to us if it just sat around collecting dust. And we also made the decision from here on out that many gifts for each other would be trips to places or things to do together.
We did make exceptions while we were packing up our belongings to also hold on to any keepsakes that meant a lot to us. For instance, I kept all of the notes I’ve saved that Zachary wrote to me while we were in high school, which doesn’t sound like a lot but they take up quite a bit of space!
De-cluttering actually got easier the closer we were to the move date. (Plus, the move date served as a nice deadline to get rid of things in general). Also, we only had so much storage place at Zach’s parent’s house and my sister’s house, so we had to get rid of a lot!
As the move out date got closer though, I just quite frankly got tired of packing so my attachment to my belongings decreased dramatically and I just began shouting, “Donate!” or “Throw it out!” or best yet, “I don’t care. I don’t want to see it anymore!” Moving became very exhausting… 😛
Ultimately, though, we want to try to maintain this lifestyle of simplicity and minimalism. I imagine it’ll become harder later when we have kids and when we don’t have the impending move date to force ourselves to throw things out. But we both believe it’s a great way to live. To not rely on fading material objects and instead put our love and trust into God, our friends and family, and our memories. Even though it will be a hard journey I think it will be a rewarding one!
(The picture also shows our moving van! Two years ago when we moved from Waco to Houston, we packed this same size moving van to the top and almost overflowing. We’re pretty excited to cut it down to almost half two years later!)