I am in a time of continuous change. In the last three months I graduated college, moved to a new state, and started a new job. And just as I am feeling like I am starting to settle in, I am faced with new expenses, responsibilities at work ramp up, and another move to another new apartment is just a few weeks on the horizon.
I love it, but it is a lot. Too much maybe.
Recently I have been feeling like I need to lighten the load. In a life where I need to be constantly adapting and cannot rely on too much regularity, too many things getting in the way will inevitably just drive me off the rails. I have a tendency to overcommit, overwork, and overthink myself into fatigue. So, I have decided to eliminate some of these road blocks by literally getting rid of a lot of my stuff. My hope is that with less physical things cluttering my space, I will be able to navigate my dynamic life with more ease.
I am not new to the idea of dramatic decluttering sprees. I even went through the entire Konmari process about a year ago. But with my recent shift in perspective and sudden disgust towards most of my stuff, I am feeling the desire to take the plunge into full-on minimalism.
Of course, I made this decision while my co-habitating boyfriend was on vacation and about 12 hours before leaving for a weekend trip to visit my family. Not exactly the most opportune time to take on a stuff-purging endeavor. But I still wanted to start, so when I packed my bag the next morning, I treated it as my first practice in minimalism.
Now, in all honesty, I had no idea what I was doing. At the time I had yet to read a book or even a blog post about minimalism. I had, however watched a YouTube video of a girl showing her viewers the ~10 items of clothing she owned. That was enough for me. With little guidance and a lot of excitement, I attempted to pack as lightly as possible. This is what I brought:
Starting from the top right: Laptop, workout pants, workout shirt, sports bra, cardigan, tee-shirt, shorts, book, journal, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, sleep shirt, sneakers, underwear, socks, epipens, wallet, toothbrush, laptop charger, headphones, retainer, foundation/concealer, eyelash curler, lip balm, powder, powder brush, purse, make-up bag, hair brush, dry shampoo. (Not pictured: driving outfit because I was wearing it, cell phone because it’s taking the picture, and cell phone and sunglasses because they were already in my car.)
All of this fit in one canvas bag.
This is 31 individual items. 9 items of clothing, 11 make-up and hygiene products, 1 pair of shoes and 8 miscellaneous items.
This is what I packed for two days and one night at my parent’s house. I knew I would be going out for a meal and attending a Crossfit class (more on that experience in another post). I only brought clothes for those events. I tried to only bring the very basics for make-up.
This is a LOT less stuff than I usually bring for an overnight trip. In fact, I sometimes bring more stuff with me to work.
I was raised by a very over-prepared father. Packing for a family day-trip to the beach looked more like we were ready for a month long road trip across the country. One time the five of us drove to Ohio in one car. I don’t know how we managed.
I was taught to prepare for any possible situation: Various weather conditions, supplies for emergencies, extra clothes in case of spills and accidents. I only recently came to realize how this preparedness trained me to be anxious about everything that could go wrong. But it also taught me what I really needed, and what can be left behind because I almost never need to use it.
Luckily, I was visiting a house full of all of the materials I would need to tackle any situation. First aide supplies, extra clothes and towels, and laundry equipment are all abundant in the Viggh household. With this safety net in mind I was able to pack with relative calm.
So, how did it go? Did I have everything I needed?
Yes! In fact, I did not even wearing the extra outfit I brought. The comfy dress I wore for driving ended up being my outfit for both days.
I really did feel “lighter” bringing less stuff. I also felt more present – like I was able to more fully enjoy time with my family and the activities we did because I only brought myself and not all of my (literal and figurative) baggage.
After this experiment, I am even more excited enter into a more minimalistic way of living. But, I don’t really know what I am doing, and I want to make sure I am being thoughtful about this process. My next step is to read through The Minimalists’ 21 Day Journey. I may follow it exactly, but I may not. Either way I want to do this with a strategy, and educating myself about this lifestyle is the first thing I need to do to develop one.
Wish me luck!