30 Day Fitness Experiment

What can you do for your body in 30 days?

Minimalist Epiphany

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What happened is this: We have a lot of stuff. Some of it is from my business, but most of it is just stuff. And ever since we moved from a huge house into a smaller (3 bedroom) townhouse, a bunch of our “stuff” is still in boxes making our living room look like a shipping warehouse.

So here I am feeling all hemmed-in and drowning in “stuff” (most of which is books, clothes that don’t fit anymore, little I-don’t-even-know-why-I-have-this junk, and a few souvenirs), and I got the brilliant idea that the solution was to move into a bigger house, so we decided to move somewhere cheap (like the SoCal desert where I grew up) where we could afford a lot of house.

And then I realized, if we’ve been able to leave all these things in boxes for this many months and haven’t needed them, why would we carry them with us to a new place? And if having so much stuff is confining us to some not-so-desirable location where we can spread it all out, is it really worth having? We’re just two people! How much do two people need?

I started investigating answers to that very question, and I stumbled upon something called the 100 Things Project. I started reading about minimalism, not as an abstract, austere philosophy of existence, but as a low-stress, uncluttered, practical way of life! The more personal stories I read, the more doable it seems. The greatest thing is: It feels like what I’ve been seeking all my life. Ever since I was a young child, I’ve struggled with clutter, and emotional attachment to “stuff.” I’ve always felt and worked best in an open, uncluttered environment (like a huge house with one or two empty rooms, or a 100+ foot sailboat out at sea).

I always thought the answer lay in being better organized, in spending money on better shelving systems, or labeling the “stuff” so I would know what was inside all those boxes that were ruining my life. But that’s not it. Letting go of all the things that are cluttering up my home, my life, and my brain is the only way out. And now that I’ve decided to do it, the preliminary decluttering is not as hard as I thought it would be.

We’re doing an Extreme Downsize. Our goal is to move all the way from Indiana to California with only the things we can fit in our minivan. In addition to freeing us from our stuff, we won’t have to rent a moving van or moving service, we won’t be overwhelmed by moving in and unpacking, and we can live in MUCH LESS SPACE, which means we can afford a tiny place in a town we love.

Hooray for minimalism!

I know that decluttering won’t be so easy once we get down to a few things that we really cherish, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

That reminds me. Do you know what towns in California are known for having public transportation or being “Bike Friendly?” Portland, Oregon is probably the best known West Coast town with that reputation, but we’re looking at the Central Coast or Southern California.

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April 16, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Comments »

  1. But… but don’t you wanna move to Portland? *lower-lip quiver*

    You need to check out my friend Tammy’s blog at rowdykittens.com! She’s a freelance writer/web designer, and she and her husband have recently done something very similar – discarded all their unneeded possessions, down to 100 items each, and moved to a studio in downtown Portland. Their journey is inspiring and sounds a lot like yours. I’m gonna point Tammy at your blog as well!

    Comment by Lindsey | April 16, 2010 | Reply

    • She was totally my inspiration!

      I was getting a lot of traffic to this blog through Rowdy Kittens, so I checked it out, and for the past week I’ve been reading nothing but her blog and pretty much every other blog she’s ever linked to. Oh, I’m also reading her “Car-Free” book. Hmm. Small world!

      Remember how much crap I had even on the Chieftain? For goodness sake, I could never sleep in my bunk because it was overflowing with “stuff!” I used the excuse that the main hold was my only home, but I should have used that opportunity to scale waaaay waaaaay down. Plus I had about 3 boxes of junk at John’s mom’s house. Oh yeah, AND a storage unit in Seattle full of stuff that I’ve now moved to Indiana and still DON’T NEED, AT ALL. What a waste of time and space.

      I’m just glad it’s never too late to make a new start.

      And no, I mean yes, I want to move to Portland, but I REALLY don’t do well with clouds, and that knocks out my other two favorite places, too: Seattle and San Francisco. I know, you could be my sunshine, but…

      Hey, at least we’ll be in the same time zone!
      xoxo

      Comment by The Landlocked Sailor | April 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the link love! This is such a small world. My husband stumbled across your site a few weeks ago and I linked to you on my weekly news update. I had no idea you were friends with the lovely Lindsey. 🙂

    Thanks for reading RowdyKittens and Simply Car-free. 🙂

    We lived in Davis and Sacramento CA. Both cities are very bike friendly. Ohhh and I’ve also heard a lot of good things about San Francisco.

    Comment by Tammy Strobel | April 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Wow, cool!

      I’ve spent some time in Sacramento. Ask Lindsey if she remembers the creepy fake people in the train museum! It’s a little too inland for us, I think! My husband really wants to see the ocean every day.

      I looooooove San Francisco, but I’m afraid it’ll be too overcast for me there, too. I’m like a completely different person on a cloudy day! I’m not sure I can resist it though. SF or Marin or even Berkeley.

      So picky, I know!
      Thanks for the tips!

      Comment by The Landlocked Sailor | April 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. San Diego is heaven for bicyclists: 850 miles of bike trails and lanes and year-round biking weather.

    Comment by Less Antman | April 18, 2010 | Reply

    • Cool! We’ll check it out!

      Comment by The Landlocked Sailor | April 18, 2010 | Reply

      • Here’s a useful site about biking in San Diego:

        http://www.efgh.com/bike/

        Look, out, Portland!

        Comment by Less Antman | April 19, 2010

      • Oh, my goodness, San Diego is looking good for so many reasons! They’ve also got a couple of co-working sites, and, of course, tall ships (Star of India and “HMS” Rose/Surprise. I’m not sure if I can resist all that!

        Comment by The Landlocked Sailor | April 25, 2010

  4. […] been getting pretty nervous about our plans to go tiny and head back to California. Getting rid of so much stuff is liberating, but it’s also a […]

    Pingback by If a Family of Eight Can Do It… « 30 Day Fitness Experiment | April 24, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] you’re trying to downsize and live life with no more than 100 possessions, the first step is to stop buying […]

    Pingback by The Landlocked Sailor » Blog Archive » Etsy Finds: Eco Friendly Beach Totes | April 25, 2010 | Reply


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