Day 57 - Friday I'm Inspired

Image: McLaren.Excel

I can’t yet say where or when, but I believe that Mat and I have a long-distance move looming on the horizon.  A combination of professional and personal circumstances mean we will be leaving India soon, but I’m not in a position to reveal the details yet.  I promise I will as soon as I can.

THE STRESS OF MOVING

In the meantime though, the thought of moving is giving me major anxiety.  Like many people, I associate moving with waste and expense: throwing out things that I forgot I had, that have been lurking in my closets, drawers and under my bed; giving or throwing things away that could be sold, due to lack of planning or energy to tackle posting my stuff on Craig’s List; money spent on movers, boxes, and packing tape; and inevitably money spent on new things that I somehow now “need” for my new home, even though I just got rid of a bunch of stuff.

An international move is especially anxiety-provoking, because it places the question in front of you: which of your belongings are worth shipping or carrying overseas?  Unless the answer is only a few items, you could have a hefty shipping bill on your hands. 

WHAT DO YOU KEEP?

It can be hard to say goodbye to the stuff you’ve spent years working to acquire:

  • Books
  • Cookbooks
  • Kitchen appliances (my food processor was a birthday gift from my mother and though I’m sure I’ve used it fewer than 20 times in the 6 years I’ve owned it, it still holds tremendous sentimental value)
  • Furniture (how long did it take me to pay off that couch again?)
  • Artwork
  • Picture frames
  • Bicycles (if you’re bike nerds like Mat and me)
  • Rugs
  • Pillows (buying my down-filled West Elm pillows was such a victory for me at the time)
  • Bedding
  • Clothing

However, with the right amount of planning and elbow grease, you can re-sell most of your belongings and reap some of that cash back, and the rest you can give to your friends or someone less fortunate, and have the peace of mind of knowing that your belongings are going on to serve new purpose in someone else’s home. 

MY LATEST RESOURCE: TREADING MY OWN PATH

With this life change in our not-too-distant future, one source of inspiration for me has been Lindsay Miles of the zero waste, minimal living blog Treading My Own Path.  Lindsey is inspiring in a lot of ways - I love that she grows her own vegetables, which is something I’d love to do when I’m in the right place – but lately two of her posts have been particularly helpful to me:

  1. This post about buying and selling things online, which she wrote in collaboration with Gumtree Australia
  2. This post about what is “enough” stuff in your home

Lindsey has inspired me to believe that, when the time comes, I can get organized about dealing with my belongings in a responsible (and potentially profitable) way.  And, when I move into my new home, wherever and whenever that may be, she has me prepared to crush the impulse to go out and buy a bunch of things that seem necessary, and to assess what I really need to live my life day-to-day. 

I won’t lie, this will be a challenge for me, because I’m a girl who likes to nest.  Any time I’ve moved into a new apartment, I’ve had it set up with books on shelves, clothes in drawers, artwork hung, everything aesthetically perfect and ready for day-to-day life within 24 hours.  Historically, this has involved buying a bunch of extra stuff, whether it’s picture frames, shower caddies, or storage containers. 

But now, having seen Lindsay’s post about her minimal home, I’m confident that I can re-define what it is I actually need.  In fact, I’ll do it right now.  I’ll walk through a hypothetical day in my life, and figure out what my necessities are (excluding food items).

A HYPOTHETICAL DAY AND WHAT I'LL NEED

  • I get up in the morning and make coffee. I’ll need a French press coffee maker and a mug.
  • I have breakfast. I’ll need a plate, a bowl, cutlery, and a glass.  I’ll need a table at which to sit and a chair.  And at some point I’ll need a compost bin and recycle bin
  • I go for a run.  I won’t need anything I don’t already own.
  • I come home and take a shower.  I’ll need a towel, and use the toiletries I already have.
  • I get dressed.  I’ll need a dresser and some hangers.
  • I sit down and do some blogging.  I can sit at the table where I had my breakfast.
  • I cook lunch. I’ll need one or two pots or pans, a wooden spoon, a chef’s knife, a chopping board, and some jars in which to store my leftovers.
  • I wash the dishes.  I’ll need a dish brush and scrubber, a bar of soap, and a tea towel.
  • I veg out and read for an hour.  I’ll need a couch and a book.
  • I clean the house and do the laundry.  I’ll need a bucket and spray bottle, some vinegar and baking soda, laundry soap, a broom and dustpan, a mop, a vacuum, a tea towel and a scrub brush.
  • I go grocery shopping: I’ll need some reusable bags and a bicycle to take me there.
  • I cook dinner.  I’ll use the same supplies I used for lunch.
  • I go to bed.  I’ll need a bed, sheets, pillows, and a blanket.
The essentials as I define them

The essentials as I define them

Obviously there are other things that I would like to own that me bring joy but aren’t physically necessary, like plants, art, and a cat, but these don’t need to be purchased the same day I move in.  I can take the time to think about the things I really want, and see what I can get second-hand or DIY (I can’t DIY a cat, but I can adopt one!).   

How much is "enough" in your home?  What would you add to the above, or take away?