I ask myself this every time I have moved and can’t figure out where all the stuff came from. You know how it is. In the beginning stages of packing, you’re all about being neat and orderly. You label boxes with the contents and room where they should be placed in your new home. And then, as the move date nears, your decision-making skills go on vacation and you end up with a few boxes labeled “random crap/stuff.” If you say this has never happened to you, well, I don’t want to call anyone a liar, but…..
This is now a question I ask myself almost, if not, every day. Three years ago, I split from my husband. We had a three bedroom, 1.5 bath house. I took way, way too much stuff with me to my new, 1 bedroom apartment. I was lucky that it was much bigger than most one bedrooms in the area. I remember how I stuffed its closets to the gills (they were huge, by the way.) But, looking back, I know I did so as a security thing. I was so unsure of my future, in so many ways, but if I could hold onto stuff from my past, well, maybe they could keep me grounded.
Two years ago, I moved from my one bedroom on the second floor to a studio on the same floor. Even though it would be the easiest move I would ever make, I still couldn’t believe how much crap I had accumulated. Even after getting rid of stuff while in the 1 bedroom! It was like my stuff had become pregnant and had “baby stuff” every time I looked away.
So, yes, with my obsession for living small in a few years and probably making a lot less money, I do ask myself every day where it all comes from. But there is one change now. When I think about buying something, I really stop myself to think. Will I actually get use out of it, or will I be wanting to sell it on Craigslist or donate it to Good Will in a few months, wondering what possessed me to buy it in the first place? Would my future self deem it necessary when I move I to a place at least half as small as my current apartment. (I have a large studio/efficiency). If I were to move into an RV or tiny house, full time, would this item make the cut? Do I really need that extra pair of running shorts when I have more than enough to wear a different one every day of the week? Inevitably, the answer is “no.”
It is very freeing to get rid of stuff. It feels great if it goes to someone who can use it (i.e., my bike should be going to a women’s shelter soon.) I am embarrassed to admit that at one point, I even had three comforters and tons of blankets. (You know, so that when I was washing one or a few, there were others I could simultaneously place on my bed.) I gave a bunch to the animal shelter where I volunteer (Animal Rescue League of Boston), and it felt good to see some sweet shelter animals enjoying them rather than trying to find space for them in an already crammed closet. It also feels great to look around the apartment and see more space and LESS STUFF!
I’ve begun thinking more and more that an RV or, more likely, a travel trailer will be the best option for me, economically, in a few years, provided I can either find land I can afford to buy and put it on, or meet someone who will let me out it on their property, or find a good campground that might offer workamping opportunities. (“Workamping” is a real term.) I’m not super thrilled at the idea of having to also buy a vehicle with which to tow it, but if it gives me freedom to park the trailer somewhere and then more economically explore the area, then so be it. (I’m talking in terms of gas mileage here.)
For this reason, I’ve been thinking about fiberglass trailers. They are light and you don’t need a honking huge SUV to pull them. Of course, this would mean trying to pare down my possessions to fit into something that is probably only 17-20 feet, if I were to buy a Casita or a Scamp. (Just need to make sure there is enough room for all of my animals to coexist.) I like the idea that i could get rid of all of my furniture if I went that route. I love that the small space would require me to pare down my possessions even more.
So, yeah… I have a ways to go. But that’s ok. If I have learned a few things over the last few years, it’s that I can change. And that I am still learning about my purpose in life. (More to come on that later this week – there is a post fermenting in my mind!)