As you can imagine, I have a lot to say on this subject. Having lived most of my adult life in communal housing, a studio, a hatchback Pontiac, my ex-boyfriends parents house (caution: I do not recommend this one) a tent, an old 70's camper and sailboat, a tiny house, and now a van - I know what it's like to move often with few belongings.
One aspect that has continued to keep my life full, time and time again, is literally moving and organizing less physical stuff. It cuts down on moving costs, minimizes stress, and gives me peace of mind that I leave less of a foot print on the Earth.
But our lives are often a bit more complicated and it's easy to start accumulating gifts, precious heirlooms handed down to us, cheap items (ya know, buy one get one free), kids and pet toys, and all the shit in the garage/basement.
So let's bring your life back to simple with less stuff so you can live a life with meaning, fullness, and as little added stress as possible.
Pause and Evaluate What You Want
This is your opportunity to assess what you want (not what you have). What do you value? Because if it's simplicity and the same style cotton t-shirt you have in 3 colors makes it easy to choose what to wear, then keep them! If it's memories and your oversized couch reminds you of your loving grandparents, then keep it! Don't get swept up in what popular cultures tells you to do. Millennials, on average, value experiences over things but that doesn't mean that's YOUR value system. Decide for yourself what stays and what goes.
Minimalism Doesn't Mean Everything You Own is Small and Compact
People often put themselves down when talking to me about downsizing or tiny living. "Oh, I still live a 1,500 square foot house - I know you live super small, though." Almost like they're ashamed at the comparison to me. I'm usually baffled and say it's not fair to compare apples to oranges. We all live different lives and need different physical items. Shake this idea that having less stuff also means you own compact things. It's not true.
Fun fact: Toad, our Sprinter van, has a 6 inch queen bed in it. Always made and ready to be slept in. I didn't want a compact bed that had to be unfolded and put together. It had been the bed in Tiny, our tiny house, and I gave it a new home. She ain't small.
Feel The Impact On Your Physical & Mental Health
Statistically, people who own more are prone to dust, mold, anxiety, and depression. Your physical environment reflect your emotions and when there is too much in your kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom, the walls feel small and the overwhelm kicks in.
Start to prioritize what you actually use and love and your energy will rise when the clutter decreases. Decision fatigue is real though. If you're starting to downsize and notice strong emotions bubbling up, start small. Choose what you love, what you'll donate or sell, and organize. Make a choice and go with it. Your first instinct is usually the right one.
Respect The Planet and Buy Less
I heard this phrase a couple weeks ago, "Don't save the planet, respect the planet." You can do that by voting with your dollar. What you buy reflects what you stand for. It also reflects your respect for the body. The amount of stuff we are marketed to buy, regardless if we need it or not, is in hundreds of ads a day. That's a lot to filter. I stand for organic food but have a hard time purchasing cucumbers when they're wrapped in plastic. Then I look for a veggie stand with non-wrapped foods but then they are saturated in pesticides and chemicals. It's a tough corner.
I'll leave you with this. Do your best. You can't always mark off every item on your value list but simply buying less will often do the trick. You'll feel the inner expansion of your life unfolding because there is more room to live a full life. Boom.