Did You Downsize All at Once and Did it Leave a Void?

by | Jul 5, 2015 | Minimalism | 2 comments

Ask me anything01Inspired by Rich Roll’s Ask Me Anything podcast, which he hosts with his wife, Julie Piatt, I’ve decided to do a similar thing here at Mostly Mindful.

I say similar (even though it’s blatant thievery) because firstly mine is a blog, not a podcast. And secondly, rather than have Sporty join me in this quest to answer your questions, I’m sharing our lives with you regardless.

If she complains I’ll simply remind her that she married a writer, though I have however agreed not to share anything about her slippers (so hopefully that will go some way to placating her when if things get a little too personal).

Let’s Get Started

This week’s question is from Karen in Lafayette, Colorado, which Google Maps tells me is pretty close to Denver. I have no real concept of where that is or what’s it’s like there, though I can at least say I’ve heard of it (thanks Hollywood).

Karen’s question is actually in three parts, two of which I’ll address in today’s post. I’ll save the third for next weekend, as it involves me taking photos around our apartment.

I remember you saying cleaning out your parent’s home was the inspiration to become minimalist, but did you minimize all at once or in stages? Over what kind of period of time?

Inspiration vs Catalyst

Cleaning out my parent’s house was the original inspiration for us becoming minimalist, though I only realized this about two years after the fact. It seems obvious now, but I think at the time I was so focused on getting the job done it never even occurred to me that there might be some life lessons taking place (I’d like to think I’m a little more aware nowadays).

The catalyst for us downsizing so dramatically was our penchant for moving house. Leading up to that fateful move (July ’08) all I remember thinking was:

I. Cannot. Do. This. Again.

By “this” I mean finding boxes, packing all our stuff, arranging movers, hoping to hell they wouldn’t damage our stuff, and then unloading and unpacking everything at the new place.

Ditching the Stuff

Once Sporty was onboard with my idea of selling our stuff and moving into a furnished apartment we pretty much got rid of everything immediately. We sold our furniture, the majority of our appliances and kitchenware, our second car, and the rental property we owned in another city.

That said, we still needed a truck (albeit a much smaller one than usual) to help with that first move. Among other things, we’d kept our tumble drier (Cape Town winters are notoriously wet) and we also had a bunch of boxes and other bits and pieces.

With each subsequent move we downsized more, until eventually we’d pared down to the bare essentials: clothes, laptops, files with personal documents that SARS insists we hang onto for seven years), a small packet of family photographs and some jewelry.

That’s the non-negotiable stuff, which is to say the items we’d grab if the house was on fire or we were relocating to another country.

However, because we’re location-dependent we also own a few things that make our lives more comfortable in the moment, such as kitchen appliances (Nutribullet, stick blender, etc.) and our fold-up bicycles, which we use for exercise and transport (we sold our car in 2012).

I’ve been thinking of minimalism so long, staring at my stuff wondering if I can get rid of one more thing. I’m curious if there is a void after the clutter is gone and my minimizing hobby is finished. Did you experience this?

Rather than leaving a void, decluttering creates space. I don’t just mean physical space, like your counter tops are finally visible or there’s more space in your cupboards. I mean space to think, to create, and to do stuff.

We’ve never experienced any sense of loss since downsizing. We don’t miss any of the stuff we’ve gotten rid of. If anything, we’ve enjoyed a huge sense of relief. Our monthly expenses are way lower and we also have a lot more time to do the things we want to do.

It’s as if this whole new world has been opened up to us. So no, there’s definitely no void. It’s all good and it keeps getting better. I hope that’s cleared things up for you Karen! 🙂

Ask Away

If you have a question about our lifestyle pop me an email or leave it the comments section below. Ask away, I’m happy to answer anything, so long it’s not about Sporty’s slippers.

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  1. Simple Is The New Green

    My husband and I recently moved out of state and we decided to sell everything and only take personal belongings that can fit in our 18 year old sedan, such as clothes, files, computers, etc… We now live with no couch and we sleep on mattresses on the floor. Many people would think this is strange, but I love it! I am actually way more comfortable sleeping close to the ground and a couch just makes me lazy. I always suggest that people pare down as much as possible, because most things are replaceable. It is better to not be attached to our stuff.

    • Ang

      Hey there. That sounds SO exciting! Sporty and I have been toying with the idea of renting unfurnished and just getting a mattress and a desk. I think there’s definitely something to be said for living that simply. Plus, you save a tone of money, which is always cool! I’d love to see pics of your place, maybe you can share some on your blog? 🙂



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