A friend of mine made a post of social media asking “Does anyone have any experience/thoughts/resources on minimalist living? Debating between trying to pack and move the majority of my things, or drastically reducing just to selected essentials (basically shipping one freight item, maybe a few boxes of books, and then everything else going in my car)”
I’m gonna answer here, in part because I tried to write it there and it was going to be waaaaay long.
First thing first, unless you have stuff you super love.. like couldn’t replace super love, drastically reducing is one of the most freeing things you can do. I love the blog, The Minimalists, as a starting point. They were and still are an inspiration for me. I also looked up tons of wardrobe capsules because I had sooooo many clothes that I needed help figuring out how to get down the sheer amount of clothing I own.
So I guess to be honest I first started years before I finished. Each summer I worked hard to get rid of half that I owned. By the time I actually started the blog, I was already determined in that half thinking I was crazy but gonna do it sort of way. The final push looked crazy though.
My simplified steps
- I left my apartment and made a list of all the things I used on the daily.
- I then made a list of all of the things that I wanted to have still.
- I went back home and put all that stuff in the bathroom and everything else worked its way into the living room.
- Living room had three giant moving boxes placed in it. One was for keeping, one was for throwing away and one was for donation or selling. (I donated all but someone more organized might try to sell)
- Every day I worked until I moved two boxes of stuff out of my apartment. Some days were harder than others but it kept progress moving.
- Keep in mind, I was doing this during teaching. Once summer hit, I put in five to eight hours in but that’s because I was drowning in stuff and had to hit a deadline.
- On days when you are saving everything, stop working. Unload what you have done and watch an episode of something that inspires you. I used hoarders. It inspired me not to allow myself to bury myself alive. For people with less of that fear, I recommend tiny houses on youtube . If you like to stream while you work, I would recommend the Minimalists documentary. If you want a free set of documentaries then
- If it costs less than $5 and it’s not on your lists, you can probably donate it.
- If you can buy it at Goodwill and don’t need it soon, you can probably get rid of it.
- If you can’t replace it, don’t be afraid to save it. That doesn’t really include books that someone gave you unless it has an inscription.
- DON’T FILL YOUR NEW SPACE! Leave room to grow incase you find you need something.
- If you are moving into your car, try to only have backseat or trunk full if at all possible. You should still be able to drive comfortably. (And maybe be able to store some food)
- Keep in mind that if you keep it down to one or two boxes, a friend can probably store them for you with your name on them.
- I got a storage unit that I only half filled. It was my comfort gap. I couldn’t imagine getting rid of my furniture and was terrified I wouldn’t be able to move out of the trailer if I hated it. This came in handy later because I inherited several really nice pieces from my grandfather and grandmother and had tons of extra space for storing it. This did cost me $50 a month for two years. A whopping total of $1,200. If I not moved into a house, this would had been wasted money. Honestly, if I had not gotten married, this would have been wasted money.
Mistakes I made
- I saved to much still. I should have also gotten rid of clothing that didn’t fit, all the books from my young adulthood that were fantasy and easy to check out of a library.
- I overpopulated my space so as I grew and life happened, I really ran out of room a few times over.
- When things started accumulating, I threw stuff in storage instead of ditching.
- I only regretted throwing out one thing.. of all the stuff I ditched, I regretted throwing out my letterman jacket. Here’s the deal though. I just wanted a picture of it. I was fine letting it go but wished I had a picture. If you aren’t sure about an item, take a picture then let it go.
Does anyone else have suggestions?
Well, I went to Maine with my mother. We had a grand time. I will write so much more than that when it isn’t midnight.
Why am I up at midnight, the reader wonders. I am up at midnight because I have whiplash and it hurts. We landed back home on Monday afternoon/evening. My mother returned me and my luggage to my house and husband. In an attempt to get some together time before I slept for two days, my husband took me out to dinner. (He’s a sweet man, I know.) We ate our usual fare at Chili’s and were almost home when we got hit from behind. I was bending over to get the cord to charge my phone as I played Pokemon Go and was not expecting a Toyota Tundra to introduce it’s self so violently to my husbands Jetta but expecting it or not, it sure did happen. Fortunately for us, my husband does actually leave a gap between himself and other drivers so we didn’t then collide into the car in front of us. Unfortunately for us, neither of us are invincible. The truck’s owner and us pulled into the parking lot to wait for an officer and to trade info. The owner just checked out. He wasn’t drunk or sleepy or drugged. It was just one of those long days and he wasn’t paying attention at just the wrong time. He had insurance and it didn’t take long for the officer to find him at fault and ticket him.
I wish that had been the end of it all but..
Even after the crash, I knew something was wrong. Standing up after sitting down on the curb shot pain all the way up my spine to the base of my neck. After holding myself together pretty well, I tearfully told my husband that I didn’t feel good and he took me to the ER. Of course, there were others in the ER who looked like they REALLY REALLY needed to be there so after seeing I had a Dr. appointment the next day we stopped at Kroger, grabbed muscle relaxer, and drove home. I took a pill and long hot bath in a desperate attempt to fix whatever happened to my body. It may have helped but as these days continue I know it didn’t help enough. My doctor told me that we would know the full extent of the damage in two weeks. Well, tomorrow makes one week and I can’t even pick up a 12 pack of soda without almost crying so… we will see.
On a bright note, school for students starts soon and I do look forwards to my minimally decorated room. I have decided to go with a neat aesthetic this year in hopes that it will help the room stay clean and organized. Since that is not in my nature, I will be using a work friend to be my spare eyes and warn me when things are looking messy. It should be great fun.
Here’s to a new school year and to not being crushed by trucks. (Gotta focus on the positive here dangit.) One sheep… Two sheep… Three sheep…
I pre wrote this post so you would have one. See, that’s how serious I was about trying to start posting again. =)
I am a fully functioning adult and I play Pokemon Go. That’s right, the app for phones and ipads that let’s you run around and catch invisible creatures. Those who know me know I don’t play many games on my screens so an explanation on how I fell into this one.
1. Before Pokemon Go was a game called Ingress. It is a game where you either drive or walk to certain locations and press the screen to click that you were there. You were on one of the teams made up of tons of invisible people around the world and were trying to connect the places that you clicked on. So here is where the challenge is. When you click these places you can gain power over them. You had to “attack” them with powers you gained from clicking on tons of different ones. I enjoyed playing this game with my husband for a while and we watched a few forums but never really made it to a meetup to do coordinated attacks on harder areas or anything. It drained my phone battery and my husband and I got busy and this game fell by the wayside.
2. I played a few other phone games but not really anything I could play with people. It made me super sad not to be able to really relate to what others were playing but I also just didn’t want to look at my phone screen when the world was amazing and going on around me.
3. Pokemon Go came along. My husband and I talked and decided to play it. We started playing together. I enjoy catching pokemon with my phone as we drive around or go to the main places (poke-e-stops). Even at beginning levels you get introduced to new and fun little characters so there is instant satisfaction as you catch these creatures. I found out my friends were playing and were willing to be on our team (even though yellow is the smallest of the teams). There is still the challenging locations that your team color can claim once you get high enough level (or bored of catching small creatures) but there is also the added benefit of evolving pokemon from small creatures to larger creatures. Unlike all the crazy videos coming out, it is not to hard to play while moving around. The game can be immersive but you just stop and walk to the side to finish the moves. The absolutely coolest part of this game though stands that so many people are playing it. I am dreadfully shy and I actually went up to someone and had something to talk to them about! If I had been able to play this in early college, it would have been a game changer for me.
One of my favorite moments of the Dallas trip was getting to play pokemon with friends and seeing parents and kids playing together and Malls/ courtyards full of people leaning on the sides or sitting in chairs and catching pokemon. How cool is that?
I can also see from the side of people who aren’t playing it. I bet you guys are frustrated by the sudden crowds in places that were once freed up. I also find it mildly annoying that people stop suddenly in the middle of the hallway and some forget to move to the side. I hate when I see a driver of a car playing this (or anything). I worry a bit that conversations are going to die out. When I start to think tons about it though, I remind myself that most of these things are fads. That means it will fade out in time and we will all remember that in 2016 everyone around seemed to stop and play a silly game and hang out in groups for just a little while, escaping all the mess of the world happening around us.
Go Team Instinct
Well, this may be my last Summer. I am considering leaving teaching for a bit and if I do, my time will be spent differently in the months of June- August. I have never really just spent the summer traveling as was my original plan with the trailer so this summer I hit the road like I have never before.
School let out on June 3rd for teacher. I took two weeks to reflect and made changes to some of my old lessons as well as documented what I thought would be the most fun the following year.
- June 20 and 21 I helped develop curriculum for my district.
- June 22-26 I went to San Angelo to visit some friends.
- June 28-July 6th I flew to Seattle and enjoyed visiting the Olympic National Forest (STUNNING) with my husband and then visiting a good friend from the area.
- July 10,11 I enjoyed a “Movies you should see” marathon run by a good friend my hometown.
- July 12,13 I relaxed with Ms. BFS. A tradition we are trying to start up after our fond memories of the first time we did it.
- July 20-23 I visited Dallas area and was fortunate enough to see a few college friends and my older brothers branch of the family!
The rest of my summer looks like..
- July 27-30 I am going to a conference for teaching that sounds like it will be amazing.
- August 2-8 I will be enjoying Maine with my mother. We have started doing a trip each summer together and this has lead to wonderful bonding and a very close relationship that I treasure.
- Then I start back at work shortly after that!
Ten Things I Learned from Being on the Road
- Bring clothing that can be sink washed and dried quickly for the most part. You may need to do it.
- Good socks make hiking a much better experience. They are worth spending a bit on but you can get them for under $20 a pair.
- You can break phones just by climbing on boulders. Not even by touching them. Just that small flex in the screen and they are done for. Good cases save money.
- Double check the weather where you are going and then bring a sweater anyway.
- If the person you are flying with is checking a bag, just go ahead and check yours. Keep your purse with you and keep a change of undergarments in it as well as your toothbrush, just in case.
- When tubing, sunscreen can only do so much. Make sure you have aloe with you at all times and wear a hat. It is not worth the burn.
- Age isn’t an excuse. I hiked 9-12 miles for 4 days straight. Good socks, good shoes and good company as well as plenty of water.
- Packing in ziplock bags of various sizes is almost as good as those expensive packing cubes and they meld better to the shape of my backpacks.
- Really think of what type of makeup you want to use for your trips. You probably don’t need all that you pack. Honestly, you may not need any.
- Take pictures some of the time but not all of the time. You may miss capturing that super fun moment on camera but you are involved in it. And that is so much better that looking through the window of that tiny screen.
I may have missed my kittens and my husband and I may feel like I stretched myself a bit thin this summer but I will always be thankful that I got to see as many of my friends and family as I have been able to.
What trips have you dreamed of doing? People you wish to see?
Since I haven’t been writing, here is a brief catch up..
In March, the sewer backed up through our shower into our house. Much cursing was had. Husband and I learned how to communicate better. Floors were redone… They just finished doing them right a week ago. Clearly there was some complications… That being said, I will save those for a later date.
Moving upstairs gave me the opportunity of getting to live with a lower roof over my head for a bit. That was actually a good transition for me. We stayed in my art room which wasn’t huge before I threw all my bookshelving in and got even smaller with a mattress in it. I actually was pretty comfortable sleeping in there and got to get used to the bed being a sleeping place. I even acclimated to the mattress! I also really enjoyed being able to walk down the hallway and go sit at the computers. With the main downside just being that there was only really one restroom. Due to construction, we didn’t have a working kitchen or washing machine for a while. If you don’t live near somewhere you can easily use a kitchen and a washing machine, I imagine life would be harder. In my rv resort, they had both of those in great working condition so I never struggled there.
We are finally really moving back downstairs and it isn’t as tough. Maybe it is because we have been waiting to do it, or maybe it is because we had it painted and the floors done to our style.. I don’t really know. It could also be the wonderful couches that we get to snuggle on with the kittens.. I just know that I am happy to be back down in the part of the house that I used to dread. We are still slowly but surely furnishing our house but the living room is almost done and as soon as the next set of furniture is delivered, the book room will be furnished completely. (Minus a small bar cabinet)
Our kitchen is still sans seating and we are using a cute but worn table that my hubbys mom was so kind as to share with us. Upstairs needs a good cleaning after our cats but.. we still have most of our stuff up there so it will have to wait a bit longer.
All in all, I am setting nicely, or would be if I was home long enough to settle (More on that Wednesday)
So… It has been a bit. I figured for those who are curious, I could and would offer an update. My husband and I, after TONS of searching and a bit of a compromise we found a house that fit all of our perceived needs for now and the future. This house is over 3000 feet. That’s right. I just moved from 160ish square feet too over 3000.
Overwhelming. I thought certainly the space would feel nice but there is something oppressive about that much open space. As boxes upon boxes rolled in from my old storage unit and my husbands rental space, I quickly saw how much stuff we still had. It at first made me feel quite panicked. Sometimes I still look around and try to figure out how all of this happened and what part will this play in my life.
After giving it a few weeks, I told my husband how the open space made me feel and that I was unhappy. He has suggested that we give it a bit of time for adjustment and to actually get things in the right place and that if I am still unhappy, we can sell the house and figure something else out. I know that isn’t going to be good for us though. We have the space for future children and current guests. Once it is all put together we will have a gaming library for our groups that gather frequently for playing board games and enough space to host my family when they all come down for events.
So far my adjusting/coping mechnisms of dealing with this much change in space have been:
- I don’t go upstairs unless I have too. Most of our boxes are there and if I don’t have time to work on the boxes, I don’t go look at them.
- Use the kitchen space I have. It is wonderful now that I am getting used to it and it will be fun to get to actually cook large meals once it all falls together.
- I’m working on recognizing when my husband is doing something to help around the house so I feel like it is more of a team effort.
- I am also realizing what the roll of change has in my depression cycles and learning to accept that I will just be unhappy sometimes. And that’s not because of the house necessarily or because my husband. That’s because I’m not as chemically balanced as some people and I am not going above and beyond to improve that.
So that’s a bit of what is going on currently. I am also super excited for my family gathering in early April. It’s one of my favorite parts of the year.
Stay tuned to hear about the great brown flood of 2016 next post!!
I just wanted to share a bit about the man I am engaged to. He is wonderful.
- When I feel sick, he has been sweet and brings me soup.
- When I’m healthy, he is there to snuggle me.
- When I want time with friends, he texts to have fun and stay safe.
- When I’m being bitchy, he lets me know in a constructive way.
We do have our spats and disagreements but, since I haven’t said much about him here on the blog, I figured I would share. I’m not the overyly lovey dovey type and have respected his privacy in not knowing what he would or wouldn’t want me to type but wanted to share.
This does change my future plans a bit. I thought I may be alone or dating for most of the rest of my life. Not sad about it but just had come to accept that maybe I wasn’t willing to compromise enough or wouldn’t find someone who matched me enough to want to get married. Now that I have, we have been talking about how we want to live.
My guy (Mr. Shorts), has tons of board games and crafts and likes to host player for gaming days. I really enjoy doing that with him. To do things like that we will need to live in a house or apartment large enough to host. I am actually quite fine with that. I do sometimes miss space (most often in my kitchen) and really look forward to the day we can cook together.
I’m worried. I’m worried I won’t be able to keep things picked up. I’m concerned that I will start hording and totally fill space quickly. I’m not sure how people who work full time actually find time to keep a whole house in order. I have expressed these concerns to him and he has offered some solutions. I think I like his best suggestion, every item has a place, and possibly hiring a maid. It would just kinda suck though to have tried this trailer thing partially to help fight my hording tendencies and then end up right back where I started.
For now though I am not going to linger on that. I am going to instead stress about finding a new job for this next year and look into planning a wedding. Oh, and buying a car (Prius v!!).
I hope all is going well out there for you!
Yep. I am pretty decided. I want a Prius. A Prius V I am pretty sure. Also it’s my birthday tomorrow… I wish there was a birthday fairy that brought loan free cars. That would be super cool.
Other updates.. weddings planning is fancy and I don’t wanna. Magic wedding fairy, I summon you too!
Now that I am struggling through the conversion van question, I begin to think about what I really want in my travel vehicle. The purpose of this vehicle is to allow me to go farther distances cheaper and in a more relaxed way of travel. For this, I don’t want to have to find a hotel room every time I am going somewhere. I want to be able to drive to the sunset and not worry about when I get tired. Here’s what I think I am looking for.
- a vehicle that has enough space I can lay down in the back of the car
- a/c that can run for a long part of the evening so I don’t overheat if I car sleep for a night
- I want a way to use the restroom. It’s not a very nice fact but I use the restroom way way to much to have to depend on the ability to find a potty. I intend to purchase one of the casset style porta potties. It’s basically the car equivalent to what I have in the trailer.
- Decent gas milage
It would also be nice to be able to store my camping gear so I could easily tent camp/ cook. I figure I can ice chest most meats and eat them before they will go bad for road trips if it comes down to feeding myself healthy food. That or I can rely on veggies and jerky.
When surfing the internet, I found this site where a young person is staying in a Prius. I saw the choices she made and thought huh… that meets most of the needs I have. So, now I have been stewing over using a Prius instead. I am going to hit the Toyota lots and check out the Prius V and see if the wagon version is enough space and look at some of their other models. I may have found my solution to getting a car that will run for quite a while and will also still meet my RV needs.
Also, just for funzies, I am including a link to someone who did more alterations on their Prius than I plan to do. TV TIME
Things I’ve noticed lately about living in the trailer. Somehow, even though I don’t plan to increase the amount of items I own… I do. I pick up little things at conventions, I replace old shoes but don’t discard the well loved versions… I find a book I want to read but don’t have time so I store it till Summer.. and in all of this, I have created a problem for myself.
My trailer is no longer a mobile home. It is stationary. If I want to hook it up to go camping, I would need at least two hours to get the trailer broken down to a point where it could traverse the road and not create a hailstorm of objects bumping around on the inside. Seeing as I have not bought an SUV or towing vehicle yet, this hasn’t been such a problem but it has caused me to rethink some of my plans and deal with what I may actually want.
I don’t want to travel in my home. I don’t feel like there is any sort of break when I bring all of my stuff and all of my work with me on vacation. It is like checking your work email through your cell phone on your day off. Somewhere in the midst of trying to find a way I can have my own space, I have realized that a large part of vacation for me is leaving my space to have a different environment.
So now I am in this odd spot where I am thinking of getting a conversion camper van (ford ecoline series) where I can go visit friends and family across the states but have a cheap and nice bed to sleep in (and place for kittens) or get a vehicle that maybe doesn’t pull the trailer but saves on gas money and spending nights in hotels. I need to run the gas cost and identify why it is that I have this nomad dream when I already know that after two weeks on the road, I just want to go home to my own little spot. Here’s to figuring out my next steps.
Oh and because I am not sure I shared this to the online world, I am now engaged. More on that to come.