We sold our London flat and began packing up to put our stuff into storage while we travel. What we didn’t realise was the (embarrassing) amount of stuff we accumulated over seven years. There seemed to be something for everything: tennis rackets, badminton rackets, golf clubs, a volleyball, two coolers, two sets of crockery and cutlery, leftover paint, extra floorboards, DVDs, CDs and books galore, a tile cutter, a broken Kindle, a poker set, tons of art and so on, you get the picture.
It turned out we had pretty much only used a lot of items only once or twice. We seemed to be collecting for the ‘just in case’ scenario. I guess having a spacious two bed flat encouraged us to fill it with stuff whether we needed it or not.
We made a conscious decision to downsize and began asking ourselves are we really going to use this again or even within the next month. We ended up selling, donating and binning about a room of stuff. We made a total of £2,000, the scary thing was it cost us closer to £10,000 to buy it in the first place.
By the end of the clean out we were exhausted, happy with our downsizing, but looking back on it now we definitely still could have done more.
We set off on our travels with four suitcases & two hand luggage, which we were happy with as we felt we had just enough for our ten months & four seasons.
Six weeks into our trip we bumped into Katlin & Sean at yoga. They had a similar discontent of working their life for someone else and not having time to do the things they love. It was so invigorating to meet people that we shared our philosophy with. They shared their stories on how they wanted to get out of the rat race, and that one of their ‘musts’ were to expand their minds, explore alternatives and be more innovative. By watching documentaries rather than listening to music or scrolling through Facebook they were taking incremental steps and changing their view on what is valuable. They suggested we watch Minimalism & Tiny Houses on Netflix.
That night we watched the documentary “Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things” and strangely it all made sense. We were planning to create a passive income to sustain a London-like lifestyle, however if we simplified our lives and outgoings we wouldn’t need as much money with which to live. We might not even need to work! We would have more time for ourselves, for each other, for our families and friends. We wouldn’t need to commute to work or be stressed about getting up the next day to go to work. This completely blew our minds so we began to really explore it; could we actually live a life with less stuff. In short….YES!
We started exploring the ideas from the documentary and began reading about Ryan’s (one of The Minimalists) 21 day journey into minimalism. Day 1 – Decision; write down your list of ‘musts’ not ‘shoulds’ in life. We have done this many times before when reading self help books like planning for the future, planning the dream etc. but each time before now we would list a fancy car, a big house, a big holiday, an expensive gadget, but this time the list focused more on time and meaning:
- I must read everyday
- I must write everyday
- I must get rid of excess stuff
- I must exercise three times a week
- I must continue to eat healthy everyday
- I must expand our network to create new friends that inspire us
- I must spend quality time and listen more to my family every week
- I must meditate everyday and practice yoga at least three times a week
- I must listen to documentaries everyday
- I must contribute to others in a meaningful way that satisfies, stimulates and fulfills me
- I must live in the moment
We got to Day 4 – Essentials; having no house to pack up and minimise further we decided to review our travel stuff and question what value does it give us. We ended up with one whole suitcase which headed for charity or the bin.
So in conclusion, we are open to trying something new. The definition of ‘insanity’ is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. If we want to live a more meaningful and happier life, time to try something different.