Sometimes, when I look at our current day to day life, I tend to forget how far we’ve come, and how exactly we got to where we are today. It’s almost as if I’m talking about completely different people!
It wasn’t until we sat down to write this post that I took a step back and saw how everything worked out to get us to the place we currently are at this time.
So how exactly did we end up the more minimalist types that we are now?
Life Before Simplifying
Now it might sound as if I’m being a bit dramatic, but I can assure you that this was very much our life at the beginning of this journey.
So to start: we had several vehicles (I won’t give an exact number, but in addition to cars and trucks, we even owned multiple riding lawn mowers as well); a large 3 bedroom house (for two people) a 2 car garage.. with a loft.. filled with boxes upon boxes of storage and spare furniture.
We even had a lake house and a couple boats!
To move on to just myself: I had several boxes of shoes that I never wore, stacks of purses that I never used, clothes hanging in my closet with tags still attached. All while having the feeling that I needed this or that because I ‘never had anything to wear’.
How did we get here?
It was a bit out of hand to say the least. But how did we get to this point of what some might consider unnecessary excess? My observation looking back is that it was a combination of a few things.
One being the mindless motions of the ‘day to day’. At the time we were running a small property management business, keeping up with bills and bookkeeping, being very involved with church, community, and family events; all while trying to eat a balanced diet, work out, stay hydrated, and get a full eight hours of sleep.
The less you own, the less owns you.
But our life had been on auto pilot. We didn’t have time to deal with the accumulating clutter and ‘unconscious consuming’ that was all around us.
We ended up accumulating “stuff” all along the way. It was just life.
We were too caught up in the busyness of it all.
It seemed the solution at the time was to just keep moving faster and working harder; but what we actually needed to do was slow down, take a step back, and take a hard realistic look at what we were caught up in. We had to decide for ourselves what we truly wanted and valued.
So we did just that, and decided to make a change.
The First Big Move
So we figured the next logical step was to leave it all behind, fit everything we could into a u-haul truck, and move across the country. Haha… but no.. really. That’s what we did.
And some really great things came from making this decision; it was our fist real opportunity to ‘consciously choose’ what came with us, to choose what stayed in our lives.
We had to take a hard look at everything we’d accumulated and decide what was making the cut and what we were willing to let go of. We were also able to sell all off the items that didn’t make the cut, and the profits made were enough to cover all of our relocation costs, and then some!
So we made the move and settled in nicely to our new, smaller, but nicer, place. And we made this move with a lot less stuff, and a lot more mental clarity.
We made one other move within 3 years, this time just across town, and found ourselves with another fresh opportunity to re-evaluate our belongings. And not everything made the cut.
Our move was to a nicer apartment by the ocean, better quality all around, but once again, with less space and less stuff.
Every time we’ve made these moves and cuts it has given us a chance to practice ‘zero based thinking‘. Basically what that means is imagine you have a fresh slate.. you start with nothing.. would you specifically choose everything that is currently in your life?
The Biggest Move Yet
So, moves across the country are cool and all, but we were ready for something more.
We decided to leave our cozy home, fit what we could into four suitcases, and and set off to a new continent!
The experience was scary, terrifying, amazing and incredible! I would recommend it to anyone.
Having to learn a new language and immerse yourself in a different culture can truly give you a renewed perspective unlike anything else; as well as instill an appreciation for simple things that might have been taken for granted in the past.
You walk away with a greater sense of confidence and trust in yourself.
We gained so many memorable experiences in our short stay. After four months of living in this foreign place we decided to make our way back to the states.
But not without first abandoning at least one suitcase, of course.:)
To find out about the next step in our journey, and our exciting plans from here, keep a lookout for Part 2 of this series!