More of Less: Minimalism Overseas

I recently watched the minimalist documentary on Netflix and it got me thinking about coming home.   We sold off and gave away many of our processions when we moved overseas knowing we would be living in a much smaller apartment.   After living out of 9 suitcases as a family of four for about 3 months, I began to wonder what I needed when our stuff finally did show up.  It was great to see some of my clothes and the some of the kids favorite toys, but what the heck else was I missing so badly?

Kitchen gadgets?  Decorative stuff? Holiday items?  How much is enough?  I still feel like I have too much, but I get dazzled into what I think I need to be happy.   I don’t think anyone would describe me as a minimalist, but I love to de-clutter a space, go through my closet and purge some items.   I like how minimalism makes me feel and I think I want more of less.

We safely stored some sentimental items with family members before we left, but in reality… the stuff was stuff.  Maybe my stuff was more my taste, but I wasn’t any worse off when I didn’t have it.

So what happens when we move home?  Do we buy another big house?  Do we re-purchase all the furniture we got rid of?  How can we keep this going?  Apartment life is much easier to sustain with minimalism than a house with property.   It’s like I have tasted freedom and I don’t know if I can go back.

So that takes me to living intentionally…. setting boundaries with space, with stuff and with all the distractions that come with it.  I’m not so interested in how to get rid of the stuff as how to keep it out.  How can we never acquire it in the first place?  Don’t get me wrong, I still want a nice and comfortable home, just want to make sure I acquire the right amount of processions to keep life on the simpler side.

I see many families set rules, such as, when one thing comes in, one thing must go.  I like the idea of living by some easy to follow principles regarding “stuff”, but as the designated shopper of the family, I am often left making many of those decisions without a rule book to follow.   Here is what I do try to follow on a regular basis:

  1. Borrow when you can.
  2.  Go Paperless. But keep digital records.
  3.  Deal with the incoming paper as soon as it comes in.  Sort the trash from the actual mail, set aside paperwork that needs attention on your desk for follow-up, etc.
  4. Sort closets seasonally and have sentimental bins for toys, clothes that you want to keep.

I will say that moving out of our home was one of the best ways to deal with our “stuff.”   We were forced to access its value and decide to keep it or let it go.    While moving is a bit dramatic to inspire a spring cleaning, I will be interested to do it yet again and see what survives this time around.

 

 

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My name is Meghan, and this is the journey of our little family who left perfect suburban America for tropical Cartagena, Colombia. I plan on keeping it truthful: the good, the bad and everything in between. Follow our expat life, raising little kids in a new culture, while trying to keep ahold of our roots.

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