Minimalist Living: Moving

iStock_000015548544XSmallNobody looks forward to moving. Sure, you might be excited about being someplace new, but nobody likes the actual moving part. Packing sucks, cleaning sucks, driving a UHaul sucks… it just isn’t fun. I’ve moved more times than I can count. I’ve moved internationally, cross country and locally. I’m good at it. Moving doesn’t have to be difficult, but it will be stressful no matter how much you plan. Picking up your life and carrying it to someplace new (sometimes sight unseen) can be really, really hard. Here’s how to make it a little easier.

  1. Memories don’t live in items. Say goodbye to dishes, books, that high chair your kid is too big for – all of it. While those items may spark precious memories, you don’t need them. The memories won’t disappear, I promise. Take time to walk through your place and remember all the good times you had. Remind yourself that you will be having more good times – in a new place. Keep looking forward, and don’t get bogged down in sentimentality.
  2. Consider where you are going. Right now, I’m moving from Texas to Northern California. I’ll be living in a cabin in the mountains for six months so I gave away most of my summer clothes, and all of my furniture. I won’t need any of it. If you are moving to a different climate consider getting rid of clothing that you’ll never wear.
  3. Sell, donate, give away! This should be your mantra when you are moving. Get rid of as much as you can prior to packing. If you have things in your home that are not being used – get rid of them. Give that treadmill to someone who likes running. Take clothes you don’t wear to Goodwill. Donate toys and books to local schools, day care centers, libraries, or churches. Remember the words of William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
  4. Pack a “First Night” box – Have toilet paper, toothbrushes, pajamas, cell phones, chargers, dish soap, cleaning supplies, and sponges. Travel with this box in the car so it will be first in your new place. This eliminates looking for the things you’ll need right away.
  5. When packing seasonal clothing make sure it will last another season. If not, have a donation bag ready. You don’t want to hold-on to a winter coat that won’t last another winter. You’ll be much happier (and warmer) in a new coat which you can buy once you get there.
  6. Plan ahead. Minimalist or not, planning ahead can make a huge difference to your move. If you need car, van or truck – reserve now. Ask friends for assistance if they have a vehicle you could use. Start going through drawers, cupboards and closets – a few months in advance. Don’t let the moving date sneak up on you. If you pack and clean a little each day leading up to your move, you will have far less to do come moving day. And less stress, too!
  7. Downsize. It’s amazing how little space you actually need. We just went from a one bedroom flat to three suitcases, and some boxes. When we decide on where to land next we won’t have a ton of stuff to bring, and we won’t have to pay a huge rent. Use the little money you got from selling all of those old clothes, books and furniture and invest in something that will fit in your new space. Finding a home to accommodate your furniture is absurd.

Being a minimalist doesn’t mean living without, it means living with less. It means living with what you truly need. Moving house provides you with a perfect opportunity to start fresh. You’ll be happier in a smaller space – less maintenance, less expensive, less time cleaning, smaller environmental footprint, less temptation to accumulate more stuff. That means you have more free time, more money, more chances to get out of your home and DO something with your friends and family.

Because life is about experiences and people, not matching furniture and massive televisions. Remember, everything you own demands some of your time, energy and money. Less is definitely more. Especially when it comes to moving.


4 thoughts on “Minimalist Living: Moving

  1. This is such a great post. I’ve been working over the last few months to downsize as much as possible. I’ve donated bags and bags of clothes, books and other items and the more I get rid of, the lighter I feel.

  2. Our neighbours are moving today so I’m sure that will be no end of boxes.Yes I think a lot of people think that moving can be stressful but we’ve managed 3 moves in the last 2 years and all three have been fine really! Just rope friends in when loading that van, and to order the take-away when you get there 🙂

  3. Very Practical and assuring post . We are always in Dilemma when we are shifting , I remember last time we shifted , it was both physically and emotionally draining . Yes it can be handled with a more realistic approach as you you have mentioned . Before concluding I like to say , You write so well , keep it up !

  4. Yes, I can relate to the less I have, the lighter I feel. I also am moving regularly, and it is impossible to move when you have lots of possessions. I have been streamlining for the last 3 years and am in the final stages, it seems to have taken ages! Probably got half of what I had – and am also much better organised. Thanks for article.

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