Minimalist Moving – Hindsight

Last month, I picked up my life and moved 650 miles. My things were packed and I was ready to move. Before packing, I consulted a number of moving websites. Most of them suggested that I go through each room and determine what I didn’t need/want. The rest should be packed room by room.

I followed those directions pretty well. I took about nine bags of stuff to the Goodwill. I packed the rest and put it into storage. For almost two months, I stayed with a friend. Getting ready for the next leg of the move, I went to storage to make sure I had some summer clothes. I packed a small suitcase worth, and I was amazed by how many bins and boxes of clothes I had in storage. Yet, I’ve been living without all these things for nearly two months. Do I really need them at all?

The packing suggestions worked well — for the average lifestyle. Since going minimalist, however, that method left me with too much. Way too much. So, given my recent moving experience, I would drastically change my packing methods. My method would look something like this:

  • Take note of the fire essentials. I’m talking about the things that you would want to have in case of a fire: your computer, your backup drive, important papers/files, anything very sentimental…  Make a list of these things, or even gather them all in one place.
  • Get the necessities. If you were going in vacation for a month in summer, which clothes would you take? What about winter? Gather the essential items from your closet and dressers together. Which books would you take?  Evaluate each room to see which items are necessities. Gather or pack those items.
  • A little comfort. This step is optional. If you’re going radical, you may want to skip this step. But for the rest of us, a little comfort is good. Treat yourself to some small comforts. Perhaps an extra pair of shoes. Maybe an extra jacket. But not twelve jackets. I’m thinking of a few extra things that will make you a little more comfortable.
  • Be practical.  What needs to be saved? If you are a professional student, like me, you may have some textbooks that you need to save. If you are a chef, you probably have kitchen gadgets you need for your business. I am not suggesting that anyone throw away their hard earned money by tossing out things that they really need. I simply suggest evaluating each addition item packed. What do you need the item for? Will you use it in the future?
  • Take a good, hard look at the rest. You have already determined that all the rest is non-essential for survival. The rest is non-essential for a bit of comfort. The things that are impractical to throw away or donate are already gathered. What happens to the rest? Now is the time to go through and determine what needs to be thrown out, what needs to be donated, and what you really can’t part with. If you aren’t sure, you can make a pile for things you’re not sure about. Come back to those later. Donate or toss the rest.

I realize that my moving method is probably a little unorthodox.  It is good for downsizing, though. I wish that I had discovered minimalism before I packed my overstuffed apartment. I would have gone about it in this manner. And I wouldn’t have boxes and bins of stuff that I probably have no use for.

All of this crap was moved and stored along with my furniture (I have not reached the stage of downsizing furniture-wise). My next move will be much, much smaller, not only because I have a new packing method, but because I will have a lot less stuff.  That’s my two cents.

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