Ok. It’s time to fess up. Secretly, between you a me, I’m a hoarder. Not one of those people who would be eligible for the tv show ‘Hoarders’. That is some next level shiz. Well, ok, maybe hoarder is too extreme a repulsive visual. I guess I’m more what you’d call a pack rat.
I don’t have a problem with it. There are no real underlying emotional issues that make me that way (that I know of), but I wish I was less of ‘a keeper of stuff I don’t need (…yet)’ kinda gal. I guess I’m sentimental, like to be prepared, resourceful, creative and frugal. These are the makings of a pack rat, mild though it may be.
Pack Rat Origins
Because I budgeted so much as a teen and then as young adult #student, I didn’t shop for clothes regularly. I went to thrift stores, I made clothes, I accepted hand-me-downs, I kept things that went out of style or didn’t fit, in case I could alter them or they came back in fashion. You know how trends sometimes do. Sometimes a girl just has to get our her Bernina and let her creative flag fly, you know.
I went through a maker phase, where I used to keep cardboard boxes because the cardboard was great for making stuff out of, should I feel the… ahem, urge. Of course, in my defence, boxes always come in handy though right?
I kept souvenirs of all the places I travelled to. Stuff like shot glasses, keyrings, picture frames, etc. Just knick knacks and stuff. I liked to have little reminders around me that triggered off memories of places far away and long ago.
My Dad’s the same way. He loves a good bargain at the ‘Sunday Markets’ or a good garage sale and proudly tells people how much he paid for that second-hand antique clock or kitchen exhaust fan. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure as they say. Like father like daughter.
Just Makes Good Cents
I’ve kept the habit of being frugal. It just makes more sense to me because I don’t like to waste money on things that aren’t worth it. In Australia especially, things are more expensive than other places, and generally the quality, is not great. This has moulded me into a bargain hunter.
As my bf would say, “You’d spend $5 on petrol to drive somewhere to get an item that’s 10c cheaper.” Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I guess it’s the Asian in me, we do love a good bargain. He doesn’t complain when I apply that same mentality to travel bargain hunting though. Hello, stay at a fricken 4-poster-bed room in a Scottish castle for £60 a night! You’re welcome.
Taking Life on the Road
I guess I’d rather spend money on experiences and travel, then things. Especially when we do go travelling, there’s only so much you can take with you. Whatever will fit in your suitcase or backpack, within the restrictions of weight of course. It makes you really think about what you actually need.
And of course, we’re always trying to travel lighter than the restrictions because hauling around a heavy backpack on your back through a new city, in the heat, trying to find your hotel and look chic doing it, well… let me tell you, is not a mission I’m willing to accept. Again.
What I’ve found is that no matter how long I travel for and I’ve travelled for years at a time mind you, I’m quite happy living out of a suitcase. I love that I don’t need anything more than that and it makes me realise how many ‘things’ I can actually live without.
I don’t miss anything I didn’t bring. I can always buy something if I need it. My souvenirs are now photos I’ve taken or ticket stubs or diary entries. The only things that are crucial to me, are my laptop and camera equipment, passport and money, things that I need to work and survive.
The Allure of the Minimalist
When we lived in Vancouver for over a year, we had to buy furniture, work clothes, cooking utensils, … we pretty much had to set up shop, so to speak. Even though I was working there and was earning good money, I still budgeted for just the essentials. Why invest a lot of money on something you’re not going to need for very long. In the end we had to sell it all.
This is why being a minimalist appeals to me. Unnecessary things, just aren’t worth it. While I sometimes get jealous of my friends buying new clothes every week or wearing a new outfit every time I see them and I’ve not bought anything new since 2012, I know deep down, that’s not the kind of person I want to be.
My fantasy wardrobe is on Pinterest, and while I’ll never wear those clothes, I like that I can still appreciate trends and what’s fashionable without having to spend a lot of money or carry it all on my back #packhorse.
Being a minimalist also helps in ways you may not have even thought of. For instance…
Living minimally helps clear your mind and gives you peace. Removing clutter from your life is so freeing, and you know that freedom is my jam. You worry less, you feel less pressure. You don’t feel overwhelmed and frantic all the time, which is what mess can do for your home and your mind.
2. Narrows Down Decision Making
Minimalism helps narrow down decisions so you can’t spend all day searching for that perfect outfit with clothes all over the floor and bed and proclaim that you have nothing to wear. This is why the capsule wardrobe is becoming so popular. Just minimise your wardrobe with key good quality pieces, and be stylish all the time.
Wearing the same or similar things every day, helps you free your mind up for the more important decisions too. There is such a thing as decision fatigue. You don’t need to go as far as wearing the same clothes every day, ala Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, but there is something to be said for successful people and minimalism. Where would we be without the sleek, minimal, iPhone?
3. Minimal Cleaning
Your house always looks neat and tidy when you are a minimalist, because you have nothing to mess up. So, there’s really not much cleaning to do and you can have people over in a moment’s notice #hostesswiththemostest. Gotta love that.
4. Keeps you on Time
How many times have you been late for an appointment because you couldn’t find your keys? Now there’s nothing to bury them under. Whalla!
5. Organised. Check.
Being a minimalist, keeps you more organised. You can find everything that you’re looking for. Nuff said.
6. Saves you Time
Because you narrow down your decisions and find things you need, it gives you time back. How many things can you say that about? Time is our most precious resource after all.
7. Gives you Space
It gives you more room to dance in your living room… or kitchen, or bedroom, or bathroom. “So many activities!” (Stepbrothers). If you ever feel the need to bust out an old school breakdance move, well, just get out the cardboard and put on your jam cause the living room b-boy/b-girl battle is about to throw down! Of course there’s room to do yoga, meditate, that exercise dvd you keep putting off, capoeira and all that other fun stuff too.
8. Packing is a Cinch
Packing for your next trip? What used to take you days (you know with the initial pre-pack, then the actual pack, then the follow up narrowing-down-to-the-essentials pack) now takes an hour or two, tops, with your awesome capsule wardrobe. Imagine how fast you could move house or apartment? Living light and loving it.
9. Saves you Money
You’re probably paying off your credit cards from all those things you’ve bought on them that you wouldn’t buy if you were a minimalist, huh. Debt, removed. You save on cleaning products, on furniture, on clothes, on stuff! More money in your pocket or for travel and experiences. Yes please.
10. Saves you Voice Strain
With less of the room filled, you don’t have to yell as much to be heard in another room. The acoustics are way better. So, no repeating yourself at the top of your lungs ten times trying to get a toilet roll refill. Hmm, didn’t think of that one did ya? Boom.
There are so many advantages of being a minimalist. Life seems much more simple, easier, stressfree, manageable, efficient and let’s not forget freeing and frugal. This is definitely something that I will aspire more to be.
We’ve got a big trip coming up in the next 3 months, so make sure to sign up below to be notified of all the upcoming hacks on packing, booking and travel arrangements for our next one-way, long-term, don’t-know-where-we’re-going-to-end-up adventure. Woo hoo!