It wasn’t until I started going through every crevice of my apartment that it really hit home just how much stuff I have. You don’t really think of it as a lot of stuff until you start going through every box, every closet, and every storage bin. I’m so happy that I only have an 800 square foot apartment and that only half of the stuff here is even mine (the other half belongs to my ex-boyfriend Curtis). If I had a 4,000 square foot house like most of suburban American’s do I’d want to kill myself right now.
When I started to realize how much stuff I had that I hadn’t even touched in years I knew it was too much and that I never wanted to do this again. In the past two cleaning days inside my apartment with Jaime of Breakaway Backpacker we’ve thrown away 15 bags of trash. Really Jenny?!? 15 bags. Really?
Those trash bags included everything from paper sample books to postcards to paperwork to product boxes to sketches to writings to bottles of who knows what to just downright trash! When is the last time I actually used this stuff and do I really need it? Most of the stuff I forgot I even had. Some of it I was excited to see again, but only for a brief moment until Jaime made me put it in the “sell” pile reminding me that if I haven’t used it in over a year I definitely don’t need it now. There were items I found that I remember impulsively buying at the store and then subsequently never actually using them. There were items that I remember I just had to have and then only using them a few times before discarding them to the dark corners of my closet. It’s an emotionally draining roller coaster process that is hitting my heart pretty hard. It’s been a very scary road and a difficult realization to emotionally deal with. I feel like such a fool. Like I had been lied to for years only to finally find out the truth.
People can call me “lucky” all they want for traveling the world, but the truth is, it’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of courage to sell everything you own, leave behind your friends and family, and follow your dreams. It’s a risk, but a risk worth taking. I don’t want to wake up in 20-years and regret not taking action. I’d want to be known as a person who did what I said I was going to do.
This whole selling everything process makes me just want to get rid of everything but at the same time I must realize the need to take baby steps. I don’t really know what my future holds so I want to do this in the most cost-effective and least painful way possible. Am I going to leave for a year only to want to come back? Am I going to be gone 10-years? I just don’t know. There are things that won’t go bad like items in my kitchen, my bed (which I’ve yet to find storage for), and my graphic design books. I have however minimalized all of these items to the bare minimum by only keeping my Kitchenaide mixer, Kichenaide pots and pans, and narrowed down my books to my most-used 15%. I have decided to sell everything else in those categories or given them to Curtis for his new condo.
There are a few things I’ve lost in the past that I’ve really regretted losing. They were all sentimental items so while I have made the decision to get rid of some sentimental items I haven’t gotten rid of them all. I’ve taken a look at the items that mean the most to me and narrowed them down to the ones that are the most important. The items I deem most important are the ones I can see myself wanting to look back through in 10 or 20 years from now and are not replaceable. The rest can be just memories. Like the award I got from my client of 8-years for my high-performance work on a big project (which I received $3 for in my garage sale) or the trophies I received racing motocross. Those can be let loose into the wild for someone else to own. The photos I have from my entire life or the journals I’ve written over the years are things I’ll want to remember and look back on one day so I want to keep those.
The longer and more enduring this process is the more I’m ashamed that it’s even gotten to this point. I never want to own just stuff that sits in a closet collecting dust for any number of years. I don’t want to collect any sort of item or anything that doesn’t have functionality, in essence becoming a minimalist. Last month I was at my parent’s house and I opened up a few of the closets only to find items that haven’t been used since I was a young child. It hit the concept home even further making me realize that I didn’t want to be like that.
Just a few weeks ago if you walked through my apartment it would have looked just like it did a year ago. I was pretending that life was the same and I wasn’t really going to travel the world by not taking action. I was procrastinating because I was scared. Over the last few weeks though my apartment has started to look much different. As you walk through my apartment you’ll find the only furniture remaining is a desk, a few small tables, a bookshelf and a bed. Both closets are completely empty. The living room only hosts two fans, a rug, a dog bed, and a few dog toys. My bookshelf once home to over 270 books now only holds 35. My sun room is completely empty with exception to my clothes and the keep pile. In essence, my apartment is empty. My dream is coming to fruition and becoming more real with each passing day. I’m committed. There is no backing out now. Before I know it I’ll be in my truck heading to Dallas to spend a few weeks at my parents house to hand over my dogs.
Needless to say it’s fucking scary. Am I out of my damn mind?
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