Author Topic: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?  (Read 24032 times)

JLee

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Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« on: May 27, 2015, 02:51:19 PM »
I wouldn't say I have a "lot" of stuff. I have a ton of tools (maybe even literally). A small gun collection, my project/weekend car (of 7 years now) and my offroad/daily-driver SUV round out the big items (plus a decent home theater system and some computer stuff).  No valuable furniture/etc.  I have a ~1825ft house which I share with 3 roommates.

I had a thought the other day of how awesome it would be if I was detached enough from all my shit that I could sell almost everything, keep my camera, consolidate computer equipment to one compact laptop, get an efficient/quality clothing selection, and basically fit everything I needed to live inside my truck so I was entirely mobile (example - I have an offroad bug too).

There's no reason for me to do this right now, nor am I ready to get rid of everything just yet - but that made me wonder. Has anyone here done that? Had a house full of stuff, sold it all, found what they "need" to live a minimalist lifestyle and then jumped? Any regrets?

I found this article which talks about it a bit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/living-with-less-a-lot-less.html?_r=0
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 04:48:17 PM by JLee »

mozar

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2015, 05:09:29 PM »

RunHappy

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2015, 05:12:30 PM »
I wouldn't say I have a "lot" of stuff. I have a ton of tools (maybe even literally). A small gun collection, my project/weekend car (of 7 years now) and my offroad/daily-driver SUV round out the big items (plus a decent home theater system and some computer stuff).  No valuable furniture/etc.  I have a ~1825ft house which I share with 3 roommates.

I had a thought the other day of how awesome it would be if I was detached enough from all my shit that I could sell almost everything, keep my camera, consolidate computer equipment to one compact laptop, get an efficient/quality clothing selection, and basically fit everything I needed to live inside my truck so I was entirely mobile (example - I have an offroad bug too).

There's no reason for me to do this right now, nor am I ready to get rid of everything just yet - but that made me wonder. Has anyone here done that? Had a house full of stuff, sold it all, found what they "need" to live a minimalist lifestyle and then jumped? Any regrets?

I found this article which talks about it a bit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/living-with-less-a-lot-less.html?_r=0

I did several years ago.  I basically went from borderline hoarder to minimalist.  I downsized from a 3 bedroom/2 bath, 1800sqft condo to a 1 bedroom/1 bath 600sqft apartment.  Getting rid of stuff was hard at first, some stuff I sold, others got donated and some got trashed.  It was very freeing, I highly recommend it. 

jeromedawg

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2015, 05:31:23 PM »
Well, I accidentally "downsized" our car situation by stupidly damaging my car (ruined the fender and door) rendering it non-driveable. So lately I've either been relegated to biking into work or carpooling w/ my wife and having her drop me off and pick me up. Between trying to DIY the repair and donate the car, I guess I'm debating whether or not I'll *actually* downsize... it sounds like a good idea, until something comes up [and it always does] where I should have/could have/would have if I had the car.

Otherwise, I've been in the process of selling/donating crap I don't use. My wife and MMM have probably been the biggest factors in making me get off my lazy butt and declutter more. In my household there's *always* something to declutter hahaha.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2015, 05:50:34 PM »
Did and still doing. When SO and I moved to the city, we went from 1,100 sq ft plus storage room in a realtive's barn to a 580sq ft apartment with 1 (small) closet. Honestly it wasn't as bad as I expected, minus one panic attack that I blame on the move itself. We just kinda buckled down and did it. Parting with books was the hardest part though. I still have a giant shelf of them, but I had far more than fit on that shelf.

Downsizing was the best thing I've ever done for my cooking skills. When you pretty much only have room for a cutting board and knives, you don't have the crutch of other cooking tools/gadgets to get you through. My knife skills improved greatly, and I now zest, grate, fine slice, etc, just using a knife.

We've acquired many additional things over the past couple years while living here, though. It is much harder to minimize without a move- hard to pull everything out and go through it. I try to stay on top of it, but I imagine I will be shocked at how much there is to shed when it comes time to move again.

dunhamjr

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2015, 06:01:51 PM »
I need to work on this. Our family has been growing so it's quite hard. And the house is much bigger than we need. So it's been feeble and slow to happen, moving in the next couple years will be the big push to purge stuff.

TheBuddha

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2015, 06:44:55 PM »
I'm an OTR truck driver and I dramatically downsized my stuff/life when I changed careers. I'm technically homeless - I live in the truck when I'm on the road (hotel room for the rare time off). I recently cleaned out my mini storage when I realized what it was costing me to store things. Now all I possess in the world is my car, the items inside my car, and the items in the truck. My income is above the median and I have virtually no expenses. After I'm out of debt in mid-June, I figure I'll be able to invest  ~$38k per year.

Obviously it's not a lifestyle for everyone (e.g. married folks, although I know some who are also homeless). It works for me though. I'm a late starter in life and grabbed onto this career like a life preserver thrown to a drowning man. I've paid off $50k in debt in three years and figure to be a half-millionaire in 10 years, retired in 15. I could never accomplish it if I had to pay rent, utilities, etc.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2015, 06:51:31 PM »
I'm an OTR truck driver and I dramatically downsized my stuff/life when I changed careers. I'm technically homeless - I live in the truck when I'm on the road (hotel room for the rare time off). I recently cleaned out my mini storage when I realized what it was costing me to store things. Now all I possess in the world is my car, the items inside my car, and the items in the truck. My income is above the median and I have virtually no expenses. After I'm out of debt in mid-June, I figure I'll be able to invest  ~$38k per year.

Obviously it's not a lifestyle for everyone (e.g. married folks, although I know some who are also homeless). It works for me though. I'm a late starter in life and grabbed onto this career like a life preserver thrown to a drowning man. I've paid off $50k in debt in three years and figure to be a half-millionaire in 10 years, retired in 15. I could never accomplish it if I had to pay rent, utilities, etc.

What do you do for mail, proof of address, etc?

TheBuddha

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2015, 07:20:51 PM »
What do you do for mail, proof of address, etc?

P.O. Box for mail.

I haven't really needed a physical address so far, except for the DMV. I gave them my parents' address. It was annoying to me that the DMW worker demanded a physical address, even after I told him I didn't have one.

One thing I've wondered about is if I'm able to vote in any kind of local or national election. I wouldn't know what polling station to go to.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2015, 07:52:18 PM »
What do you do for mail, proof of address, etc?

P.O. Box for mail.

I haven't really needed a physical address so far, except for the DMV. I gave them my parents' address. It was annoying to me that the DMW worker demanded a physical address, even after I told him I didn't have one.

One thing I've wondered about is if I'm able to vote in any kind of local or national election. I wouldn't know what polling station to go to.

I feel like there are a lot of things that a PO Box doesn't work for. For example, I don't think amazon Prime will ship to PO Boxes unless I'm mistaken. Also, don't you need a physical address for CCs, etc? Just trying to see how that would work out! Haha.

TheBuddha

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2015, 08:09:31 PM »
What do you do for mail, proof of address, etc?

P.O. Box for mail.

I haven't really needed a physical address so far, except for the DMV. I gave them my parents' address. It was annoying to me that the DMW worker demanded a physical address, even after I told him I didn't have one.

One thing I've wondered about is if I'm able to vote in any kind of local or national election. I wouldn't know what polling station to go to.

I feel like there are a lot of things that a PO Box doesn't work for. For example, I don't think amazon Prime will ship to PO Boxes unless I'm mistaken. Also, don't you need a physical address for CCs, etc? Just trying to see how that would work out! Haha.

Regular (non-Prime) Amazon purchases ship to my P.O. Box just fine, I don't have Prime so I don't know if it would work.

I haven't had any issues with my CC so far. When asked for my billing address during payment, I put in my P.O. Box and it works fine. One caveat would be that I did open the CC when I had a physical address, and only subsequently changed it to a P.O. Box.

If I absolutely need a physical address one day, I'll find a cheap way to do it. I'd be interested in other people's ideas on how to do this (RV park? Van down by the river?)

I have been considering getting an apartment in Nevada just long enough to switch my driver's license from CA to NV, to avoid CA state income tax.

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2015, 08:55:18 PM »
What do you do for mail, proof of address, etc?

P.O. Box for mail.

I haven't really needed a physical address so far, except for the DMV. I gave them my parents' address. It was annoying to me that the DMW worker demanded a physical address, even after I told him I didn't have one.

One thing I've wondered about is if I'm able to vote in any kind of local or national election. I wouldn't know what polling station to go to.

I feel like there are a lot of things that a PO Box doesn't work for. For example, I don't think amazon Prime will ship to PO Boxes unless I'm mistaken. Also, don't you need a physical address for CCs, etc? Just trying to see how that would work out! Haha.

Just get a mailbox instead of a usps only post office box. Amazon prime shipped to mine for years.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2015, 09:51:23 PM »
What do you do for mail, proof of address, etc?

P.O. Box for mail.

I haven't really needed a physical address so far, except for the DMV. I gave them my parents' address. It was annoying to me that the DMW worker demanded a physical address, even after I told him I didn't have one.

One thing I've wondered about is if I'm able to vote in any kind of local or national election. I wouldn't know what polling station to go to.

I feel like there are a lot of things that a PO Box doesn't work for. For example, I don't think amazon Prime will ship to PO Boxes unless I'm mistaken. Also, don't you need a physical address for CCs, etc? Just trying to see how that would work out! Haha.

Just get a mailbox instead of a usps only post office box. Amazon prime shipped to mine for years.

I didn't know this was a thing. There's a third category? Like, home address, PO Box, 'mailbox'?

jengod

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2015, 09:52:20 PM »
Some cities also now have the Amazon Locker program, where packages get delivered to a central pickup spot. There's one in a 7/11 near me.


Ricky

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2015, 03:02:36 AM »
I consider my bedroom to also be my living room, dining room, office, and library, and it's only ~90sq ft. 90% of my days not working or traveling is spent in this room so realistically I could probably live in less than 225 square foot very comfortably with a partner.

Car, cell phone, small TV, computer, bike, camera. That's basically it other than the odds and ends that wouldn't make sense to get rid of because they serve a purpose everyday and wouldn't be worth selling. I often dream of getting rid of the car and cell phone but I realize the cost savings wouldn't justify the gains. At least not for where I live. If I lived in a dense city I would since I could bike everywhere and just use Wifi + Google Voice most everywhere.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2015, 05:49:33 AM »
I think your return on establishing residence in one of these red states (no income tax, yellow have tax on dividends and interest) could be substantial:


MandyM

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2015, 06:24:05 AM »
I downsized my house a couple of years ago. I went from 2100 sq ft to less than 1500. I share it with a roommate and a there is about 300 sq ft that is rarely used as it is a MIL suite that I close off.

I dream of spending a year or two in an RV or even a more permanent tiny home (e.g. a Tumbleweed). It isn't currently realistic as I have four pets and I foster even more.

For the map that ShoulderThing lists - I hear South Dakota is the preferred state for RV-ers, although there were some possible law changes that was possibly going to shift it to Texas. There are a lot of RV sites that discuss the pros and cons of each state.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2015, 06:33:04 AM »
Also, we downsized moderately a year ago, from a house with way more space than we needed to one that still feels spacious but is a lot smaller (just under 2000 square feet for the three of us, I work from home). It's a lot less stressful not being responsible for the big yard, cleaning a bathroom we don't use, and so forth. Much cheaper, too!

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2015, 06:33:24 AM »
I never had heaps, but I once had a "minimal normal" amount. Now everything my kid and I own fits inside my compact car at once. I owned a multi-family dwelling; ditched it for small home living. Etc.

The only excess feels like the four "banker box size" crates for files. I will always aim to get that down to one, but even the seven years of tax docs takes up one, argh. Working on scanning those.

For address, I do the mailbox thing. Some places -bank especially- have fits about "legal land address! legal land address!" and I give them my legal land address. When all the mail to that is returned by the postal system without reaching me, they become willing to use my mailing address. It is formatted as a suite number, receives all packages, etc, and for $5 will forward a batch to anywhere I am.

theadvicist

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2015, 07:37:23 AM »
I've jumped on the bandwagon this year.

I used to live in a 350 sq foot place, so I was used to small spaces, but in the house I realised I was cramming stuff in at a higher density than normal. So even in a small house, the stuff was getting too much.

I started getting rid of one or two things I didn't use or didn't like. I decided to try to get rid of 2015 things this year. I'm up to 910 as of today (hang on, 912, just got rid of a couple more things), and I am so pleased with my progress. Every day life is easier as I can find things more quickly, and I've not missed a single thing I've let go of.

Cleaning / maintaining is also easier, and I get peace of mind from the empty spaces.

I'd say just start getting rid of things here and there and see where it takes you. No need to see it as all or nothing (ie it all fits in one vehicle or I forget about the whole idea).

lizzzi

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2015, 07:55:58 AM »
Did it in one fell swoop in 2012 when moved from 2200 sq. ft. with pool in NY to 1100 sq. ft. in little house facing huge Metropark in the Midwest. (Little house is still too big, but basement, attic, garage, big shed and spare bedroom are all kept empty.) Anyway, used an auction service in NY that also did attic/basement clean outs and dump runs. So the  good stuff that was sold at auction offset the cost of cleaning out stuff and dumping it. It was a good solution for us--we had accumulated a lot in the 15 years we lived in that house…even though we weren't packrats.

Gumbo1978

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2015, 08:03:50 AM »
In the process now.  Really can mean more than just stuff.  I've been downsizing my financial stuff too.  My portfolio was 2 checking accounts, a 401k, 10 separate divident reinvestment accounts, a brokerage account, and several IRA accounts.  In the process of moving to 1 checking account and all other accounts (other than my company 401k) with Vanguard.  Feels like a weight is being lifted just moving from 12-15 different accounts to 3 accounts.

Also downsizing our stuff.  Cleared everything out under out bed (used that for storage), cleared the attic, cleared the garage.  Felt we needed to hit those areas that were convinient for storage but contained things we have probably not seen/used in years.  Got rid of 1/2 of my clothes.  We have a 2100 square foot house and it was getting crowded.  After donating/selling 2 rooms full of stuff, it feels roomy.  Also get a rush from taking a car load to Goodwill these days.

theadvicist

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2015, 08:12:19 AM »
Gumbo just reminded me I downsized life admin too.

The main one sounds silly, but it was huge - every e-mail that came into my inbox, I said "Do I value this enough to justify the time it's taking to delete" if not, I clicked unsubscribe. For some reason, I thought this was a big job. So wrong! One click and it took no longer than clicking delete.

My personal e-mails have gone from maybe 50 a day to about 10. And I no longer have to have marathon clearing out sessions, I practise zero-inbox (well, I always did, but once a week I would have to sit down and go through everything). Now I can keep on top of it throughout the week just on my phone.

(for vouchers / coupons / deals I didn't want to miss out on in case I needed them later, I made a folder. Every offer email from companies I do use goes in there, if I need one I just do a quick search and there it is).

I also stopped saying an automatic 'yes' to every volunteer obligation. The 'dread' factor in my life has gone down immeassurably. I used to feel obliged because 'If I don't do it, no-one will!'. I was wrong. When I stopped saying yes immediately, other people said, "ok, I'll do it". I wonder if all these years people slightly shier than I wanted to step up for things, but never had the chance, because I got in there first with my martyr ways.

Another piece of the jigsaw was meal planning. Grocery consumption way down. And I stopped buying 'aspirational' health food items. I don't like plain yoghurt and muesli, even if I want to be the kind of person that does. So now I don't buy it. And I don't buy things I won't use up in a couple of goes. A clear fridge without random jars etc makes it easy to see what I have, what I can make, and what I need.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2015, 08:16:32 AM »
Gumbo just reminded me I downsized life admin too.

The main one sounds silly, but it was huge - every e-mail that came into my inbox, I said "Do I value this enough to justify the time it's taking to delete" if not, I clicked unsubscribe. For some reason, I thought this was a big job. So wrong! One click and it took no longer than clicking delete.

My personal e-mails have gone from maybe 50 a day to about 10. And I no longer have to have marathon clearing out sessions, I practise zero-inbox (well, I always did, but once a week I would have to sit down and go through everything). Now I can keep on top of it throughout the week just on my phone.

You sounds like someone who would love google inbox. Makes zero-inboxing so much easier. You can delay an email until a later time (and VERY easily, too). Works so well for my brain. I can make something go away until I need reminding to deal with it when I have the time/opportunity.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2015, 08:34:04 AM »
You sounds like someone who would love google inbox. Makes zero-inboxing so much easier. You can delay an email until a later time (and VERY easily, too). Works so well for my brain. I can make something go away until I need reminding to deal with it when I have the time/opportunity.

What how who? More, please!

snogirl

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2015, 08:34:22 AM »
I stumbled upon an article on 2 guys known as "The Minimalists" who are in the 30s, downsized their lives, killed their debt, quit their 6 figure jobs to follow their mission (writing, travelling, life coaching).
Last year they went on an international tour to speak about their experience.
They followed many of those who walked before them, Leo Babauta, Joshua Becker, Colin Wright. 
May 2014, I took their 30 day minimalizing challenge. 
Basically get rid of 1 thing on the 1st of the month, 2 on the 2nd, and so on.
I also read their blog, that led to other blogs, that led me here.
The 30 day challenge hasn't stopped for me.  I have gotten rid of way more than 31 days worth of stuff.
During my experience, I have sold, donated, recycled, or tossed nearly 80% of my belongings.
I had moved into 3000 square foot home before I had started this & am now downsizing.
The experience has been extremely life changing.  It is has not just been about the "what" but the "why".
A side effect is I was able to pay off almost 30k of debt in the process.
I know have less stuff to maintain, store, rearrange. 
What I kept is what is most important and adds value to my life.
It is still a process I have to say for me it has been transformational!
I highly recommend checking out these guys journey, writings, and podcasts.

Snow White

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2015, 08:43:55 AM »
I have dramatically downsized a couple of times.  The first was years ago before I married and when I was planning a cross country move.  I sold a house and had an auctioneer sell 99%+ of my furniture and possessions.  Then I moved with only what fit into my VW bus (told you it was a long time ago)!  I moved into a rented house with four other women and all I owned fit into a small bedroom. 

Fast forward to when I was again planning a cross county move but this time with a husband.  We foolishly bought a house in our target city that turned out to be not only too big but too far from where we worked.  The cavernous 3,000 SF house had rooms we never used.  Within a year and half we had sold it and moved to a 1200 SF condo downtown.  We again sold or donated a lot of stuff to get into that space.  Another move to yet another city found us in a 1500 SF single family home as it was where we could walk to the grocery, parks and many other things.  We talk of downsizing yet again but love our neighborhood and there aren't many smaller homes here.  I could live in less space though easily if we had those options available.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2015, 08:47:26 AM »
You sounds like someone who would love google inbox. Makes zero-inboxing so much easier. You can delay an email until a later time (and VERY easily, too). Works so well for my brain. I can make something go away until I need reminding to deal with it when I have the time/opportunity.

What how who? More, please!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayFAQ2OoJaA

It is just the best. Invite only right now I think, but they're around and available on message boards if you want.

Gumbo1978

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2015, 08:47:56 AM »
Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" is very popular and I found it helpful.

JLee

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2015, 08:52:26 AM »
Gumbo just reminded me I downsized life admin too.

The main one sounds silly, but it was huge - every e-mail that came into my inbox, I said "Do I value this enough to justify the time it's taking to delete" if not, I clicked unsubscribe. For some reason, I thought this was a big job. So wrong! One click and it took no longer than clicking delete.

My personal e-mails have gone from maybe 50 a day to about 10. And I no longer have to have marathon clearing out sessions, I practise zero-inbox (well, I always did, but once a week I would have to sit down and go through everything). Now I can keep on top of it throughout the week just on my phone.

(for vouchers / coupons / deals I didn't want to miss out on in case I needed them later, I made a folder. Every offer email from companies I do use goes in there, if I need one I just do a quick search and there it is).

I also stopped saying an automatic 'yes' to every volunteer obligation. The 'dread' factor in my life has gone down immeassurably. I used to feel obliged because 'If I don't do it, no-one will!'. I was wrong. When I stopped saying yes immediately, other people said, "ok, I'll do it". I wonder if all these years people slightly shier than I wanted to step up for things, but never had the chance, because I got in there first with my martyr ways.

Another piece of the jigsaw was meal planning. Grocery consumption way down. And I stopped buying 'aspirational' health food items. I don't like plain yoghurt and muesli, even if I want to be the kind of person that does. So now I don't buy it. And I don't buy things I won't use up in a couple of goes. A clear fridge without random jars etc makes it easy to see what I have, what I can make, and what I need.
I did that a few months ago. I am so much happier - it seems silly, but it's really huge.

Bob W

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2015, 08:57:11 AM »
When I moved to college I could fit everything I owned in the trunk of my car.    I was very,  very happy then.   Now I'm surrounded by a sea of crap,  a huge house with never ending maintenance, tons of electronic devices and I am not so happy ---- coincidence?

JLee

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2015, 09:18:33 AM »
When I moved to college I could fit everything I owned in the trunk of my car.    I was very,  very happy then.   Now I'm surrounded by a sea of crap,  a huge house with never ending maintenance, tons of electronic devices and I am not so happy ---- coincidence?

I'm going to be in Canada with my gf this summer and I was packing last night. I bought a large suitcase so I could fit computer equipment (28" display) that I will need for work- then realized I can't fill the rest of the suitcase. I'm going to be gone for 3-4 months and I can't even fill one suitcase.

I think I can get rid of a LOT of stuff.

arebelspy

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2015, 10:00:25 AM »
I was on a hike this weekend, and talking with people about this exact topic.

The wife and I are getting rid of all of our stuff this summer, and taking off in August with only a backpack each to our name (and a box in the parent's garage for keepsakes like wedding album).

And on the trail right behind me was a guy named Matt, and he had gotten rid of his stuff in December and semi-ER'd (at age 30) and was telling me how great it was.

And on the trail right in front of me was a guy named Brandon (aka The Mad FIentist) and he and his wife got rid of everything last fall and moved overseas (in their mid-30s), and he was telling me how great it was.

Both of them emphasized how freeing getting rid of all of your stuff was, and how they couldn't even put it into words.

It was a powerful affirmation that this is a course that many who follow are very happy with, and that it's not that outside the mainstream anymore (you can find tons of examples online).
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2015, 10:07:34 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayFAQ2OoJaA

It is just the best. Invite only right now I think, but they're around and available on message boards if you want.

Thanks, Bracken_Joy!

Villanelle

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2015, 10:07:55 AM »
We moved to Japan for what we thought would be 3 years out of the country.  We had government paid storage, and ended up putting more than 50% (by weight) of our stuff in storage.  3 years became 6, and now it is becoming 9, with a chance at the 6 year mark to access that stuff.  There are things in there I want, but probably 90% of it I haven't once thought "I wish I had...".  I suspect when we open all those crates and boxes, there will be stuff I don't even remember acquiring or owning. 

We still won't be nearly as badass as many, but it's been eye opening just how much I don't miss that stuff, care that I don't have it, or even remember what's included.  Generally I think paying for storage is stupid, but for someone unsure about dramatic downsizing, I think it could be a great option.  Shove it all into storage and go through it again 12 months later, and realize just how little of it you missed. 

jeromedawg

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2015, 10:17:41 AM »
When I moved to college I could fit everything I owned in the trunk of my car.    I was very,  very happy then.   Now I'm surrounded by a sea of crap,  a huge house with never ending maintenance, tons of electronic devices and I am not so happy ---- coincidence?

I know what you mean. When I came down for college, most of my belongings fit into two plastic bins and a couple large duffel bags I think. And even then, when I think about it, that was excessive! Throughout and after college the two plastic bins turned into four plastic bins and a lot more LOL. I knew a guy who told me that all of his belongings and clothes could fit into maybe two duffel bags... I thought he was crazy. But now I get it. The downsizing journey has been a tough one. Of course, it would have been way easier not buying all the crap I have in the first place. But it is also liberating too getting rid of the excess; especially when I'm able to resell it on Ebay/Amazon for about what I paid or sometimes more. The immediate 'justification' of having bought all that stuff is "oh I can sell it at a profit since I got a crazy good deal on it" but that's not always the case. So going back to the start, it would have almost always been better *not* to buy the crap I did, and invest that money in index funds instead.

Axecleaver

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2015, 10:37:22 AM »
I'll add my voice to those minimalists who have found it liberating. In 2013 I had a chance to drop everything and move to Hawaii for a year for work. I packed one suitcase with a week's notice and it was awesome! I moved my wife out there for most of it, and my daughter had a choice to stay with my Mom for a year or come with. At 15 your social circle is your life, so she stayed with Grandma to the tremendous benefit of them both. We listed our home, had a friend curate it (didn't sell). Our whole family learned a lot about what's important to us.

It's a process. To soothe your fears, no one I have ever met has regretted it. The path is beset by fear, and it is hard. Look into the nomad community and the RV lifestyle. For the stuff you find especially hard to let go, put it in storage with a reminder a year from now. You will learn that most of what you stored, doesn't mean much to you. It will be easier after a year to get rid of it. Repeat the process once a year until you can let it go.

The year away helped me to realize what was important to me. The stuff I missed fit in a suitcase: a favorite kitchen knife, a couple of shirts that I loved, a fishing reel. The relationships were what I missed from my life. Since then I have downsized a lot, gotten rid of most of my books, and I couldn't be happier.

Buddha said:
Quote
One thing I've wondered about is if I'm able to vote in any kind of local or national election. I wouldn't know what polling station to go to.
You can register to vote without a permanent address, but you still need to register. You fill out a form that lists where you sleep at night. Could be the bus station or a street corner. Check this article by League of Women Voters:
http://www.lwvny.org/advocacy/vote/HomelessIndividuals_br.pdf
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 12:17:29 PM by Axecleaver »

abhe8

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2015, 10:39:42 AM »
Not rely. But I would like to. Even with a family of stuff, we have way to much stuff.

Cookie78

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2015, 10:53:08 AM »
I haven't done it yet, but I'm working on it. I'm hoping that in a little over 2 years most of the stuff will be gone, including properties, and by then I can quit my job and I'll be free.

So far the process has been extremely liberating. I've made one pass through all the rooms in my house to get rid of the easy stuff. Now I need to start on round 2.

4alpacas

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #39 on: May 28, 2015, 10:57:11 AM »
Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" is very popular and I found it helpful.
I've just started reading the book, and I'm obsessed. 

Ricky

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2015, 11:10:29 AM »
The wife and I are getting rid of all of our stuff this summer, and taking off in August with only a backpack each to our name (and a box in the parent's garage for keepsakes like wedding album).

Curious, do you feel that your rentals in anyway complicate or "hold you down" through the burden of owning them? The only thing that keeps me from being a serial RE investor is this very fear that I will just complicate my life. I know the returns can be higher and more steady than index funds and it should be viewed strictly as an investment, but the fact that it isn't 100% passive kind of holds me back. I guess it depends on if you use management companies? Maybe you don't feel like that at all, I'm just wondering.

arebelspy

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2015, 11:20:58 AM »
The wife and I are getting rid of all of our stuff this summer, and taking off in August with only a backpack each to our name (and a box in the parent's garage for keepsakes like wedding album).

Curious, do you feel that your rentals in anyway complicate or "hold you down" through the burden of owning them? The only thing that keeps me from being a serial RE investor is this very fear that I will just complicate my life. I know the returns can be higher and more steady than index funds and it should be viewed strictly as an investment, but the fact that it isn't 100% passive kind of holds me back. I guess it depends on if you use management companies? Maybe you don't feel like that at all, I'm just wondering.

Not at all.  If anything they give a lot more peace of mind due to the benefits of owning them to an early retiree versus investing primarily in equities.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

NV Teacher

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #42 on: May 28, 2015, 12:33:03 PM »
I'm working on it.  I let go of a lot of things when I moved a few years ago but still have way too much stuff.  My house is noticeably better so now I'm working on the crap at school.  I will retire in nine years and my goal is to leave school on my last day with just one or two paper boxes. 

zinethstache

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2015, 12:56:42 PM »
We use a mailbox service because our home mailbox is not safe. It works great. a few box stores, like B&H wont sell to me because I dont have a physical address, so I do not buy from them.

I gave up a clutter-inducing hobby 2 years ago due to injury and like others have said, to be rid of that stuff is so liberating and in my case was a mental boon I needed at the time. Not to mention that the largest of the items became a nest egg we used to put the down payment on yet another rental:)

I also did the electronic purge, unsubscribe rinse, repeat. I cant believe how bloated my email box had become and having given up that hobby I was no longer interested in emails about it.

I am working on selling some of my business equipment, I will retain only a couple of smaller pieces that will be stored so I can easily return to business activities when the time comes. The largest equipment must go and I've been using up inventory, not restocking, once its gone its gone I tell folks, that tends to entice them to get more while I have it:)

I am in the final year(s) of pre-FIRE and don't want a big flurry of purging activity. When the time comes I want the RV loaded, my home sold and everything packed away so I can have my last day at work, and the next be on the road. I am even contemplating/toying with selling the home, moving into a monthly RV park and making sure we are fully loaded and settled with what we have well before we depart.

Another biggie for this year is purging of extraneous insurance. This includes life insurance and business coverage. We will recoup a big chunk for down $$ on our next rental (yes we've had whole life coverage since 1991-ACK, Im just excited at the amount we get back in surrender value), in addition to the monthly expense savings:)

I will be sad to part with my books, I've collected books since a kid and these days there is NO need to have them.

mom22boys

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2015, 12:57:53 PM »
I downsized my house 5 months ago, and even the new house is bigger than I need. We went from 3800 sqf to 2100 sqf for me and my two kids, and it was a great decision. The best part was that I cut my mortgage payment in half!  This was even before finding MMM. After moving in, a friend helped me sell furniture on Craigslist (nice money in my pocket to invest), and I've found that I want to just keep going and get rid of more. Just yesterday I took a car load to the boys' school for the PTA rummage sale.  It really is a great feeling to get rid of stuff.

On a side note, as a mom I thought it was so important that my kids have a space for themselves. The more I thought about it, I realized that was stupid.  These awesome kids will only be living with me for another 10 or so years. The first years of their lives flew by, and I don't want to miss anything.  I just regret not being smarted when I was younger so I could be FIRE right now, and enjoy even more time with them.....and YES I am a normal mom that still has to send them outside to give me a much needed mental break.

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #45 on: May 28, 2015, 01:00:45 PM »
Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" is very popular and I found it helpful.
I've just started reading the book, and I'm obsessed.

My sister turned me on to the book and I can fairly describe us both as obsessed too!  This is from two women who are minimalist clean freaks so I was shocked the book had anything to teach either us but it did. I highly recommend it.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 01:02:30 PM by Snow White »

4alpacas

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #46 on: May 28, 2015, 01:28:28 PM »
Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" is very popular and I found it helpful.
I've just started reading the book, and I'm obsessed.

My sister turned me on to the book and I can fairly describe us both as obsessed too!  This is from two women who are minimalist clean freaks so I was shocked the book had anything to teach either us but it did. I highly recommend it.
Awesome!  I'm going to tackle clothing this weekend!

KMMK

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #47 on: May 28, 2015, 02:19:47 PM »
Yes, within the last 3 months I eliminated a job, a husband, most of my furniture, and a lot of my other stuff. I write more about it in my journal (see my signature). I need to get rid of a bit more stuff still. My goal is to only have things I can move by myself (need to swap/eliminate 3 more large pieces) and to be able to move everything I own with a cargo van.
I feel so much better this way. Stuff makes me feel trapped and edgey. And the job and husband weren't helping me live the life I wanted to be living. I don't like that I married and then ended it, but it wasn't fair to either of us to spend decades more together when I wasn't engaged in our relationship anymore.

ROY2007

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #48 on: May 28, 2015, 04:09:49 PM »
Following. Love this topic.

Migrator Soul

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Re: Who's dramatically downsized their stuff/life?
« Reply #49 on: May 28, 2015, 04:39:16 PM »
Active Duty Army. The catalyst for change was my divorce. I have no kids, so when my ex and I split, I went from living in a 3 bedroom house for 1500 per month renting to renting a room out from a buddy for 400. Sold all of my furniture, dishes, pots, pans. Sold my brand new mercedes I bought on credit as an impulse after the paperwork was signed. I now have a nice used 4 door sedan, a nice commuter bicycle, a tv, xbox, laptop, and futon. Oh, and my straight razor collection.. lol

I can at any point pack all my worldly possessions into my car/onto and drive away. It is a great feeling. I have managed to whittle down my expenses to about 900-1020 depending on how much I have to drive or if I have a craving for salmon. It feels so much better.