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Nomadic Living Lessons: Shedding Stuff

It’s about the six shirts, three dresses, two cardigans and one sweater that I no longer want to wear — most purchased second-hand (thank goodness). They’re stacked in a neat pile next to our half unpacked suitcases. The shoes in the closet, the shirts unhung, and the seldom used seasonings, it’s about them too. We’re nine days into the second city of our nomadic journey and feeling overwhelmed by stuff. 

How did we get here? Well...

We sold our suburban house. Downsized our belongings to what fits in a 10’ X 10” storage unit and in our Toyota 4Runner. Chris has measured our cargo area with the second row seats down to be about 5’8” long, 4’4” wide, and 2’10” tall. The storage unit isn’t full, but the back of our truck overflowed with stuff as we drove down to St. Louis from Minneapolis. 

I fancy myself as having minimalist tendencies. To me, knick knacks are dust objects. Needing to buy more hangers means having to do more laundry. I’d rather wash less with more frequency, so it can’t pile up. There are better things to do with life than manage stuff. Now that we’re moving every month, I can see that my “tendencies” are not enough. We no longer have space for the unused-but-might-still-one-day-maybe-use items to go. My Jack Kerouac, Tom Wolfe, and Hunter S. Thompson loving, 16-year-old self is disappointed in me right now.

Chris is striving towards minimalism, though he’s often been more of an acquirer. Since we met (and presumably before) Chris’s wardrobe has been more expansive than mine, shoes included. When we moved to Vancouver so I could go to film school, he let go of much of it. I let go of a little of mine. We bought more too. Some necessary things: hiking boots, good rain jackets, gear for the weather. Some not. 

We’ve gone nomadic and have been shedding stuff as best we can ever since. I listened to the audiobook, Love People Use Things by The Minimalists as I packed up our Rochester, Minnesota home. Yet, after we packed up the truck in Minneapolis, we thought we might make it easier next time by buying larger storage bags, or bins. I almost bought them. Then paused. Buying more stuff to manage excess stuff seems, well, stupid. It’s time to eliminate more excess!

Melissa Needs Less Shoes for Nomadic Living

What will stay and what will go now?

Paring down the clothes will be easy for me. I’ve just renewed my subscription to Rent the Runway, so I’ll have sixteen new-to-me items every month to keep my wardrobe feeling fresh. 

The shoes though. Oh the shoes! Most I’ve had for a couple of years. A few of them didn’t even make the picture and I’m only writing about mine. For the first time in our relationship, I might have more shoes than Chris. Maybe. What to do about the shoes? 

We’ll still be experiencing the extremes of the four seasons. We need sandals and good winter boots, workout shoes and easy-to-slip-on shoes. If we rid ourselves of what we need, we’ll have to buy more for the next season. We don’t like to be wasteful. Waste not, want not, right? 

Cleaning supplies and food are probably our biggest challenge right now. Since we Airbnb’d our home before selling it, we have an excessive amount of cleaning supplies at the moment. Then there’s the different supply situations in every Airbnb, or corporate housing place we stay at. I don’t want to repurchase left behind necessities. After the whole pandemic craziness, it’s hard to leave a roll of toilet paper we’ve purchased behind. 

I’m not used to shopping for groceries that will only sustain us for a month. Do you know a trick for this? If so, please share!

In 23 days we’ll pack up again. Our plan is to bring less along and travel with more ease. How will we do it? We’re not sure yet. We’ll keep you posted on our progress though!

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