I could never have too many clothes. I bought new shoes more often than groceries. I dreamt of the day I could afford designer clothing. I hoped for a large, beautiful home with a wrap-around porch, a carport, and large kitchen with ample counter space.
I overpacked for vacations, spent money faster than I could make it, and valued my possessions greatly.
I didn’t have an a-ha moment, and I can’t even remember when everything clicked for me. I just knew that my mindset had completely shifted.
I think of all my friends’ and families’ homes. I notice everyone has a formal and an informal living room, the former being a room they all rarely use. It’s a room kept clean for special occasions and family parties, but more often than not, the couches and chairs remain vacant.
Many of them forget about their extra bedrooms until family comes to visit. The guest beds lie made and untouched for presumably and approximately 49 weeks out of the year.
I quickly realized the money spent on a larger home is money that could be better spent. The space surrounding these homes could grow larger and greener, giving back to the Earth what we had once taken.
A materialistic woman does not simply change in a day. She doesn’t wake up one morning, gut her possessions, and downsize her life in one sweeping motion. She takes time, practice, and determination to live a lighter, more meaningful life.
I spent time searching online for ways to clean out any clutter, scrolled Instagram for ideas to build a tiny house, and listed everything I genuinely need. It was overwhelming. I don’t even have the means to move out of my parents’ house just yet, but I’m still planning for a home and life I can’t afford. That’s when I realized I needed to practice before just throwing myself into it one day.
My first step to practicing a more minimalistic lifestyle was to take that mentality with me on the road. For someone who once placed a ton of value on materials, it’s scary to think you now need to skate through life with the bare minimum. I can assure you, though, that minimizing the space we occupy and maximizing Mother Nature is much easier than it seems.
When hitting the road, it’s important to plan ahead: what activities do you have planned? What will you need? What will you be comfortable in?
The key is to keep things simple. If you own a pair of shoes that will be comfortable and reasonable to wear every day you’re gone, pack them. Pack clothing that you know you can wear no matter what happens—action, leisure, rain, or shine. The more versatile your pieces of clothing are, the easier the path to minimalism will be.
Pack just enough.
You know how many days you’ll be away and have some idea of what you’re doing while you’re gone. Don’t spend time (and space) packing anything you aren’t positive you’ll use.
“What can be the harm in packing an extra shirt,” you ask? Maybe not much on a quick weekend trip, but when you’re planning to make the shift to a simple lifestyle, you need to get in the habit of keeping only the necessities.
Wash while you’re away.
When you’re gone for a weekend, this is tough—maybe even impossible. However, a quick wash can be done mid-week when you’re away for more than a few days.
Whether you’re using in-unit laundry facilities in a hotel or rinsing clothes in the sink and hanging them over the shower rod to dry, this can help save room in your suitcase. A simpler lifestyle will call for more washing in the long run, after all!
Use the “that would be nice” rule.
If I think “that’d be nice to have” about any piece of clothing or baggage or beauty product, I leave it home. Realistically, there’s only so many things we genuinely need in life. Same goes for vacation.
Do you need to bring your own hair dryer or would it just be nice to use your own over the hotel-supplied dryer? Do you need 3 uniquely styled jackets or can you keep warm with the same one all week?
There’s nothing wrong with pampering yourself, but if you can save room in your bags by sticking to this rule, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.
The shift from materialistic living to simplistic living is a tough one, no doubt. You grow used to having a plethora of options and need to transform your thinking completely.
Using travel to practice for a simple lifestyle is proving to be the best form of practice there is. Anyone can force themselves to live minimally for one week at a time. It’s easy to get by for two weeks with only a handful of outfits, knowing at the end of it all, you’re going back to all your possessions. However, with time, you’ll start to see a real difference in your everyday life.