Reduction Recipe

From the moment that Justin and I decided to make the move onto a sailboat, I started looking around our 1200 square foot house and became immediately overwhelmed. Though our house wasn’t wall to wall furniture or filled with knick-knacks, we were quite full and we also had a garage lined with boxes. We had plenty of new and old gear, electronics and household items, like any 21st century consumer. The thought was that even if something didn’t have an immediate use, it could potentially be used – some day. It was nice to know that we were prepared with a backup in case something broke or if a friend came to visit or needed anything.

As I started thinking of the items that we could sell or donate, it became quite clear how much I would be getting rid of. There were so many things that filled our home that did not serve a purpose or it was just kept around to deal with later. Ultimately, if it didn’t fit into our 22′ camper, it didn’t get to stick around. After it was all said and done, we had 4 boxes that went into storage in the eaves of a friend’s barn, 1 box of taxes that went to my mom’s house and the rest was either sold, donated or given away. It took a massive mind flip to be able to let it all go since we had worked so hard for it all. It was hard to take the emotions away and think of it as just stuff, stuff that was filling each and every corner of our house and our minds. Clutter.

One big thing in the garage that had to go was my car. Since I always commuted back and forth to work, I practically lived in that thing. I just couldn’t think of being a “one car” family. I used to be in awe of our friends Jarrod and Tracy for only having one vehicle and often wondered how they did it. Now that I no longer have a long commute, it just works. We have to plan our outings a bit more but it helps in reducing the small multiple trips into a larger one with more purpose.

The hardest part for me was my wardrobe. I like clothes, shoes and jackets, since I am always cold. In the camper, I had a closet of only 21 inches to fill. I also limited myself to 1 smallish box of shoes. I was watching the documentary The Minimalists on Netflix and became inspired, especially by the Project 333. The concept is simply to form a ‘capsule’ wardrobe every 3 months around 33 total items. Though I am still far from 33 items, the idea remains: I have way too many things than I could ever use. I have since reduced my wardrobe even further upon moving onto the boat and will continue to do so. When items need replacing, I’m trying to be more conscious of how the clothing is made, by whom and where. My mantra is quality over quantity.

In our current community, there is little to no option to recycle used items. This just means that Justin and I are trying to be bit more diligent in how we are shopping. This means less plastic bags, reduced plastic or wrapping on items, and biodegradable materials, if possible. We are also trying to buy local and support the small businesses in our new community. The goal moving forward it to replace worn out or broken items with recycled or Eco conscious options if available.

Like I mentioned before, minimalizing my world has taken a huge amount of effort and a complete change in my thinking and how I plan what goes on in my world. It is not just about cleaning out the space around me but also freeing my mind of what is not serving a distinct and positive purpose. I don’t have it all figured out and I still have so much to do and learn but I am open to see where the path leads.