Give it Up: Declutter Your Life!

How to Declutter Your Life & Why

"For more than 40,000 years," write the authors, "intellectually modern humans have peopled the planet, but never before has any society accumulated so many personal possessions." source: UCLA Magazine
It's time to move and it's vacation. Yeah! 
Because my boyfriend is a smarty pants, we're moving to California where he will to attend college this fall! AND before we make the move, we flew to Europe for the summer so he can visit (and I can meet) family and friends he hasn't seen in over 3 years.

And now we're homeless...technically. Boo
So, we decided to pack all of our stuff up in 2 ReloCubes (each 6' x 7' x 8') in Seattle and ship then store them to the OakTown (as Too $hort would say) until we find a place to live. After scheduling these cubes, I was highly confident in how little Stuff I owned and how smooth of a process packing would be. That is, until I really started to look at my stuff.

"Me want big house, lots of Stuff" says Average American
In the past 30 years, the size of the average American home has grown 53 percent, from 1,500 square feet to a little more than 2,300 square feet. (source: There's a very scientific equation that can describe why:
I work hard + I deserve material rewards for working hard = Lots of Stuff All Over the Place
The unfortunate result of this "hyperconsumerism" is less happiness, and actually more stress! This is because all that stuff is in yo' face all the time, then you start to think you are messy and unorganized...which causes more stress. 
Note: If you happen to have kids, then your stuff multiplies that much faster. But if you have kids, you probably already know this. (source: UCLA Magazine)

Nuh uh, some things gotta go
Free stuff, hand-me-downs, Ikea furniture and chotchkies were all over the place. Were they REALLY worth the effort it would take to pack them? And then for me to PAY a storage fee for this free or crappy Stuff? 

Overall, I believe I gave away more than HALF of my belongings (including clothes) in a 1 bedroom apartment. I guesstimate the total as $3,000 or more. That could have paid for another trip to somewhere fabulous!

The art of simple (or minimalist) living 
“I noticed one thing in common with all these people living passionate lives, they all used simplicity to facilitate their lifestyle.” - Mohammed Tohami 
To me, the above thought is the main reason I started considering this type of "inspired" lifestyle 4 or 5 years ago. Now that opportunity has present herself, I'm traveling this summer in Europe (it has always been a dream of mine) and moving to the Bay Area (another dream!). And I have no choice but to give up Stuff. 

During the hoarding-reversal process, I initially felt so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of unwanted items and the sadness of wasted money. I mean, when I think about all of the great things that I cherish, it usually involves people and experiences, NOT Stuff. So why continue this madness???

Overwhelmed? Start here...5 Tips to Declutter
1. Decide the reason why you need to simplify. If the answer is, "so I can make more room for other stuff I can now buy," then you cannot continue to Step 2. Good examples may be you may want to travel for an extensive time or just to plain start enjoying life more.
2. Get rid of the Stuff. Break it down into little projects and tackle 1 room at a time. For example, I started with my closet - top to bottom then left to right. Then continued onto every section in my bedroom.
3. 1 in, 1 out. My momma made us practice this rule growing up: every time we bought anything, we'd give something similar away to charity. For example, if you just bought a pair of dark rinse, skinny denim, then give away that old black pair of skinnies-that-you-never-wear away.
4. Real Talk. Ask yourself if you really need something. If you hesitate, you don't. I'll say it again - this is real talk with yourself.
5. Experience Life! Take that future money you save on not buying stuff and spend it on a life-changing trip or anything else you dream up ;) You deserve it!
sources: Peter Walsh Tips to Declutter O Magazine, my Mom in Ohio and also the things that were inside my head. See other resources below:

This is just the beginning...
I will say this - even though the count of my material things has been greatly reduced, there are still other areas of life and thinking I must work on to live a fully simple life. For me, getting rid of material things was the fastest way to the biggest reward. As for the others, I'll take them one step at a time and eventually focus on always experiencing life, not things.
source: madamenoire
Anyone else having the same experience?

***Also, I will be traveling for the next 10 days (my vacation within a vacation, like the movie Inception, but for vacations). I'll still post new stuff but may not be able to tweet or fb about it. Please subscribe by email if you want to be notified when something new posts!


-This book Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century: 32 Families Open their Doors was written as a result of the UCLA study linked above.
-Minimalist websites to check out: My personal favorite is becoming brooklyntomars and