I’ve moved many times over the years. This has always involved renting a truck, and loading all my furniture and boxes of stuff into it. The last few times I moved into smaller places. Each time I moved I got rid of more stuff, because it wouldn’t fit. This forced me to get rid of the things I didn’t need. In other words, to minimize my possessions. Before moving into my tiny studio in Boston’s expensive Back Bay neighborhood, I sold my Crate & Barrel furniture and replaced it with Ikea stuff. I furnished the whole place for about $1,000.

For this move I have to get my stuff halfway across the country to my mom’s house in Indiana. Does it make sense to pay thousands of dollars to ship a bunch of cheap Ikea furniture such a long distance? I didn’t think so. So I decided to minimize further. I would sell as much as I could, and donate the rest. Over the last eight months I gradually sold my furniture and items I didn’t need. I mainly used Craigslist. I kept track of every book, DVD, nicknack, and piece of furniture I sold. This process has netted me $2,000 so far! That’s mainly from selling things I never used.

Now that I’m less than a month away from starting my trip, I’ve gotten rid of items I have been using, such as my TV, bed, and sofa. I replaced my TV with books and Netflix. The bed and sofa have been replaced with my camping sleeping mat, which has been a difficult adjustment. This is an extreme form of minimalism, and is not really sustainable. For now, I’m practicing camping, since I’ll be sleeping on a mat for two months. But when it comes time to rent an apartment again, furnishing it from Ikea or Craigslist will not be expensive.

As for the smaller things I thought I needed I still tried to get rid of most of them. Clothes I haven’t worn in six months I donated. Old books I gave away. The irreplaceable items I gradually mailed home using the post office, which is surprisingly affordable. So far I’ve mailed 18 boxes of sizes varying from small to gigantic. I’ve spent about $400 so far. This will be substantially cheaper than renting a truck.

I’ve minimized my possessions so that everything I own I’ll be able to take with me on my trek.

I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.

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