I have too much stuff. I’m sure I’m not the only woman who has felt this way and even said it out loud to a close friend or family member, but when I say I have too much stuff, I mean I have WAY too much stuff. Every year for the past 5 years, I’ve had to relocate. While our home base remains in Atlanta, my husband and I pack up our lives to head to another city or country for basketball season. This year, when I began to pack up the majority of my things to join my husband in Indiana, I realized that the amount of stuff I have just doesn’t work for our lifestyle. Relocating has taught me an important lesson about minimalism.
Have you ever looked around your closet and asked yourself how you’ve accumulated so many things over the years? That was me a few weeks ago. I told myself that I was going to pack lighter than I usually do for my 9-month relocation, and the amount of options I had was honestly just overwhelming. Packing to relocate for such a long amount of time is hard, but I was committed to only taking the bare minimum and leaving the rest behind. If it couldn’t fit into one of my three suitcases, it wasn’t going. The problem is the “bare minimum” of too much stuff is still too much stuff and as I began pulling out sweaters and jeans, it dawned on me that it would be so much easier to pack if I just didn’t have so many options.
Relocating taught me that there is so much beauty in simplicity. Making choices can be overwhelming and even sometimes downright stressful, so why do we burden ourselves every day by complicating choices that should be easy? Pack one black sweater, I told myself as I began pulling out the items that would go into my suitcase. When I looked at just how many black sweaters I have, I was stunned. There were two turtlenecks, a v-neck, a crew neck, one with embellishment on the sleeves, another with a frocket and an open back, and even a cropped one (although if it’s cold enough for a sweater, chances are it’s too cold to bare your belly, so I don’t even understand why I own that one). What made matters worse is that two of them still had tags on them. I had never even worn them. The sheer number of options that I had in my closet made a decision that should have been easy quite difficult, and I ended up with three black sweaters in my bag instead of one.
I’ve been talking a lot lately about how rewarding it can be to get rid of things (whether it be hair, relationships, or hobbies that don’t align with your passion), and the same is true when it comes to clothes and other household items. In so many ways, less is more and quality is more important than quantity. As I stared at my stuffed to the brim closet in an effort to decide which items I couldn’t live without for the next 9 months, I realized that there was actually a lot of stuff that I could live without easily. There were so many items that I could get rid of that I wouldn’t even miss or think twice about, so I did.
Closet purges can be so therapeutic. As I flung things off of hangers and into the mound that my giveaway pile had grown into, I immediately felt lighter. Once I began packing up items for Goodwill, I knew that I would need a big trunk to transport everything, and that’s where the Mazda CX-5 came in! The 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring is an absolute joy to drive. Complete with push to start technology, heated seats (and a heated steering wheel), a built-in navigation system, and a lane departure warning system, it made running the errands that come along with relocating both comfortable and less stressful. My absolute favorite thing about the vehicle is that is has a new feature called auto-brake feature. Basically, if you’ve pushed the brake to come to a complete stop, you can remove your foot from the brake and the car won’t move forward or backwards until you press the gas. This feature was absolutely amazing as it enabled me to rest my ankle during rush-hour, which I greatly appreciated. The 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring also includes a power lift gate, which enabled me to load all of my giveaway items into the trunk with ease. The back of the vehicle was super roomy and I was able to fit everything I needed into the trunk without having to let down the second row of seats.
What relocating taught me about minimalism is that options are not always a good thing. Sometimes, it’s better to have less to choose from as it makes choices a whole lot easier. When I completed my closet purge and packed up the Mazda CX-5 to head to Goodwill, I immediately felt like a load had been lifted off of my shoulders and I was able to make some smart decisions about what things would join me in Indiana and what things would stay behind. While I, admittedly, still have a closet full of clothes, I now understand why so many people adopt a minimalistic attitude, especially those like me who move or travel frequently. Although, as a shopaholic, I can’t necessarily commit to adopting the lifestyle of a minimalist, what I can commit to is practicing discernment in terms of how many items I bring into my space. Going forward, whenever I go to buy something, I will ask myself an important question: when are you going to use or wear this? If the answer is, “I don’t know, but I really want it,” it’s not an item that I need. It is my hope that by being more intentional with my shopping habits, I will make my life less stressful by keeping things simple. Life is already complicated enough.