I would like to say I was organised enough to ensure some delightful Easter reading content was ready for you but alas, I have been busy with work and online university assignments and now we are travelling and my work hours are longer.
So it seems apt to instead wish you all a Happy Easter however you will celebrate, being Good Friday. I like the idea, the irony, that this is the day where I have been forced to take pause. Continue reading
Since the start of this blog in January I have shared with you the story of my stuff, what I collected, how I shipped it around the world with me, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way – mostly motivations to downsize the clutter and the costs and the emotional toll. From here on, the blog moves into its more intended purpose, reflecting on different elements of minimalism, decluttering, hoarding, travelling with stuff and finding a life more balanced and true.
The first such topic is what I call my inventory list.
I have always been a list person. Way beyond the shopping and to-do list, I have made all kinds of lists: films-to-watch and books-to-read lists, things to do before I am 30, things I need to buy when I set up in a new country – my hard drive contains a bunch of them. But the longest one of all is my inventory list.
Originally it was created to identify where my stuff was. Moved out of Australia, my first job was split between three countries in Europe and generally my employers didn’t like me bringing loads of stuff back and forth, so things got taken to one country and often left there for later. So I found myself starting a list of what stuff was where – in Australia or Europe. And even left behind with friends in the UK. Continue reading
England was its familiar blustery cold and lush green when I arrived, Spring just beginning to offer sunny days but still had its freezing cold mornings and late afternoons. It had been about five years since I was last there, yet was home to me nonetheless. It was surreal to see old friends again. We were all very much the same people, yet older and wiser and changed nonetheless. Catching a bus or riding in a taxi around my old West London stomping grounds, often times I would look out the window and amongst the frantic pace of the high streets, I would see my ghost, walking along those same streets ten years ago, younger and less worldly, chatting to a friend with a hot drink in hand, or hurrying along to get somewhere. What would I tell her now if I could? What have I learned? Would I have changed anything about my journey, my past?
Throughout the weeks, I was fortunate to stay with friends in regional centres scattered outside London. I started flying around Europe to temporary nanny positions, staying in luxury ski lodges and flying on private jets, and heading to job interviews in fancy hotels and restaurants. Despite nearly twenty years in this line of work, I felt every inch an impoverished student up to her eyeballs in debt, trudging around in years-old, over-loved clothes or borrowed pieces from friends. My own nicest clothes didn’t fit the well put together look and style a modern international nanny must have. I had never felt more like the odd one out, never more ready to move forward to the next stage of my life. Continue reading
How much can life change in the space of a couple of weeks? A month ago I was living in the comfy confines of my parents’ home, casually contemplating life and writing out my blogs at a leisurely pace. I had not long arrived there post disastrous holiday, but with a renewed sense of what I wanted from life. Then I started getting offers for work overseas as a nanny again, and the more I got them the more I pondered life and how to move forward, and the pros and cons of life in Australia versus a nomadic life again. Lo and behold, I decided to go for it, and this time last week I left my family to return to Melbourne for what was a crazy week of farewells, organising and packing.
Having written my post about recycling and trouble getting rid of the excess in my storage unit, the timing was perfect to spend just a short week there preparing for my flight the following week.
Subdued in a long-lasting melancholy of how to move forward in life post-university, my extended summer holiday break had got me thinking seriously about my future, for the first time since everything well, stopped.
Caught up in a series of extracurricular projects, my last year of university passed in a blur of poverty, homelessness and volunteering. I don’t even know how I fit study in, it certainly wasn’t a priority by then – survival was. I remember one week realising I didn’t have enough money to get to class on the bus past Monday’s classes, and borrowing university financial aid for bus fare. I was so sure all the volunteering would give me those amazing ‘transferable skills’ employers look for, that I was one step away from my marvellous future. I just needed to survive the year. Lightening my load was never an option.
One of these projects, an event, carried over into the months after my undergraduate study finished. By the time the event was done I had started my post-grad degree, and a second short course, and found myself caught up in study plus seeking work and working in temporary jobs that would maybe lead to something more interesting. I had a career direction in mind that I was sure was the future I wanted – job security, interesting work, great salary; my future stitched up. Talk about a minimalist life – when I had my graduation ceremony in 2014, I was living in a hostel, had no computer after the robbery, then two donated, old heavy laptops, but no place to study, was surviving on unemployment benefits half eaten by credit card debt repayments, credit that had been spent originally on day to day living when money was tight. All my things were stuck in storage around the corner, but life was just, survival. Certainly not living. Continue reading
These posts are helping me so much in writing out the story of my stuff, how it grew, how it has followed me around the world, and why it clouds my mind every moment of the day.
Having read the Minimalists’ book Everything that Remains this summer, I am newly inspired and itching to get at my stuff, ready to be free of the clutter of my mind and storage unit. Ready to do Tiny living, minimalism my way.
However, there’s one problem. Where to put it when I let go of it. Continue reading
I feel like I am on the way to truly minimising my stuff. Over the weekend I began the tedious task in my storage unit of dividing things to sell, recycle, donate or keep. I was feeling very much on top of things, only to then have to put it all back in when the property was closing. Today I returned with a friend without much of a mission except that I needed her help.
This is why it’s useful to have friends, folks. We began pulling things out and I would say oh, this goes with that, and she would offer to put them together, leaving me to move on to something else. For 10 years I have always been alone in my journeys of sorting through my stuff in the 2 units I’ve had, so although the extra help was new, I took advantage very quickly and soon we were spread out down the hall with piles, including some small bags to take home. It was so wonderful having someone willing to do that for me. Continue reading