Life in 8 boxes and beyond

We did it!

Yesterday me and Nik finally managed to move into a hotel from our apartment. In couple days, we will be heading towards Chicago and start a new life over there. For many reasons, we decided to use this as an opportunity of downsizing.

The day before we leave, we threw away at least 12 garbage bags of stuff (Yes, those durable giant black garbage bags), in addition to whatever we have given away. All the books were donated, all the furniture were sold on craigslist and all the CDs are burned into our iTunes then sold to Newbury Comics. The whole process really takes about one month and at the end, we downsized our stuff into 8 boxes and two suitcases of cloth: 2 boxes of kitchen-wares, 3 boxes of music scores, 1 box of bathroom stuff, 1 boxes of office supplies, 1 box of random goods and each of us own one suitcase of cloth. All of them are now stuck in our little Scion xD.

There are many conflicting thoughts going through my head when going through our belongings. I did have to stay focus on a couple of rules to defy the feeling of nostalgic and being wasteful. If the item “pass” my examination, it will deserve a stay.It’s sort of like firing an employee (even though I have never fired anyone): you evaluate his/her contribution and future cost of maintenance.If it is reasonable, stay; if not, bye-bye. Now, here are the aspects I look at when deciding if I am going to keep an item or not:

#1 Functionality:

We decided that functionality will be one of the most important features of our belongings. Every item should have multiple functions. For example: Swiss Army Knife.

Instead of a full drawers of tools, we only kept Nik’s Swiss Army Knife. It’s an embodiment of the life we want: compact, functional and has clean-cut design.

Things we throw away that don’t fulfill this requirement: pineapple corer, fruit slicer, steamer (we are looking to buy an all-in-one stove), etc.

#2 Space:

Anything that takes over too much space has to go. I have always admire some people’s organizing skill, but I could never stop questioning : wouldn’t it be easier just throw those things away? Hiding them in drawers beautifully will not enhance the function but reduce the times you use them. If you have a huge collections of CDs and books like me all hide in the drawers, it’s better off to digitalized them and sell/donate the physical version. The content is the value, not the beautiful cover and plastic jewel case.

#3 Design and Quality:

I always count design as part of the value. Personally thinking, if one thing is designed well, it will exude a sense of harmony and serenity; If a thing made of very good quality, it usually doesn’t need too much decoration to disguise. Never be too caught up by the decoration, but pay lots of attention in the quality. More over, if you already find serenity in your heart, you won’t need to much accessories to improve your life.

#4 Compatibility:

One thing to keep in mind is high compatibility. This usually is about clothing: for example, a natural brown color belt has higher compatibility than a bright red belt. Keep items that will work great with each style in each season. Even though it was quite easy for me to clean my closet, it wasn’t easy for me to see how the items I kept will work with each other. Recently I signed up for the 30 by 30 challenge by Kendi, not only because I have always admire her style but also I am hoping to search for my own style through this challenge by utilizing my cloth and accessories smartly. Btw, I will start my 30 by 30 challenge when I get to Chicago this Wednesday. Can’t wait!

Right now, everything I own is in my car. Although it’s not as mobile as I wanted to be, it is closer than before. I feel proud and shameful of myself at the same time: I am proud of being able to execute my desired lifestyle but at the same time, I feel guilty about the amount of stuff I had to throw away to achieve that goal. At least right now, I am back to a good start. I hope we can maintain this amount of belongings or less.


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