We are Kristen and Siya from Hop Scotch The Globe. Downsizing has really changed our lives. We are currently sitting in front of our new home on wheels. We are living in a 1976 Vintage Airstream, which we completely renovated. We downsized from an 800 square foot apartment in Toronto to this, which is 200 square feet. Three quarters of everything we owned had to get cut out in order to fit in here.
The whole downsizing process was difficult. I mean, everything that we owned — it all was meaningful. It meant a lot to me, but I had to reevaluate that idea. I had to actually decide what brought value to my life. I had to decide what I needed to get rid. In this article, we’re going to share with you the process we went throughto downsize your lives. We will give you the tips and tricks that we learned along the way. We decided to get rid of the things that we don’t need and only keep the things that bring value to our lives.
First, there was like a mental shift. You have to be mentally be prepared to cut out so many things in your life that don’t have that much meaning. You do this in order to keep everything that you cherish and love. Things that add value to your life. Once we had that mental shift, then we created a system that we’re going to teach you guys. This system really helped us cut down our lives.
Divide Items Into 3 Piles
This was our system.
The first pile were things we wanted to keep. It included everything that we wanted to move into our home on wheels. These were the things that really meant a lot to us and the things that we use often, we separated into one pile.
The second pile were things we wanted to toss. These were things that we want to throw away, because we couldn’t donate them and we couldn’t make money from them. They were just useless to us, so we tossed them out.
The final container were things we wanted to donate. First, we would try to sell these items. If they’re electronics or clothing, getting whatever you can for them will only help you in the long run. We sold as much as possible. Whatever didn’t sell, we donated the rest.
We bought over 20 bins to help us organize our piles into these 3 categories. We started sorting them into these the piles. We started filling bins. We had tons of appliances that we were not using. We had a ton of like electronics that we weren’t using anymore. We made a couple thousand dollars from selling stuff that we didn’t even want anymore.
Keep Only Your Favorites
Throughout the process of deciding which bin each item would go into, we asked ourselves several questions. For clothing, we asked ourselves, “Is this item my favorite?” This is specific to clothing, because every item I own now in my wardrobe is my favorite. I wake up in the morning and look in my drawers, it doesn’t matter what clothing I grab, because they are all my favorite. My wardrobe wasn’t like that before. It was overwhelming. I never knew what to wear. I’d end up going back to the same pieces I wear now, because they were my favorites. I got rid of everything else in my wardrobe.
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You want to look at items in your house and ask yourself, “Does this really bring value to my life?” We had 10 different appliances. We had a sandwich press. We had a dehydrator. We had a blender and an ice cream. We had a slow cooker. We had all these things, but were only using the blender a lot. We were using our food processor a lot. We never used the rest. We never dehydrated food, so why are we keeping this item? We could sell it to someone, or donate it. That would really get value out of it.
There is a conversation you have with yourself through this process. You ask yourself, “Do I need this or not?” Sometimes, you say “I’m not using it now, but I may use it a month from now, or a couple weeks from now.” If you use it so little, why keep it? No matter how cool the items seem, if you are not using them, they are not bringing you value. They’re occupying valuable space. The next thing you can do is get rid of duplicate items. You don’t need 20 containers. You don’t need 50 cups.
A lot of people collect things. I collected bags and shoes and jewelry. I had to make a decision of which were more important to me. I picked jewelry, as it was important to me and it took up the least amount of room. I cut down on my shoes and my bags.
Another good practice is to sit down with a pen paper and make a list of all the things that you would want if every item you had right now had disappeared. What would you need in your life? I remember feeling, the rush, when we had our apartment in Toronto and we go out and we buy something new. You’re at a store you get this brand new product in a box. It’s beautiful and it’s fresh and it’s unused. You get to bring it home and add it to your collection of stuff in your house. You get a natural high off it. It wears off pretty fast. Before I feel the need to buy something again, I still fight the urge. Before, I would go to the mall to buy something, because I know it brought me so much joy in that moment.
Switching from Objects to Experiences
Now, I’m putting that energy into other things. I put it into experiences and travel. These things are going to bring more value to my life. I used to value things. I used to put a really high value on a big-screen TV, or brand new clothing. Now, I really value the extra space from not having to have so many things.
That brings us to quantity versus quality. We focus on quantity. We need this, we need that. I 50 shirts and I need 20 pants. Today, instead of buying a couple of shirts that are like $20, I’ll spend $70 on a shirt that I absolutely love. That’s shirt will be quality, and lasts me longer.
As entrepreneurs and people who live on the road, we have a ton of paperwork we have. We have many receipts. We have just a ton of paper, but we didn’t want to have any paper in here. We wanted to digitize. In order to do that, we use different applications. We use Expensify. It’s a great app to take pictures of all of our receipts and it categorizes them all. That eliminated all of our receipts.
Digitalize Everything You Can
We had a ton of music and videos, many CDs and DVDs. We still even had some VHS’s. All of these are now digital. You can eliminate every single CD you have. Just get a Spotify account or an apple music account.
Do Not Compare Yourself to Others
Another thing I want to make clear is to not compare yourself to others. Whenver you put a label on yourself, like “minimalism” or “minimalist” or “vegan”, it usually means you are trying to live by a certain set of rules. It is a mistake to think that someone who isn’t minimalist in your opinion isn’t in fact downsizing their life. You cannot say someone isn’t a minimalist if they don’t downsize to the degree you have. You make up your own rules of what you consider to be minimalist. You should do this at your own pace. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Don’t think you have to be like others in order to be considered a minimalist. You do you.
Improving Mental Health and Living Conditions
Downsizing has really changed our lives, with positive improvements in mental health and living conditions. When you love everything you own and get rid of many physical items that are cluttering up your physical space, it can make you more clear and more relaxed. You’ll find that, by emptying out your life of all this stuff, it’ll open up a void that you can fill with more experiences. It will open up space for more love, and more room for the people in your life. It opens space for more love for people around you. It’s way more than just “stuff”, it’s mental clarity. I want to challenge you to start your process of minimizing your life. Get rid of just one thing, one object, one CD, one shirt, one “something”. Donate it or sell it or toss it away. Start minimizing your life.
Kristen and Siya are Fun. Adventurous. Entertaining. Young. Exuberant. Funny. Informative. Hopscotch the Globe is the leading, award winning website, YouTube channel and travel/lifestyle brand for everything internationally inspired.