5 Tips On Downsizing (How I Fit My Life in a Mini-Cooper)
A few days ago I packed up basically everything I own into my mini-cooper (named Dory) to start my venture as a nomad artist. As I’m sure you’re aware.. mini-coopers aren’t exactly known for being the most spacious of cars. But I’m so happy to say that everything fit! (Yes, including Leo and all of his fancy sweaters and bowties).
Now that I’m home for a few days (for Christmas, YAY!) I wanted to share with you some tips on how the downsizing went down. I know not everyone needs to go to this extreme, but there IS a good chance that you need to just get rid of some of the clutter in your life. Also, I know a lot of my friends find themselves moving apartments frequently, so this could be helpful for you too!
Okay - let me first just get some possible preconceived notions out of the way:
1. I am NOT LIVING out of my mini-cooper. I have places to stay everywhere I'm going!
2. I am not an organized person. I so wish I was but I’m not. I think it’s important for you to know this so that you know you can do it too!
3. If we’re being technical - not EVERYTHING I own fits in the coop. I have a box of winter clothes at my friend's house in Chicago and a box of summer clothes in my mom’s house in Charleston. But besides that, yes everything fits.
Now that the disclaimers are out of the way - let’s get to the good stuff! It’s a little lengthy, but I promise (or at least, hopeful) you’ll walk away with one tip that will stick with ya!
1. Don’t do your closet alone.
Do you hear me?? Just don’t. You need a friend to help you get rid of the clothes in your life. And not just any friend, the right friend. A strong friend. A close friend. A friend that can look you in the eye and say “No Rach, I don’t think you need that romper from your sophomore year in college that’s fraying on the bottom and you’ve worn a million times but you might wear ‘one more time’.” Be picky about who you take down with you. They need to know you almost as well as you know yourself. Preferably, they need to have a type-a personality. This is a rare find. Take your time picking this person, and when you do - treat them well. This is not an easy job and you need to prepare them for that. When my sweet friend and I did this, it took approximately 9 hours to go through everything. We had 5 different piles you guys (donate, throw away, pack for Chicago, pack for Charleston, and keep).. you couldn’t see my floor. You need to supply their favorite lattes in the morning and then you just need to move straight on to mimosas. You need to take them to dinner after. They are your hero.
2. Take the emotion out.
Yep - it’s that easy! Just take all emotional feelings on all of your possessions and throw them right out the window! Ha.. I wish. Y’all.. I’m an emotional person. I truly do like to keep everything, I do not have a minimalist heart by nature. But you need to do your best to look at your 4 pairs of mickey ears and say - “I know these all mean something to me, but I really do only need one”. You’ll be surprised by how much the little stuff (like mickey ears, old t-shirts, and random memorabilia) is actually taking up A LOT of room. I’m not saying get rid of all of it - but I’m sure you can find a good amount to throw out or donate.
3. Donate your furniture.
If you need the money then by all means sell your furniture. But if you can spare it - try to find a family that needs it. I didn’t have a lot (a bed, desk, dresser, mirror, and some nightstands). I posted on Facebook Marketplace “Everything in this room - $100”. Within minutes I had so many messages. Y’all.. Don’t be dumb. Be careful with this. Screen the people messaging you. Make sure it’s daylight when they come over and try to have somebody with you. If no one is with you, text your friend to let them know that you’re having random strangers come to your house to take all your furniture (I can feel my dad cringing as I type this). Don’t put FREE, because that’s just too sketchy. I know you can also have Goodwill come and pick up your furniture, I just chose to do this because I wanted to know who it was going to. Within 3 hours I had a sweet family come and pack everything into their trailer so their 13 year old son could have some new furniture. They were practically tear-filled, they were so grateful. And I was just so grateful on how easy they were making it! When they left, I cried. For so long I couldn’t wait to get rid of my “junky furniture” so that one day I could buy some “nice grown-up furniture”. This gave me some perspective when I needed it most.
4. If you’re moving - buy some quality luggage.
What?? Buy things?? But I’m downsizing! Hear me out - don’t spend all this time downsizing, only to now throw your very few and favorite possessions in random bags. I spent like 2 hours at the luggage department in Macy’s driving them all around like I was buying a new car. I ended up getting a huge 28” rose gold piece from Calpak, and my mom bought me the matching carry-on on Black Friday. THEN, when you are packing - keep it organized. You don’t want to get to your new home and not know where anything is. Like I said, I’m not an organized person by nature - but that, my friends, is what we call an excuse. So take your time and get your s**t together.
5. Remain Calm, YOU GOT THIS.
Sorry, not exactly the most tangible advice - but seriously - remain calm. There will be times when there are piles everywhere and you’ll just need to lay on the floor (if you can find it). You’ll start to wonder how one person could possibly have all of this stuff. You’ll start to wonder what the heck you got yourself into. You’ll start to think of the good times, before you decided to downsize. This is normal. You must keep going. Did I call my mom crying?? Why yes, yes I did. Did I call my Dad in a stressed freak-out?? Why yes, yes I did. Did I call my 9-month pregnant sister to tell her how stressful life was?? Okay yes, and truly not my proudest moment. (To be fair, the week I had to move I was also just hit with a few other unfortunate life instances). I was dramatic, and everyone was far away and I had to do it on my own. But guess what y’all - it’s done. And when I finally dragged that last box up two flights of stairs, positioned it perfectly in my car, and closed the lid - I was so proud. I’ve done a lot of things in my short 25 years of life, a lot I’m not proud of, but in that moment I was so stinkin happy. I literally felt weight lifted off my shoulder. And I promise you, you’ll feel the same. You don’t have to go to the extreme, you don’t have to be some trendy minimalist to declutter your life. Start with a drawer, or your office, or your closet. YOU GOT THIS.
I hope these tips help you out on your next decluttering adventure - let me know how it goes!
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