5 months ago, we started the preparation of our journey. We knew from the start that we had to leave most of our belongings behind. So our first question was:
What are we going to do with all our stuff?
It was clear for us that we do not want to keep things for the sake of owning them. After thinking about this and what we could do about it, we came to the following conclusions:
- In the last 10 years we went through 3 different moves and we are still keeping many things that we did not use for the last 10 years (some are even still in the movers’ box!) It is now time to do something about this: keeping these items for an extra year is not an option.
- Throwing away things we no longer need is very frustrating, especially when dealing with items in perfect condition. It is an easy (lazy) solution, but if we keep doing that our grandsons will not have the wonderful planet that we (still) have.
So, we arranged the following agreements when we started this ‘journey before the journey’:
- We only keep things that are very important for us. This includes things that we know we will use again in the near future or that we have a strong personal connection with.
- We need to give a second life to all other items.
With that in mind, we started our journey to sustainable minimalism. We have been reading about minimalism and in addition to our agile mindset, we also got to quickly adopt a minimalism mindset. Pretty scaring? Fear not, we have never felt as free as today!
We took this journey very seriously. So seriously that instead of calling it a journey we like calling it a “mission“.
- We are renting our apartment with all its furniture (this will provide us with some cash for the coming year) – but we cannot rent our apartment with all our personal stuff we are leaving behind.
- We sold some of our stuff (bikes, cars, etc.). We got the children active in this by explaining to them that they could use the money from their toys to try new activities (pony ridding, yee-ha!) It was difficult for them to let the games go, so these activities proved to be a good incentive.
- We lent some other stuff to friends. If we will need those things in the future, they will give them back to us (finger crossed.)
- Finally, we gave part of our stuff to friends and charity organisations.
We are very happy to know our things are being used by other people! We do expect photos of all of these second-lives!
Some people are surprised on how we are giving things away, but we are extremely happy that things get reused – it’s tiny thing, but it contribute to spare a bit our planet. When we are giving you something, it means that:
- You do not have to buy a new one – less contamination from production & transport
- We are not throwing it away – less unnecessary waste
- We do not need to allocate space to store it
- We will not have to move it to a new place
We got very conscious about this mission toward “sustainable minimalism”: when looking for new things (only things that we need!), we always look first at the second hand market. Now, we know how time consuming becoming minimalist was (5 months!) so before buying anything we think twice (or more.)
To be honest, it is clearly more difficult to proceed that way instead of just throwing things away – or storing them forever. But seeing the smile of someone that just bought your snowboard, this is really priceless – like the ad goes. Or seeing our children playing one last time before handing their toys to some smaller children. If we all do more of that, we will definitely all benefit from it, including our environment.
Minimalism has also added benefits: knowing that you own less, that you need less, gives you more freedom. And peace of mind.
We feel extremely happy writing this article, only by thinking about our readers joining this sustainable minimalist mission!
We are looking forward to hearing about your own sustainable minimalist mission! Join the club!