I always wondered how Travel Writers live the way they do. It always intrigued me because I dreamed that one day I could do that. Getting up, grabbing a bag you packed specifically for convenience, hopping on a plane to an awesome location, checking into a hotel, seeing the sites, writing about different locations, experiencing different cultures, I could go on.
I never knew that this moment, this coronavirus moment, would be the time I’d get first hand experience at living far from home for an undetermined amount of time, in a place you’ve never been, with the small bag you brought with you (also packed with the baby’s things). I never knew that I’d suddenly understand what it meant to truly discover Minimalism.
In March, my guy made the executive decision that we would go visit friends in Louisiana during the virus outbreak. “It’s better than being stuck in the city where the chance of contracting the virus is so much higher” he said. I thought it was a stupid idea. Dumb idea. I hated the idea. All because I didn’t want to leave the safety and comfort of my own home. I didn’t want to take a 20 hour drive (turned 24 with baby and all that occurred on my way here) by myself after only 2 hours of sleep. I didn’t think that going to a place where there would be four of us, and a baby, versus home – where two of us and a baby was a good idea.
After the borders closed, and we’ve ended up stuck in Louisiana for 4 weeks (and counting- updated to 5.5), I can’t say that I’ve changed my mind any.
But here we are. The most surprising thing is that I never knew that this would be the moment I truly discovered Minimalism. Due to our status here, we’ve been forced to live in ONE room. Tony (my guy), Naomi (the baby), and I have reduced our lives to that of guests who never leave.
During one of my trips to the grocery store, the only place we go outside of the house, I had to buy my guy extra shirts and myself some tank tops as well. To make myself feel like I had some semblance of control over my life, at this moment, I bought five. One in every color. After buying Hilton Carter’s newest houseplant book Wild Interiors I got a box from Amazon and thought Hmm, why don’t I just fold the shirts, the way I learned while watching the Marie Kondo videos, and put them in there? Then I thought the same when we received a shipment of onesies from Naomi’s paternal grandmother (god bless her soul), I thought why don’t I put Naomi’s onesies, sleepers, socks, and bath towels in this box.
It felt like not only was I being smart on space, as the two can sit in the corner closed where she can’t get to them, but I was recycling! I’m new to the whole Recycle-Reuse thing. I know that I can propagate plants in Mason jars, as well as other things, and I’ve been doing that for a while and I want to stretch that energy to other things in my life. Usually I would do research on the ideal and find other ways to reuse my human debris but the internet isn’t the greatest out here in the boondocks (another reason I’m not the happiest at being away from home).
All in all, I’m on the cusp of going home and I’ve learned some things. It’s been 4 weeks and I have been without 95% of the things in my apartment. While they are useful, this ‘experience’ has made me realize that I can live on very little and still be comfortable. I can live without the boxes of papers and envelopes, the ‘for when I lose weight’ clothes hanging on hangers, the cat products for a cat my guy promised we can adopt but we never got, and the miscellaneous items that fill the shelves of my closets. I can live without all those lotions, sprays, elastics, and lotions that clog my bathroom. I can do without the random nonsense that fills my living room, and my dining room, and this is even after my initial de-cluttering session back in November 2019. This is after the ‘I’m serious about this, babe. I’m determined to live with less clutter but a happier life’ speech I gave my guy before I started this journey. This is after the second de-cluttering session of February.
It’s made me realize that I have been on the right track. In the weeks since being home, since writing the first part of this blog post, I have taken a break from making truly ‘life changing’ decisions. This entire experience has been one of the craziest, scariest, most ill-prepared-for times of my life. I didn’t want to do anything on a whim.
But these principles stuck. I still think of the things I can do away with and I want to implement this while my guy is away in the mornings. I want to go back through everything. Every single box. I want to hold every item in my hands and ask myself ‘does this spark joy’? I want to try on every piece of clothing and gauge my reaction.
I want to look at all these boxes of old letters and journals and find a decent way to store them. Something beyond the tattered brown boxes I’ve been keeping them in. I want to take a more design approach to my apartment. I want to be proud of the home I live in while also making is safe for a growing toddler who can grab and pull things down (and climb the stairs, her recent favorite).
I want to live with even less clutter and in enduring the coronavirus, I have renewed my passion to do this. I’ve discovered what true minimalism means to me. I’m ready.