Minimalist Moving

We arrive with nothing and leave with nothing; It’s the in-between time we get all screwed up. -pithy, I know

Moving is usually a chaotic event. And to be honest, my little home -or what’s left of it- is a bit chaotic right now. But it’s a good kind of chaos that I’m enveloped in at the moment instead of the usual hustle and bustle of running around town trying to find boxes in which to pack my belongings for transport to my new destination.

That’s how it’s always been in the past and this time I vowed not to repeat the same mistakes. Each time I’ve moved over the years, I’ve discovered the existence of unopened boxes filled with items that at one time meant something to me.

It's telling that I never bothered to unpack these boxes, nor use the items inside. The items remained unused, forgotten, resigned to a non-life, languished in darkness.

Curating, Not Collecting

At my core, I’m a minimalist even if that core is buried under layers of resistance at times. I love simplicity in all its forms: design, decor, fashion, functionality, style, living lightly, and tiny nests.

It’s living as a minimalist that’s been the hard part. It’s actually embarrassing to admit, but I too tend to accumulate life’s detritus. It arrives in the form of gifts, good deals that are too good to be ignored, and impulse buys.

Over that past few weeks, I’ve been getting ready to leave my beach bungalow and move over the hill to Silicon Valley, where I’ve lived on several occasions. I decided that this time I would carefully curate what belongings I kept, not only because of the small space I’ll inhabit, but mainly because I don’t need much. That meant selling, donating, and recycling what was still useful to others and trashing only the truly crappy.

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Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer in his unfurnished home in Silicon Valley.

My once cozy bungalow is now rather spacious, and while it’s not exactly like Steve Jobs’ unfurnished home, its getting there. And I like it a lot.

Minimalist Moving

Minimalist living makes moving a breeze. Though it’s not quite breezy yet here at Beach Bungalow, I do detect a draft. 🙂

If you have only a few belongings, moving them isn’t an issue. Curating your belongings becomes a fun challenge; Conscious choice becomes the new default instead of the mindless acceptance that leads to unpacked boxes and forgotten items.

I’ve moved friends and family who were collectors and not curators… and it was always painful.  I couldn’t count the number of boxes filled with useless and/or formerly useful items that I’ve carried from one place to another for one friend. Each time I was hopeful that she’d have discarded them, but when moving day arrived there they were like buried secrets, momentarily redeemed from their hidden lair only to be secreted way again and forgotten.

Living Lighter

I’m understanding, perhaps for the first time, that fewer belongings make for fewer worries. It’s been a pleasure to discard some items while giving any others to those in need. Life feels lighter.

When I make my way over the hill from Santa Cruz to Silicon Valley in two weeks, it will be the first move in a very long time that will include the right balance of things, both essential and meaningful.

It will be breezy and I intend to keep the windows open.

Destinations and Untethering

In my last post I wrote about moving from my home on the Central California coast to an unknown destination. I even expressed my desires to the Universe for the perfect abode to house, not only my two BMW motorcycles, but also my faithful canine companion, Sir Buddy, Lord Protector of the Realm.

It’s funny how the Universe responds to our deepest desires with what some might consider a flat refusal or a haughty laugh. But I’ve always thought that the unifying stuff that comprises the Universe is smarter than that; certainly smarter than we who inhabit this cosmic, floating orb.

What we define as best and optimal often isn’t. In my case, the desire for a one bedroom cottage with an available garage to house my Bavarian steeds and a backyard for Sir Buddy was not to be. However, as the Universe continues to prove its intelligence, perhaps the answer I received is what’s best and optimal at this present time.

As One Door Closes…

I made the decision to move on from the Beach Bungalow after my youngest son moved out. I thought I’d be in the same general vicinity but closer to him and his burgeoning musical exploits. But, as I stated above, the Universe had other plans..at least temporarily.

Most likely, you’ve experienced the phenomenon of one door -being perceived as opportunity- closing in your face while almost instantaneously another opens. Such was the case for me and my planned relocation to Santa Cruz.

A few months ago my mother suffered a stroke and my father’s overall health began to decline more rapidly. I visit them a few times each month in San Jose, a short 40-minute ride from where I live. On recent visits we discussed my impending move as well as their own present state of health and welfare.

I started to feel that my own desire for continued independence and distance was a bit selfish.

I’ve always known that it would be my responsibility to care for my parents as they grow more infirm. My two siblings live a far greater distance from our parents than I do, and as I am the executor of their estate and trust, I feel a strong sense of responsibility for them. I started to see the timing of my relocation and how it might be time to make the decision I knew I’d one day need to make.

With this plan in mind, April appeared to be a good time to untether from my belongings and downsize as much as possible.

Untethering 

There is a concept that Ev Bogue wrote about a few years ago in a book called Untether To Evolve. In it he states that when we cut ties to that which we are connected, we free ourselves and create more space, freedom, and autonomy. Untethering comes in many forms; untethering from physical belongings, relationships, certain people, jobs, schools, places, etc.

If you visualize a string connected your index finger to the person closest to you, that’s a way to visualize a tether. Now imagine more strings, one for each person you have a relationship with; one string to each physical belonging, to your job(s); to your habits, etc. Suddenly the amount of things to which you are tethered becomes overwhelming.

With all of these tethers visualized, it's difficult to see how we experience much freedom at all.

I’ve spent this month untethering from physical belongings, my home of six years, and some professional relationships.  I’m finding that as I do so, I’m also experiencing a good bit of uncertainty, but that is part of the process of untethering. (I’ll write a post about this process in the future.)

I’ve often thought that the perfect life for me would be on a BMW R1200GSA with its panniers packed only with what I truly need to live from day to day. It’s a minimalist, nomadic way of life to be sure, but one that has always appealed to me. I’ve never seen myself as the grand Baron of some estate filled with things. It’s the simple, quiet life with relatively few belongings that appeals to me as the most elegant.

Perhaps I’ll achieve that kind of lifestyle in the future, but for now, the needs of my parents are more important than my need to create a nomadic existence. However, I’m gratified that I will ease into this new role with as few tethers as possible.

Therein lies more space, freedom, and autonomy.