It has been 2.5 years now since I made a pledge to live minimally.
For the first 2 years, I tried to reduce my possessions so they could fit in 1 suitcase and 1 carry-on backpack. It is a target I set as I have the vision to move abroad someday and I don’t want my stuff to weight me down. I was finally able to turn the vision into reality on February 20th, 2017, when I move to Auckland, New Zealand to pursue my master degree.
It was when, once again, a reality knocked me down. That I am still far far away from being a minimalist. Yes, I was able to fit my belongings that I wanted to bring to New Zealand into one 28″ suitcase, one carry-on backpack, and one small duffel bag. But they are severely overweight. My baggage allowance was 33 kg (checked-in baggage) and 7 kg (cabin baggage). But I was end-up with 39 kg (checked-in baggage) and 11 kg (cabin baggage), so my baggage was overweight by 10 kg. Well, I have evaluated where I went wrong, what things that I don’t necessarily need to embrace a new life, things that I should be left home or better be donated. But it was a painful lesson, as I had to pay a very expensive overweight baggage fee and also the pain I had to bear lugging 11kg backpack. Something that I promised myself not to experience ever again.
Refer to my experience, the key to minimalist moving are:
- Research in advance about where to find/buy the cheapest things, such as homeware, clothes, stationary etc. I was so overwhelmed by my friends’ warning that everything in New Zealand is much more expensive than Indonesia. But I found out that it is not always the case, there is a store like “The Warehouse” that sell items just as cheap as in Indonesia. If I knew about this before I left, I would have brought items that I could easily find here at a cheap price. The good things are that most of these stores have online shopping website so you can find the exact price to compare even before leaving the home country.
- I should have only brought clothes for 2 weeks. Only my best quality, favorite, most comfortable and most expensive ones, the clothing items that can’t be replaced. I should have left or donated the rest in Indonesia. Living in a new country means an opportunity to complete our wardrobe with local products and even upgrade it with a better quality. But it doesn’t mean a lot more purchase as it is opposite to the minimalist life principle, but just an enough amount to complete what we already have.
Other than that, I still have an enormous amount of possessions that I keep on my parents’ house. Something that I have to tackle immediately when I go back to Indonesia after finishing my study. I am supposed to only keep a few clothes in my parents’ house, only for when I spend my time there, at maximum is clothes I need for 2 weeks stay, nothing more. I have to also organize my books, my knick-knacks and everything that I no longer need but I am still keeping there. I think I have to get rid at least 80% of them.
Besides that limited items that I will keep at my parents’ house, recently I have listed all possessions that I require to live a normal life. Based on that list, I only need less than 300 items for a settle-life, a life whereby I stay in one place for more than 1 year, most likely at my own house or apartment. For a nomad life (stay in one place for less than a year, on a rental flat/room), I have to stick with 1 suitcase + 1 carry-on backpack rule (with maximum total weight of 40 kg) to contain all my belongings. The items count is reduced a lot to less than 150 items. So, it will make it very easy when I am moving again somewhere. And the last, for a travel life, whereby I keep moving and stay in one place less than 1 week, I have to contain all my belongings in one carry-on backpack only. The items count based on my list is less than 80 items.
I hope that I can stick with the plan and advance my minimalist journey further, as I am really overwhelmed with the burden of my possessions.