As it turns out, it was nine years ago today that our former neighbor’s ancient oak tree hit our house, which is largely what propelled us on our minimalist journey. And as we prepare for our upcoming move to the light keeper’s house I thought it might be helpful to share some of our experiences with moving the minimalist way.
For starters, ever since we sold our home and liquidated our furnishings eight years ago, we have intentionally avoided the use of a U-Haul, instead simply fitting our belongings into our vehicle (and maybe making a handful of trips) to move. Our record minimalist move was fitting our stuff into a Volvo convertible for our move to Nantucket and unpacking all of it in a couple of hours.
When it comes to larger items, such as furnishings, multifunctionality is the key. For example, we use a couple of collapsible ottomans/coffee tables/storage chests. And we just bought a couple of foldable chairs and tables that we also can fit easily into our Rogue crossover. As our new digs are unfurnished, we are getting our new bed and sofa delivered but other than that we will be toting the rest of our stuff ourselves.
Albert Einstein, arguably one of the smartest humans ever, famously reported, “A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?” And it was none other than Henry David Thoreau who stated, “I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”
What is more, Laura Dassow Walls writes in Henry David Thoreau: A Life : “There in his house would be everything needed, and nothing more…Thoreau’s needs were ludicrously simple…For kitchenware he had a kettle, a skillet, a frying pan…three plates, two knives, two forks, one spoon, and a cup.” And it was with such basic utensils that Thoreau was able to craft a simple life and change the world with his writings.
Finally, author Louise DeSalvo describes poet Elizabeth Bishop in her book On Moving: A Writer’s Meditations on New Houses, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again: “Bishop loved to live in ‘temporary homes by the sea.’ They brought back the ease she’d sometimes felt in Nova Scotia. She liked the simplification, improvisation, and community these places could provide. ‘You live in this Robinson Crusoe atmosphere,’ she wrote, ‘…contriving and inventing…’ When visiting seaside places, Bishop wrote more.”
And writing more is what I hope to achieve at our “temporary home by the sea.” Surveys report that moving is listed by many people as one of the most stressful activities one experiences; however, by intentionally living light and moving the minimalist way much of that stress can be mitigated. Wherever you are on your journey, consider packing and traveling light yourself!