Tag Archives: Minimalism

Downsize Then Downsize Some More

8 Jul

Retirement and a new life in Mexico provided a much needed opportunity to dig through our stuff and get real about what to keep and what to get rid of. As we prepared for the big move five years ago, we had many garage sales, gave memorabilia to family and the rest to Goodwill. And I thought I was already a minimalist. NOT!

The Day Before We Left Austin, TX

Our son and his family hauled off furniture we didn’t need.

Part of the problem was that we were very unsure about what we would need. It took us two years to begin construction of our house. We also had never lived in a tropical region. People told us not to bring rugs to a humid climate. We did anyway and didn’t regret it.

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A lot has changed in three years.

I bought a fancy portable sewing machine because I wanted to make my own clothes and wasn’t sure I could get one here. I was wrong, Not only are there many lovely sewing machines sold here, I have hardly touched the one I brought.

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A new fence. The trees have really grown.

Other people suggested that we get a storage unit and bring things gradually as we needed them. That might work for some, but it was a “hell no” for us. We were burning bridges and wanted nothing to weigh us down, especially a storage unit.

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Even our bodega got a makeover. The only thing we store is kayak equipment.

Our intention for a new life was minimalist living in a much smaller space. Packing, transporting, unpacking, storing, maintaining “stuff” takes its toll and has a price. Today, five years into living in Mexico, I find that I have had to go through my plastic bins and get realistic about the yarn, fabric, books, videos etc. that were once so important to me. On my last visit to Texas I schlepped back precious pattern books to give to friends. It was time to get real, there will be very little knitting or crocheting in my future.

Becomingminimalist.com

Truthfully I still own too much. Here’s some websites you might find interesting. Poco a poco, little by little… DOS TORTAS

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Holiday Minimalism

11 Dec

In the 1980s I was at home with three young children and a big house. My mother wasn’t the best housekeeper and to say my skills were lacking is an understatement. As I struggled to stay on top of “things” I came across the book, Clutter’s Last Stand by Don Aslett. Don had worked his way through college cleaning houses and upon graduation discovered a far more lucrative business than his original degree provided.  His ideas about having less to clean and organize resonated strongly. I also belonged to a Unity Church which taught the principle of flow. If you own something that you don’t need, let it go and what you DO need will come to you. Between the two, I started on the road to a minimalist lifestyle, or so I thought.

Sunrise of the week.

Sunrise of the week.

Moving to Mexico provided an opportunity to downsize in a big way. We sold our house and reduced everything into a 6×10 trailer pulled by an over stuffed truck. Two bicycles, two kayaks and a living room rug were strapped on top. They were all things we thought we needed to begin life anew.

Pulling out of the drive in Austin Texas to live our dream in Mexico.

Pulling out of the drive in Austin Texas to live our dream in Mexico 2013.

We had multiple garage sales and shipped “family heirlooms” to adult children, took loads to thrift stores and learned to let go, let go, let go. And still we hauled away more possessions than we needed. For the past year most of them are still stored in the trailer. We don’t even remember what we own any more.

The house we are building is about 900 square feet, larger than I originally envisioned, huge by some standards, impossible by others. We are still challenged by acquiring “stuff”. It’s the American way and deeply ingrained. And so easy to do.

The clouds enchant.

The clouds enchant.

I recently came across a website that encourages minimalism and was reminded of the original book that started the “less is more” way of thinking for me. So whether an international move is in your cards or a desire to free up your life, time and money, I suggest turning off the TV ads advertising the latest deal and try buying less, or NOTHING this holiday season. Trust me, it can be done.

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On a recent trip to Cancun we met Mercedes and Ramon, owners of Bed and Breakfast Poblenou in Barcelona Spain. They sat at our table in a crowded dining room and were visiting Mexico for a little vacation. Who’s up for a trip to Barcelona? Me, me, ME!

Our new friends from Barcelona.

Our new friends from Barcelona.

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