The Downsizing Project

by Gigi Griffis

As you probably already know, this fall I’m devoting myself to a major re-packing project that promises to make the contents of my backpack longer lasting, more sustainable, multi-purpose, compact, and cute. I’ve already started researching products, gathering up suggestions, and assessing what I already own. And the whole thing is feeling pretty exciting.

On the other side of the coin, though, I’m also back in Denver to downsize. With this whole no-fixed-address thing going swimmingly so far, it’s time to further lighten my load and get rid of…

My emergency stores
When I first left Colorado, I downsized to just eight boxes (plus the backpack that was going with me), which I left in my friend’s lovely, large basement. But at least one of those boxes (actually, let’s face it, probably more than one) was full of “just in case” items: spoons, a hairdryer with an American plug, blankets. You know, things I could use to start over “just in case” the full-time travel thing didn’t pan out.

Luckily for me, full-time travel has been a positive thing for my life, my business, my relationships, and my storytelling skills. So there’s no need to keep this emergency starting-over kit. Someday I may come back to the U.S. and settle in, but if that day comes I can always buy new spoons. So anything without sentimental value is on its way out.

Paper, paper, paper.
Quite a bit of my storage space was dedicated to paper. Old journals. Receipts. Contracts. Photo albums. Recipe books. And all of these things can easily be converted to electronic files—so that’s what I’m doing. Scanning, transcribing, uploading everything onto my computer, backup removable hard drive, etc. Because not only does it take up way less space, but then I can access it no matter where I am in the world. The only thing I still have in paper format is a couple large envelopes of tax paperwork and receipts.

Clothes that don’t fit.
So, it turns out Europe looks good on me. Like really good. Like, I dropped a pants size while I was over there. And while this means I have to part (so sadly!) with a few of my favorite skirts and tops, it also means that I feel healthier (hoorah!) and I don’t need most of the clothes I was hanging onto.

Shoes that don’t fit.
Did I mention that my feet grew? Weird though it may be, it’s also true. So most of my shoes (with a notable exception for those boots I bought in a slightly bigger size with the intention of wearing them with large socks) are off to the consignment shop along with my white pencil skirt and large brown belts.

Where does this leave me today?

Well, I’m only partway through the process (there’s still a bag of shoes slotted for the consignment shop and a box of photos scheduled for scanning once the scanner I just bought online arrives), but at the end of this exercise, I believe that I’ll be able to downsize to just one large box of mementos, scarves, and tax paperwork left in my friend’s basement, one small bag of clothes left in another friend’s closet (mostly because I want to take said clothes to California with me, but don’t want to haul them over the ocean), and the backpack on my back.

Now, that’s minimalism.

I don’t think I’ve owned this little ever. It’s incredibly freeing.

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Montecristo Travels October 19, 2012 - 9:01 am

Wonderful! AS minimalists I can only say KEEP GOING!!!

Gigi October 19, 2012 - 7:59 pm

Yes, sir, Monte! :)


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