In July 2015, I moved to California. In Michigan, where we came from, we had a 4 bedroom, 3400 square foot house with a 2-car, 2-story garage. AKA: we had a lot of space; we had a lot of shit.
Like I need to say it, but the last thing you want to do when moving 1500 miles is haul said shit. Especially when your destination is a 700 square foot, 1-bedroom apartment. So we purged. All the little things I picked up from Home Goods throughout the years, the big things we saved up for, and the special things given to us as wedding presents, hand-me-downs, etc. were all looked at and put into one of 4 categories: keep, toss, donate, or sell on Craigslist.
By the time we picked up the U-Haul, we had very little left to our name (but a shit ton of good Craigslist survival stories!). It was the weirdest feeling to think everything I owned was now in just one of 5 (5!) boxes.
As if that wasn’t enough, once we got to San Diego, the place we would wind up in two months after arriving was a fully-furnished house in Ocean Beach. Did you hear that, fully furnished. Our 5 boxes went down to 2 – just the necessities – as we picked up the keys to our new place.
Today, we’ve been in California for almost 7 months. I’ve never had less to my name in my entire life, but what I realized at almost 30 years old is that things do not define home. Home is two dogs who shed everywhere. Home is a husband who knows how to fix any noise. Home is a shelf to put my books. Home is four walls in which we can make new memories.
When I feel homesick or unsure of who I am, or what I’m about – these are the things I turn to. Not lamp I got on clearance at TJ Maxx. Not the leather chair with the missing button. Not the candle holder from Crate & Barrel.
So the next time you to get one of those “less is more” feelings, let me be the first to confirm – you’re on to something.