How Traveling Forced Me To Become A Minimalist

August 18, 2015
How Travel Made Me A Minimialist... What I learned from life on the road and what I really didn't need in life
I remember one of my first trips abroad. My hair dryer was shoved under three too many jackets, I had sandals stuffed in side pockets, lotions and jewelry tucked in between blouses, belts, shoes, and hair ties. After spending the next 24 hours searching for my lost passport in all my, pardon my language, shit, I knew this wasn’t going to work out. If I wanted to move about freely, I was going to have to lose the items weighing me down, both physically and mentally.
As I started to purge with the unnecessary, it began to translate to other areas of my life. What stressors could I eliminate? What toxicities, whether it being particular places or people, could I do without? It was reflected not just every time I packed up my belongings to board another plane, but turned to resonating in all areas of my life. What could I do without, in order to go after what I really wanted? It was less of a compromise and more of a clarity.
Here are the steps I took to lose all the stuff and gain all the inner-peace from being clutter free:

Take baby steps

I started small by designating a small part of my apartment for each weekend. By organizing various drawers and cabinets on a day to day basis, I became more aware of what I actually owned and, thus, avoided buying replacements of items I thought I had lost. By emptying closets, I found the extra space to keep most of my travel supplies, making packing easier and me less likely forget something,

Throw away anything that is neither functional nor beautiful

You should be able to categorize everything you own into two columns. Either you need it daily to live comfortably or the beauty it brings makes you smile. It’s a constant necessity, or it adds a notable loveliness into your world, such as always having a bouquet of daisies on your kitchen table.
To achieve this balance, I donated books I didn’t love and ex-boyfriends’ t-shirts to various organizations, along with the memories I didn’t need hanging around anymore. Besides, someone else would get far better use out of the things I left to collect dust. I then translated this motto to fit my travel needs. Instead of bringing back a lot of ‘stuff’ to commemorate a trip, I print a couple exceptional pictures from different locations to hang up. This way I can enjoy those memories every day while not adding more junk that eventually ends up under my bed.

Stop preparing for the end of the world

There’s no need to stock up with four different brands of shampoo and a bazillion canned goods for the just-in-case scenarios. There’s a difference between having what you need and preparing for Y2K Part Two. Is that third frying pan really necessary? Is another throw pillow going to increase your comfort by that much? I recently realized there was no reason I had to own three different suitcases, one was sufficient. On the road as it is with home, it’s important to adjust to living with less options and finding peace in that.

Feel confident to go your own way

A part of reducing means shifting your focus on quantity to quality. By having higher standards (for things, peoples, places), you have to be willing to go it alone and not settle for subpar experiences or items. Although this may mean more time on your own, less possessions, and fewer mind-numbing interactions, the growth and positivity you’ll feel with the things and people you do surround yourself with is 100% worth it.

How often do you clean out your closet?

I go on rampages twice a year where I get rid of anything I haven’t worn or doesn’t fit right. I still struggle with special occasion dresses. I’ve kept a bridesmaids gown for three years with no use but I still can’t part with it! Anyone have suggestions for those formal gowns that are too pricey to toss?
Stay up to date on Juliette’s adventures by following her on Instagram –julietteelise & twitter @JulietteElise_ !
7 comments so far.

7 responses to “How Traveling Forced Me To Become A Minimalist”

  1. Love this. Would like to travel more with m hubbies!

  2. Melissa says:

    This is such a timely post – I have to clean out my closet! 🙂 I learned you can’t bring back a lot of things while traveling a while ago. At first, it’s hard not to bring everything back, but you’re right – taking pictures and then framing them around your place is so much better. Plus, everyone can see it and ask you about it, and you can relive the fun all over again! 🙂

  3. I soooo needed to read this today! I have been putting off and putting off cleaning out my closets – both physically and figuratively – and I need to stop stalling and finding excuses! Awesome post!

  4. I have the same problem with dresses! I actually had every dress from HS dances hanging in my closet even. I was 1. Not going to fit into them again and 2. Not even really wanting to wear them again anyway. But I went to most of those dances with my current husband so they felt special. However, I realized the photos from back then were good enough to keep and donated them to girls in need for prom. That really helped me part with them – knowing there are girls who want to attend those same types of dances but can’t afford a new dress. Maybe that is a good option for bridesmaids dresses as well?

    • Juliette Kopp says:

      I love this idea! I definitely can separate from those memories if it means someone else can enjoy the dresses as well, if not more. Good thought!

  5. Ellen Donais says:

    Old bridesmaid gowns can be tailored into fabulous cocktail party dtesses– if you go to those type of events. If you have a special niece, making her into a princess( make-up,hair,etc) during her next visit is a memorable moment for her, and your dress goes back into the closet until next time. Throw a party for your gals– theme it bridesmaid gowns only!


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