Living with Less

luggage-1081872_640In mid-July, in anticipation of the imminent sale of my flat in London, I let the vast majority of my possessions go by one means or another – freecycling, donating, selling etc. It was liberating. And the majority of my stuff, such as it was given that I’ve always been a minimalist, went to my nephew who was setting up a new home not far away.

To cut a very long story short, I am still waiting to move, having been embroiled in various delaying legalities with my purchaser, freeholder and managing agent, all outside my control. I have become accepting and found reserves of patience which have lain dormant for a very long time, if not forever.

All of this means that since 15th July I have been sleeping on a very comfortable sofabed, having let my neph take my real bed. And without a bedside table, or lamp, or a chest of drawers. Or a bedroom, since the sofabed is in the living room.

And living without my pussy cat, Mitsy, who went to her new forever home with Tracy and her family in Buckinghamshire – how posh! She’s gone up in the world.

And without the majority of my kitchen stuff. I kept the juicer and the Nutribullet (and am ready to freecycle both now since I am on a lo-carb jag, and that rules out most of what you can make in either of those). I even let the kettle go since I don’t drink tea. I kept my Nespresso machine and might just make it until my departure, it is coughing and spluttering a bit now, having been in daily use since January 2011. It really should have had more loving attention for me during its lifetime, especially in the matter of descaling.

I kept one plate (by accident, it was in the washing up!) and one bowl, a few glasses and coffee cups. I have a couple of saucepans because my landlady in my likely next home said I was to bring those with me, along with the juicer, since they’d taken all theirs with them by accident or design.

I have two sets of cutlery, one for main course, one for starter/cheese! One dessert spoon. One tablespoon. One teaspoon. My glass juicing straws, a lemon reamer, a couple of sharp knives, some egg cups, and the poacher. So I can’t do much by way of entertaining which is fine, since I have other things on my mind right now. I did have to replace the tin opener, otherwise tuna is off the menu. I spent ¬£3 on a replacement and, to date, have used it only once!

I work indoors at a folding garden table on a folding garden chair, my garden office is completely empty now. The desk lamp I did keep has since broken and been binned. Shame, I had been planning to take that one with me.

I have my office stuff and my gadgets – laptop, iPad and kindle – and I wouldn’t be without either of those though the first two need replacing soon. I also have a box of stationery, my files and my printer.

Apart from my clothes and toiletries which are all in bags and boxes, and my suitcases, I have nothing else left, except my Swimfloat which is ready and waiting to be packed for the Caribbean when the time is right. A Swimfloat is a gorgeous floating chair which I love to sit on in the pool with my kindle. Aaah, sigh of relaxing just visualising it, my happy place.

And do you know what? I have hardly noticed the difference. I’ve even gone back to a low-tech “manual” toothbrush, all the electronic ones are expensive, stop working in the end, and are quite heavy to carry around with you what with all the charging paraphernalia.

Given my time over, perhaps I would not have surrendered the bed quite so soon but only because it is annoying to have to put the sofabed back together before anyone comes, when the former equivalent would have been simply shutting the bedroom door. It feels a tad slutty too to leave the sofabed “down” all day, even when I am by myself. But, Gentle Reader, I do.

And it is mildly annoying to have my clothes and cosmetics (such as they are) in bags and boxes. All that’s happened is that I’ve used far fewer of them which just makes me realise I could do a much bigger cull before my eventual departure and not miss quite a lot of that stuff either. Some of my cosmetic-y type things are for emergencies during travel which I will probably never need on the move and certainly never need at home, a first aid kit and stuff for mozzies.

In the kitchen, if I knew I was destined to stay much longer, I would quite like to have back two items only – the hand-held mixer (for blending home-made soups) and the measuring jug/scales for weights and measures in recipes. I boil water in a saucepan when people come and visit. I think it’s happened two or three times, not a faff.

And I was over-zealous in letting go of my little stepladder because several of my light-bulbs now need replacing and I didn’t think I would be here long enough to do that, I even let my stock of bulbs expire. I could only stand on that folding garden chair and I think that would be ill advised since it is quite ratty and old and I am quite chunky and old.

I am down to what can fit in my car. And the next cull after that is what can fit in my airplane luggage.

I have long known that what is important to me isn’t stuff. And you never know how low you can go until you try, as with so many things.¬†Note to self: I could go a lot lower.

This way of life is simpler and easier with fewer choices to make about everything and anything. It’s liberating even beyond what I had imagined.

Your Biz Your Way

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