From Hoarders to Minimalists

"Let's go back to the 8th of August, 2010. We were at the Travelodge hotel for a mini honeymoon celebration. We kicked back with a little "telly" and Hoarders the American television series was on. We were captivated by the episode that was on. The lady seemed normal, she just had a lot of stuff. One quote in particular that stuck us was "How could one person have five garbage bags of yarn in their closet" We looked at each other, there was in fact five garbage bags of yarn at our home. When we got home from our mini holiday, we took to getting rid of stuff we didn't need immediately." - Why Minimalism Improved Our Lives


Hoarding is a mental disorder where people compulsively acquire stuff, and don't want to get rid of it, to the point that it negatively affects their lives. Often hoarders' living spaces become cluttered with their possessions making it hard to navigate around their homes comfortably. For example, a hoarder might save stacks of newspapers and have no room to put them so they end up piling them in the hallway, making it hard to walk through the hall. Hoarding can become such a problem that it becomes life threatening. 

We definitely weren't hoarding so bad that we would have ended up on the TV show but we were scared straight nonetheless. It was our first time living on our own and we needed all the stuff that people generally need for their first apartment. Luckily, we had a closet full of all the kitchen stuff we could need including utensils, microwave,etc etc. We also had some furniture but had room for more. Once people heard we were moving into a new place we were offered couches, desks, tables, and other odds and ends. Our apartment was starting to look well furnished with all the stuff we got for free and we were excited about all the free stuff we had found. Our place was full of chairs, couches, tables, lamps, shelves, dressers, you name it, we had it. 


This is our living room 18 days after moving in to our first apartment 

We were also going out in our free time and shopping. The shopping itself became a form of entertainment for us. Advertising is everywhere, and there are countless new products aimed to make your life better seeking for our attention. Also, things are getting cheaper; computers, mobile phones, televisions, and other gadgets are comparably cheaper than they have ever been. Technology is progressing at a fast pace and our older devices are becoming obsolete pretty quickly. It's hard not to get sucked in to consumer culture. 

While shopping, we'd look for bargains and buy all kinds of stuff because it was a good deal. We'd get clothes, stuff for the apartment, DVDs, Video Games, and future gifts for people. We were shopping at the mall, Jysk, Liquidation World, second hand stores and then we discovered the Recycling Depot. We were getting some killer deals before but at the recycling depot you could fill a shopping bag for $1. We found all kinds of stuff there: books, games, sporting goods, a Playstation portable (PSP), China sets, and furniture as well. 


You can see how all the clutter just makes this photo look so messy 

We had a lot of cool stuff and we hadn't spent that much to get it but we weren't actually using a lot of it. Around the time that we saw the episode of Hoarders we were hoping to move to a bigger city. At this point we had so much stuff that the thought of moving seemed like a gigantic burden. Everything started to come together and we started evaluating what stuff we actually wanted.

For example, Liquidation World had this game called Tony Hawk Ride which is a skateboarding video game where you stand on an electronic skateboard that acts as the controller. It was only $10 so it was hard to pass up. I think we only played it once and then it just sat there cluttering up our apartment with all the other items we bought for the same reason. 

It took us awhile to sell or donate the stuff we didn't want until we got to a point where it seemed possible to move somewhere else. We ended up moving a few times and we continued trimming down our possessions. Eventually, we moved to a bigger city. We needed a big moving truck to do the move because the city was 2 hours away and we couldn't do multiple trips with our pickup truck like we had done on previous moves. When you move you get to see everything you own laid out in front of you and it makes you aware of all the useless stuff you own.


New City, New Start. Still a lot of stuff, but not as cluttered. Our stuff had homes. 

Seeing the amount of stuff we had and how it filled the moving truck made us want to get rid of more stuff. We were living in the city and we took advantage of our apartment building's "free table" in the laundry room where you put all of your stuff you don't want. We gave away so much stuff that we thought we were going to get in trouble for putting so much stuff down there but as it turns out our neighbours loved us for it. Hopefully people made good use out of the stuff we didn't want.

Slowly we became more influenced by minimalism and our biggest challenge was moving to the UK. We had to get our stuff down to the point where we could fit it into space at our parent's houses.

We haven't quite got to the point, like some minimalists, where we live with only 100 items. That isn't necessarily the point of minimalism as we understand it. We've just been gradually learning what we do and don't need and trying to better ourselves and our lives by simplifying.

Our goal in life is to only own a suitcase full of items. We recently moved flats and learned that we have one small car full of stuff here with us in England. Realising this has also made us start to donate things we have accumulated in England. We have things that we need for the remainder of our time, but we still need to get rid of a lot more, if we only want one suitcase. 

When we first started taking holidays, we didn't want to forget anything. Which resulted in packing everything. Most of what we brought wouldn't be used and come back with us untouched. Now we pack less than we think we need, and come to the realisation that if you do forget anything, you can buy it. 
Packing for a trip in 2010 
Packing for a trip in 2016 
For more on travelling light, we urge you to watch our video on what we pack for most holidays. 


If you are interested on becoming more minimal check out our "30 Day Minimalist Challenge" and get rid of your unwanted stuff!
Thank you for reading and we hope you enjoyed our post. Please share your minimalist journey with us and do not hesitate to contact us. 

You can also join the Minimalist Lifestyle Facebook group for more inspiration.

Comments

  1. I watched the movie, Minialmilism. I definitely could use some decluttering in my life.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have been working on de-cluttering myself! It feels good to have less doesn't it? Good luck with your new start!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Good luck in your journey aswell.

      Delete
  3. Living light and traveling light are so much easier! We are working on our house, but the traveling we've gotten down pretty well!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I could definitely use a little decluttering! I've been taking baby steps!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I could use some tips on decluttering, too! And I really wish I could travel light! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check out our minimalist challenge for help decluttering

      Delete
  6. There are days that I wish the children would embrace the principles of minimalism! Why do they need so much Lego?? Seriously this is a really good point, it's so easy to get caught up in consumerism but in the end it's just getting stuff for stuff's sake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think kids get caught up in consumerism because they need what their friends have. Which is sad that we live in a society thats bringing them up this way.

      Delete
  7. I can't imagine having only 100 items ... but then, maybe I can. I guess, you just get a sense of what's really important to you then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It helps if you do a sweep of your items every few months to see what you are actually using.

      Delete
  8. I need to declutter, big time. I know I'll never be a minimalist but I know I do need to get rid of some stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You watch those shows and think, it fake, no one lives like that. I bet it scared the crap out of you and I hope you find more time for mini breaks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was quite scary, which is why we got rid of everything and moved half way across the world. ;)

      Delete
  10. I am a hoarder in denial although It's not that bad. I just don't like to throw things away because I might need them at some point. From looking at my house, you can't tell that I'm a hoarder though, I keep it neat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some people can function and still live their dreams with owning stuff. We on the otherhand could not. We own our stuff, our stuff doesnt own us.

      Delete
  11. Never quite the all out hoarder, I have gone through a phase of hanging on to a bit too much. Now, I am growing more and more into a minimalist and love it!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't think that I could live with only 100 items, but I am slowly determined to get the gear down in our house. I look at things and think that if we haven't used them in 6 months, why are we keeping them. At the moment I have another three bags of gear to donate. Slowly getting there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome! It's not all about living with only 100 items. It is about living with what you need, what you love and makes you happy. That could be a suitcase of stuff or a house full! Good luck on your journey.

      Delete
  13. That's so funny you showed how you guys now travel light. Before my husband and I got married, we would pack huge suit case fulls of stuff plus we had our gigantic snowboard bags. We learned our lesson so for our honey moon and all of our most recent trips, we did the backpack thing. It's SO much easier and you never have to wait around at baggage claim!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so love not waiting at luggage claim! That is the best part!

      Delete
  14. Well, can say my kids and I are already minimalists. Between the three of them they have two major toy groups each and we use bins so, cuts down on clutter majorly. Being a single mom and having two jobs yeah, it's mostly because we can't afford much but, life isn't about "things"; try and teach them to not be materialistic in life. Would love to get rid of almost everything and do the family RV thing. Ah, that would be life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great. By showing them the minimalistic lifestyle they learn to live more with less. Instead of them seeing what they are 'missing out' on. We would love the RV life. Maybe one day!

      Delete
  15. This is one of my goals for the new year. I really want to get rid of all the unnecessary stuff in my life and feel like I am more in control.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Decluttering and organising is freeing your soul. Definitely adding more of more of this to my daily life. A little bit more freedom every now and then.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I know I need to declutter my apartment. I know I am always cleaning and next day it wilm be super messy. I dont even know how lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We found the less stuff we had, the less time we spent cleaning.

      Delete
  18. Clutter drives me crazy and it can quickly take over a room. It's true we can live more with less and we should.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We really should. I find we will get more out of life if we live with what we need and love only.

      Delete
  19. This is a great post. We stopped buying everything we wanted a couple of years ago and never looked back.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Im always decluttering, specially the kitchen as i hate it to be cluttered. Its just the kids room that look cluttered at the minute thanks to christmas lol

    ReplyDelete
  21. I tend to hoard a lot of things lol This is a great post and thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think we have lot of things that I could get rid of in one go. With 2 kids at home, I am sure there is a lot to declutter and make sure everything is in control and organized.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you decide to declutter, we wish you all the best in the process.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment. If you love this post, please consider sharing it.