Yaaaay! It’s been 4 years now that I’ve been living out of a big 121L suitcase and a carry-on. Meaning, everything that I own fits into a big suitcase and a carry-on. Wherever I go I take everything that I do own with me and none of my stuff is stored at other people’s places. I recently switched things up and replaced my carry-on suitcase with a 40L backpack, which I love! I love the flexibility that living out of a suitcase and backpack gives me and those last 4 years I ended up living in London and New York City. It’s been wonderful and exciting yet challenging and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In today’s post I want to share with you what I’ve learned from living out of a suitcase & carry-on.
Digital is the new paper
Prior to moving out and leaving Austria at age 22 I needed to let go of a whole bunch of paper. Greeting cards, birthday cards, school work, certificates, you get the idea. I had so many folders and boxes that were filled to the brim with paper, I had enough. I ended up recycling most of it, took photos of important documents and threw away anything that couldn’t be recycled. I also used to have a bookshelf full of books and ended up donating them all. Today I own a small folder that holds all my documents, I don’t own a single book as I get all my books from the library and photograph any cards I get given and want to keep immediately. As much as I love the smell and feel of paper, It’s refreshing and liberating to have only what I really need on paper. Everything else is safer and more easily accessible on my computer and online.
Moving is wonderful with little stuff
I moved a whole lot within the last 4 years. I moved from Vienna to London, I moved places within London, I moved from London to New York City and I moved places within New York City. Everything that I own fits into my suitcase and carry-on and while moving places can be challenging, moving with so little stuff is an absolute breeze. I would have never imagined that I would be able to move with so little stuff and I am so thrilled that I gave it a go. Every time I move I take a close look at everything I own and every move since my big purge and move in 2014 has been a bit lighter, with a little less stuff.
Less stuff = more happiness
Over the years I’ve come to understand that I feel a lot better and so much more comfortable the fewer items I have. Knowing that everything fits into my suitcase and carry-on gives me tremendous sense of peace and happiness. I am able to focus on what’s truly important to me and that is experiences, my loved ones, traveling and making wonderful memories.
Letting go of stuff gets easier with every move
Every time I moved I let go of a couple more items, every time I moved I found a way to make it work better, every time I moved the move was a little smoother and a little better. While I hadn’t had a big purge since 2014 I always make it a point to go through my belongings and to declutter whenever I move. I always make sure to bring only what I really need. Of course, as with everything else, needs do change and what served me in the past may not serve me in the future. What’s important to me is to really just evaluate what it is that I need right now and what I can do without.
Packing is easy
Prior to my big purge in 2014 it took me a while to get ready for a trip or move. Granted, during my childhood I only moved two times. However, whenever I did move I brought way too much with me and could have probably done without 50% of what I brought along. These days, if I plan it out and sell everything before hand that needs selling, I can pack up everything I own within 30 minutes. I feel a greater sense of freedom, I appreciate the items that I do have so much more and moving these days is just a breeze.
Less stuff, less stress
I am definitely one of those people who tends to get stressed out fairly easily. Whether it’s a change in life situation, difficulties in relationships, it doesn’t really matter what it is, I just get stressed out easily. Having fewer things has helped me so much. know exactly where everything is, I have easy access to each and every one of my belongings, it’s all in one place, I always have everything that I do own with me, unless of course I am traveling, and I just feel so much better. As a result of it I am less stressed out when it comes to other areas of my life.
Finding things I need is super easy
A couple of years ago It would sometimes take me hours to hunt a particular item down and don’t get the wrong idea, I was fairly organized, there was just way too much I didn’t really need which made it a little tricky to find what it was I really needed. I had trouble finding things, items would get lost and it just wasn’t a good place to be in. These days I know where everything is, I don’t need to look for items for hours and whenever I do have trouble finding something I am usually able to locate it fairly quickly. I feel so much more at ease knowing that everything that I own has its place and that I know exactly where that is.
Change is great!
Change is truly wonderful and needs to be embraced. Growing up I definitely wasn’t one of those kids who embraced change and it’s something I oftentimes found myself struggling with. Ever since I embarked on my minimalist journey I’ve grown to learn to embrace change. It’s not always been easy and I sometimes needed to force myself. However, I’ve come to realize that the fewer material possessions I have, the easier I can embrace change and accept things as they are. Whether it’s a change in my living situation, a change within my relationships, a job change, it doesn’t really matter what kind of change it is – I just find it easier and easier to embrace whatever life throws at me and for that I am grateful.
Flexibility is everything
I do like for certain things to be constant in my life however, I do really appreciate having a lot of flexibility in my life. I love the fact that I am able to pack everything I own up within less than 30 minutes. I love the fact that I can carry all my belongings, by myself. Just knowing that I am this flexible in this particular area of my life gives me a tremendous sense of ease and has helped me greatly in reducing my stress levels in this particular area of life.
Home is where the heart is
“Do you miss home?” is something that I get asked a lot and oftentimes I am a little confused by the question because for me, home is where the heart is. I have friends all over the place and while some of my closest friends are living in Vienna, Austria, I have a couple of other friends that I am very close to scattered across the globe. While I really love Austria and enjoyed growing up here I am not sure if I would refer to it as home or my base even. Home is really wherever go, wherever I have my base at the time, that is home to me. What’s important to me is really just the people that are with me and the people that I am in touch with and I always aim to chat with my closest friends, no matter where I am living.
Living out of a suitcase and carry-on has truly been a life changing experience and just knowing that I can pack up and go wherever I want to go gives me tremendous sense of peace.