< !DOCTYPE html>

Don't Miss One Update! Get Instant Access to Our Resources Toolbox:

NO spam. I care about your privacy.

< !DOCTYPE html>

Want Freedom in Your Life to Travel and Do Work That Matters?
Then it's time to learn how to:

✓ Unleash Your Creativity & Do Work You Love
✓ Grow a Business that Allows You Freedom to Travel
✓ Create Valuable Products People are Willing to Pay For

Join Others & Get FREE Access to Our Resources Toolbox HERE ⇒

How Minimalism Became My Path to Travel Freedom

Guess which is the fastest growing industry in commercial real estate in the USA? Would you guess it is the “self-storage” industry? There is so much storage space available, that all 313 million Americans could fit in storage units and have room left for more. We Americans accumulate so much fluff that we need to rent extra space just to put the extra stuff we don’t use somewhere.

 

Note: For the benefit of non-USA readers, a self-storage facility is a window-less room, or unit, that can be rented for a monthly fee. These units are used to store pretty much anything, so long as it’s not hazardous or explosive.

 

Before you think these are important things being stored, guess again. In many cases, people just want to upgrade their furniture and store away the old furniture “just in case” they want to ever use it again.

 

Before you think I’m being preachy, I’ll tell you it’s because I know what I’m talking about.

 

Because I was doing exactly the same thing.

 

How I Started My Path Toward Minimalism

 

When I had to move out of state for a few months, for job-related training reasons, I packed up all my “important” belongings in a storage unit and went away. Fast forward 6 months later and again it was time to move my stuff out of storage and into a new home. At this point, I had even forgotten exactly what it was I had first stored.

 

Would you believe that 4 years later, when it was time to make my big move out of the country, I STILL had storage boxes sitting unopened? Boxes that were brought over from the old storage unit?

 

By this time, I had somewhat learned my lesson. While I briefly considered renting yet-another storage unit, I realized that I didn’t need the added expense. I would likely never come back for it. And so started a painful letting-go process.

 

I’m not kidding when I tell you my heart was literally tugging at me when I let go of that old college shirt I hadn’t worn in five years. And those eight pair of shoes, six which I hadn’t worn in the last two years.

 

And the books. Tons of books and magazines I’d sworn I’d get back to someday.

 

It was tough, but I finally came to the realization that I could not only let go of most things, but in the end, I would not even miss them.

 

I was trading a boatload of possessions for freedom of mobility.

 

This is what minimalism is about.

 

Keep only what is meaningful in your life and makes you happy.

Let go of the rest.

 

How Do You Define Success?

 

Becoming a minimalist is not an overnight process. I’m still learning.

 

It takes patience and thoughtful consideration and soul searching to determine what is really important in one’s life.

 

You’ll have to rethink what success is, not as defined by other people, but as defined by YOU.

 

For me, to be successful meant embracing minimalism. It meant to forgo living in a house full of still-owed, brand-new furniture. Or having a loaded bank account that required me to work 60 hours a week to keep. I would have to be content not having a shiny new car that I’d have to keep making payments on for the next five years.

 

It was about making a conscious decision to leave all that in exchange for:

 

More time with my family

 

 

Freedom to visit the places I’d never even dreamed of.

 

And last, but not least

 

The ability to work on projects that I care about and that matter to me.

 

What dream would you consider worthwhile enough to pursue and leave your possessions behind for?

 

I’d love to hear your take in the comments below.

Resources

 

If you’re struggling with overwhelming debt and clutter at home is stressing you out, check out Jenny, from ExConsumer.com for great tips on how to de-clutter your home and make money in the process.

I’d love a shout out on Facebook and if you sign up for e-mail updates.

 

Also, check out my Pinterest page about Antigua Guatemala, one of the prettiest colonial cities in the world and current location.

About Rich Polanco

Fan of dogs + all things tech. Love a great pizza. My goal is not to travel to every country in the world. I only want to get to know my favorite ones REALLY well. Check out the big bio here. Follow @RichPolanco and connect on Facebook.
Currently exploring: Guatemala.

Comments

  1. I really like the site ! Cool post.

  2. wherever I go, i HAVE to take my shoes with me lol. but i see your point.

    • I see yours too :) Minimalism is about identifying and getting rid of things that are not necessary to your happiness. For you it may be shoes. For me, it’s my electronic gadgets :-)

      -Rich

  3. Clarice says:

    Well, thank you very much for sharing the great post!!! It is so easy to accumulate junk, but so hard to get rid of. I wish to start traveling one day too. Just me and my backpack :oD

    • Thanks for the comment!

      It does take some work. A neat trick I learned is to turn all the hangers in the closet to the same side. For the clothes you have used, turned the hangers to the other side. At the end of the year, those hangers that are till in the original position will tell you which clothes you haven’t used for a while and will likely be safe for you to dispose of. You’ll be amazed to see that we regularly tend to stick to the same outfits for the better part of the year.

      -Rich

  4. Hey Rich!

    This is such an important story to share. As you know first hand, holding on to a bunch of crap you no longer use or need can be incredibly restrictive. Like you said, you had already forgotten about many of the items you were storing by the time you needed to go back through them. I guess you could (and eventually did!) easily continue to live without items you didn’t even know you had anymore! ;-)

    And thank you so much for the shout out! I really appreciate it.

  5. I’ve been decluttering for four years – as you say, it’s an ongoing process. I love living with less, it has really made my life easier and more focused!

Trackbacks

  1. […] I can’t help to think this was very sad. Is accumulation of “stuff” really what makes people happy? I certainly had to trade possessions in order to free myself to be able to travel. […]

  2. […] The Bad: With a minuscule rental price comes a minuscule house. Then again, it fits perfectly with our goal to continue to simplify this year. You can’t become a hoarder if you don’t have room to put stuff in. […]

  3. […] #9 –  It has forced me out of my comfort zone and to get rid of the unimportant things in my life. […]

  4. […] talked often talked about location independence and minimalism, which are tied in to the concept of “slow travel.” In Western culture, […]

  5. […] To read about how I dealt with it, go here. […]

  6. […] photo taken by UnwireMe.com, used with […]

What Do You Think?

%d bloggers like this: