28 Boxes

As each day passes and puts us closer to our departure, Brett and I find ourselves living more and more minimally. We’re cooking with one saucepan, one large saute pan, and four small sheet pans these days. We watch TV on my laptop. Our remaining furniture is due to leave the apartment next week and after it goes we’ll be sitting on resin Adirondack chairs and sleeping on an inflatable mattress, at least until the chairs (hopefully) sell at our yard sale. After that all we’ll have is the mattress.

You know what? We’re fine, and living with so little has proved to be much less of a challenge than imagined. In fact, it hasn’t really been a challenge at all. It’s instead been liberating and felt like a great weight is being lifted from our shoulders.

Our daughters took many of our things back home with them at the end of last year, but we’ve otherwise had no trouble letting things go and have not regretted nor missed anything we’ve sold, including items that we’ve owned for near 40 years.

We’re sort of surprised by how much we’re enjoying having less especially since we’ve always been people “with stuff.” We know it’s soon going to seem like we’re camping, but these last few weeks with just a minimal amount of furniture, a few dishes, a tiny amount cookware and utensils, and so forth has been eye opening. And, it’s also been enough. It turns out we need very, very little to live a good life, far less than we imagined.

Life in our apartment the past two years has shown us how small a space we need to be comfortable. We’ve also figured out in the past few months how few things we need in a small space as well as what’s important to us and what isn’t. We’ve completely changed our minds about what we’ll need once we finally get ready to settle down again.

When Brett left the navy in 1992, we moved 12,500 pounds of household goods from Japan. Over the years we began to slowly downsize, and when we moved to Hawai’i in 2014 we brought just 4,500 pounds with us, more than enough for our family. When we left to travel full time in 2018, just 1800 pounds of household goods went into storage. And now, after over 44 years together, everything Brett and I want to keep from our life together fits into 28 boxes, and weighs less than 300 pounds. Our plan was to to keep just 60 things but I think we ended up with 65, only because we had extra room in the last box we packed.

Will we acquire more? Of course – when we finally stop moving around we will need to buy and/or replace furniture, major appliances, and other necessary household items. However, we’re never again going to need or want as much as we have in the past. The simple life caught us and we couldn’t be happier or more satisfied.

4 thoughts on “28 Boxes

  1. It really takes so much less than we all have to be happy, doesn’t it? And I think pandemic living, combined with retirement, I suppose, has shown me how very little I really need. I’ve been thinking lately about the four pots and lids I actually cook with vs. how many kitchen things I brought with me when we moved. My DD and her little family are hoping to move back to the US this year, so I’m saving some things for them. But once they get settled, anything they don’t want will be donated or sold. We’ve been in this house for over a year now, and anything we’re not using really doesn’t need to hang around. šŸ˜Š


    1. We’re really going to get to (extremely) minimalism for the next few weeks as all our furniture is being picked up by the buyer tomorrow (Saturday). I have to admit for now though I’m looking forward to being in a more empty space to see how we do and how we like it. We’re going to need furniture again some day but it will be nice to have the time to think about what we really need to be comfortable and happy.

      I think I could make do with two saucepans, a stockpot, and a couple of frying pans these days versus the 8 pieces (with lids) that I had before. Add a cast iron dutch oven and I’m set. I can get over all the kitchenware I had before, and the gadgets too. It’s fun to watch our two older daughters start to acquire cookware and gadgets. They were happy to take stuff back with them at Christmas (WenYu was especially thrilled to get a stick blender, for example) but they send me pictures every few months about some new thing they’ve acquired. I’m happy those days are over for us. Less is more these days.

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  2. Super impressive with how much you’ve paired down! 12,500 to 300 lbs. is seriously amazing! We have a lot of toy that have been outgrown and need to find new homes. It is a good reminder that the more stuff you have the more you have to keep up with. (Buying it, storing it, remembering to get it out to use it, finding a home when it is outgrown)


    1. You are so right about all the work it takes to own things – so much upkeep! I can’t get over how much time I have these days because I’m not managing, cleaning, sorting, etc. so much stuff.

      I spent our last tour in Japan collecting antiques which really upped our household goods weight. We brought home 14 antique Japanese chests (tansu) but have sold them all. Same for all our Japanese porcelain except for one jubako. I discovered not long after we left Japan that the delight had been in the collecting, and not the owning, so we’ve slowly divested ourselves of everything for the last 30 years (and made a nice profit, I might add!). I enjoyed everything when we owned it, but have not missed anything since we let it go.


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