Saturday, October 21, 2017

Packing my Minimalist Suitcase

My ex-partner was the antithesis of a minimalist.  Any time I would clear out a space, it would almost instantaneously be filled with something of hers.  Living with her was like the principle of nature abhors a vacuum manifested hoarder-style.

Since she moved out, I have been slowly returning to my preferred state of being a semi-minimalist.  I've taken four large bags of books to my Little Free Library; I've thrown out the three-year-old bottles of condiments that we never used; and I've even gone through my memory box and gotten rid of the awards and report cards that dated back to elementary school.  In this new stage of life, I am focusing on being lighter.

In the spirit of minimalism, when I started packing for my current trip, I decided to limit myself to one carry on bag and one camera bag (which has some extra space for books/a jacket/a water bottle).  I didn't need to do this, as I could have easily brought one of my larger suitcases, but I wanted to see whether I could fit my life into a small space for a week.

It was a lot easier than I thought.  My suitcase easily held two pairs of jeans, a warm sweater, two pairs of pajamas, and more than enough socks, underwear, and t-shirts.  There was room for five books, my french workbooks*, and a notebook.  My computer, my cell phone, and my camera with an extra lens.  Everything I will need.

But the constraints of space did force me to leave a few things behind, like my ex's long-sleeved t-shirt.  The cozy one that I bought her while at a conference in Boston, which was always a favourite of mine, and which she returned to me after the breakup.  The one I've been putting on every evening when I arrive home from work.  The most tangible reminder I have of what we were, and what was lost.  I am not usually one to assign emotions to physical things, but somehow lately it has felt as if all of my grief is contained within this piece of cotton.

So I left it at home. 

*I'm going to Quebec to practice my French for a week!  Je pense que ce sera plus dur que je pensais.

10 comments:

  1. Do you do laundry while traveling with that amount of clothing, or rewear items?

    I hate to wear clothes that aren't clean. I don't know if I'm particularly stinky, but I think clothes smell so foul if they aren't clean. I did laundry today and happened to sniff and yes, I definitely think worn clothes stink. Am I particularly dirty and odorific? Do I have low tolerance? How do you manage it?

    I do live in the South where it is hot and I sweat a lot, so there's that. But even when I live abroad without laundry facilities, it unusual that I'll rewear much - I'll schlepp or handwash a lot.

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    1. I typically wear my t-shirts for two days, as it isn't too hot here and I don't get too sweaty. I will definitely wash them sooner if there's any sign that they need them! I did, however, manage to pack 7 t-shirts and a sweater into my carry on, so I could wear a different one every day if I wanted.

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    2. There is also a washing machine here, if needed.

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  2. While I don't think I'll ever be able to call myself a minimalist (or even a semi!), we have five more garbage bags of nice things to donate. It seems to be the only thing that makes me feel the slightest bit better about having to go back to work (read: leave my baby). It's funny how heavy stuff becomes.

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    1. That's interesting that purging makes you feel better about leaving your son.

      There is definitely a lot of emotional weight to things!

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  3. I bought a mini roll-y bag for 1-2 day trips and have been happy to note that I've been able to take it for 5 day trips too as long as I don't have to bring bulky things like sweaters. I love travelling light!

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  4. Thanks to terrible flight luck and always having to cabin check my roller, I started packing for trips with a backpack and a mini duffel. It’s worked for trips home and two weeklong trips to Europe this summer for meetings! It’s actually freeing not being able to buy too many souvenirs, and my reasoning is I can mail things home as I want to, AND I can always buy what I need (shampoo, contact solution) there. Might not work for a trip to India, but that’s never happening again ;)

    Bonne chance à Q.C! Il y’avait dix ans depuis j’ai parlé Français, et maintenant, c’est plus difficile quand je lis un roman très facile. C’est incroyable!

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    1. Hey! It's you! I miss your blog. Hope all is well in your world.

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  5. I love packing light for trips! I am not a minimalist in the home, but it is so nice to not be overburdened on vacation.

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    1. It's amazing how little we need when we travel. Even with such a small amount of stuff, I will probably still not wear it all.

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