When everything is crammed into or tied onto your car and you’re getting ready to drive across the state to get to somewhere you’ve never really been to before, you think a bit about what you’ve held onto.

I don’t own any art, picture frames, or decorations. Based on weight, I own more kitchen gear than anything else. I probably devote too much space to my desk, although to what expense I still haven’t figured out. I seem to cart around ~20lbs of dried goods everywhere I go. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

The last couple of days have been busy, but in a rewarding way. Here's a quick look at what we've learned from packing our lives back into our cars:

What Didn’t Fit

I cut my clothing in half, said goodbye to my marker board, and got rid of a surprising number of books. Redundant cords, office supplies, and clutter is out. My wrist watch has officially replaced my alarm clock. The $140 of backpacks that were stolen by a transient housemate won’t be missed.

We moved to the Dells with what fit in our cars, but our possessions quickly bloomed. First a bed, then a desk, then various Goodwill runs and Christmas happened. Even after two donation runs and the liberal application of a garbage bag, it's somewhat daunting to look at the pile of boxes we've crammed into our cars.

Cutting down, though, has been fairly easy. We moved once, and didn't even manage to unpack everything before we found ourselves moving again; it's hard to argue you need something that you forgot you had. By far, cutting down our kitchen has been the hardest, but we've still managed to pull it off.

What I Made Space For

Beer brewing supplies, cologne supplies, and a smattering of kitchen and camping equipment have been added to the pile. My technology takes up as much space as ever (I’m one of the few self-labeled minimalists, it seems, that still uses a desktop computer), and a crockpot and a large thermos have become recent staples of our lifestyle.

We still don’t own a tea pot.

When Jana and I left Michigan, we left at different times and initially traveled in different directions. We weren't able to coordinate our packing, nor the decision of what to keep and what to give away. Cutting down is easier with a partner on board; they'll help you figure out whether or not the things you want to keep are really the things you need.

What’s In Limbo

We own a hilariously mismatched jumble of bedding and linens that don’t quite fit our needs (I downsized from a queen, while Jana upsized from a twin). We probably won’t replace them for a while, but they aren’t providing quite what we need.

There are plenty of things we should cut down on in the kitchen, as we’ve accumulated dishes and tools from years of independent living and frequent Goodwill runs that deserve to be passed on. Things to be given back or given away once we’re in our next place, as we didn’t end up in the Dells for quite as long as we expected.

We're not sure how we'll manage to fit the bed into Jana's van, but we're pretty sure we can move everything in one trip. There's a set of shelves that might not make it with us (and I might end up strapping more to the top of my car to make things fit), but we're doing alright.

Packing doesn't have to be stressful. Packing shouldn't be stressful. With some coordination, communication, and a good sense of humor, moving can be fun. It's a chance to cut down, to find out what you really care about, and to go through all of the things you've forgotten. It takes a lot of work, but so far it's paid off.

Onward!

Pardon the lack of content lately; packing for our next move has put Jana and I in a bit of a time-crunch. Regular posting should resume after the 2nd.