It’s a concept that pops up a lot lately – downsizing your life. With the busy lives of today’s society, decluttering and simplifying seemed near impossible, however it is now becoming increasingly popular – and achievable – thanks to the internet and social media. But why do it? The rise of minimalism and blogging together have shown many that a chaotic life is common but is not necessary, and to downsize can simplify your life in a way that creates calm, which resonates throughout your mental & physical health, and those around you. And how can you do it?
The idea to improve your life by ridding yourself of the excess that can drag you down is entertaining, but for most it seems impracticable. Those with families may think that it means compromising on memories and can’t see how they would begin. Beginning and ‘editing’ your life is something you need to plan – and where buying a shipping container can come in handy.
Get the container ready first
Spending money to save in the long run is the rule of thumb with moving into a new space – and a shipping container is no different. As your container will most likely be bought with no accessories, you will need to plan in advance if you require plumbing, electrical work, flooring, walls or insulation, air conditioning, windows or doors. Depending on the layout and location of where you wish to put the container you may need even more building, involving builders or architects.
Packing up a house and decluttering
Downsizing for whatever reason – health, retirement, spirituality, means that you will be reducing your possessions by a considerable amount. There are a few ways to do so, by looking if you’ll use or wear the item in the next 90 days/or have used or worn it in the last; or packing everything up and spending some time only unpacking what you actually need to use. In any case, moving from a house to a shipping container is one of the larger jobs to undertake when downsizing. There’s a few sections to break your paraphernalia into once you’ve detached from it – furniture, apparel, and memorabilia. Garage sales and online selling points like eBay or Gumtree are a great way to make cash from the items you no longer need.
Furniture depends entirely on what you can fit into your shipping container, and how many you will have living there. But the usual house will have large furniture like desks, dining tables and chairs, bedroom furniture and kitchen furniture and equipment scattered in every room. There are many ways to make or buy specialised space saving furniture, (see our blog post on that here), so this could be the best opportunity to make some money off your existing furniture and replace it.
This is a great way to use the example suggestion we mentioned earlier, by being honest and deciding if you’ll wear the item in the next 90 days, or have worn it in the last 90 days. Generally, you will find that seasonal clothing like snow wear will be an exception to this rule, but in your new shipping container you will most likely only have a small wardrobe so if you do end up with seasonal gear, storage will be need to be planned well to maximise space.
Memorabilia and ‘Things’ Simplification
This is the hardest one for most. This category contains everything else – books, DVDs, board games, kitchen items, office items, sporting gear, art, equipment, cleaning, and actual miscellaneous items. Get as much as you can (like photos, videos and DVDs) scanned onto computer to save physical space, and this doubles as a great idea as a backup system for memories also! There will be sentimental items you don’t want to part with, and they could potentially be stored in existing spaces – like under the bed. A great way to test what you really would miss is to think about what you would save if there was a fire – what would you miss the most. Things you don’t think of until you see them again don’t count!
Live Sustainably – and Debt free.
A shipping containers environment footprint is considerably lower than that of a full-sized house as the container will have been used already, the steel can easily be salvaged, reused and recycled as a sustainable alternative to timber! With that and the low cost of buying a container versus buying a house, means that you won’t have the 30 year mortgage most need to purchase a house – you can focus on your other needs.