Packing for California: my minimalist experiment

IMG_7080.jpgI do not usually talk much about my personal life on this blog, at least not in details, however, I thought this particular even could bring something new to the table. Indeed next week I am moving to California for my studies, for five months.

With all the moving outs that I have been through (I’ve lived in Lille, Paris, Bordeaux, the South of France, Cardiff…), one could have thought that I would be ready to move to the other side of the world with only a 20kg-packed suitcase.

It turns out that having very protective and thoughtful parents meant that I have always moved in new places with their help… and their car ! Meaning they drove me but also brought most of my stuff : stereo, TV, blender, oven, books, and all of my clothes (God knows how much I have of those !)

So this move to California is a bit different from the previous ones ; a bit of a challenge to be honest. For the first time, I’m going to be on my own, with one bag pack and one suitcase.

Having stumbled upon a lot of productivity related youtube videos, I discovered the concept of minimalism. It is pretty self explanatory. You just have to decide to which aspect of your life you would like it to apply : possessions, clothes, activities, spendings, decoration… For me, considering my current situation, I chose to embrace the material dimension of minimalism :  settling in a new country with the essential in other words.

I have to admit, despite being reasonable while packing my stuff, I quickly arrived at 26kg  (over) stuffed suitcase on my balance and had to get rid of some more clothes and shoes. Thinking about all the things I want to do and buy in California, I realized that I had no choice but to make room.

I am flying on the 8th of August, so I do not know yet if I managed to reduce the weight of my suitcase. However, this trip being so different from the other ones, it definitely leaves me in a new state of mind. Why not try to live with less, in general ?

After all, my trip is just for five months, so that should go by pretty quickly. But it could save as an experiment to continue when I’m back in France. If you really think about it, it is much more satisfactory – at least in my opinion – to spend your money on experiences rather than things. It is true memories can fade away, but isn’t it worst to feel guilty to throw something out just because you bought it abroad and it brings you good memories when you are not annoyed at its cluttering presence ?

At the end of the day, you think and talk about what you did, now what you have or had. Experiences are at the roots of life. Experiences are what change you. I feel like life changing trips such as this one are the kind of big leap I need to shift my perspective. So as of right now, I will consider California as a minimalist experiment, and will let you know how it goes.

If you are interested about this topic, but scared to take a big leap, or just do not know where to start, it is also very easy to go more progressively. Start by decluttering each one of your rooms, donate, tidy, organize, and restrict your material expenses (to bills and food, mostly). Go at your own pace.

From what I’ve read, people with less things have more time to do, and less to worry ! So why not give it a try ? What kind of minimalism sounds the most appealing to you ?


14 thoughts on “Packing for California: my minimalist experiment

  1. Emily Holm says:

    Hi Manon,

    Good luck with your move! I also agree that experiences are 100% over things> I find some of the most happiest people on the planet are the ones who own less. Its all about state of mind!


  2. Claire Summers says:

    This is so me right now! I moved temporarily a few weeks ago and as my next move will be our of the country with no plans on returning I decided to get rid of as much as I possibly could! My next move will be brutal as I’m only putting 3 medium boxes in storage and taking a suitcase of stuff to my Mums. The rest…if it doesn’t fit in my backpack it has to go! Good luck with your trip!


  3. helensnowdon says:

    I love San Francisco. One of my favourite cities. I returned to the UK in January from travelling around the world for 14 months. I only took my backpack and like you, I am a huge minimalist so it only weighed… wait for it… 7kg!!! Yep, 14 months with only 7kg luggage.
    I have travelled before so learnt the hard way to pack light. It is great though as I could get away with my backpack being hand luggage. Worth the sacrifice.


  4. JC Dupuy says:

    Departure today for SF … Emilie 20 kg, JC 20 kg …
    And for just a trip of three weeks !!!
    Not so easy to make small when you think about your luggage just 2 hours !!!
    It’s the situation of those who work perhaps too much and who run after life !!!
    Your reflexion is really interesting … And it’s because i’m in holliday for 2 hours, that i take Time for thinking…
    Good trip … For us it’s toomorow evening …
    We call each other in a few days… For eating together and speak french !!! If you Remember !!!
    Kiss from us and sorry for this bad language !!

    Liked by 1 person

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