Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Paring down

I recently reconnected with an old fitness industry friend of mine through facebook. When I told her about our upcoming move, she responded with a link to a fantastic blog, the minimalist mom. The blog writer is a woman who recently moved to the Isle of Man with her husband and child. They pared down the excess and are living the minimalist life, almost free of debt.

Part of the allure of this whole move for me, is just a more minimalist lifestyle. We have the opportunity to squirrel away some savings, and rid ourselves of what many Americans consider a necessity--like having TWO cars. I still feel that having two cars is a necessity, especially living in Southern Ca where we have a non-existant crappy mass transit system. This will change shortly, as both of our vehicles are up for sale, and we will be car-free ( no car payments! No $100 tanks of gas to buy, no car insurance premiums!) during our life in China.

I actually look forward to that.

Ask me again as I try to schlep an infant, a stroller and a basket of groceries onto the bus.

Our plan is to rent out our home, unfurnished, which will help offset mortgage costs, and we'll have our same home to come back to once our time in China comes to an end.

The only thing we plan on storing while away, is our grown-up furniture ( ie. nothing that lived thru our college years and has been refurbished--Sal's currently using a re-painted dresser that my ol man has had since college), and Nick's tools and machinery. We never set up a real nursery, so the pack and play will stay at a family member's home, so that Sal has a place to sleep when we visit. Our apartment in Wuxi is furnished--including flatscreen TV's and cooking pots. With the exception of a baby crib and changing table, we really won't need to buy any furnishings.

Nick and I have both cleaned out our wardrobes, and either sold or donated our back-of-the-closet and bottom-of-the-drawer clothes.  I've downsized my jeans from 4 pair to just 2. My dresses have been downsized from over 20 ( yes, this girl loves a dress!) to 5. Nick got rid of a lot of clothes he hasn't worn for a few years. Cleaned out the T shirt drawer ( why we didn't do this sooner, I don't know! I can actually fit all of his clean shirts in the same drawer now), and downsized the boardshort collection to two pair.

My situation of being post-partum presents a bit of a challenge when deciding what clothes to donate, and what clothes need to be shipped. Do I ship my clothes that are a bit too tight still, in hopes of getting back in them?? Or do I donate them, and just take what fits me now ? I have no doubt I will get back to my pre-pregnancy size, it just hasn't happened as fast as I expected. I also have loads of maternity clothing that I have decided to store. Maternity clothes are 1) not cheap, and 2) hard to find things that fit for me, putting them in storage until I get pregnant again just makes sense. I'll just pick them up on one of my trips home early in my pregnancy.

I've already shipped all of the clothes Sal received as gifts, and my sister-in-law had loaned us clothing up to the 6 month size, so most everything he wears these days will go back to her before we leave. He has a few 6 month outfits that are his to keep, so I won't be taking a naked baby over there. I did stockpile Enfamil and diaper wipes and OTC baby meds for him, but I feel justified in knowing that they all meet US standards. When I heard that the recalled Enfamil from Walmart was found on market shelves in China, that was all I needed to justify sending over a stockpile of non-recalled formula. Piece of mind in a suitcase. Sal is getting away with taking the most over with him--I'm taking children's books, toys and his carseat and stroller with us. Once again, when it comes to child safety, I trust what I know--I can't go on blind faith that a carseat I buy in China is up to par with US standards. I mean, just look at the photo below of something being sold as a carseat. No thanks.

We recently had a garage sale, and I was shocked at the amount of things we had accumulated over our 5 years of ownership of this house. I admit, most of it was mine. Seriously, how can I have so many craft items and still feel the need to stock up on more? I had bins of fabric, scrapbook supplies and paints stored under beds and on garage shelves. I had saved cards and  old magazines....and I got rid of it all. We even sold our dishes and most our pots and pans, leaving us with no diningware for the next month...but it's like totally romantic eating defrosted ziti out of the same casserole dish together.

Perhaps this whole living with less thing will wear off on us for some permanent changes.

So, here's to a man, a wife, a child and a cat moving overseas with just a suitcase & a box each.

It can be done.

Just watch.


  1. It's exciting and I love the idea of paring down! Can't wait to follow your adventures :)

  2. it is amazing how much we accumulate. I've always been one to clean out and donate to charity places but there are always things that I hang onto thinking just perhaps I might use that again. We have been trying to pare down too. I look forward to hearing about life in China in the wonderful way that you tell a story. You have the gift of writing with humor. Love you so much..