A friend asked me to share about how we have adjusted to fixed-location living, particularly with regard to minimalism. Maybe you've been wondering about this, too. (Or, maybe not. Which is cool. Just carry on with your regularly scheduled activities.)
As most of you know, when we were traveling full-time, we lived out of carry-on sized suitcases, filled with appropriate clothing for every season and most occasions and activities. We had what we needed, but there wasn't a great deal of diversity, and items were limited. We mostly loved it, though the girls did dream of variety from time to time. But, because we were moving often and interacting with people we would most likely not see again, many of the social pressures of our outer wrappers disappeared, and we rarely lamented our sparse wardrobes. It was the ultimate in minimalistic living.
By the end of our trip, our travel clothes were in pretty dire need of upgrades, as many of the items were worn out or no longer fit. Plus, we now live in a place with closets and dressers (which was so weird to me when we first moved in!), so the need for extreme minimalism has passed. Truthfully, there has been a fair amount of both rejoicing and weeping at letting go of some of the pieces that went around the world with us. (I still have not replaced my tennis shoes, even though I desperately need to, but I happily said good-bye to a pair of travel pants I was never really in love with)! We have replaced and/or added to our travel gear out of necessity (and social pressure, if I'm really honest), but our closets and drawers are nowhere near filled to capacity. Nor do we want them to be. We all seem to be satisfied with less these days. (Though, I'll admit, the girls are enjoying the increased variety!) And, we all still harbor a wanderlust that makes us stop and consider what is packable and what isn't. We try to be intentional about what we bring into our intentionally small house. And, we try to get rid of items we don't truly love or that don't fit properly.
As far as non-clothing items go, we try to apply the same principles, though, I confess, this seems a little harder to control. There are more toys, beauty products, knick-knacks, and miscellany around than seems necessary (but NOTHING like before our trip). And some of them are here just because they can be, because we simply have the space for them. Despite our best intentions, the clutter still builds up, and I often feel that we have more than we need. And sometimes, I sweep through the house looking for anything we can get rid of. Sure, the kids enjoy having a few more toys, but they still gravitate to simple playthings or create playthings out of whatever is around. Overall, I would say that minimalism has made itself at home in our lives. We recognize the difference between needs and wants, and we think intentionally about our possessions. In my opinion, one of the the great things to come out of our trip is knowing what we need and knowing it is enough.