The Importance Of Downsizing

Last modified on April 13th, 2014

In just a few weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane and making the roughly four hour trip to Ontario (seven if you count a quick nacho stopover in Calgary). As I’ve indicated on Facebook, my plan is to move to Hamilton, Ontario for probably a year or so, mostly to work with Dale on some projects at BraveNewCode. Without a doubt I’m looking forward to a new change, as I originally moved out here to Chilliwack to help get BraveNewCode off the ground, something that happened nearly five years ago.


In terms of logistics, Ontario is actually quite a bit better for me. It’s closer to Europe, which I love visiting. It’s close to many other cool cities, such as New York, Boston and Montreal. And it’s also just a short hop to the Caribbean. My girlfriend is from Brazil, and it’s much easier for me to fly from Toronto to Brazil than it is from Vancouver to Brazil, so that’s an added bonus. Couple all of that with the fact that we recently took possession of a new office, it’s really a no brainer for a period of time.

Prior to leaving on my first trip to Argentina in 2010, I went through and purged most of my stuff, simply so I didn’t have to store it. It’s was a painful process, but looking back I realized that it was incredibly freeing.

I think most people nowadays place too much emphasis on owning “stuff”. Instead of acquiring memories and life experiences, we spend most of our adult lives buying couches, cars, televisions, iPhones, and then doing it all again every few years when an item breaks down or something new comes out. It’s not until you break the cycle for the first time that you come to realize how pointless and expensive it all is.

Last week I opened my storage room here at home and realized that even though there were 20 boxes of “stuff”, I hadn’t opened a single box in that room in well over a year. I decided then that there obviously wasn’t anything important in any of them, so I got rid of the entire lot. I immediately felt better the moment it was all gone and that room mostly empty.

By the time I leave for Ontario, I will probably have gotten rid of 2/3 of the items I own. All that I’ll have left is around 15 boxes or so in a storage locker, and two suitcases which I’ll take on the plane with me.

And for me that’s enough.

6 responses to “The Importance Of Downsizing”

  1. Duncan says:

    Good post. We’re moving in the next couple of months and are in the process of selling and disposing of unwanted items. It really is incredible how much “stuff” we’ve accumulated over the years as a family of four. We’ve always been modest with our purchases and tend to use things for many years before replacing. The most disappointing thing is the amount of broken toys our kids have. They don’t seem to last like the toys I had as a kid, with the exception of Lego.

  2. Calvin says:

    I’m the farthest thing from a consumer. I don’t have the latest model of anything, heck, most everything I have is over 10 years old… but… I AM a collector. I realize that the boxes and boxes of cassette tapes and VHS tapes I’m storing would alone free up half my garage, but even if I haven’t watched or listened to them in a decade I keep thinking of the fortune I spent on them, the joy they once brought me, and yet the utter worthlessness of them now. It breaks my heart to think that I couldn’t even get $50 now for a collection that cost me 200 times that. So I keep them. I know, I know, it would probably feel really liberating to let it all go, right? Maybe someday…
    Don’t even get me started on the 14 guitars (and cases) and 22 other assorted musical instruments – that stuff takes up two rooms, but every one of them has so many memories attached… sigh… I’m doomed to a hoarder life, aren’t I. If only I had actually made it as a musician, I could afford to forget about them in some random storage locker.

  3. Tim says:

    Insightful article you’ve writen. I have noticed more world travelers turning to various varieties of minimalism as it becomes more practical. For me it was the burden of lugging around suitcases during each move I made.

    For travelling (as opposed to moving) I have embraced a mode some call “total nada”, or luggage-less travel.,5220/

    You face a difficult challenge with downsizing weight since the cold temperatures of Canada require you to bring heavy winter clothing like boots, thick coats, gloves, etc.

  4. Duane Storey says:

    Tim – have you been to Canada? It can easily pass 40C in the summer in many parts of it. While some parts of Canada do get cold in the winter, the stereotype that we all dress like Eskimos all the time is mostly unfounded. In Vancouver, for example, it’s pretty rare to have snow around Christmas, and usually hovers between 10 and 20C most of the year.

  5. Eliza Snow says:

    Thanks for your post. We struggle with the constant need to get rid of more “stuff”. Our approach for the past 4 years has been to have a giant annual garage sale. Throughout the year we identify things that go into our garage sale room. By sale time, we’ve got quite a hoard that we’re so happy to get rid of. Last year we made over $1000, and we’re super motivated to keep it up because the best part is, it ALL goes straight into our travel fund!

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