Oct 23, 2015 · 3 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

First in a series

Back when I was a kid and misbehaved - which was almost never; I was a delight - my grandparents would, in rather un-PC fashion, threaten to sell me to the gypsies.

After wondering how a caravan of gypsies would find their unremarkable, quiet suburban street, I always thought bring it on.

I wanted to join a group of people who wandered, who carried their homes with them, who were at home wherever they went. Staying in one place too long has always made my soul itch.

I am, at heart, a nomad, and while I haven’t lived a truly nomadic life, I’ve done my subconscious best to emulate it the last few years by moving a lot with in my daughter’s school district. No, it’s not the same.

But the general principle is: Being a nomad or just moving from one house to another is a lot easier with less stuff.

Remember back in college when all you needed fit in your white Ford Ranger with the pale blue camper shell? Or when you lived in Spain and you got down to just three t-shirts and a couple skirts and a pair of pants for 7 months?

No? That was just me?

Anyway, the point is, at those times, I could pick up and go in a weekend. I survived a lot of years with only enough stuff to fit in a room or a suitcase and maybe one kitchen cabinet. I have a family now, and I own my own couch. (Really, I’m not trying to brag, but it’s from Ikea.) It’s not really feasible to fit into one room anymore, but I also don’t need to fill up a 2,000-square-foot house. That just takes too much effort and time, and it would hold us back from making a quick getaway, should the need arise one day.

I’ve tried to teach my daughter not to place too much value on her stuff. We talk about not sending too much to the landfill, and we periodically go through all her stuff and donate to children who don’t have as much as she does. Kids are always willing to give, so it’s never been too difficult. And one day, I showed her a video of a tiny house (http://www.lilypadplanet.com/). My daughter became as enamored of homes you can take with you as I have been since I was a kid.

Now she wants to live in a tiny house on wheels, and I do too. So to prepare for eventually moving to our own gypsy wagon one day, we are downsizing, and have been for quite some time.

It’s amazing how much stuff you find to give away, and then when you think you’re done, after sending carloads to the local Goodwill or charity shop, you can keep finding more to give away. And there are only two of us. And a dog. Now maybe a cat.

It’s like a game. A challenge. How much can I get rid of? In our current place, we have half a closet that sits unused, so that is where my “maybe” pile goes. This is the pile of stuff I want to give away, but I’m not sure if I’ll need or want again soon. Already, I forgot what was in there, went through it again and decided to chuck it all. Soooo satisfying.

I wonder if getting rid of stuff triggers the same happy endorphins that you get when you shop? Except the ones for getting rid of stuff last longer.

So, my obsession is fueled by a few things – some whimsical, some deep. I want to be a gypsy; I also want to travel light upon this earth. I want to be able to make a quick getaway, but mainly, I want freedom. We want the freedom to go when and where we want to, and the freedom from debt and clutter and being weighed down that come with buying and owning Too. Much. Stuff. Until we achieve that, I’ll be downsizing some more.

Over the next few Fridays, we’ll talk about getting down to what we really need, freedom and control, and tiny house living preparations. I hope you’ll join us and tell a little about your obsessions.


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.