Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One year in 2.26 cubic feet

It's downsizing time!!!

Let's get mathematical shall we??  We start with a 2,504 sq. ft house. At an average of 9' ceilings, that makes 22,536 cubic feet.  Lets just say it was... full. ;)

My new "home", a Gregory Z65 backpack*, is 2.26 cubic feet.   No biggie ... thats only 9,972 times smaller!!!   Whoa. whoa...whoooa.  Sharkey (my uber minimalist friend), you would be so proud ;)

It was pretty tough.  First of all I'm a pack rat.   Im still on the fence about if that is really a good or bad thing.   It's not like I go out and buy stuff just to have stuff (too frugal for that!).  It's mostly all memories or keeping stuff I really should toss out but I save 'just in case'.  Like my zillion scraps of fabric I "might need" one day or the 30+ little boxes I kept in case I needed to mail/give something. Ha. hmm.  I'm voting for it being GOOD!  Check out this super feel-good card I found from my awesome 10th grade math teacher (I think he'd be proud of my mad skills above ;).  That was in my high school memories box, next to the two boxes of every single card I received while I was in college, next to my box of every note my friends and I passed in grade school!!  Okay... maybe I have a problem.  I'm sentimental, romantical... sappy ;).  I love reading through them and getting the giggles. One day I'll read ALL of them and worth it! My journal from age 13/14 is certainly a trip :)    (K must join me for the grade school reminiscing! Your notes=hilarious)

I did pretty good going through the house stuff I think.  I gave a jamb-packed U-haul full of goodies to one super grateful friend (in lieu of salvation army), and "loaned" a carload full of clothes/house type things to my sister and another carload+ of home things to another friend.  I say "loaned" because I have a feeling I won't remember what I loaned, and won't want back what I haven't thought of for a year.  The rest is hogging space in the rear storage room of my house, courtesy of my awesome renters who said it was no prob.  Could I list out most of that stuff when I get back from memory?  Let's not go there ;)

Having stuff is funny.  Recall this early post about my stuff... it's all just stuff.  We need stuff, for sure. It's nice to have stuff. I like my stuff!  But, if it all went away... that'd be okay cuz it's just stuff.  (How many times can I say stuff? ;)  I like to analyze myself... and I keep thinking about how most of the stuff I keep is, in fact, somehow sentimental to me.  Pointing back to a good memory or a good person... which is what's really important.  Even a lot of the stuff I have is for making memories: costumes (scrap fabric!), silly games and party favors, crafty stuff.   Memories are especially important to someone with a terrrrible memory (I'm gonna use this opportunity to say don't be offended when I can't remember some story..or your name!)  Maybe this is why Im obsessive w/ a camera.

What I reallllly love are good times, good people, and the memories/mementos that come of those moments.   It makes me feel good to give love, it makes me feel good to get love back, and it makes me feel good to do stuff.  You too right?  Analyzation #2:   Let's DO stuff, not collect stuff!!  I like that... a new motto? Lets DO STUFF!! :)  YAY!  Not talking crazy bucket list type stuff (not always;) ... but like: get together for lunch, like bear hug, like play a game, like get off the couch and learn the Thriller!!! Like make memories together type stuff!!!!!  I'm pretty sure a night watching "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"  has never been on anybody's fav memory list!  Eww.  

Admit it, this is awesome, and you want to do it ;) 

“Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”  Mark Twain

For this next year,  I'm going to go and DO tonsssss of Awesome Stuff, totally selfishly!!! My love of doing stuff gets to totally win...although I'm finding that this blog is the outlet to give/receive love still! It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.  Hopefully I quench some need to do,see,be (nonsensical?)!!!! At least the crazy ones... I never never plan to stop Thriller-ing :)  

Anyways, so back to the point! My downsizing! (I love tangents- there's math again;) This week was the hardest part. Cutting it down to only the essentials.  What constitutes essentials though??  This is MOS-DEF going to be a live and learn type experience.  Here's what I decided on:

Ground Cover
Mattress pad
Sleeping bag
Sleeping bag liner (hostel blanket)
Laptop- macbook air 11"
The Spot (for mom!)
Dry bag
Camera/extra battery/SD cards
Fanny pack (coming back!)
Buff- (get one, they rock)
Base layer
3 outfits- quick dry
First aid kit
toiletries- as minimal as possible!
Universal adapter
Sunscreen/bug wipes
Collapsible mug and spork!!
Camelback reservoir and bottle
Keens and tennies (in lieu of hiking boots ;/)
Whistle/safety alarm
Quick dry towel
Extra ziplocks/garbage bags
Passport/money holder
Iphone (for itunes/games/camera)
Bose Headphones - this one is luxury for sure
Chapstick, chapstick, and chapstick :)

 "When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and money.
Take half as many clothes, and twice as much money" :)

With the tent, sleeping bag and air mattress packed up, it looked like this:

Still pretty daunting I must admit :/

Technically, I did it, I got everything in! Tent, sleeping bag, air mattress and Keens had to find their home on the outside, but still - it's attached!!!!

Blue bag, yellow flower... I need something pink!

My super sweeeet compass charm from my sis Jule :)

The only trouble... it's exactly 40 lbs!! ouch!!!  My original goal was 25lbs... whoops!  I know I know, Im taking waaaaaay too much... but shoot, as much as I like the dirt and muck and roughing it, Im still a girl!!! I gotta have a fewwww luxuries... like conditioner and face wash wipies:)  That's not asking too much!
I suppose I could ditch all the camping stuff since I'm doing lots of homestays and hostels... but Im soooo soo very excited about that part I don't want to give it up :(

uggghhh.. well the bright side I could get buff... oh wait that sucks!  I was with my cousin last night who has a new baby (a super chubbily cute baby)...  and I decided I can't complain. To all you mothers out there who have to deal with carseats/diaper bags/strollers/be prepared for anything bags... Im sympathizing!!!

Wish me luck!!!!

*yes, I changed my mind from the Osprey backpage in this post. I do that a lot ;) 


  1. Oh my goodness! Beej you are amazing. I love this! Made me smile! And yup...our notes were the best! Im thinking 8th grade may have topped off our adventures for the best memories! Love ya and BEST of luck on your adventure!

  2. Nice choice in backpack, Becky!! Me and my fiance used Gregorys in our Germany adventure!! You did a great job whittling down your stuff :) I'm so excited for you!!
    Erin R.

  3. Dont forget sunglasses and extra hair thingys...and power bars. Oh yah and I was thinking that now would be a great time to chop your hair!! :) Love you sis!! Good Luck!!!!
    PS. I cant help watching the stupid housewives
    xoxo- jules

  4. nice gear sugs - can't wait to see your journeys - be safe
    we are planning to go to Costa Rica this Sat for 10 days and very excited for a break, but one day i'll take a year (or more) of like you - my shero :)

  5. I took more stuff when I went backpacking for 4 days. I am thoroughly impressed!

  6. take some pepper spray....

  7. Whoop
    You should take a look at the dictionary and see how inspiration is defined
    Inspiration, N Becky Fromm
    Dizzy Boy

  8. Wow Becky! I'm so happy for you! I'm sure you'll even get rid of stuff along the way!

    I love you!!!! Enjoy every minute!

    Edith :)

  9. Good for u... I am taking notes for late 2012...

  10. 40 pounds??? Your poor back :(
    I left with a 9 kg backpack - now its down to 4 kg with a full dreadnought acoustic guitar. haha

    You'll have to update us in a few months of how much stuff you threw away / sent home (:

    - Brett Taylor