Last Updated on April 1, 2021 by Jenny Pena
In last week’s post I gave you 5 rules I use when decluttering. (Read it here.)
But I didn’t really go into the whole back story of how we developed this lifestyle, it was real long and now look! I have to split it up again! So here goes: the 5 countries we have lived and how we have adapted each and every time. Plus a few more mindset shifts than the previous post. This will be Part 1 and cover our shift from Miami to Panama since that was the big one!
Where it all began.
I am going to start from where I moved into my husband’s apartment in Miami.
It was his Grandmother’s home and after her passing he moved in. After we got married and decided to stay in Miami, I moved into his home…a man cave!
Literally blackout curtains never pulled back, years of stored clothes in plastic bins, with socks never matched and sorted. You know, an OCD person’s dream! *insert sarcastic eye-roll* Plus little trinkets that take up space in an already too-tiny-home. It needed help. So began our nesting. Oh because I forgot to add, one week after I moved in, one month after we got married, I was pregnant!
Nesting in our little one bedroom, one bathroom, tiny patio apartment meant letting go of quite a few things, and adding even less than we got rid of. I actually didn’t want him to get rid of his stand up bass, nor his surfboard. But remember RULE #5 in my last post? Yep USE IT OR LOSE IT! So bye bye!
Then came organizing.
Because stackin stuff into the closet, umm, well have you heard the proverb “el flojo trabaja doble”?
Meaning, the lazy work double. As in, your laziness will cost you double the work. In our case, stacking stuff into the closet, instead of getting rid of it or organizing properly, will cause the ENTIRE closet structure to collapse. And so it did, and so we worked double.
Therein lies RULE #4 REDUCE SENTIMENTAL VALUE: don’t keep stuff just because so-n-so gave it to you, or it reminds you of this-or-that. Gift it, sell it, toss it. DONE!
Adding baby to the picture meant we got rid of stuff and added even fewer things. Like getting rid of rocky, unstable furniture, glass, chairs, etc. Instead we added a few rugs, more cushions, and baby eco chair, to name a few. And yet, life as we knew it was about to change…and fast!
We have written about our move and why and all in a different post. I will keep the focus mainly on how our minimalist mindset helped us transition smoothly from place to place.
What did our space and life look like in Miami???
Our first move out of the States and truly a fresh start.
We condensed our personal belongings to about 6 bags. One for our clothing and books. One for our accessories we truly could not leave behind. And one suitcase for Jasmin’s things. Plus a few small bags for our personal belongings we needed on us at all times. We did all this in less than 2 weeks! How? We had already reduced so much of our belongings that it was just THAT much easier to jump into our dreams of leaving the States and being citizens of the world.
This is where RULE #3 INVOLE YOUR CHILDREN got started. Even though Jasmin was only 2, I asked her which book she wanted to keep, which toys she wanted to take our gift, and a few of her fave outfits. And I explained to her where the rest was going. To drop boxes, friends, and family. As I write this she will be almost 9 now and I have to actually get her to stop giving certain things away, oops def throwing rule #4 out the window, eek. But please don’t gift things your grandma’s gave to you whom we never get to see girl!
Our space in Panama was included as a teacher’s benefit but let me tell you, it was truly a tiny home. It was a room with a table, a bed, a closet, and a bathroom. A room smaller than our bedroom in Miami! And the outdoor kitchen was a shared space with a few others workers on the property. Downsize much? But it was our favorite spot to live thus far! Imagine? This is where I learned that wearing the same 5 outfits is totally perfect. Wearing a bathing stuif for half the day is even better. Not showering because we basically been wet the whole day was a fact of life. Riding horses, walking to waterfalls, surfing/getting pummeled by waves, and walking barefoot was 90% of our life in Panama. A complete reset from life as we knew it in the US. My husband went from 80% stressful life down to 30%! We got paid about $1,700 between the two us and were still even able to save enough to buy us flights to visit our family in Colombia and then flights back to Miami before our move to UAE.
Before we moved backed to Miami we gave away most of our belongings, even a suitcase! We didn’t trash anything, sold our beloved surfboards, gave away things Jas had grown out of, skirts that took up space, and downsized once again in preparation for our 4 months stay in Miami with my in-laws and growing our family to 5!
Want to see what life in Panama looked like?
Look out for Part 2!
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