Today is a guest post from Kelsey and Phil @ Minimalist Living Maximum Results. Here is their story and journey to minimalism.
Bio: We are Kelsey and Phil. We work as travel PT’s and travel all around the USA with our two cats and our eco-friendly travel trailer in tow. We are always striving to save the planet, become happier and healthier and live more with less stuff!
How We Met
Hi everyone, we are Kelsey and Phil and we are so excited to be able to write this guest post about our journey into minimalism. Our story begins back in graduate school for physical therapy. We became best friends pretty early on and were basically inseparable. At the beginning of 2014, we went to a PT conference in Las Vegas and finally admitted our feelings for one another. As they say, the rest is history as we got engaged at the beginning of August 2014 and were married 2 weeks later in a semi-secret elopement to Canada!
The Beginning of Our Minimalist Journey
Kelsey had always had the dream to do travel PT. Travel PT involves taking short, 13 week assignments in different cities, states and sometimes even countries. These areas are usually underserved areas that cannot find full time PT’s to work for them. It could also be something as simple as filling in for someone who is on maternity leave or an extended vacation. Either way, Phil obviously said yes and we began that journey in May of 2015.
The problem with that was that we had a lot of stuff. Because we got married so quickly, we actually both were living with roommates in different apartments our final year of school. So as May 2015 approached, we had to move everything out of Kelsey’s apartment and into Phil’s and then move both of our stuff out of that apartment into a U-haul. Our first stop on our travel PT journey? Santa Fe, New Mexico!
As we moved into our new place, we realized this was going to take a toll moving all of this stuff in and out of places 2-4 times a year. So we made a plan to cut down on some stuff. Simple things like getting rid of some of our decorations, downsizing some of our furniture (our table, bed, dresser and our couch were extremely heavy items because for 3 years prior to that they had never been moved) and overall looking to “trim a little fat”. As we got closer to our move out date, with our next assignment up in Redding, CA, we began to rethink our plan to just trim a little fat.
We had loved living in Santa Fe and some people would argue we had become full on hippies. We were eating organic, running everywhere, driving less, being out in nature more, trying to conserve energy, water, etc. You name it we were doing it. So why not try to downsize even more? From September to December of 2015, we got rid of our dresser, our couch, many, many clothes as well as some kitchen items. What began as a slow draw down had become a full-scale purge of everything.
As we moved up to Redding and we considered how we had a full U-haul again, a full towed behind car and a pretty full driving car, we thought we could do better. During our next six months in Redding we continued to look for ways to upgrade. Five pans and two pots? We can make due with three pans and a pot. Two crockpots? We can survive with one. We got ourselves down to 100 items in our wardrobe each and by the time we moved out we were able to get rid of about half of the plastic containers we had moved in with. All of the stuff we got rid of we donated to either people around us in need or to a local goodwill or other thrift store.
How We Began Living In A Travel Trailer
As we moved onto our third location (Ridgecrest, CA) we took a weeklong vacation to Santa Fe. On the way back, we started talking about something we had considered long ago but weren’t ready for: Living in a travel trailer. You see, for our job, since it is a short-term situation, we had some trouble finding apartments. We have two cats and having to find a short term (3-6 month) lease in the city we were going to that also allowed cats, while not impossible, was becoming more and more difficult. But we knew that there were almost always RV parks around in any city we had been to. So we started looking for a viable option for a livable travel trailer or RV.
We did not like the classic looks of the RV’s with the stripes and the white siding but we quickly honed in on a company named Homegrown Trailers. They had just started in 2016 and were building all wooden, 18’ travel trailers with a pop-top. This seemed like the perfect fit for us! We went to Seattle, checked out a model they had and talked to the company CEO about our needs and it was full go from there.
We went back with a renewed sense of minimalism, getting rid of things left and right in preparation to knock our average livable space down from ~600 sq. ft. to 94 sq. ft. By the time we moved out of Ridgecrest and back home for the holidays (a 30 hour drive back to Ohio), we were able to fit both of us, the cats and all of our possessions into a 2005 Honda Civic. Talk about a tight squeeze!
Our Currently Life
And that brings us to today. Over the past 5 months we have been on trips to Acapulco, Mexico, 3 National Parks in California, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, Honolulu and finally driving our new trailer back from all the way from Seattle just in time for Christmas. We have now been living full time in our trailer while working in Ohio and we couldn’t be happier. The amazing thing is even though we had such little stuff that we were able to pack it all into a Honda Civic, we are continuing to get rid of stuff even to this day.
We find more and more things every week that, while we would love to use sometime down the road, they just don’t fit into our day to day life. Things we have gotten rid of just in the past month are: wooden hangers, underwear, pants, dress shirts, spoons, forks, knives, towels, books, socks, a suitcase, cleaning supplies and shoes.
We think that’s the biggest thing for minimalism is finding where things fit into your life. We don’t own many things nowadays but everything we do own has a purpose. Everything we own we use at least on a weekly basis and we make sure of that by continually evaluating what things we need and what things we don’t need each and every week. Sometimes Phil might fight against getting rid of something or sometimes Kelsey might fight it but together, once we discuss it we see the merit of having less stuff and living a simpler life.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read about our minimalist story! If you want to know more about the intimate details or get in touch with us, hop on over to our blog and check us out @ Minimalist Living Maximum Results.