Purging All For New Beginnings: Chiang Mai Is Calling



“To know you have enough is to be rich” ~Tao Te Ching


It’s been a long while since we’ve written on our blog.  We’ve been quite the busy bodies purging, shedding, discarding, paring – 90% of what we own. Our home is a mess, complete mess right now, but our theory is that it has to get this bad before it gets better.

Let’s be  honest!  Anyone who has gone through this process like us knows that it is NO fun and games. It’s a lot of  hard work, back-breaking hard work!

Purging is NOT the same as moving!  Yes, we’ve moved before, but it’s basically shipping all our belongings to the next home.  Not this time.  We’re really shedding our stuff, and moving on!  Here’s an inventory status of our ‘stuff:’

  • Kitchen: 90% GONE (Moving sale, Ebay, donations).  The essentials we wanted to keep fit into 2 containers that we will likely leave here with family.
  • Dining Room:  Dining table.   Giant Area rug.  (GONE)
  • Living Room:  2 couches (GONE) and a chaise (GONE).  2 Flat screen TVs (GONE) .  Stereo.  Giant Area Rug.  TV Stand. Glass computer table (GONE).   HP desktop pc.  More storage shelves (GONE).  Humidifiers (GONE).
My favorite purple couch- picture taken only moments before we sold it to a guy who loves purple.


  • M’s Play Area: Area rug (GONE), table (bye bye), toy bins (adios), misc. toys, stuffed animals, black board/dry erase board (90% sold at moving sale, some donated and sold on Ebay)
  • Guest Room: TV  and stand (donated to Burmese refugee family).  Futon (waiting to be sold).
  • M’s Room: Full Mattress (GONE).  Bed (GONE) .
  • M’s closet: Just about everything is gone except her current school uniforms and clothes we will take with us. Most of her clothes were DONATED  to Burmese Refugees.
  • Master Bedroom: King size bed (GONE).   Bookcases (GONE).  King mattress (GONE).
Bam- it's out of here!


  • Closets: Oh the closets.  Well, J did an excellent job of bagging everything up for donations (he had a total of about 5 giant bags).   I just had way too much clothes.  Big lesson here!  Though I’ve not worked full-time in nearly 3 years and have stopped buying clothes in the last three years, I still had way too much in there.  I stopped counting the number of bags we took to the Burmese Refugee families and to my parents to DONATE via  a clinic. (this is a post in all on its own!)    Here’s a post about My Empty Closet!

  • Books, Music CDs and Pictures:  These are our biggest sins.
  • 2 bikes: sold within 24 hours of listing (GONE)

What gets us really good is the small stuff:   frames, postcards, books, travel brochures, maps, clutter!  I have a really hard time throwing things away, not because I cannot part from things,  but because I feel awful knowing where some of those little items will end up.   Even though we discipline ourselves not to pick things up, even if they are free,  it’s just difficult with a child.

I’ve taken tons of pictures of M’s school work, report cards, drawings, paintings and unbelievable amount of “STUFF” she brings home from her school.

And the birthday parties.  Oh the birthday parties. Moms, can we all just “Say No” to goodie bags filled with junk food and plastic toys?

I will be brutally honest here.  There is something very annoying and utterly wrong with the concept of goodie bags.   This is an entirely different post, but trust me when I say, we have a ton of  “stuff” that flies out of these “goodie” bags from endless number of parties that have little to no  real sentimental value, but ends up as trash in our landfills.

So yes, I spend a lot of time coming up with ways to redistribute these goodie bag  items (mostly tiny plastic toys).

And that will be the conclusion of our update for now. It’s pretty damn hard work and we totally under estimated how much work it really is to FULLY PURGE so that we can truly live with less things.  Especially with all the shows on TV we’re trying to follow!  🙂

Confession: There are days when I just don’t want to look at another eBay ad or a Craig’s list ad or another book to donate or another box of photos to sort.  Frankly,  I’d rather be in New Orleans eating beignets.

The work must go on.   Chiang Mai is calling.

Message to M:  “The best things in life are NOT things at all”



We Say NO to Status Quo.

Live Small.  Live Green.  Give Large.  Take Little.

Take Notice.  Take Action.


26 thoughts on “Purging All For New Beginnings: Chiang Mai Is Calling

  1. We’ve moved 4x in the last 3 years, and that’s when I realized how things can easily pile up without you “knowing” it. So, we made this vow to either purge (donate) stuff every year or just control the things we buy – only necessities, if we can help it 🙂

  2. One time I realized I had too much stuff and purposely picked the smallest room in the apartment to share w/roomates. This forced me to condense and pack stuff down to fit into the smallest area I could. I had to make use of every single inch and stacked stuff vertically and to the undersides of my desk. I had the most stuf in the smallest room, but it was cozy. I learned to have multiple uses for everthing – Bed doubled as a couch, boxes held boxes which held stuff in a 3D storage system, poster flipped to reveal a mirror… Everytime I bought something new, I sold/gave away two things. I had precisely 2 weeks worth of clothes and did laundry every 2 weeks. A year later I could fit everything I owned (except the bed) in the back of my 1987 Voyager minivan.
    Then I fell off the bandwagon and got comfortable and find myself wasting time looking for stuff. So I have started purging and planning to move in a year…
    Great post and I love how you posted it online. It helps you organize what you have and create an online/public accountability system for it. Also, way to motivate us procrastinators 😀

  3. I found this page by searching for something that would help me part with my stuff. I lost my apartmet and I am… well…homeless. I have a storage that I want to pear down to a small one. I have lots of books and “stuff”. My situation allows me to go to school, and when umemplyment runs out, I am out of money unless…?
    So you encouraged me. I will get rid of most stuff (all those books, and information I collected.) Except for school books and notes for now and pictures (that will eventually go on disk, I guess ) Plan to move on when my prince comes…LOL. Or maybe its a shop I am waithing for?
    I don’ feel so hopeless letting go of stuff now.

  4. I am so incredibly happy for you guys, and that all the hard work is coming to an end. Your journey to Thailand will be amazing, and thank you for being a part of the inspiration and education to remind people that yes – things are only things!

  5. Congrats! Sooo freeing to lighten up!

    I really “get” the work though…we had a 4 bedroom, 4000 sq foot house, 3 acres ( garden & vineyard stuff), 3 car garage, antiques collected over many years, a kid with too many things…most of it kept from birth, 3 vehicles, endless books. Ugh, it was exhausting to go through it all. Worth it!! 😉

    DO scan EVERYTHING & put online. Having all our family albums, home movies, important papers etc have been so wonderful. We had already packed and stored them a few hours away before we realized we should do that. LOL

    After 4 years wintering in Spain & non-stop world travel, we are purging again. We shipped a lot of fantastic books for kidlet & so glad we did, but time to give them to the school here now.

    Living a minimalist life really grew on us ( although we were never that into things and were not shoppers) & we love the freedom. This year we will circling the world for 7 months with just a small carry-on each.

    The longer we live the free travel lifestyle, the less we need. Keep your eyes on the prize! 😉

  6. Congrats for purging all of that unnecessary stuff! I can imagine that it is especially hard with a kid as everything they bring home is always so cute and memorable that it would be hard to get rid of.

  7. This sounds amazing, well done for purging soooo much! I am looking forward to doing mine.. I’ve moved about 9/10 times in the last 4 years back and forward to uni so I have kept my stuff pretty low…
    But still it’s amazing how mnay of the little things, you talk aboout, work their way into my life.

  8. wow, I bow down to your purging skills. I have been putting off doing just that but I now have 30 days to purge about 75% of my things. Most are spoken for but there are still many others that are not and I don’t need. Slightly envious of how far you have made it. Have you used or heard of freecycle.org

  9. Ugh I hear you all too well. Ray and I managed to condense everything he and I own – COMBINED (lol @ the 3 printers comment, I understand!) – into about half a 5×5 storage shed. We didn’t even want to do that, but stuff that we’ll actually need and use when we get back that would be unnecessarily expensive to replace – hockey gear, snowboarding gear, camping gear, etc. got kept, not to mention all my pre-2003 photos (darn you for not being digital, childhood!!), and there were lots.

    One thing I found really helpful that you – or any of your readers – might like to check out is the audio book “It’s All Too Much” by Peter Walsh. I put it on loop as I was packing, sorting, and tossing (into the sell or donate box) and it helped IMMENSELY, not just to get rid of the clutter but to feel HAPPILY purged as well. Interesting how much psychology is rooted to stuff. I never would have thought about sentimental value even being extraneous, but it certainly can be. He made the point of, Really? Is getting rid of Grandma’s hand-crocheted sweater that you don’t even like that much going to get rid of the memory of HER? NO. GET RID OF IT., and the like. Also about how having too much stuff not only crowds you but detracts from your ability to enjoy or dedicate prime real estate for new things. Well worth a listen.

    Best of luck guys, you’re doin great!

  10. Thanks for the comments, everyone! This is turning out to be a labor of love, and quite the learning experience. There’s definite “How to…” book potential here!

  11. I’m totally admirable of your ability to do this, Aye! I feel “trapped” sometimes here in the city and all I own is a freaking BED! Hard work, for sure.

  12. You guys are doing wonderfully at purging so much stuff! I admire your patience and ability to unload so much via craigslist and ebay. When I think about trying to do the same, my eyes just glaze over. I’d much prefer just having a going away party and telling friends “bring a bottle, take a piece of furniture!”

    But alas, I’d really like to make a few dollars to travel with.

    Thanks for setting the bar so high!

  13. I (slightly) understand. When I studied abroad for a year between high school and college, we were told we could bring one suitcase of 44 lbs (20 kg). I fit my life into that suitcase. Somehow. And now that I’ve been stationary for 18 months, I’ve accumulated a lot of crap. But I’m moving now. Not just that, I’m moving in with someone else. Suddenly we have 3 printers (?!?!), 2 microwaves, an extra couch, etc.

    Anyways, I congratulate you on the amazing job you’ve done getting rid of everything! (Books are my vice as well…oops).

  14. This is so very true. When we moved overseas 12 years ago we purged 70% of our stuff, keep too much and finally sold it off after 5 years overseas. Now having settled in Singapore where we think we will stay for 4-5 more years, our house is “full” again.

    I can’t wait to find some time to meet you in real life when you get to this side of the world! Keep up the hard work and see you soon.

  15. I have done this, and can totally relate. There were days that I just wanted to cry. I was so tired from lifting, and hauling. The good thing is …..the moving does end and then you will have the excitement of moving to your new home.

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