Letting go: A little guide to begin Tiny Living & Decluttering.

tiny home

Many people may call me crazy for giving up what was known as a “comfortable living” for the wild life of travel.

However, I am content in knowing that my home is where I am humbled and learning.

Being able to give back to communities and to learn cultures from all over the world is a priceless experience and none of the luxuries I once had could replace the prosperity I have now.

My story wasn’t like many who write about their digital nomad life. I was working as a successful private Thai massage therapist and doing coaching, I lived in a beautiful loft in downtown Chicago and I had a great community of friends. Overall, my life was already pretty frickin’ awesome. The only part that was missing was the ever-growing urge to travel the world and learn as much as possible. At that time, my fiancé had the same feelings and my condo had just doubled its value so it was the perfect time to make that leap of faith.

We sold our condo, packed up our stuff and headed to California to learn how to “live tiny” with our cat and dog. We figured it would be smart to have something of a home base to always come back to as we traveled the world. Now, I would say that even a home base was not particularly necessary as we are always traveling in the U.S. visiting all our friends and family. The tiny home was a mostly a step in the direction of letting go of possessions.

If you want to know how to let go of your stuff, put it all in storage for a while, slowly take things out that you really would use, and in a year you will forget about most of those things.

That is what we did by building a tiny home. It was a slower process of non-attachment, but our story ended with a similar moral as many tiny home lovers have learned. Our things are so much less than the importance we put upon most of them. Most of the time, we add meaning to belongings because of sentimentality or because they’re filling a void.

After much traveling, I have realized it isn’t about having a lot of stuff, but having the right stuff that works for us.

Basic guidelines of letting go:

1. If it doesn’t make you smile, throw/give/sell it.
2. If it doesn’t work, throw it away.
3. If it hasn’t been used in over a year, throw/give/sell it.
4. If you won’t use it and it’s new, give/sell it.
5. If you only have used it twice in the last year, give/sell it.
6. Can you buy another one easily if you really wanted it again?
7. Is it priceless?
8. Is a picture of it a good enough keepsake?

Purging is beautifully cathartic and I am so grateful that I have recognized how nice it is to be rid of so much stuff! I had giant barrels of heels and shoes I never wore but felt guilty about buying and never wearing. I found it humorous that we keep things out of guilt over the original purchase. Just sell it!

The money we accumulated from selling our belongings and the condo allowed us to build a tiny home, create our online business, and live for two years while traveling—all without any true income.

If this sounds like a good deal to you, it is time to start considering your options in life. Think outside of the box and recognize that anything is possible and you don’t have to feel scarcity in the process. Being without my fancy loft doesn’t make me feel less fancy; I am traveling the world! It doesn’t get much more luxurious than that.

Selling your stuff can be a long, arduous process—it is the hardest part of it. If you do have the ability to hire a “Taskrabbit” or assistant I would do it! Once you are rid of it you feel great though.

How to sell your stuff:

>> Clothing: Resale shops, eBay for vintage clothing, and Poshmark App and others like it.
>> Electronics: EBay, Craigslist
>> Hold as many garage sales as possible
>> Hold a Facebook Sale (and make it a going away sale)
>> Furniture: Craigslist, EBay

In the end, remember to breathe and be mindful. Take time for yourself during whatever you are doing. Remember, this is all for you, so let it be as easy as possible. You will feel lighter than ever before. This is an inspiration to get you started on your path to non-attachment and decluttering. I hope it was the boost you needed to feel motivated, to make a change in your home and life. You don’t have to live tiny to change—prosperity is not in what we own but what we love in our lives.

With infinite gratitude and love,
The Snarky Spiritualist



Author: Brook Woolf 

Image: Ben Chun/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Sierra Melcher Nov 21, 2016 12:33am

Living the dream my friend. I yearn to go tiny. I have also recently moved and downsized significantly. With each letting go I felt lighter, joyous and full of energy. I just wanted to give it all away. What I struggle with is the reaccumulating. The backlash of purging... but still learning, growing and becoming more attentivee every day. Thanks for the renewed inspiration.

Susan Lamb Nov 16, 2016 5:10pm

Hi Brooke, Just moved this week from an 1150 sf apt. (from a 1300 sf) to 750 sf. So your article could not be more poignant. Each time, I get rid of stuff. Before this week, I had it all in storage for 5 months and ... wait for it... did not miss a thing. Seriously. Everything I needed I could carry in a car. My dream is 500 sf tiny house, still fairly large and not a real tiny house, but...that's the next move. What I did miss was having my own bed. So finally I picked my location and now settling in to a rental apt. life. All good. For older folks like myself, it may be more of a process and done in steps -- just depends on circumstances. Can't tell you how many people have said how all their stuff holds them back when I tell them I'm downsizing, followed by, "and I don't use most of it." After my step-dad died in 2011 at 92, I had to help my Mom (92) clean out and move to assisted living. Not an unusual story except we had 70 Tons to clear....that's correct ---- 140,000 pounds of stuff from sheds, exterior lean-to's filled; attic, basement, garage and in-ground swimming pool filled-- to capacity with everything from 1957 Chevys to cans of pencils, 300 bikes dissssembled (with only two of any value) to boxes of light switches and vintage firemen gear -- so much more than an ordinary person would accumulate. Altho, I tell this story and often get a similar story right back. It's an extreme example but true. It was an important lesson for me. (I can do anything --first of all) Keeping stuff because someday, someone will want it or you may need it is false; a myth. Stuff only slows your heart, spirit and soul from enjoying and being in life (my opinion.) So I keep downsizing - not in one big move, but steps. For my 750-sf apt., I definitely brought too much. So I'm wrapping it back up and donating several boxes today. Sorry to rattle on, but all I can say is I see this process as a gift to myself and perhaps the universe by having less. I think without it, I can do more....just like you. I really enjoyed your article. Onward and upward, lighter and brighter. best wishes for continued success!!

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Brook Woolf

Brook Woolf is a unique. At 22, she founded and directed a three story nonprofit art center in Chicago. Simply put, she wanted to promote positive change and do good. Now, she consciously travels the world with her sweetheart learning and expanding every year. This process allows her to empower and facilitate in an ever-changing capacity. Currently she is an L.M.T., Thai Bodyworker, Ayurvedic nutritionist, yoga-trained, artist (painting,textiles, and music), empowerment coach, teacher and will continue learning everything…well probably not accounting. She even built our own tiny house last year with her fiance! Through her empowerment programs, sponsorship programs, seminars, and lectures she travels the world learning, sharing, and shifting with the her communities. Visit her website.