Living with Less … Becoming a Minimalist: A Liveaboard Life – Part 1

I was beyond ready. I was so ready to be rid of all my belongings that were imprinted with my past – my past jobs, my past relationships, my past me. Every time I looked at my loveseat, for instance, it reminded me of my beloved cat Fluffy who had been by my side through my ups and downs for twenty-one years. Just looking at that love seat made me feel sad. Seeing something everyday when it evokes such a strong memory, well let’s just say that that´s a lot of sad feelings to bring up every day.

I was ready to move forward into the next chapter of my life

The day of the big move, I dropped off garbage bags full of past-Sara clothes, and lots of other stuff, to the back of the Goodwill store. About 80% of my clothes still fit, but they didn´t fit the “me” I was and was becoming anymore. That day is now a cherished memory, particularly the part where I gave myself permission to say goodbye to my superflous stuff. I felt a filling up sensation of…well, space and freedom…space to say hello to and greet the present.

Consciously choosing to keep only the things I truly loved: clothes that I absolutely loved, thirty books, the tea and spices and also toiletries that I actually used on a daily basis, I was capable of moving onto the thirty-foot sailboat I loved, with my partner – who I love. Isaac and I agreed that we were each allowed to bring with us what would fit inside his ´97 Volkswagon Cabrio convertible in one trip for each of us to the marina. I cheated a little bit; I convinced Isaac to keep the toaster oven and a few other items, and I was only supposed to bring ten books. I eventually ended up getting rid of the extra books anyway, but I gave myself permission to keep what I wanted only until I was ready to let it go. He had moved in about three weeks before me. I ended up moving in a week earlier than planned because, well, did I already mention … I was so ready! Moving into a small space, I experienced a strong sense of freedom. I know now from personal experience that owning all that stuff held me back, in part, from moving forward in my life with clarity and confidence.

Even though I was already living a pretty clutter-free life in my apartment, moving onto a boat was a significant transition. I essentially have one long shelf on which to keep all my clothes. We have one shelf and a few smaller compartments and small ice-box-turned-fridge for all our food. I have to get creative with organizing, to say the least. Some organizing systems one may take for granted or hardly think about, like where to put mail and store temporary papers, fly out the window, along with the windows when you live aboard! As touched on in a previous blog post, another noteworthy aspect of this transition to a minimalist lifestyle is that it pressures you to address any nagging organizing issues with your domestic partner. You can´t escape into your space or into your stuff.

So was this transition worth it? I would answer, for this phase in my life, a resounding yes. The transition to a minimalist life is worth it because it holds me to living my values and to live in integrity. Everyday, I am reminded to habitualize the methods and ways I live my life according to my values. One value is not being wasteful. It´s hard to lie to yourself about how much you throw away when you´re forced to carry your trash to the marina dumpster every time it gets full. Another personal value that I honor is doing what I´m passionate about for work. Dodging Boston rent prices and other bills by living aboard our sailboat allows me to live by this value. A third one is creating time for reading, writing, meditating, and self-care – activities for which time always eluded me. Now it takes thirty minutes at most to deep-clean my home, leaving time each day to do what I really want, instead of dealing with stuff.

Overall, by letting go of the stuff that wasn´t vital to me anymore, that held a connection more to my past than to my present, I transitioned into a lifestyle that´s conducive to living in integrity with my current life values. My belongings don´t weigh me down anymore, instead, living a minimalist lifestyle with only needed and truly loved items assists me in maintaining energy and clarity for my daily life.


About Sara Luisa Valverde

Supporting people in organizing, time-management, and simplifying has always come naturally for Sara. She´s had the opportunity to hone this skillset in her professional career, most recently while supporting three (incredibly busy) senior professors at Harvard Business School, and while working within a clinical research team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since June 2015, she has worked as an independent yoga teacher, specializing in un-learning habitual posture patterns that get in one´s way. Sara honors the act of organizing as both an internal and external process. Her approach is to keep it simple, so you have the mental and physical space for maintaining clarity and peace of mind. She loves that her services in professional organizing bring together two passions: internal and external de-cluttering. She thrives on living a minimalist lifestyle, living as a full-time liveaboard on her beloved sailboat.

2 comments on “Living with Less … Becoming a Minimalist: A Liveaboard Life – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Living with Less… Consciously Choosing What to Keep, Use & Let Go: A Liveaboard Life – Part 2

  2. Pingback: Living with Less – A Minimalist Lifestyle & Finding Balance: A Live-aboard Life – Part 3

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