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Jul
5
2012

Minimalism Update 2012

For those of you who don't already know, I'm a minimalist. You can read a bit about why in my previous article on minimalism. My husband and I get a little more minimalist with each move we make. We like to move around a lot and experience new places so being as minimalist as possible fits in very well with that. Our latest move in September 2011 from Texas to Maine sparked a drastic reduction in possessions — about 80%. Unfortunately we didn't do most of the paring down until after we'd moved, but it definitely provided the motivation to avoid it in the future.

The move

We paid $2200 for a 6'x7'x8' moving cube from U-Pack to pack all our stuff into. Well, most of our stuff. We ended up leaving behind our washer/dryer since the place we were moving to already had one, and also some glass tables that we'd had since 2004 and didn't want to bother protecting inside the rattling cube. We packed in quite a few boxes, my Kawaii piano, our mattress, and a few other random things. They came and hauled away the cube, and we set off in our car. We drove the 2000 miles in our '95 Maxima that just won't die in 5 days—about 9 hours per day. Spreading the trip out allowed us to not feel quite as overwhelmed with so much driving since our cube was going to take that long to arrive anyway.

Since the cube cost so much to move our stuff, we really felt like afterward that most of our stuff wasn't worth that much money to move it. We wished we'd gotten rid of the stuff beforehand and saved the cube-money. Then we could have just had our few important possessions shipped by UPS and flown to Maine, or possibly packed everything into our car and drove. But you live and learn!

My keyboard

For a while I'd really been wanting to get an updated and more portable new keyboard with both USB midi support and weighted keys to replace both my 20 year old Kawaii PN80 and my cheap Casio keyboard. The Kawaii weighed about 150 lbs and was constructed with a lot of wood — not at all portable. I sold it on Craigslist to someone who wanted it for his daughter to learn on. I gave the Casio to my husband's sister to learn on.

To replace them, I ended up going with the Casio Privia PX-330 because it has fully weighted keys and only weighs 30 lbs. I tested out several keyboards at Guitar Center and this one had my favorite feel. The Yamaha keyboards have more resistance when pressing keys, which some may like, but it is not my preference. The less expensive Privia PX-300 did not have as realistic of a feel, and the weighted keys had a strange sort of double-bounce I felt was distracting.

The PX-330 has an amazing and modern sound that I am completely in love with. I feel it is a very nice improvement from my old Kawaii. And best of all, I kept the box and can easily ship it whenever I move. I can also easily pick it up and move it around without any problems. It came with a sustain pedal and I use it with this adjustable height stand. I have my keyboard at a height where I can play standing up, which I find is a great way to encourage me to walk over and play much more often. It also keeps me healthier because I'm standing rather than sitting! I also don't need a stool, or find myself struggling to comfortably reach all the keys while sitting on a stool that isn't wide enough.

Our house

Our only piece of furniture now is our memory foam mattress we got off Amazon (which I highly recommend). We keep our bed in the living room because it's definitely the nicest of all the areas in the house with lots of windows and is connected openly to the kitchen. We also keep it on the floor, which we've done happily for several years. We use it for sitting, eating, using our laptops, watching movies, playing video games, and sleeping. It is very comfortable and being memory foam doesn't send everything flying when you plop down onto it. We spend most of our time on it and it has definitely been worth what we paid for it. When we move long-distance again we plan to give it away for free on Craigslist and then buy a new one on Amazon to have shipped to the new location. Or possibly just stay in a furnished place instead. It is very easy to give things away on Craigslist — people love free stuff and will come pick it up and take it away for you.

We used to have a bunch of DVDs with things saved on them, but now we have everything on a portable hard drive. I organized our files and put the irreplaceable things (about 30GB) into one folder which is backed up in 3 different locations — 2 different local hard drives and also on my Dreamhost server (use the referral code herbalcell to get $20 off your first year and a free lifetime domain registration) which includes a free 50GB file-backup account (in addition to unlimited website-related file storage). I wrote an rsync script to easily synchronize between the different locations, but you can also use any file synchronization software to do the same.

I also recently broke down and finally bought an Xbox360 and a 15" led hdtv (weighs only 4 lbs) to use with it on the bed as an experiment. So far it's been working out great! I really want to get a Kinect and Dance Central though so I may eventually have to get a bigger TV. We're going to be moving again soon though and possibly to a furnished place so maybe there will already be a larger TV there to use it with.

We live in a 2 bedroom condo but don't actually need either bedroom. One is almost completely empty and we use it for a workout room, and the other we use as a large closet. We keep our dirty laundry and clean towels in trash bags. We used to use laundry hampers but minimized those this time around. We are actually going to get rid of quite a bit more of the stuff that's left (shown in the photos below) but we've already got things down to a very minimal amount. Maybe soon we'll be able to live out of backpacks!