Even though I had been interested in minimalism for quite a long time and I thought I didn’t have that many things, in the end, I still had to get rid of a lot of stuff before leaving China.
For example, I had to get rid of four bags of clothes. I mean, they weren’t like huge garbage bags, just medium-sized, but still. It was a lot of unnecessary clothes. Why did I hold on to them for such a long time?
Well, one portion of those were the clothes that I thought I would wear if I lost weight. So I had a few items that were just too small. I mean, I think I would have eventually got there, but would there be a point in bringing those clothes from one country to another country just because one day I might fit into them? Also, even if I did eventually fit into them, my other clothes wouldn’t necessary match well with them.
Which is another portion of the clothes I had to let go of – clothes that didn’t go well with anything or they only fit with one cardigan or something. They were alright, but I couldn’t pair them with anything, so they were just taking up space without giving me many choices to wear. That is why before leaving, I specifically bought one black and one white sleeveless blouse (good fabric, linen and cotton) just so that I could pair them with other things…
And then, there was a third category of clothes I got rid of – clothes I thought I might need one day so I kept them, but then that day didn’t come. For example, a white shirt I bought a while back because I thought I would need it for my graduation photo (I didn’t, we wore graduation gowns) or an elegant blazer. Obviously, we sometimes need elegant or formal clothes, but for me, it’s been a really, really long time since I had a button-up shirt on (I don’t even like wearing these…) and the blazer was also too small anyway…. So I donated them as well. I decided that if I needed clothes like that in the future, I could just buy them again; I might even buy them second-hand (depending on the country I was staying at, anyway – in Poland, shops with second-hand clothes are very common, but there are zero in China; there are some you can find in online apps, like an app called Xianyu I mentioned before, but I just feel that its not very big here because a). everything is rather cheap b). from what I talked to people here, they don’t really like used clothes). So for a long time, I kept all of these clothes I didn’t need… Parting with them was very difficult but I didn’t want to carry them around on my back. So, in the end, I just let them go.
Another type of thing that I had to minimize a lot were books and documents.
I didn’t have that many books to begin with – I mean, I did in the past; when I first came to China I bought a lot of books like “Journey to the West” or “The Romance of Three Kingdoms” in Chinese to read later. Obviously, “later” never came. So those, I got rid of pretty early on. Then, I had some dictionaries that looked like really might be useful later in the future, when I finally “settle down”. However, they were also super heavy and even if I wanted to ship them home, it would be quite expensive. So I just gave them to friends or threw away (either by putting them next to a trash can in hopes that someone would take them or putting them into a recycling bin).
Things that I thought I might need in the future, or some documents, or some things I wanted to keep, like old journals, I scanned – I used an app called Genius Scan (iOs). It’s pretty cool because after taking pictures of all the pages you can turn them into PDFs or export to the gallery. Although it took some time to take a picture of every page, I think it’s freeing to not have to keep all these papers and at the same time, to have a copy of important/sentimental documents.
Also, there were some things I bought before leaving.
I didn’t want to travel with a suitcase because I didn’t know if I would always be able to walk on paved roads and drag it conveniently. I think a suitcase is a bit limiting, especially if you have to climb stairs or just climb anywhere, really. Instead, I wanted this to be an incentive for me to decrease the number of things I was taking. The only thing was that I had an old backpack with a volume of 50 liters. I didn’t think that would be enough, given that I would have to bring some things for the winter in Australia and later in Poland (a coat, sweater, etc.). I decided to buy a new backpack, 70 l, and even though its size scares me a bit, I think it’s better if I buy a slightly too big backpack and then don’t fill it out completely than I run out of space and have to carry something in my hands.
I bought this fit-all adapter that is supposed to fit sockets in over one hundred countries. And I’m gonna take an extension cord with me, because most of my things, like my phone or my computer, have Chinese plugs.
There is this one thing I want to mention here that I don’t like (although for many people It is something good, not a drawback) is that in China they always give you a lot of “free stuff” (quotation marks because it’s not really free – it’s calculated into the production cost by the manufacturer). Most of the time, I think it’s not something useful like with this socket adapter, I also got a small bag to put it in and a bag of cotton pads. What about a socket adapter suggests that the buyer also needs cotton pads? When buying things online, sometimes you get things like bags, mirrors, bad quality lipstick, under-eye mask etc… And of course, everything has their own bag. As I said, some people would appreciate it, but for me, it’s just clutter that inevitably lands next to the trashcan downstairs (it’s a good thing that in China if you leave anything next to a trashcan, someone takes it within minutes. But still. It creates a lot of waste in terms of materials and time – because I have to find time to deal with all this unnecessary stuff.
I also got some other things like an ultra-light bath towel to make my backpack lighter or a lanyard phone case so I wouldn’t lose it. In the end, my full backpack weighed around 13 kg (with a laptop in it – 15 kg). That’s a lot to carry around, but I need to take my winter clothes with me for visiting Poland later in the winter (that’s the plan). Also, these are all the things I currently own and need, and even though it’s a bit on the heavy side, it’s not THAT bad – and having a backpack is much more convenient than a suitcase. I also have a small backpack to carry on short excursions or on board of a bus, plane etc.
If I ever get annoyed about carrying too much, I can just throw out more 😉