Minimalism: Toeing the line

It started with a silly declutter challenge, probably about three years ago. I’ve never been a huge accumulator of things and if anything I despise clutter. Through my twenties I am defining and redefining what I do and don’t want in my space.

I’m a hugely sentimental and melancholic person and while I realize quite well that memories aren’t attached to things, I consciously use trinkets as triggers for memories and have over the years accumulated about 6 shoeboxes full of photo’s, trinkets, and memories of sorts. Among other things. The walls in my house are lined with all-white picture frames depicting family members, art and other memories reminding me of occasions to smile.

It has always been my dream to become an entrepreneur, a business owner, a success and along with that a home preferably surrounded by lots of green. Not necessarily picket-fence but utilitarian, a woodstove, chickens, a library with a large wooden desk and shelves filled with books of everything and pictures lining the walls of past and present. Warmth. The companionship of the person I love.

In addition to that dream I’ve toyed with the idea of location independence, of living solely from a bag, were I to ever achieve the income to realize this. Of roaming the world with nothing but a bag (and now, my dog) and I find it difficult to reconcile my dream of an old house, the smell of cedar, with the freedom I perceive from owning so much less. Now that I’ve made the decision to sell my house and am looking toward becoming a tenant instead of a homeowner I am faced with choices on what to let go and what to keep. I can of course keep everything, but as a homeowner I own so many more things than I need to as a tenant.

I own equipment to build things, toolboxes full and  yardequipment; all things necessary to care for my property. I won’t need them if I rent, but how long wil I rent. What do I let go and what do I save, how will I know if I will need it in the future or not? In addition to these more practical considerations I’ve begun to digitize anything and everything I own so I no longer require an office. My office can be anywhere. It’s taking some time to scan in documents that I don’t need to keep for tax purposes, yet need to keep for other purposes and I’m met with questioning by family as they don’t understand why I feel I must get rid of this ‘stuff’. It will probably take me another few months of occasional scanning sessions to fully digitize years of paper clutter.

I want more efficiency, less stuff, I am trying to find a balance. I don’t need or want to own just 100 things but less is certainly better. Travelling more has opened my eyes on the necessity of things.


Nickel by Nickel started out as [land] Cradled on the Waves, it’s the English translation of the word Abegweit, the M’ikmaq name for Prince Edward Island where I currently live. I couldn’t think of anything and I love living near the ocean so I settled on that. I quickly changed to Nickel by Nickel via WordPress and eventually moved to a self hosted blog on somewhere in 2012. I won’t be moving again anytime soon.

I initially wrote under a pseudonymn, but that also changed in September 2012. I now write under my real middle name, Renée (and yes, I have now mastered the apostrophe shortcut). Andrea was the pseudonymn I initially chose in July, 2010 when I started blogging.

Why? Andrea is a name I often get mistakenly called by people who a) can’t read or b) don’t know how to pronounce my name so they just make something of it. Of all new people I meet that end up saying my name, 20% get it right, 10% get the right name but just misspronounce it, 20% just raises their eyebrow in question and asks ME to say it and the other 50% calls me Andrea. It seemed logical to pick it as a pseudonym when I was still too… too what, afraid? to write under my real name?

In my efforts to declutter, be more efficient and clean things up I’ve  spent time this week fixing broken links and broken images using a plug-in and external website and just scrolling through my blog post by post.


There is this desire in me to be free and to be ruthless about ‘things’ but there is also the dream of the little girl who wanted the house with the boy and not a lot of stuff, but enough… and I’m not sure how to reconcile these emotions.

Published by Renée

I write about my life, travel and my financial up and downs on my blog, Nickel By Nickel, while contradicting myself daily. ;)

4 thoughts on “Minimalism: Toeing the line

  1. I guess I’ve been on both sides. I owned property and thought I was going to be stable forever so had lots of furniture, tools, and so forth. Then, I decided to switch jobs and started living a life that required a lot of moving…

    I kept my things in storage for a while, but in one of my stops, I heard of a family whose house had burned down. Luckily, everyone was OK and they had relocated to a trailer, but they didn’t have home insurance so it was empty. It seemed like the universe had spoken to me there and I emptied out my storage locker to give it all to them.

    Now, I don’t foresee a time when I’m not renting again… or when I’m not transient… And I can’t say that I miss the stuff


  2. Great post, I really like your honesty on this one since I rarely (if ever) get to read about someone having second thoughts about minimalism. I definitely hear you though. Don’t be in a hurry to find your balance.


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