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From one extreme to the other, we’ve lived in a 6500 square foot furnished house, and on another occasion, the model home with every furnishing and doo-dad possible.

Now our family of seven, and nearly every belonging we need, is packed into the limited square footage of our F250 Super Duty (that is powered by vegetable oil, by the way.)

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The consensus? Did owning more stuff and living in a bigger space make us happier?

I would have to say – No Way!

In fact, I am quite honestly more contented and fulfilled now that I’m free from the ‘burden of possession.’

Owning less stuff means you have fewer ‘things’ requiring your time and attention.

Your Saturdays are no longer spent doing household chores, mowing the lawn or pulling weeds.

Instead you’re free to have fun with your family, or to spend time on a project you’re interested in, one that brings you great joy and fulfillment.

Although our society has been afflicted with the disease of consumerism, it’s not to late to inoculate yourself with a good, healthy shot of simplification.

Try it for yourself – eliminate the excess and see if you don’t feel freer. (Watch this video interview with Adam Baker from ManvsDebt about Selling Your Crap, Gaining Your Freedom and Living Your Dream.)

We’ve inventoried and counted (an approximation) every item that we’re trekking with us across two continents on our Epic Expedition from Alaska to Argentina.

Here’s a list of what we have, and below this list, is the video of how it’s all organized.

Inventory

1 roof top tent
2 Ukuleles
1 Baby backpack (carrier)
2 Mosquito nets
1 Backpack
1 Booster seat
2 Camel backs
2 First Aid kits
1 Stroller
6 camping chairs
1 sleeping bag
16 blankets
6 pillows
1 Five gallon water jug
1 tarp
1 inverter
2 Bose speakers
1 Fan
1 Coleman Camp stove
2 pots
1 drawer with utensils/kitchen tools
Bowls/plates

Glove Box
Hand sanitizer
2 Headlamps
Toilet Paper
Business cards

1 Lock Box
Kodak PlaySport camera & equip + bag
GoPro camera & equip
Canon Rebel XTI and accessories (+ camera bag)
2 iShuffles
1 iPhone
2 Macbook pros and accessories
1 Kobe eReader

Sunday Tote
Mom – 3 skirts, Sandals
Dad – Brown slacks, white shirt, tie, socks
Kaya – 2 dresses
Parker – Button down shirt, slacks, socks
Kimball – Button down shirt, slacks, socks
Aaliyah – 2 dresses
Atlas – 2 slacks, 3 shirts

Mom’s Tote
2 long sleeve
1 skirt
6 underwear
1 bra
3 socks
1 tank top
1 t-shirt
1 exercise shirt
2 pants
3 shorts
10 shirts

Dad’s Tote
His clothes (not going to inventory them, I just know they fit in 1 1/2 totes)

Kaya’s Tote
1 Nightie
9 Underwear
3 shorts
2 skirts
6 shirts
1 pant
1 charidar (from India)
1 PJ pant
2 longsleeve
1 sweat shirt

Parker’s Tote
7 boxers
2 socks
4 shorts
1 pant
5 shirts
1 longsleeve

Kimball’s Tote
5 underwear
2 socks
1 PJ
2 longsleeve
6 shorts
1 pant
7 shirts

Aaliyah’s Tote
9 underwear
1 sock
1 PJ
2 pant
1 skirt
1 dress
2 longsleeve
4 shirts

Atlas’ Tote
9 shirts
6 shorts
1 short sleeve PJ
1 long sleeve PJ
1 sock

‘Get Ready’ Tote
Hair supples (rubber bands, clips, etc.)
Hairspray
2 Deodorants
Detangler
Hair lotion
2 electric razors
2 combs
1 brush

Toothbrush Tote
15 toothbrushes (we bought extras for cheap in India)
5 toothbrush holders
1 toothpaste

Education Tote
Art
Watercolors
Stapler/Staples
Oil pastels
Drawing Pencils
Scissors
Sharpies
4×6 cards

Games
Travel Boggle
Bananagrams
PairsinPears
Chess
Dominoes
Mancala
Wiz Kidz

Legos

Books
The Great American Bathroom Book I
501 Spanish Verbs
Sri Aurobindo on Education
Aztecs – Usborne
Aztec, Inca & Maya
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Usborne Essential Atlas of the World
Usborne Flags Sticker Book
Usborne World History Sticker Book
Usborne Seas & Oceans Sticker Book
Usborne Astronomy
Usborne Living World Encyclopedia
Usborne 1st Encyclopedia of the Human Body
Curse of the Ruins
Omnivores Dilemma for Kids
Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs
The Entitlement Trap
Essays and Poems of Emerson
Gods & Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya
Aztec Designs Coloring Book
Ultimate Dot-to-Dot
Alphabet Dot-to-Dot
2 First Word Searches
Amazing Mazes
Mastering Maths
Daily Math Practice
Usborne Big Book of Sticker Math
Spanish I
Writing Practice
Week-by-Week Word Families
…And Now Miguel
Indio
Horrible Science – Nasty Nature

Bathroom Tote
Insect repellent spray
Insect repellent lotion
SPF 30
SPF 50
Perfume
Febreeze
2 Lotions
Emergency tampons
Arnica
Redmonds Clay
Essential Oils

Electronics Tote
USB cord (3)
External Hard drive + cords
My Passport External Hard drive + cords and case
Ethernet cord

Consummables
Diapers
Toilet Paper
Groceries

Humanitarian Project
42 books to take to rural villages.

 

Click here if you can’t see the video below:

Here are 10 other traveling families that have also learned to live with less:

Worldschool Adventures: Getting Rid of Stuff
Family on Bikes: Enjoying Life with Less
Break Out of Bushwick: Live with Less – Lessons Learned from Downsizing
Family Travel Bucket List: Living with Less and 5 Kids? Isn’t That an Oxymoron?
Around the World in Easy Ways: Living with Less
Carried on the Wind
Our Travel Lifestyle: Does having all our gear again really make us happier?
Livin On The Road: Four Kids and Almost No Toys
The Drop Out Diaries: Anchors Aweigh
New Life on the Road : Living With Less Stuff 

26 Responses

  1. Melissa Banigan

    Love that you have two ukuleles along for the ride- we have two, also, and will tote them all over the planet when we finally make a break for the open road.

    Thanks for the lists of the stuff you have along- great! And congrats on making your load much, much lighter!

    Reply
    • Rachel

      Thanks! We use to carry a guitar (not that we know how to play) but the ukes are much easier to pack around – and easier to learn.

      Reply
  2. Amanda

    Thank you thank you thank you! I love the inventory. We’re in the process of moving cross country and I cannot believe how much it costs to move stuff! And then to rent/buy a place big enough to keep it all in, and then clean it all. I’m seriously downsizing and reading these posts is very inspiring!

    Reply
  3. Amy

    I love the extremes from such a huge house to tents! And it’s interesting how much more you can enjoy things without all the bells and whistles.

    Reply
  4. Lisa Wood

    Its so good to read about another family who have gone from such a big house to a smaller way of living. We are also a family of seven, and we have sold it all off to live a life that is much more simple! We are so keen to get on the road and travel – showing our boys more to life.
    I loved your youtube clip. It gave me ideas on how to pack up our kids clothes for the next year (or how ever long we decide to travel). Your car carrier is cool! Love how you gave up stuff, and you are happy with your decision.

    Cheers
    Lisa

    Reply
  5. Susan

    Fascinating to read about another family of 7 and your travel list. I must admit I’m a bit envious of the books, but our clothing list looks VERY similar. And since I didn’t inventory my husband’s clothing before we left, he ended up bringing WAY too much. LOL!

    Hope maybe we can meet up if you make it through Costa Rica while we’re here. :o)

    Reply
    • Rachel

      How long will you be in Costa Rica? We’d love to meet up. We lived there for a year and LOVED it! What part are you living in?

      Reply
  6. Tashema

    You guys are so inspiring!! We are a family of 10 (8 kids) and are following your adventures and happiness. We are looking forward to the day when we can enjoy our lives to the fullest and each other, as you and your family does.

    Reply
  7. Alisa

    Wow–you have it down to a science! I love it! And I love totes…the organization makes me a bit giddy :) One of these days I’ll get back to blogging (ugh-new site in the works-see link!) and finally post about our funny packing system for shorter trips (5 or 6 days at a time)!

    Reply
  8. Mariza

    I know that we have more than what we need. I should do an inventory! Amazing website/blog! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Lj

    Nice idea. Def need alot more if u were venturing in Canada. Its much too cold in the winter to tent. Also wanted to add that im surprised u dont cloth diaper…..

    Reply
  10. Emanuel

    Buenas trdeas: Viajamos a República Dominicana en enero de 2012. Específicamente llegamos a Santo Domingo el 29 de enero a las 21: 40. Necesitamos, yo y mi mujer, viajar a Samana ese mismo día.Ruego alguien me ayude con los precios de ese viaje y la disponibilidad para ese día.Desde ya muchas gracias por la ayudaFelipe

    Reply

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