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Downsizing: An Interview with Aimee Olsen of Life Done Simply

Downsizing: An Interview with Aimee Olsen of Life Done Simply

Downsizing: An interview with Aimee Olsen

One of the biggest challenges we faced before hitting the road was downsizing our lives and possessions to fit into a 180 square foot Airstream. We read stuff from Marie Kondo, The Minimalists, and many others to help us in our purge. Even with all this advice, we still found the task to be very daunting. That’s why we’re putting together a downsizing series of videos.

For the first video in our downsizing series, we interview Aimee Olsen. Aimee is an organization expert who also happens to live on the road full time with her partner, Ben, and golden retriever, Selby. She understands first hand what it’s like to whittle down her life to fit into an RV. Plus, she has helped many of her clients declutter their homes and work towards a more organized life.

We hope her wisdom helps you frame your own goal of decluttering and sets you on a path to success!!

Learn more about Aimee, or reach out to her:
Instagram – @lifedonesimply
Website – lifedonesimply.com
Email – aimee@lifedonesimply.com

Follow Aimee and Ben’s RV adventures here – @theroamsteaders

Do you have questions about downsizing? Let us know in the comments below!

Can you overcome fear?

Can you overcome fear?

Can you overcome fear?

When we first started dreaming about living on the road fulltime, many fears and doubts came to the surface.

What will happen if I leave my job? How will we pay for health insurance? What if we run out of money while on the road? What’s going to happen if we can’t find work? What if we FAIL?

Can you overcome fear?

To be honest, I’m not really sure. Many of these fears still reside within us but what I do know that we can choose to let fear paralyze us or use fear to our advantage. How so?

Whenever fear crept in, we tried our best to use it to motivate us.

For example, “What happens if we run out of money”. Instead of letting this fear hold us back, we did a lot of research, looked at our budget and built up our savings so that we could avoid running out of money on the road.

This helped us feel more confident and reassured us that this lifestyle is possible and worthwhile. More importantly, it helped us make progress.

If you overwhelm your fears with action your fear has less power and precedence and you can start to gain momentum. Could we still run out of money? Sure!  Especially if Jay doesn’t tone down his photo/video gear purchases. 😛 In all seriousness, we can’t predict what unexpected expenses life will throw at us but we’ve done all we can to keep this fear on the sidelines.

We’ve learned that we can overwhelm fear but what happens when we don’t take action?

My business coach, Ariana Blossom, taught me that when we stay paralyzed by our fears, judgment starts to build on top of the fear. Which sounded a little like this for us…

Who are you to want this lifestyle? Shouldn’t you just be happy with what you have? You have a good job that pays well, why give that up? You won’t succeed at this lifestyle.

Judgment keeps us paralyzed in our fears. Actionless and unmotivated.

Do you have a dream that’s been tugging at you deep down but you feel stuck because of fear and judgment?

Your dream might seem far off and impossible right now. 5 years ago we dreamt about living on the road with no idea of how we’d actually be able to get to this point. That’s why we started small. We knew we wanted a camper. So we researched travel trailers and decided we loved the functionality and design of Airstreams. We had an upcoming trip to Seattle and found an Airstream on Airbnb so we booked a few nights so we could see if we liked staying in one. These were small steps that helped us get closer to our dream.

We have 3 questions for you…

We’d really appreciate any answers you’re willing to share with us. We’ve created an online survey version or feel free to respond to these questions by using the comments section below!

1. What do you dream of doing? (Seriously, ANYTHING) Ex. I would start my own shark circus.

2. What are some of the fears and doubts you have about pursuing this dreamEx. Not getting eaten by the sharks.

3. What’s one simple thing you could do today to take action towards this dream? Ex. Research what kinds of sharks are best to train and are least likely to eat me.

Letting go of the stuff that’s holding you back

Letting go of the stuff that’s holding you back

Letting go of the stuff that's holding you back

Letting go is hard.

A dear friend told me the other day how she tried ziplining with her kids for the first time. Not being very keen on heights, she let her kids go first, and when it came time for her turn, she paused. She was frozen. Fear had set in. After a few minutes (and asking the zip line worker how she’d get down if she didn’t want to go through with it) she decided to let go.

As she told me the story, I could see how glad and proud she was to have let go. For her, the literal “letting go” felt metaphorical. She had gone through a rough divorce in recent years and is now a single mom with three kids. Her choice to let go allowed her to experience something new instead of keeping herself trapped in the past.

Letting go can be extraordinarily difficult for all of us.

For Jay and I, moving from a 1,100 sq foot house to a 180 sq foot trailer means we have a lot of physical stuff we have to let go of. Even things we thought we’d never get rid of!

Take for instance this now broken Djembe. I brought it back from West Africa 10 years ago and it took an entire sleeping bag, a lot of duct tape and some light arguing with the border agent to get it into the US.

If I kept the drum, it would need to be fixed and I knew I wouldn’t really play it enough to make it worth it. I was holding onto it for sentimental reasons. After I re-evaluated the weight and space it had in my life, I realized that it was the experience and the joy I had when I played it that mattered. It’s time for me to let go, and let someone else find joy in it.

Letting go physical things can be pretty challenging, but truthfully, it’s the emotional things that have been the hardest to let go.

For Jay and I, it’s the fear and sadness we feel when thinking about leaving our family and friends here in the Northeast. We know these feelings are natural, and we mustn’t dwell on them or let them consume us because:

1. Our friends and family are only a phone call away and it’s up to us to make an effort
2. Social media can help us share/receive updates
3. We can return to the Northeast anytime and literally park ourselves in our family/friend’s driveways and bother them for an entire month (or as long as they can tolerate us!)
4. Like my friend I mentioned earlier, letting go will allow us to experience something new. We want to pursue this lifestyle for reasons explained here. And if we hold ourselves back, we’ll never know what could have been.

What are you struggling to let go of?

We’re all human. We all struggle to let go. So what’s holding you back? Is it fear, anger or resentment? Is it physical stuff?  Whatever it is, ask yourself why it’s hard to let go and try to imagine what would happen if you did. If you’re willing to share, tell us in the comments below!

Making things LEGIT – our legal wedding

Making things LEGIT – our legal wedding

We knew we wanted to travel and exchange our vows while on our first Airstream trip… but we also wanted our moms to take part in our wedding somehow.

We thought… why not have a small ceremony back home where we legally tie the knot? It would save us the hassle of doing things legally in another country and dealing with VISAs and whatnot.

So that’s what we did… We hired an officiant, gather in my mom’s yard and tied the knot.  A HUGE thanks to my stepdad who walked me in and also sat in as our photographer!  I’d say he did a great job, huh?

 

 

Minimize Spending – Building Tools

Minimize Spending – Building Tools

It’s been a while since we rode our bikes, far too long. We got a text from some friends letting us know they were taking advantage of the decent weather (28 and cloudy) to go for a little spin around town. We eagerly decided to join them.

While I was airing up the tires I remembered the crank arm came loose the last time I rode the bike (over a month ago). I had to wedge a rock in the 16mm hex bolt to tighten it so I could finish the ride.  In the time since then, it did not happen to “heal” on its own. It was still loose and needed to be tightened….our ride was in jeopardy.

A 16mm hex or “allen” key is not a common thing. I called all the local bike shops, no luck. Their tone seemed to be suspicious of my need for such a tool, as if there is no way to fit a bolt this size on a bicycle. So then I reached out to local garages, surprisingly no one had one. How about an auto parts store? No.

We ended up heading to a “box” home improvement store. The largest hex key they had was 12mm. Feeling pretty bummed out, we headed over to the hardware section to find things to cobble together. After a lot of trial and error, and eventually needing to take the bolt into the store, we were able to fit the head of another large bolt into the 16mm space. By threading a nut onto this new bolt, and using a crescent wrench, we could easily torque the crank arm back on. Not bad for $2.22.

Money was spent, but it wasn’t very much…and now we have a tool to fix this if it happens again. More importantly, we got out and did a great ride with friends on a fair winter day.

Minimize Spending – Medical Emergencies

Minimize Spending – Medical Emergencies

In a feat of culinary stupidity, I stood a loaf of bread on end in order to cut it. Piercing its crust required similar effort as, I imagine, cutting into an armadillo would. As I pressed the knife downward, the precariously balanced bread tipped sideways and the knife slid along its armored crust and traveled into my left pointer finger leaving a laceration from the center of my finger nail around the outer side above the top most joint. I could feel the serration of the bread knife glance across my bone…bump, bump, bump. Staring at the open wound my first thoughts were “I need stitches”, “shit, this is going to cost money” and “this is going to put a damper on climbing and guitar playing this month”.

I quickly cleaned it and sealed it up with gauze and tape. Then I started thinking of how to fix this. It was 6 pm on New Year’s Day. The emergency clinics had closed. There was the ER, but that can get pricey and is usually a pretty depressing experience. I decided to call my friend Adam who worked at the hospital. He was able to give me some advice over the phone and offered to swing by to take a look at it. In the meantime, I removed the bandages to clean it more thoroughly. My eyes had overestimated the size of it in my panic earlier. It was only about 1/2″, but still pretty deep. Maybe I could go without the stitches. When Adam came over, he made the same assessment. Using some steri-strips, gauze, and tape I had around the house, we were able to patch it up just fine.

I’m not trying to tell you to avoid going to the hospital in case of an emergency. If you are hurt and bleeding, by all means, go out and get help. I’m advocating that you take a look at a situation and figure out what means you have available to you. In this case, I had a friend with the right skills, and we had all we needed around the house to come up with a solution. So, I guess the lesson is: Keep a first aid kit on hand and know who you have in your corner.