ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Our homes are getting bigger and more cluttered. Reports show there are 300,000 items in the average home, which has nearly tripled in size over the last 50 years.
And yes, one out of every 10 Americans still has to rent offsite storage.
What would you give up to simplify your life? For one Bay Area couple, it was everything that didn't fit in their suitcases. They say minimalism can save you time, money, and stress.
“So this is our only home base,” explained Lauren Davenport, CEO of the Symphony Agency, walking beside her husband and business partner Daniel Fernandez.
Their St. Petersburg-based marketing company is the only constant for this couple.
“Antigua is next. We are headed there on Saturday,” Lauren happily said.
“New York first, and then Antigua,” Danny corrected. “And then Texas!”
They live on the move -- and minimally.
“We sold everything we own and hit the road so we live in Airbnbs and hotels and two suitcases,” Lauren said.
The couple’s journey into minimalism started when they saw a documentary about it and were inspired to get rid of things they didn't use.
“We started slowly getting rid of things -- things in the kitchen, my obnoxious amount of shoes -- just started letting things go. And when I did, it felt incredible,” Lauren said with a wide, sincere smile.
Minimalism is defined as extreme sparseness and simplicity. And the couple immediately found that for them, less stuff created more meaning.
“The level of lightness I felt on a whole was addictive,” Lauren said.
But as they got rid of more and more, wouldn't they miss all of their things?
“That was one of our biggest fears,” Lauren admitted.
Danny admitted that he had a hard time with it. “I'm a passionate cook. I need all of my seasonings and gadgets. And I had all of the gadgets!”
He said at first he was literally travelling around with his favorite spices in little plastic baggies. But within a month, Danny ditched his spices for the spice of life. The couple started taking cooking lessons wherever they travelled and eating at local hot spots to learn more about the culture.
For someone wanting to get a taste of minimalism, the couple says do it in phases. Pack things up and see if you miss them.
“After I packed them up and a few months later hadn’t pulled them out, I didn't feel so bad about letting them go.”
The couple was surprised by how much they started saving.
“It’s amazing how much you save when you stop buying all of the stuff,” Lauren laughed.
They save on clothes by investing in high quality basics.
“I only own six shirts -- three black, three gray. That's it,” Danny explained.
“I literally own a pair of shorts, two jeans, probably five shirts and five to six dresses,” Lauren agreed, adding sometimes she uses clothing rental services to get some fun things in the mix.
They find deals on accommodations.
“We typically find a room somewhere with multiple people for $20 to $60 a night, which is insanely cheap,” Danny continued.
And that, in turn funds their travel.
“There's no way you can pay with a credit card for a mortgage. But we can for Airbnbs, so we are racking up points and we are traveling for free,” Danny said.
They say, for now, they’re replacing a need for "home" with unique experiences.
“There's the wagon hotel,” they said, excitedly showing off a covered wagon hotel on their computer. “So we're staying here next month!”
This couple is convinced: Less really is more.