Home Tour & 2016 purge review

Why a home tour?

Well honestly, I wanted to catalog what the house looks like now. After all, the goal is that everything must go.

If you are new here, you might not know that the Roamer clan is planning BIG life changes. We are planning to relocate. From sunny California to dreary Michigan. Why? you ask. Family of course.

See, I am a born and raised Californian and as such all my family is out here. Mr. Roamer on the other hand is a born and raised Michigander. Most of his family is over there.

We have been living out here in California for 6 years since January 2011. That is a long time and Mr. Roamer is ready to move back to family and buy a house. Oh yeah, homes are also a motivator.

We aren’t going to rush the change, but are literally, moving cross country.  After Mr. Roamer quits his employment, but before we settle in, we are planning to go on an adventure.  Three months of traveling. Kicking it off with a 3 week road trip from California to  Michigan. Followed by a flight out to Ecuador and then El Salvador to meet and spend time with the rest of my family. I am a first generation born American so the majority of my extended family live in these countries.

Due to the road trip we decided not to rent a U-haul or any other moving company. We are planning to take ONLY what will fit into our 2 cars. The Corolla and the Civic.

All that, to say, “Everything must go”. This is what our place looks like now. In September, a mere 7 months away, it should look very, very different. Here is to hoping everything works out.

Living Room

First stop is the living room, right in from the front door. By the door we keep all our recycling and pile our donation items. It probably isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing decision but it makes sure we get all the donate items out of the house.

My goal is to get to a point where we only have the big furniture in the room. No more small items: toys , dvds, or papers.

Coming in from the door
From the sliding doors. Also a good shot of the giant picture frame which we found in the trash!
Toys, Toys, everywhere. Dinning area in the back.
Our dinning room is less a room and more the in between to the bedrooms. Fortunately there is nothing here to purge but the dinning set itself.


Our apartment has a patio/backyard which is where we keep most of the bikes. It also has a closet. In the yard we would really need to find homes for all the plants that belong to my mother.

Not too bad but still stuff to purge


Our kitchen is quite small but has a bunch of cabinets. We need to use up or donate a lot of items.

We keep a pretty minimal pantry. But need to pare down some other cupboards
Our fridge in real life, covered in letters, school calendars and art. Don’t think I need to share the inside of the fridge. Right?!


We only have 1 bathroom. Yup our family of 4 survives with just one! Just like my family of 5 did when I was a kid.  Mostly consumables here, they will either get used or end up in the garbage.

Super happy that the bathroom counter is kept clear.

Kids room

Jr and Minnie’s room.
Lots of board games, more then we will take.

Master bedroom

Mr. Roamer’s and my bedroom is where all the excess ends up. I still have boxes of papers to sort through, and our desk is a magnet for clutter and randomness. Lots of small things and books to sort and purge.

The reality, papers everywhere
Our walk in closet , Looking in from the door and looking out from the wall

Purging journey

We have been striving to simplify our life and possessions for over 2 years. Finding The Minimalists and realizing we could give ourselves permission to not live conventional lives. Lives that are drowning in the clutter of items that we don’t use. Yet can’t seem to let go.

As a youngster I had the privilege of being a Californian who decided to go study in Michigan. Yet got a co-op work experience in California. So for 5 years I had to either drive or fly cross country 2-4 times a year.

My first year our family lost the house. As a fresh college student I was forced to collect all my things from home. No leaving things at Mom and Dad’s. Then the traveling back and forth, first on my own and then with my son Jr.  meant  I was constantly evaluating our possessions. Purging 2-4 times a year was necessary. This was my life from 2005-2010.

In 2011 I became a full fledged adult with a full time job.  Living in California permanently I stopped making progress. Even while I still tossed, and donated a few things here and there. Then I got married had another kid and new stuff kept coming in.  The out flow…it was down to a trickle. Everywhere there were things that we didn’t use, yet couldn’t seem to let go.

Thing changed after reading the minimalists and taking part in their 30 day challenge. We enjoyed it so much we participated multiple times. The practice has helped us developed the skill of letting go.

It should serve us well with the big changes on the horizon. The move back to Michigan and the 3 month long travel. We need to kick things up a notch and really get down to the bare bone minimum stuff. That’s why I am sharing this house tour. With these pictures you and I can see the change in early September.

2016 Purge list

Last year I tried to make an effort to get as much stuff out of the house. Over 1,075 items (not counting individual items in set like thank you cards, and scrapbook paper)

  • Over 514 papers, including old sketches, planners, magazines and the never ending Wednesday junk mail
  • 85 Pictures, 31 which were sent to family in El Salvador
  • 35 Metal hangers from dry cleaners
  • 35 items of my clothes: Shoes, high school prom dress, jackets
  • over 121 baby items: bibs , pants, shirts
  • 18 old gift cards tossed
  • 19 gift bags donated
  • 27 more clothes, socks, Jr stuff
  • 17 pieces of jewelry
  • 38 clothing from Mr. including ties and shirts
  • Packs of card stock, stationary, thank you cards
  • 1 tv
  • 7 bags: purses and backpacks
  • 8 crafting items: yarn , frame, canvas
  • 27 electronic items : video games, batteries and cords
  • As well as using up the stash of hotel bathroom items we accumulated.

Not physical items, cleaning out email inbox by unsubscribing to

  • pottery barn, DSW, Performance bikes, Yogurtland, Zillow, Dental list, Pampers, At&t, Penny Hoarder, Omaha steaks, Grant Baldwin.

It sounds like a lot, yet also like so little considering the majority of that stuff is papers. Papers are the bane of my existence.

Yet it is a lot. Could you imagine getting rid of 1,000 items? Without counting each paper clip?

I encourage you to look around your home. It’s unlikely you are going on a big life changing journey, but you might discover some things that bring you no joy and just take up space.

Have you removed excess things from your home? Are you planning any big trips?

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The Roamer traveling wallet

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6 thoughts on “Home Tour & 2016 purge review”

  1. Wow, what a fantastic exercise in minimalism to avoid the moving truck and start with an almost blank slate. I really admire your choice! I did my own stint in the Midwest coming from the west coast, so I’m familiar with all the pros and cons. Hopefully the low COL and proximity to family make up for the weather! What part of the state are you headed to?

  2. Uff, this is painful. We have a LOT of stuff and I just can’t get the time and energy to get rid of most of it. I do donate a lot of my daughter’s stuff, as soon as she’s outgrowing it, but husband has a knack for getting a lot of new things at a rapid pace 😀

    1. Yes it’s definitely a time commitment to purge. Specially if you don’t want to just box stuff for 6 months then throw it away after not opening it for those 6 months.

      The good news is that once an item is dealt with you won’t have to do it again.

      However it might feel like a never ending chore with a constant influx of stuff. I completely understand. I hope you and the husband can get on the same page. 🙂

  3. Can the CA extended family adopt the plants? If not maybe a community garden group, or 55+ community?
    I find I end up very sentimental about items, or with clothes, but it still fits. Sure it still fits, but I never choose to wear it…so I should get rid of it.
    Best wishes with the pare down & travel.

    1. I am sure mom will just scoop them back, even without having space to store them.

      I do the same thing. If it still fits I don’t want to get rid of it. That’s something the capsule wardrobe has really helped me out with. I put away a big chunk of my clothes and then I am forced to wear stuff I normally don’t. That helps me remove the idealized view and I realized something is not practical for my life style , or is just uncomfortable. After I give something an honest try I can let it go much easier.


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