How Much Stuff Have We Gathered in 4 Months


Today we moved out from the flat where we have been living for the last 4 months here in Auckland. Four months in one place is quite a long time for us, at least compared to last year when were kept continuously moving while backpacking in Asia. We have been traveling all the way with hand luggage only so we have simply had to keep our stuff in minimum. When you pack your backpack daily or weekly, it’s also impossible to gather any extra stuff without noticing it. If you are not able to close the bag anymore, it means it’s time to get rid of something.

We have felt very free while traveling the world with a small luggage. Many people have been surprised or even shocked when we tell that we travel with so little stuff. Even though we have proclaimed to be some kind of minimalists, we are not super humans either.  Once in a while we also like to go shopping and buy some extra luxury for ourselves. So, what has happened to our belongings after living in one place this “long”?

Everyone knows for sure how the stuff just appears in your home after living in one place for a while. Suddenly all the closets and storage rooms are bursting with junk. We have to admit that we also haven’t avoided gathering some extra stuff during the last months, and there were more than enough bags and pouches to carry when we moved our stuff. Bedsheets, pillows, camping equipment, you name it… Anyway, luckily we have gathered stuff on a much smaller scale than we used to in our “old life”.

Muutto reissuelämä

This pile doesn’t even include Johanna’s backpack or our camping stuff…

Backpacking has taught us quite a lot of self-control. It has made us think twice before we buy any new material. When you know that you won’t be staying too long in one place, it’s also easier to avoid material temptations compared to when you live somewhere permanently. Luckily our current lifestyle doesn’t require separate spring cleaning as we automatically go through all our belongings everytime we move on.

When we arrived in New Zealand from hot Southeast Asia, we obviously had to buy more warm clothes for us. Even though we have barely touched any long sleeves during the last months because of the hot summer weather, we will surely need them later on in South Island. Besides warm clothing, we aren’t really guilty of impulsive shopping or gathering excess clothes. We are working almost all the time anyway so when would we even have the change to wear nice clothes…


Maybe the most surprising thing that we have subtly gathered is shoes. Seriously, how did all these shoes appear under our bed?! When we came to New Zealand, we only owned sandals plus three pairs of shoes altogether. Now we have more than 10 pairs. Omg! We could easily fill up our hand luggage only with these.

Besides shoes, we have gathered some random useful stuff at home, like a beautiful umbrella hat and a rugby team flag that Jarkko got in a rugby match. Then there is also this sombrero that we brought home after a random night out in Mexican cafe. What can we even say to this…

mexican hat
Even a minimalist might need an umbrella hat, you never know!

Most of our extra clothes and shoes will go to recycling to the local Red Cross second-hand store. And we can always gift the hats to our lucky friends. You are welcome. So after all, the situation doesn’t look that bad, especially as we get to travel New Zealand by our own car. The good (or bad) thing about traveling by car is that you don’t necessarily need to fit all the stuff in one backpack. We also need to get some more equipment for our New Zealand travels, like a travel cooker.

After traveling in New Zealand, we have to eliminate our stuff more harshly and fit everything in the hand luggage again. At this point, we will need to get rid of warm clothes and camping stuff (maybe we will save one sweater for the Finnish summer though).

On the other hand, it has been nice to live normal routine life for the last few months. But on the other hand, we were very happy to get out from our apartment that didn’t have many positive sides apart from the good location and the affordable rent. Four people in an under 40 square meter flat is definitely not an ideal combination in the long run. It’s probably not hard to imagine how little living space and privacy we have had in this kind of place.

concrete jungle

Auckland Jail… Oh no wait, it’s just our home building!

pieni huone

Our (now already ex) room could rather be described as a chicken coop. Besides a too small bed, the tiny room had only two small nightstands. On the hot weather, the worst thing was though that there was no opening window in the room to get some fresh air. That’s why we have slept the last months the door open in our small and stifling booth. Our room was so tiny that Jarkko could even touch the opposite walls with his fingers and toes at the same time. This has been like living in a Japanese internet cafe 😀 We moved into this flat with a bit too positive mindset and didn’t realize how big problem such a “small” thing like no windows could be.

Harbour bridge view
Auringonlasku parvekkeelta
Living in Auckland

Our flat did have some good sides as well though, like nice views on Harbour Bridge and beautiful sunsets. Even though our flat choice in Auckland wasn’t that perfect, at least we are one experience richer again. We have learned at least that we will never live in such a small flat again, hehe… Now we will sleep the next couple of nights in our friend’s flat and after that, we’ll have another short-term room for the rest of the time. And then, New Zealand calls us with new adventures. Can’t wait!

Have you also noticed the stuff sneaking into your home or backpack unnoticedly?


2 thoughts on “How Much Stuff Have We Gathered in 4 Months

  1. So fun to read your thoughts about materia. As a minimalist living out of backpack I am really interested about the “after-stories” from people who settle down, for at least for a whole.
    Is the gathering starting again, or is is gone for ever.
    Propably the compromise, as you said, now it is less than you had before, but more than backpacking.
    And I would add couple of pairs of shoes also, if settling down.
    Now we are thinking if we should visit Finland and to leave some winter gear there for summer as we will be next half a year in Balkan and Southern Europe.
    Hate to carry extra! Even though stuff still fits in carry-on.
    Have a good journey!

    Btw, did you already leave NZ?
    We are in Rotorua, waiting the rain to stop, and will stay only in North island this time.

    1. We feel like have changed a lot since we started traveling but we think it’s still impossible not to gather any stuff when you stay in one place and it’s just natural 🙂 That’s a good idea, why not to drop off the extra stuff that you don’t need. We left our winter clothes behind when we left South Korea last winter and bought some summer clothes in Southeast Asia. We will still be in New Zealand for almost three months and will start traveling next week. We’ll be in Auckland until next Wednesday. Enjoy your travels here and maybe we will even happen to be in the same place at some point!

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