Packing for Paradise












When my husband and I moved to St. Croix five years ago, we envisioned our Caribbean life a certain way.  Free from mass commercialism, surrounded by nature at its best and purely simple.  As we now prepare for a move to a larger island home, we are trying again to minimize the clutter in our lives.

Packing One Car Load Only

As we prepared to leave Dallas behind, we vowed to take only the essentials.  As we would be shipping our vehicle from Miami, we filled the SUV (to the window line, as allowed) with our belongings.  To prepare, we used painter’s tape in our apartment to tape off a corner of the dining room the exact cubic dimensions of the vehicle’s cargo area.  If it didn’t fit, it wasn’t going.  Everything down to the air mattress we slept on our last night in Texas was sold or donated to charity.  (Side note: We later learned that unfortunately many items shipped in vehicles are stolen along the way.  We were very fortunate to have everything arrive, but please do not try this.).

The ‘Moving to Paradise’ Sale

While Craig’s List in the DFW metroplex was a great way to sell most of our belongings and we donated quite a bit (hundreds of DVDs went to the VA Hospital), we were stumped by what to do with all the small stuff.  So we decided on a garage sale labor day weekend.  Not just any yard sale, a “moving to paradise” sale.  We ran our ad in the newspaper with that exact verbiage and made signs to place at nearby intersections decorated with palms trees.

We were overwhelmed (and overrun) with people immediately asking “where’s paradise?” and curious about our decision to move to St. Croix.  Total strangers seemed more than happy to pay for our junk, to live a bit vicariously through our adventure.  I was astonished to see people buy things like a bundle of pencils with my name on them, half used with the erasers missing.  The sale was such a success, that we were sold out halfway through day one of our three day sale.

New Challenges to Minimalism

As we prepare for our move, we have added a toddler to our family and plan on having another child in the near future.  So while we will never be back down to one car load again until the kids are off to college, we’re trying to replicate the same minimalist attitude toward our stuff.  If we haven’t used it in one year, it needs to be sold, donated or trashed.  As we’re now parents with our time and attention focused on our son, keeping our home organized has gone by the wayside.

However, we are determined to recapture the feeling of freedom we had when we left Dallas for St. Croix with our whole lives in one car load.  There is certainly something to be said for living without all the stuff that subconsciously burdens you.  Keep only what you need and give what you can to those less fortunate.

Ready to live the simple life in paradise?  Download our complimentary guide the 10 Best Reasons for Living on St. Croix.