My Family Sold Everything, Lived out of Our Car, and Discovered the Joy of Minimalism

My Family Sold Everything, Lived out of Our Car, and Discovered the Joy of Minimalism
You’re going to love this story from a reader, Tamara, whose family found freedom through their journey to minimalism.  I am always inspired by hearing about the changes that people make.  And this is a beautiful example of changing habits, behaviors, and not being burdened by stuff.

Hi, I love getting your posts via facebook. I just read the last one about the lady who went through “cleansing” with her children and I wanted to share something I did with my daughter Nyah. (You can read that article here.)

Last year, in October, my husband James and I, along with my daughter Nyah sold everything except our Ford Station wagon and necessities that would fit in our car (without using a trailer or roofs racks, etc.). We did not put anything in storage. I sold everything via a facebook page and anything that didn’t sell in 1 week I donated to charity.
Most things sold for a decent value (as I sold very cheaply just to get rid of it) even our unit in Adelaide. We paid off ALL our debt and owned everything in full! All we had left was our freedom which was the happiest and best thing EVER.
My husband is a computer engineer and I am an accountant/business manager, we started our own company making mobile phone apps so we could work from wherever – so long as we had mobile reception for internet. We have been travelling Australia for over a year now. We  house sit and camp.
Because everything must fit into our car, Nyah is only allowed one 40cm by 40cm box for ALL her things (a purple Ikea collapsable box). She never complains for more toys (she never had many compared to other children but certainly at least 6 more of those boxes worth.) She plays with her things all the time and loves it. She mostly enjoys catching insects and butterflies, filling cups with water, singing and drawing.
In her box we have quality items which are not childish and they seem to last better and she enjoys them more:

  • Busking portable & AC power amplifier and microphone which is actually quite small but fills half her box  (she adores singing)
  • A set of derwent colour pencils (which don’t break as easily as cheaper ones do)
  • Drawing pad
  • Small monkey, small teddy, small bunny (stuffed toys)
  • A small lego set in pink carry box that has decent building blocks to make different things
  • A mini bucket and 3 plastic cups
  • A necklace
  • And her story bible.
That’s everything she owns. She has carry on luggage suitcase which holds all her clothes.
She is 3 1/2. She knows that if she wants something new she needs to forgo something else and give that something else to charity. After we give her the choice she generally chooses to just keep what she has.
11-11-14 Sent to Black Aunty Su in Ballina who didn't get it cause she died 22-11-14 and was in hospital lung failure for a week

One of Nyah’s drawings that was recently sent to a dear aunt.

So I don’t have much sentimentalism at all but my husband has a bit. When it comes to ALL her drawings – we allow her to stick 4-6 on the fridge on hang in car (while travelling) for a week and then they have to be sent to someone (ie. older ladies in the churches we have been to over the course of the year, to relatives and to friends she has made (we post them every month) or they must go in the bin. Before we send them off or throw in bin, we take a photo and store it forever electronically.

Once a month, we look through Nyah’s artwork folder and remember the pictures she has drawn and artwork she has created and a note of who we sent it to etc. It’s important for us to reflect on this and helps keep our focus on giving to others.
Also, for Christmas she gets to choose what present to give to her “sponsor sisters” and their communities. Nyah was able to choose a sponsor child through World Vision, whose birth date was identical to hers – such a novelty and such a blessing to Nyah and the child, her “twin sister” is Matilda from Bolivia and her other sister is Blessed from Uganda. I would highly recommend giving your child a sponsor child of their own (everything is in Nyah’s name) and one with identical birthday or birth date if possible makes it all the more special for them.
It has and is teaching Nyah so much about compassion, love, money, and how blessed we are and to be content. Now everytime she says “I want….” she changes it to “Oh I mean I want to get it for my sponsor sister instead”.
We are totally paperless our company records are all PDFs or photos of tax receipts – a lot of work to start but so good now a system is in place.

In regards to sentimentalism – my husband James has carried his grandfathers Akubra (inherited in 2000) around for 14 years and never wore it because it didn’t fit him – we have taken a photo of it and labeled all information about whose it was and when he died etc etc and now it will go to someone who fits in it.

I also did this with my Dad’s memorial service card and will do so for all other things which may have importance/interest for Nyah when she grows up
I keep in mind that Nyah will not be a clone of me in regards to what is special and significant to her so I always take a photo of things even if I think “oh who needs to remember that”.

If you live in Australia and are in need of a house sitter, you can find Tamara, James and Nyah on facebook or check out their company:


Would you like to share your journey on Nourishing Minimalism? Email me with “Reader Story” in the subject line.

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I created a FREE Facebook Group - feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group and I share videos each week on YouTube


  1. Cindy on 11/30/2014 at 10:01 pm

    Hi, I love your site, but had a question: do you let advertisers ‘jump’ to an ad w/o us even clicking? I followed the link from my email, and soon as I was on the article page an ad started talking to me-I couldn’t even see/find out where it was coming from. I don’t love that-feels creepy. hopefully it was user error?

    • Rachel on 12/01/2014 at 12:53 pm

      I’m sorry! I hate noisy ads! I just have ads through google, I can only block it if I have a web address for the advertizer.

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