Imogen Bailey: ‘All my belongings now fit into two suitcases.’

A few months ago I felt like I hit a wall. I felt stuck and wanted to shake things up.

My instinct was to get things started by setting myself free of my belongings. To cut all the material items I have collected over the years down to two suitcases.

To keep only what I could carry. To release myself from the history of it all.

Don’t get me wrong I love beautiful things. I love art and I appreciate luxury but do I need it? No. At least not as much as I needed a shake up.

With only two suit cases, I can live anywhere I choose without worrying about storing my things or having someone else take care of them. Nor do I need much space. 

imogen bailey suitcases
“To release myself from the history of it all.” (Image provided)

As I began to sort through my things and rid myself of various belongings, I could see the emotions and habits that were somehow tied to them.

I was letting go of the past and calling in the new.

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Three things became very clear to me whilst sorting through my belongings. First, how I had created strong walls against allowing a romantic relationship to enter my life. Second, my lack of commitment to choices and third, I hadn’t yet embraced my need for constant change.

I have always punished myself for not being able to stand still. I hadn’t been looking at it as moving forward.

I haven’t been able to choose where I want to be and truly make a life there. I have always had one foot out the door. Ready to move on to the next place in the blink of an eye.

Recently I have started to question if this is the shameful fault I’ve perceived it to be? Is it something worth punishing myself for? Why have I not just embraced this about myself?

Is it because of the questions I have fielded: why no babies yet? Why no husband? Why no house? Possibly in part.

I have felt guilt and shame and even sorrow over the times I had those opportunities in front of me and I chose to keep moving.

Having minimal possessions certainly isn’t for everyone. Post continues after video…

I have previously confessed to close friends that my love life has suffered because of my incessant itch to be on the move. But after recently reconnecting with someone I fell for a long time ago, I realised all this running has never really been about a fear of commitment.

I just hadn’t been in front of the person I wanted to commit to.

I also hadn’t found the place I wanted to stay in.

And unless I want to conform to what is expected of me by the ‘imaginary judges’ I have created in my head, what is wrong with that?

Who says I have to stay put? Who says I can’t run on my own timeline? I said that. I placed silly expectations on myself about what my life should look like. And I punished myself for failing to meet them.

What I didn’t see is that I had committed… to travel, study, a varied career, to my family and friends. To looking after myself. To living life on my own terms.

Instead of punishing myself for this I decided to embrace it.

Getting all of my belongings down to two suitcases was part of that.

Sorting, lugging, donating and tossing away everything I owned, except for what fits into two suitcases, has been incredibly freeing and, at times, painful.

imogen paper
“I went through every piece of paper work, actually every scrape of paper.” (Image supplied)

I really went for it. I dove into every cupboard and drawer. I went through every piece of paper work, actually every scrape of paper. I tried on every item of clothing and every pair of shoes.

I went through the various keepsakes of career highlights I have collected and let them go.

I put up post it notes and made a vision board with a minimalist theme to keep me motivated.

I took time to meditate and be gentle with myself before each sorting session. I reminded myself of the positive aspects of letting go – the joy and freedom it entails.

The process has been a ritual. One part of history it inevitably addressed was old relationships. I gathered all the bits and pieces I had been hanging on to. The letters, cards, gifts, concert tickets, plane tickets and photos. Yes, even the photos. I went to a quiet place in the bush, I dug a deep hole and I buried all of it.

I set free what needed to go in order to make room for what I am ready to call in.

The sentimental part of me kept these past relationship treasures thinking one day I might like to look back on them and remember those times of my life.

But I woke up one day and realised I don’t need things to look back at things to remember someone. They are etched in my heart and mind and the moments that aren’t really need to be completely left behind.

imogen baileys stuff
“But I woke up one day and realized I don’t need things to look back at things to remember someone.” (Image provided)

I want romantic love in my life and I want to open myself to that person wholly – without the baggage of what once was. 

It felt so good to set all of that free. To say thank you, to say I send you love and to say goodbye.

As I look at my two suitcases, I feel so ready for the new. As far as material things go I want less. I need less. The more things I have let go of the more space I have for the new.

New life experience, new people, more travel and if I chose to settle in one place I will do that starting fresh.

Without a doubt, ridding yourself of 95% of what you own isn’t for everyone but if you want to transform your life and this jumps out at you, think about it. 

Just let go, do it for you and you only and keep on going forward.

At times it will hurt but eventually you will break through and you will be blown wide open.

Aside from clothes this is me:

1. Yoga mat.

2. A feather.

3. TRX for training anywhere (army man’s fav).

4. The two books I am reading – A literate Passion – Correspondence between Anais Nin and henry Miller and Art and Artist Otto Rank.

5. A book that will never leave me – Women Who Run With The Wolves by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes (going to study with her in the US in July).

6. My journal.

7. My poetry book (I write daily).

8. Five pairs of heels.

9. One pair of comfy high tops.

10. Nike runners (I run a few times a week but walk daily in nature) and one pair of flats.

11. Trusty cowboy boots that have travelled the world with me for eight years.

12. Beads and bell for daily chanting and meditation.

13. One box of basic make up, hair care, skin care, a few jewellery items (most went) and some friends and family photos and William Shakespeares Sonnets.

14. Tea cup from a precious soul mate girlfriend.

15. Laptop, phone and chargers.

16. A basic four season wardrobe.

Could you get your belongings down to two suitcases?

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