What Do You Keep If Your Entire Life Had To Fit In Five Boxes?

Daria and Jim get five boxes each. What would go in yours?

Daria and Jim are a nightmare.

At least to certain forces we face every day.

The companies and marketers who bombard us with romance of stuff.

No matter how much you have, you need more.

Clothes, shoes, boats, houses, trinkets.

Daria, especially, gets that.

Stuff-loving hoarder.

That’s how she described herself.

So much stuff it led her to having one of those “How’d we get here?” moments.

“We looked up and realized we had lived in the same house for 15 years.  We couldn’t explain why other than we needed a house to store all of our stuff.”

And so, began the process,

The adventure,

Of de-stuffing themselves.

“We started with what we called ‘The Scary Room’,” Daria says ominously.

The one room so packed with stuff it was more like a bursting closet.

Every single item came out.

Nothing went back in unless they could justify its purpose.

Everything else was sold, donated, or trashed.

The only items to make the cut were a desk, bookshelf, lamp, and chair.

The bookshelf had only the exact books I would save in a house fire,” Daria told me.

That one room cleanout inspired a radical shift.

One that has been growing over the last three years.

Daria and Jim sold their house and are now going off on quite an adventure.

They plan to house sit for a year.

Hop from home to home trying on different parts of the country.

There are apparently websites that match up homeowners with house sitters.

Daria and Jim will be living rent free because they will be watching other people’s homes and their pets.

To do that, they need to travel light.

Five boxes light.

This one was Jim’s idea.

They each get five boxes for whatever household goods or decorative items they can’t live without.

Daria and Jim get five boxes each. What would go in yours?

Daria and Jim get five boxes each. What would go in yours?

This doesn’t include a suitcase for clothes or computer bag.

And the one making this all possible is Daria’s mom who has some extra storage space in her basement.

Daria and Jim are human after all, not monks.

Still, I can’t stop thinking about those five boxes.

Could you do it, Dear Reader?

Pare down what you really need into five 70-quart boxes from Target?

I’m starting with a test.


Our tenants, slash, daughters.

Each of whom is about to leave for college in a few weeks.

Before they go, we are completely, I mean completely, emptying their rooms.

Before anything goes back in, it must pass the Daria-Jim test:

“We keep only what we truly love and love to use. The rest goes back into the world to serve someone else.”

Imagine how excited the girls were to hear about this.

Midterms and dining hall food never sounded so good.

What would go in your five boxes?

What are you shocked to consider you’re ready to let go?

Can we do this?

Will less stuff mean a dream come true?

Let me know.

The beauty of the Comments section below—it doesn’t take up space in a box. So looking forward to seeing what you leave there.

You can read more about Daria and Jim’s journey to live with less stuff here.

Daria says their marriage has gotten stronger by going through the process of paring down and fitting their favorite things in five boxes. They've learned more how the other processes emotions, attaches to stuff, and what they find to truly be a treasure.

Daria says their marriage has gotten stronger by going through the process of paring down and fitting their favorite things in five boxes. They’ve learned more how the other processes emotions, attaches to stuff, and what they find to truly be a treasure.

If you enjoy this story, you might want to check out my recent TED Talk, “How To Watch The News And Get Inspired.”

Daryn Kagan giving her TED Talk at TEDxBigSky. How To Watch The News And Get Inspired.

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What Do You Keep If Your Entire Life Had To Fit In Five Boxes?

by DarynKagan time to read: 3 min
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