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It's a Team's Life

Minimalism for Big Gains

By Linda Caffee
Posted Apr 10th 2018 12:48PM

Thinking before spending will keep us from impulse buying.  Living in the truck for most of the year has taught me over time more is not better.  I have learned to buy items that have many uses.  Cute looks great in the store it does not look as cute in our truck or our home.

The truck is how we make money and in order to make money, the truck has to be moving.  We work in a dangerous environment where we never know if we are going to have to stop suddenly or make a crazy maneuver.  Having lots of extra “stuff” flying around inside of the truck could hurt or kill us or one of our pets.  The interior of the Cascadia has cabinets that have great latches for a reason, to hold the contents inside, orderly, and contained in case of an incident.

Phone Cases one has more meaningWhen we got into the first Freightliner in 2000 I was petrified I would not have “something” or I would run out of something to do.  I did not know how I could leave behind my favorite trinkets, my grand champion dish for needlework, a favorite memento, pictures, and my numerous sewing projects.  Bob who always tries to make my crazy ideas work came up with a great plan and bought two chests of drawers that would fit on the upper bunk and face each other.  I packed them completely full and when we were stopped I would climb up on the upper bunk and be surrounded by all of my things.  I will not go into how he strapped them in but they were strapped in well and had latches to keep the drawers closed.  Every inch of that first OEM Freightliner sleeper was used and everything had a place if we would have owned our trailer I am sure we would have had belly boxes for me to fill.  Fast forward several years and we bought our first truck with a custom sleeper and now I really had a lot of room.

One day many years ago I was trying to fit just one more thing into the truck cabinets and I looked at my storage boxes and I thought when was the last time I used that?  It was not easy to go through every plastic storage box and think about each item and say “Why do I have that?” what would happen if I did not have that item?  As my get rid of pile kept growing my storage boxes were condensing and then I had another problem!  Now I had so much room all of what I had left was moving around. I ended up putting back many of my empty storage boxes as placeholders.

This brings me to my internal debate, we have the room why not use it?  Over and over I have to remind myself that the more we have the more I have to maintain.  When we change trucks, I have to move un-needed items, when I need something I have to look through all of that stuff, and it usually is clutter.  Living in clutter is like having clutter in my mind and I cannot concentrate. 

What I have found is that when I buy something for the truck I think about what I want and research the item thoroughly before I purchase.   Something that has helped us a lot is wearing uniforms as that takes care of what we wear most of the time and they are easy to wash.  It took a few tries to find the shirts that stand up well to wearing a seatbelt all of the time and do not need to be ironed. Once the shirt was mastered they are embroidered with the name of the company we are leased to and our names.  We carry very little street clothes, just enough to get us by if we have to go somewhere nice or we are lounging around on the weekends.  When I buy something I want to enjoy what I buy, for example the two phone cases above one of them is very special to me. 

The more we have the more we have to maintain and this thought carries over to our house.  We do not need the “perfect” home and garden, we want a house where we are comfortable.  Learning to let go of things and to quit buying anything that needs dusting is not only less clutter it is less to spend money on, and the best, less to maintain.  The less to maintain is the goal as that gives us more time to do what we enjoy. 

This minimalism thinking has carried over to all areas of my life. Especially our home and over time I have been able to get rid of many things and I still have some ways to go.  It is funny how stuff starts creeping back on us as we are given stuff or our resistance was low and we bought something we really did not need.  

Buying “stuff” might bring about a fleeting happiness but it the long run will the happiness still be there?  When we decide to become minimalists and we take our time buying we usually buy something that will keep us happy in the long run.  I have found that over time I also have a hard time buying gifts that have no meaning.  Why buy something for someone that is just that buying something for someone that has no meaning.  Now it is their turn to either maintain the “gift” or to get rid of what we wasted our money on.

A side benefit of minimalism is financial as the less junk we buy the more we save.  As time has gone on it is easy to walk past the cute displays that will not look so cute after purchased and only buy what we need.  Having our first grandchild makes it a little harder but I know when I do purchase something for Paige it will have meaning, such as a book, or an educational toy, or I will add money to her savings account.  Look around you and ask do you really need that?

One more funny thought that always makes me laugh is garages.  How often do we see very expensive vehicles sitting outside of the garage because the garage is so fun of stuff people never use their car cannot fit inside?  That is when we know we have a problem with stuff.

Bob & Linda Caffee


Saint Louis MO

Expediters since January 2005


Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;

Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;

Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;

Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.


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