We moved to South America 5 years ago this past March, with a 15-month-old baby, two Pugs, a collection of carry-ons plus 12 bags/boxes, a stroller, travel crib and car seat, all brought with us on the airplane. This was after we sorted and packed/sold/gave away nearly everything we owned. All the furniture in our 2000 sq. ft house in MN; sold. Clothes; donated. No shipping container for us. No sir. We've pared it down to the essentials.
Our whole life was in those 12 bags/boxes. Everything from clothes and toys to a desktop computer and two flatscreen monitors.
We liked to think that we were living a minimalist lifestyle when we brought said bags/boxes to our furnished rental in Montevideo, but we weren't. Not even close. We still had collections of clothes that we brought with us "just in case". We sill had (and have to this day) boxes and boxes in storage in my father-in-law's basement back in the USA. Boxes full of housewares and momentos, clothes and business paperwork. I shudder at the thought of those boxes, even though I have sorted, further purged and repacked said boxes every time we visit the USA.
Is this any better than paying for a storage unit somewhere? No.
We now have far too many toys and random THINGS that we've accumulated being in one house in Cordoba for over 3 years. Time to pare down again. We are sorting, cleaning, selling and giving away once again.
Less STUFF means less to worry about. Money saved by not purchasing extraneous things. Time saved not looking for things and not having to maintain 'collections' of things. More time for meaningful experiences. More time for the PEOPLE in your life.
My favorite video about STUFF is in the link below (warning: Carlin has a potty-mouth, but the message is powerful). Click if you dare: http://youtu.be/MvgN5gCuLac
Some of our favorite minimalist resources are:
Zen Habits http://zenhabits.net/ (which planted the seed in our minds, years ago)
Becoming Minimalist http://www.becomingminimalist.com/
The Minimalist Mom http://www.theminimalistmom.com/