Getting rid of excess baggage

We lead pretty minimalist lives. We don’t buy lots of things, we aren’t pack rats, and we’re constantly getting rid of stuff we don’t use. When we made the decision to travel and decided to get rid of everything we own we were shocked to see how much unnecessary stuff we had. It’s easy to get caught up in the desire for new things. Whether it’s new clothes, gadgets or even a car–exercising self control can be difficult.

We started to go through our non-essential items during the summer. We wanted to have a yard sale while the weather was still nice. As I pulled stuff out of the closets I decided that if I hadn’t used it in 6 months or more I probably wasn’t going to need it in the long run. I got rid of mostly text books, old clothes and knick knacks. There were a few things that were sentimental, but I was able to parse it down to about 3 boxes.

Pulling everything out of the closets and putting it out for the shoppers was a real cleansing experience. At our first yard sale we made about $400. Almost everything went for less that $10, usually $2-3. At the second yard sale we just wanted everything gone. At the end of the day as people were coming by we told them everything was practically free. We still made about $300. In total we made about $700 off of stuff we weren’t using. That amount almost covered our plane tickets to Thailand. It was amazing to reflect on the fact that at another part of our lives we would have been on the other side, getting really excited about free things.

We generally decided to keep things that were sentimental or more expensive to replace than to store. Imagine getting a storage unit at $150/month for 2 years. Could we replace all of our furniture and household objects for less than $3,000? Probably. When we get back maybe we’ll see you selling everything you own in an effort to follow suit. I’m sure we can pick up some nice things pretty cheap.

4 Responses to “Getting rid of excess baggage”

  1. Alison said:

    Is that a Wayne’s World board game? Party on!

    January 12th, 2010 at 2:52 am

  2. Sam in Beijing said:

    I take a new overseas contract every couple years, but its amazing how much junk one accumulates in just that short time! Sure some of it can be sold in a yard sale or on Craigslist, but what about those things that are too sentimental to just give away to the neighborhood Goodwill?

    I have a tradition, well-loved amongst family and friends, called “Give my stuff away BINGO.” Invite everyone you know, open a few bottles of wine, and hand out BINGO cards (easy to make on your own). Every time someone wins, they grab something to take home. This way, that much loved bowling trophy or original oil painting doesn’t wind up at the bottom of the Pound Bins, but instead goes to someone who will actually value it.

    April 25th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

  3. Kyle said:

    That is a great idea. I might have to incorporate that if we find ourselves in need of getting rid of everything again.

    April 26th, 2011 at 10:25 am

  4. Kaile said:

    I move around a lot for seasonal work in Alaska. For me, I am able to keep a few boxes at parents/friends houses while I go back and forth. If its only a box or two, I find most people don’t mind sticking it in the back of their spare closet or garage – as long as you trust the friend to keep it.

    March 11th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

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