Becoming a minimalist

Warning: Selling everything sometimes sucks

It wasn’t until I started going through every crevice of my apartment that it really hit home just how much stuff I have. You don’t really think of it as a lot of stuff until you start going through every box, every closet, and every storage bin. I’m so happy that I only have an 800 square foot apartment and that only half of the stuff here is even mine (the other half belongs to my ex-boyfriend Curtis). If I had a 4,000 square foot house like most of suburban American’s do I’d want to kill myself right now.

When I started to realize how much stuff I had that I hadn’t even touched in years I knew it was too much and that I never wanted to do this again. In the past two cleaning days inside my apartment with Jaime of Breakaway Backpacker we’ve thrown away 15 bags of trash. Really Jenny?!? 15 bags. Really?

Selling everything and becoming a minimalist

Throwing my stuff in the dumpster!

Those trash bags included everything from paper sample books to postcards to paperwork to product boxes to sketches to writings to bottles of who knows what to just downright trash! When is the last time I actually used this stuff and do I really need it? Most of the stuff I forgot I even had. Some of it I was excited to see again, but only for a brief moment until Jaime made me put it in the “sell” pile reminding me that if I haven’t used it in over a year I definitely don’t need it now. There were items I found that I remember impulsively buying at the store and then subsequently never actually using them. There were items that I remember I just had to have and then only using them a few times before discarding them to the dark corners of my closet. It’s an emotionally draining roller coaster process that is hitting my heart pretty hard. It’s been a very scary road and a difficult realization to emotionally deal with. I feel like such a fool. Like I had been lied to for years only to finally find out the truth.

People can call me “lucky” all they want for traveling the world, but the truth is, it’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of courage to sell everything you own, leave behind your friends and family, and follow your dreams. It’s a risk, but a risk worth taking. I don’t want to wake up in 20-years and regret not taking action. I’d want to be known as a person who did what I said I was going to do.

This whole selling everything process makes me just want to get rid of everything but at the same time I must realize the need to take baby steps. I don’t really know what my future holds so I want to do this in the most cost-effective and least painful way possible. Am I going to leave for a year only to want to come back? Am I going to be gone 10-years? I just don’t know. There are things that won’t go bad like items in my kitchen, my bed (which I’ve yet to find storage for), and my graphic design books. I have however minimalized all of these items to the bare minimum by only keeping my Kitchenaide mixer, Kichenaide pots and pans, and narrowed down my books to my most-used 15%. I have decided to sell everything else in those categories or given them to Curtis for his new condo.

Selling everything to travel the world

The "Sell" pile gets larger and larger!

There are a few things I’ve lost in the past that I’ve really regretted losing. They were all sentimental items so while I have made the decision to get rid of some sentimental items I haven’t gotten rid of them all. I’ve taken a look at the items that mean the most to me and narrowed them down to the ones that are the most important. The items I deem most important are the ones I can see myself wanting to look back through in 10 or 20 years from now and are not replaceable. The rest can be just memories. Like the award I got from my client of 8-years for my high-performance work on a big project (which I received $3 for in my garage sale) or the trophies I received racing motocross. Those can be let loose into the wild for someone else to own. The photos I have from my entire life or the journals I’ve written over the years are things I’ll want to remember and look back on one day so I want to keep those.

The longer and more enduring this process is the more I’m ashamed that it’s even gotten to this point. I never want to own just stuff that sits in a closet collecting dust for any number of years. I don’t want to collect any sort of item or anything that doesn’t have functionality, in essence becoming a minimalist. Last month I was at my parent’s house and I opened up a few of the closets only to find items that haven’t been used since I was a young child. It hit the concept home even further making me realize that I didn’t want to be like that.

Just a few weeks ago if you walked through my apartment it would have looked just like it did a year ago. I was pretending that life was the same and I wasn’t really going to travel the world by not taking action. I was procrastinating because I was scared. Over the last few weeks though my apartment has started to look much different. As you walk through my apartment you’ll find the only furniture remaining is a desk, a few small tables, a bookshelf and a bed. Both closets are completely empty. The living room only hosts two fans, a rug, a dog bed, and a few dog toys. My bookshelf once home to over 270 books now only holds 35. My sun room is completely empty with exception to my clothes and the keep pile. In essence, my apartment is empty. My dream is coming to fruition and becoming more real with each passing day. I’m committed. There is no backing out now. Before I know it I’ll be in my truck heading to Dallas to spend a few weeks at my parents house to hand over my dogs.

Needless to say it’s fucking scary. Am I out of my damn mind?

(Please leave a comment below)

Jenny is rebooting her life. She is leaving everything behind to backpack the world as a digital nomad. She doesn’t know when, where, or if she’s coming home.

  • http://www.backpackofdreams.com Dayle

    Oooh I totally get where you’re coming from, it’s something I’ve really struggled with over the last couple of months and have come down to 2 and a half weeks left and a lot of work to put in with not a lot of time to do it! Great post!

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      I can’t imagine having to do all of this in 2 1/2 weeks. So far I’ve worked 5 weeks on sorting, cleaning, and selling. I have an upcoming post on cleaning the garage and then one on my first garage sale.

    • http://yeararoundtheworld.com Matt | YearAroundTheWorld

      LOL. I have about 3 weeks, and haven’t made much of a dent. Time to get crackin!

  • http://www.solofemaletraveler.com Sabina

    Jenny, I’m curious – do you get to keep the bed after all? I couldn’t tell from this post and I remember you were really wanting to keep it but had nowhere to put it. I hope you get to keep it!!

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      I want to keep it, but have yet to find a home for it. I still have a few people to ask though.

      • Selfish

        yet another spoilt person. Why not sell all your stuff and join the missions go help people instead of prolonging your teenage years and indulging a mentality of I dont want to grow up, I don’t want responsibility. Why are people applauding your selfishness afterall you have just told everyone i’m going on holiday why the hell are people applauding that.

        • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

          I’m building and living the life I want to live… what is so selfish about that? Just because it’s unconventional doesn’t make it wrong. We only get once chance at life and I want to make mine not only matter, but have a hell of a time in the process. To each their own.

  • http://radicalify.com Jack

    Great post – I really identified with it! I know *exactly* what you’re going through. That is a tough process, to give up all your possessions. It was a lot more work than I anticipated, too. I’m proud of you though. In the end, I think you will be happier.

    My mother actually started crying when I sold her my big-screen TV. She said my apartment (which was pretty spartan by that point) looked like I was giving up on life. It took me a while to convince her that I was joining life. I’m not sure she is 100% convinced still!

    For what it’s worth, the fear that I had eventually turned into excitement. Apart from the initial paralysis of being able to go anywhere and do anything (OMG, what do I choose!??) it has been more and more fun.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Yeah. It’s a tough process… and way more work than I anticipated. I’ll be holding a garage sale every weekend for the next few weeks while the weather is nice.

  • http://twitter.com/samomin Safan

    Great post! I don;t know if it was your intention, but this post is kind of motivational and makes me want to start getting rid of stuff that I have been hoarding for years. I admire your courage in letting go of you possessions.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Glad that I could be an inspiration! Start narrowing down your most important possessions and thinking about what you can get rid of.

  • Gillian

    It’s a laborious process and one we’re trying not to repeat. Now that we’re back from our RTW we’re trying to fend off the consumerism fever that has hit N.America.

  • http://twitter.com/jrmoreau James Ryan Moreau

    Such a great and encouraging post. I had my “oh shit, I have too much stuff moment” when I was stuck in Madison, WI after getting laid off from a startup job I moved there for in the first place six months earlier. I met my girlfriend while traveling in Colorado and wanted to move there for a new life, but realized I was broke and could never afford a U-Haul. So I got rid of anything that didn’t fit in my Toyota Yaris and hit the road. I haven’t looked back once and would love to pare down my stuff even more! I realize how much clothes I have that I never wear and I think that’s a few extra inches in the front seat that I could have had on my (very cramped) 1000 mile drive.

    Cheers to lightening your load and cherishing what you decide to keep!

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Thanks. I’m just glad I was able to recognize the problem and fix it before it got even more out of hand. Kudos to you to starting a new life somewhere.

    • Anonymous

      For most of my life I’ve had a camper-covered pickup truck. My general rule has been that my entire life needs to fit into my truck. I was a bit overcapacity in college, but moving abroad helped me cut down on a huge amount of stuff. I’m back in the US now and seem to have kicked the “stuff” bug, and my stuff once again all fits into my truck. I feel very lucky to have a boyfriend who is stationary and who has things like *gasp* furniture, but it was also my lack of belongings that allowed us to get a smaller, but much nicer, apartment that we both love.

  • http://inspiringtravellers.com/ Inspiring Travellers

    Haha – completely feel your pain at the moment. We don’t even buy that much stuff but somehow four years stuck in one place has led to quite a bit of accumulation. I’m busy packing boxes and posting ads online for our junk. If I have to field one more email from someone who didn’t read the ad and has a bunch of questions already answered by what I’ve posted there, I’m going to scream! Good luck with the rest of it – you’ll be free and on the road soon enough! =) Andrea

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      OMG Don’t get me started on the crap that craigslist starts! lol Time wasters.

  • http://www.breakawaybackpacker.com Jaime

    I know it is way easier said then done but TRASH IT, TRASH IT, TRASH IT seem to be the only words coming out of my mouth when I am helping you….lol!!! Jenny I am VERY proud of you because I know its hard just watching everything go. Yes some it is trash & stuff that you don’t need but other things are practical things that you could have kept and getting rid of it all is hard. Seriously we have gotten REALLY FAR in such a short period of time. I know we still have what seems like A LOT to do but we can get that done this coming Sunday. I am going to be here helping you out until you leave come December. We are the HOUSTON TBEX….LMFAO!!!

  • http://www.thelifething.com Jonny Gibaud

    You won’t regret it, I promise.

  • http://UncorneredMarket.com Audrey

    When Dan and I moved to Prague at the end of 2001, we had 6 suitcases. Five years later, we had a whole apartment full of crap, even though we rented a furnished apartment. I feel your pain – getting rid of all that was bad, but even worse was that we had accumulated so much in a relatively short time. But, once it’s gone you’ll forget about it and wonder why you needed it in the first place. This is painful, but it’s a cleansing and freeing process as well.

  • http://twitter.com/gabybali Febriola Gaby Suroto

    Selling everything up for RTW trip, taking a BIG risk? YOU GO GIRL! The world needs more brave & interesting ppl like you, Jenny! I will follow your RTW trip from here. Cheers from Bali (if you ever made to this paradise island). Check out my Bali travel tips & ideas for you http://www.beeamazing.com
    And where are you going back to when thir trip is over? back to the same (empty now) apartment?

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Thanks for following!

      I won’t come back to my apartment once I leave. I’ll be gone for good.

  • http://www.islandmomma.wordpress.com Islandmomma

    I have to smile. I started doing this in 2002, and still haven’t finished! I sold all my furniture, except for a couple of small items, and got rid of all the other household stuff I hadn’t used in a while. I was lucky to have a friend with a vacant and waterproof garage that time. It was horrendous, and I was floundering, not knowing what to trash and what to sell. I know much better now, after a couple more times. I’ve refurnished, and sold again (that time complete with furnishings!), and now I rent (present one is semi furnished). Even with some years of experience now I still make mistakes, and the total of my possession reduces each time! I’m beginning to plan for next year, and this weekend will do a car boot sale (which is what we do in Europe, as opposed to garage sale). The more I do it, the easier it gets to part with things. Worst has always, always been books, but with the advent of Kindle I’m thinking of ditching most of those too. I admire your determination in that!

    It still surprises me how much I collect when I settle for a bit, even though I’m aware of not doing, but that could be my age. At 63 I figure I want to be fairly comfortable when I’m stuck for a while, were I younger I would definitely settle for less. Best advice I can give is – If in doubt get rid. As someone else said, you won’t regret it!

  • http://travel.prwave.ro Lori

    Can you really give up everything, each object and each memory?

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      If it leads to bigger and better things? Why not?

      • http://twitter.com/amp529 Adri

        I just went through the same process of paring down and selling/donating nearly everything. You’re so right — it’s shocking the amount of things I accumulated in the years I’d been living on my own. Everything I have now fits in 3 suitcases, plus one plastic bin of sentimental/irreplaceable items stored back in the US.

        But you don’t have to give up the memories just because you’re giving up an object. I took photos of a few sentimental things that weren’t practical to take with me and were too big/bulky/awkward to store. I scanned some cards, letters, and certificates/awards that I didn’t want to part with.

      • http://travel.prwave.ro Lori

        I guess if you put it this way… I have some precious small objects from my mom, special memories. I don’t know if I could give them up – but than again I’m not in a situation where I must, where I’m committed to a cause, like you are :).

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ GlobalButterfly

    Every time I spring clean I feel a bit disgusted with how much “stuff” I have. There is no need for me to have as much stuff as I do. I agree it does take courage to get rid of everything, but it’s sooooo liberating!!! You feel as though you’ve lost 100 pounds :)

  • Anonymous

    Every time I sold something I felt a weight lift off of me. There are certainly some items with sentimental value, but 99% of stuff just took up space. I knew when I got stressed looking at stacks of DVDs I had never gotten around to watching that something was wrong.

    That said, it’s totally worth it even though the act of selling is a stressful one.

    For me, no matter what happens after my RTW, I know that I won’t ever need to live the overloaded lifestyle again.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Right! I know that I’ll never live like this again. Lesson learned.

  • http://powerspercussion.com/blog MarkPowers

    Wow, Jenny! I bet it IS scary letting so much go. But serious kudos to you for having the courage and persistence to plow through and make it happen. So many people would not be strong enough to follow through to their goals, once face-to-face with difficult steps such as you’re taking on. Keep rockin’, girl!

  • http://www.globotreks.com Norbert

    Getting rid everything is scary… but at the same time it gives you that freeing feeling that will make you go on the road like if it was a fresh start.

    Material possessions come and go, but memories last forever… go on with your journey so you can build more everlasting memories that will change your life and how you see this world.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Thank you!

  • http://www.baconismagic.ca Ayngelina

    I started selling 6 months prior so it wasn’t really traumatizing, it also gave me time to reflect on if I REALLY needed to keep things. In the end I had 3 rubbermaid containers. 1 of kitchen stuff that was expensive and I loved, 1 of clothes that I loved (expensive winter coat etc) and 1 of souvenirs, photos, memories.

    I”m actually kind of excited to come back to only 3 boxes of things.

  • http://twitter.com/stevecooks Steve Strom

    I’m part way through a similar process. I just spent a month traveling and I felt a certain heaviness coming back to all my stuff. I had started a process of weeding through it all last summer. My time away only made it clearer how little I need the stuff.My desired result is trying to get all my items except for a shelf unit, a desk and chair into my bedroom closet. The items from that closet will fit in a pickup truck. My process has me going through things in multiple passes. It’s been too long since I brought someone in to work with me. Keep going. (I guess I’m saying that for both of us.)

  • Anonymous

    Why do you think so few of us do sell everything we own to travel the world? We know what a chore it will be! :-)

  • http://www.1yearsabbatical.com Matt

    Hi Jenny! So glad I read this as we will be starting this same process but on a bit larger scale (myself, wife and 2 kids). It’s a task I’m not looking forward to so I’m glad that you mention taking baby steps here as I think that will be key to not getting too overwhelmed right at the start. I want to get started soon (still 10 months to go) so that I don’t end up all frantic at the end. There are a few things we will have to sell closer to departure like our cars but I am hoping that there will be a demand for excellent condition super low mileage vehicles. Otherwise I guess my Mom might be selling it. :) Honestly I think I will feel relief in getting rid of all our stuff. BTW…you are not out of your mind.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      I’d get started as quick as possible. If you do it in phases then it’s much easier and you’ll be able to have stuff listed on Craigslist longer and not be so desperate to sell to maximize how much money you can get before doing garage sales and letting go at cheaper prices

    • http://www.touncertaintyandbeyond.com Kim

      I agree that you should start ASAP. My husband and I made a list of things we could start selling immediately, things we needed to keep until closer to the departure. It takes a lot of work and organizing to get everything out of the house! Craigslist was a great help. Definitely use it. We posted a lot of things for free and they were gone within an hour of posting!

  • http://audaciousfreedom.com Kerry-Ann

    Hi Jenny, yes I know this problem all too well. how is it that I left my home with 2 bags and now have to hire 2 containers to cart the stuff around. We (my husband and I) are going to start a serious decluttering campaign when we come back for holiday. Time to get rid of all the stuff we never use and get back to the basics. Not looking forward to the work but am looking forward to an emptier and more liveable house

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Yes. yay for decluttering. You will feel SOOOO good when you do it. It’s hard work, hard on the heart, but so worth it in the end!

  • http://audaciousfreedom.com Kerry-Ann

    Hi Jenny, yes I know this problem all too well. how is it that I left my home with 2 bags and now have to hire 2 containers to cart the stuff around. We (my husband and I) are going to start a serious decluttering campaign when we come back for holiday. Time to get rid of all the stuff we never use and get back to the basics. Not looking forward to the work but am looking forward to an emptier and more liveable house

  • http://www.ibackpackertravel.com Slice from iBackpacker Travel

    I started selling everything before I left for a long backpacking trip in 2008, then I gave up and just left it. I’m kind of glad I did leave some stuff for me to come back to, but really when I came back I also thought “I don’t need all this junk”. I don’t think I’d sell any trophies or awards I got though, I think I’d regret that in the future.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Yeah the trophies are kinda hard. Maybe just gonna keep the most memorable ones. Don’t need 15 of them.

  • http://www.xanga.com/peggytee Peggy

    “People can call me “lucky” all they want for traveling the world, but the truth is, it’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of courage to sell everything you own, leave behind your friends and family, and follow your dreams. It’s a risk, but a risk worth taking.”

    This quote really struck me – I am not doing anything as amazing as selling everything and travelling the world like you, but I have relocated 3 times, living in 3 different continents and people say that I’m so “lucky” because I am able to travel so much and live in different cities… but the truth is that the travel, and the relocation is the culmination of sacrifice (saving $$!), hard work (research, planning) and courage (uprooting from the familiar).

    I’ll be following your journey with much interest!!

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Everyone has their different kind of life that they prefer. I think it’s awesome you’ve lived in 3 different continents…. I’ve only really lived in Texas my whole life (29 years)… that’s sad to me! Thank you for following and commenting.

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  • Bessie

    Congratulations!!! It’s such an accomplishment to turn a corner like this and let loose of stuff. It’s hard in the moment, and it’s awesome you had help, but once you’re on the road, and if you really are away for 10 or even just 2 years, you’ll be so glad you got rid of so much. We spewed a lot of stuff a few years back, and the small pile of boxes sitting in my dad’s crawlspace, as small as they are, still sort of weigh on me, like, man, if I had to be paying storage fees, we would have gotten rid of it all.

    Great work getting rid of all the stuff – and I agree – making changes really is work!

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      it feels so great to be getting rid of everything. It’s a lot of work though. Been working on it every weekend for a few months now!

  • Kim

    I remember this process well. My husband and I just went through it 5 months ago. It seems like ages ago now that we’ve started our RTW trip. The tight feeling in your chest will pass pretty quickly. Now that we’re on the road I often think of things that I kept that I want to get rid of when we get back. I’m planning on a second purge. Many of them are the few trophies and items that you said you got rid of on the first try. Good call. It feels good to live so simply.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Yes. It feels great to live simply. It was hard to get rid of some items, but I gotta think of the future. What is replaceable, what isn’t, what means something to me, what is worth a lot…. ect.

      Glad to see others out there that can relate!

  • http://www.albertbliss.com Jean-Pierre

    Hi Jenny.
    Your posts reveals well one can go through when assessing what to do with ‘stuff’. I found that I took the exact same expiration date on things. One year. That seems fair to let go anything that has not been used for more than 12 months. It has the virtue of leaving the seasonal items; and those can be easily forgotten when doing this clean-up.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Yes, One year seemed like a good expiration date. There are many things that can be forgotten… I’ve actually already gotten rid of my Christmas decoration items. I did keep a few sentimental ornaments though… might just give them to Curtis though.

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  • http://twitter.com/AllTravelSites AllTravelSites

    Kind of makes you appreciate what someone has to do when they become responsible for someones stuff who has died. Kudos for you for getting out of the race.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Thanks! Yes, it’s A LOT of work. More than I realized.

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  • http://twitter.com/wishcandy wishcandy

    You aren’t crazy.

    Over the past few months i’ve been assisting my family pack up the whole house. 80% of the items belong to my mother, and she may only use about 5-10% of it. The rest of her stuff is in bins, boxes, in closets, crowding up corners of rooms. She just kept getting into emotional fits about having to pack and move a household of stuff into our new tiny townhouse. I just kept thinking: I don’t want to be like this.

    I decided I want to change my life too. I’m going to sell my possessions to pursue creating art full-time and move out next year. No matter how unsupportive people i know are!

    Let’s be free!

    (Now to find homes for my art.)

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  • Dixie13

    Yes! Yes, you are out of your mind… but in a GOOD way! Escaping normal, escaping “The American Dream,” is just necessary sometimes. My hubby and I are in the same boat, only we’ve had maaaany more years to accumulate. Downsized from 2000+ to a 700 sq. ft. apt. with all the favorite things. Now out go the favorite things. Ouch! — and YES!

    Glad I found your blog, someone who understands! Escape is scary stuff. Good for you! We’re less than 3 months to escape day now! Yikes, gotta get busy selling!

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Feels great doesn’t it? I like being out of my mind, it means I have more fun. hahaha

      3 months? wow. Where are you going first?

  • http://www.instantdane.tv Dane Findley

    I honor your courage — and I empathize! I’m not going backpacking for a year, but I am downsizing. I just don’t have the time and energy anymore (well, maybe I do, but I just want to allocate my resources anymore toward maintaining clutter) to organize, dust, and store all of this… STUFF!

    { twitter: danenow }

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Once you start dealing with all the clutter, you realize how much of your time goes to maintaining it. I really had NO idea. I was really surprised and like I said, vow never to be like that again!!!!

  • http://www.RegainYourRelationship.Com Terez

    For the past several months, I have been going through a similar experience. I was a huge comic book collector and had thousands of books representing over 20 years of collecting. They took up 10 long boxes in my tiny studio apartment. Last summer, I began my own journey to become more minimalist, and sold or donated most of my useless, unused stuff, including all but one of my comic boxes. My plan is to donate that final box to soldiers serving overseas. It was very difficult to let stuff go at first, but now I wish I had done it much sooner. Currently, I’m repeating the same process with my DVDs (I no longer own a television – and don’t miss it) and kitchen items. Getting rid of all of that stuff has left me feeling so unburdened and light. I have no regrets. Great post Jenny! Stay safe on your travels.

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      Awesome so glad that you have downsized and it has impacted your life in a very positive way. Yesterday, we cleaned out my dad’s office. When I would walk in it, I would feel on edge, stressed out, like I would trip over something and fall… and now… I feel so clean, so relaxed, at ease… It’s so amazing the effect of reducing stuff has on the way that you feel.

  • Lil

    I have no idea how you do it. I’m moving to another city soon, and am currently trying to reduce my possession and still, it is really hard. Sure I’ve dump/give away quite a lot of things but there’s still a lot of them in the “sentimental” pile that I’m trying to figure what to do. I guess I need to harden my resolve and go through them again.

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  • http://budgettravelerssandbox.com Nancie (Ladyexpat)

    I owned a house when I left Canada for a year. I cleaned out and sold a lot before I left. I had room to store what I didn’t want to sell. I rented the house. I had no storage costs and was able to pay the mortgage with the rent. Two years later I was still in Asia, with no plans of returning soon. Things were starting to go wrong with the property. The last straw was a sewer back-up. It went on the market and sold. My real estate agent put my stuff in storage, and I started to pay 120.00/month. Fast forward to 2006 and I went home and cleaned out the storage unit. 98% was sold or given to charity. It was a very strange feeling, but liberating. I agree with your baby steps. I also know from experience that most of the stuff you keep will probably end up going at some later time. I am now getting ready to make another move. While I don’t have nearly as much stuff this time around I know lots is going to get turfed, sold, and given. I will be liberated again!! Good luck.

  • Helen

    Hey all,

    I’ve always found taking a photo or a short video of an item that you love or are sentimental over helps when it comes to giving/selling/throwing them away. Makes it easier to know it’s not completely gone. You’ve still got proof you owned it. You’ll probably never look at the photos again but at least you know you can if the thought crosses your mind.

    I’ve condensed my belongings I want to keep down to a few archive boxes and my bookcase, mainly because it feels calmer living a life with fewer belongings. Large furniture can easily be sold so I don’t count that. I planned to go travelling a few years ago but it didn’t work out. Maybe next year eh!

  • Sarongit

    I started my journey to down.size in 2007 and am still at it..I’m a slow learner and doer, slower than I ever thought I was! After the initial huge sell last year, I am finally at the level I can stand to take another step toward getting rid of more to prepare for a really big move next year, hopefully, several states over.

    And yes, you are right on about how selling your stuff can hurt..it can hurt alot..I never thought myself attached to stuff..wow, was I wrong..I even broke off friendships with people because during that time, they didn’t treat me the way I felt they should’ve and axed them, boom, outta here!! They deserved it. More trash gone is how I think of it…
    Less is more..the lighter the better..and I would council you to not keep your bed..unless you plastic wrap it bigtime and even then, be prepared for things to have crept through, shifting of materials, etc..(unless it is extremely expensive, donate it to a nice young couple getting married.) It will come back to you…

    Anyway, thanks for the inspiration, Jenny..I need someone HERE with me to help me..I know you feel that way too..it is overwhelming at times..but hanging on to unnecessary stuff is useless and time.consuming..

    Keep me informed at sarongit@yahoo.com….I cannot wait to hear how you are doing…

  • Jianfei

    right now I am in the same boat yet worse. your a very brave person for telling me this story. when you get older, lets have a beer. jianfei@live.com, will let you know when i am in germany

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

      I’m currently in Thailand… should you find yourself in the same area as me at any time, please hit me up. I love meeting up with readers.

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  • JT

    Great stuff Jenny. My wife and I are beginning a (hopefully) thorough purge, with the intentions of starting a process of metamorphosis that will lead us to a more fitting lifestyle. Of course we’ve been at the ‘normal’ for awhile and have a house and lots of stuff to deal with.

    I thought your readers might like to know about an idea called “Loss Aversion”. I find that understanding why our brains work a certain way always helps me overcome those instincts if I need to. We evolved to abhor Loss…it helped our species survive… but for these sorts of situations we just need to overcome that.

    This is a cool book on decisions and how our brain makes them. “How We Decide”, by Johan Lehrer. Here’s a wiki .. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_aversion

    • http://www.whereisjenny.com Jenny

       Thanks for adding to the discussion JT. I’m familiar with Loss Aversion, it’s also a marketing technique used to push sales. : ]