If you are planning on travelling for an extended period of time, one of the first decisions that you need to make is what you are going to do with all your possessions. There are lots of people travelling Australia who have young children and limited funds. If you are in that position it might mean that you are not able to get rid of everything as you will need it when you return. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a serious declutter before you travel.
If you have read my post on Planning for the Future you will know that we had two houses which were both investment properties and we were renting a third. Last year we sold the bigger, newer house. We then moved into the other, much smaller house. Moving into a smaller house required me to re-assess how much ‘stuff’ we had and how much of it we really needed to keep.
DECLUTTER BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
Even if you do decide to get rid of everything (like we are planning) there will always be some things that you can’t part with. If you can start the decluttering process well before you are ready to travel you will have less stuff to sort and store when the time comes to leave. The less you have to store the cheaper it will ultimately be if you have to pay for storage. For example you might only need a 20 foot container instead of a 40 foot container.
So, if you are like us and long term travel is in your future now is the time to start decluttering. When you start, think about why you want to keep something. Remember the memory is not in the object. I have worked around this by taking photos of some things that I thought I couldn’t part with and then getting rid of them.
I only work part time and wear a uniform so I don’t need many clothes. I still had a tub of jumpers from when we lived down south – 11 years ago! I had kept them ‘just in case’ but never worn them again. So I donated them early this year. Brenden also had a pile of old work clothes from other companies he has worked for so I tossed those too.
One of the biggest decisions I made was choosing to donate my wedding dress. I had kept it in the hope that Miss Oz might one day wear it but at 15 she was already to tall for it. So I donated it to Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies. This is a charity who turn old wedding gowns or bridesmaid dresses into tiny outfits for little bubs who pass away. It is a beautiful charity and the work their volunteers do is amazing.
I had a huge collection of recipe books and recipes that I had torn from magazines. Out of all these I probably only used four or five on a regular basis. So I recently got ruthless and chucked most of them. Let’s face it the biggest recipe book in the world is Google!
Kids grow so quickly and the toys they loved only six months ago may now seem so babyish. If you know for certain that you won’t be having any more kids get rid of those old toys. You can sell them, donate them or give them to friends or family. But there is seriously no point in keeping stuff that they have outgrown. This applies to books and clothes as well.
DVD’S AND CD’S
Who has a huge DVD or music collection? I know we did. We already had all our C.D’s copied and stored on a hard drive so before we moved last year I sold all of them on eBay, making about $286 in the process. I also still had a few vinyl records which I sold for good money. Kids DVD’s and console games sell very well and can make good money.
I love reading but I stopped buying books ages ago so I don’t have many left. However the kids have quite a few that had been given to them by grandparents who are no longer with us. So when choosing which ones to keep I looked to see if they had been written in. This way I knew I was keeping the really special ones. They ended up with about one small box each.
If you are like me you probably have a collection of photos from the days before digital cameras. All the kids baby photos are in albums as are photos of mine and Brenden’s childhood. The thing is that I had stacks of photos of people that I’d even forgotten who they were. So I went through my albums and condensed several albums into one. I also have a stack of photos that I am going to scan so I have a digital copy of them. The photo albums of course will go into storage.
This one might be a hard one for the blokes to get their heads around. But even Brenden has embraced the idea of decluttering his tools. As he has always ‘played’ with cars and bikes he had a huge collection of tools and tool boxes that he no longer had use for. Some were also poor quality that he had replaced along the way but not got rid of. He now has a small tool kit that lives in the back of the BT and another one in the shed. As most of his time is now spent flying and building drones, the tools he needs for that are much smaller.
I had so many plastic containers, glasses, mugs and various dishes that I never used. When we moved I had to get rid of quite a bit just because I had no where to store it. Considering that when we go camping I take one saucepan, a fry pan and one mixing bowl I knew that I could do without a lot of the stuff that I had.
Can you see yourself using these decluttering tips to help you get started? I can assure you it’s really easy once you start!