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The best part of this travel around the world project is the preparation as we share in our 2 posts about planning: Part 1 and Part 2. However there is another aspect of all this planning that needs to be tackled and figured out as well.
How can we declutter our lives before we start this new nomad lifestyle?
What are we going to do with all our stuff?
We can’t just leave our home closed for a year, whether we rent or sell (this decision is still up in the air), what we know is that we need to get an income out of it as well. In order to achieve this we need to get all our personal stuff out!
I don’t know you, but everyday my home looks like a bomb fell in every single room! It feels like the stuff just keeps on multiplying! We clean up one area and magically more stuff appears in another! It is so overwhelming and I often ask myself where should I start from in cleaning it all?
It is true, we still have plenty of months ahead of us, but time goes by fast! I am worried that I will have too many things to do last-minute and this would be an extra burden.
What inspired me
One day, during my “what are we going to do with all our stuff” crisis I was wondering around Michael’s. I know that is the perfect place to buy more stuff to add to your clutter! However I found this book The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify (Updated and Revised).
I will be honest the title attracted and scared me at the same time. Today’s lifestyle makes us want more than what we actually need. When I look around at all the stuff we have, I wonder how much of it do we really NEED after all? The chance of having less and be happy about it was very appealing to me……this is when my decluttering project started!
I recommend reading it, but I want to share the main things that I have from the book and that have helped me start my decluttering process…….
The decluttering process
For the time being I have worked mainly on my stuff as practice for when the tough decluttering will start! My side of the closet was pretty scary the morning I was brave enough to tackle it, but after I felt many pounds lighter!
The first part of the book tries to help you put into prospective and think more in-depth about the stuff you own, why you own it and how did it get in your house, so you will have to place each object in one of the following categories:
- Useful: means it has to be used not just potentially useful…..!
- Beautiful: it is ok to have pieces that please your eyes but they must have a prominent place in your house otherwise what is the point!
- Emotional: sometimes you have to ask yourself if you are keeping a specific object because you are emotionally attached to it or for a sense of obligation, if it is the second case maybe it should be with someone else!
We are not what we own, our stuff doesn’t represent us as a person and we shouldn’t feel the need to give it such an important role in our lives. Less stuff is going to give us more freedom, less to clean up and more time to enjoy to do what we like to do.
The eye-opener moment for me
The author gives a very fitting analogy for our family and our traveling.
Think about what a pain it is to drag around two or three heavy suitcases when you are on vacation. You’ve anticipated the trip for ages, and when you disembark from your plane you can’t wait to explore the sights. Not so fast. First you have to wait (and wait and wait) for your bags to appear on the luggage carousel. Next you need to haul them through the airport. You might as well head to the taxi stand, as maneuvering them on the subway would be nearly impossible. And forget about getting a jump-start on sightseeing – you must head directly to your hotel, to rid yourself of the enormous burden. When you finally reach your room, you collapse in exhaustion.
Is that how you want to waste your time? Not me!!!!
Once you come to realize that you don’t need all this stuff that is piling up in your home. You start detaching from it. Then you have to protect your home from new stuff that wants to come in, by asking yourself “Do you deserve a place in my home?” “What value will you add to my household?” “if not how hard will it be to get rid of you?”.
But how does the process actually work? First of all one room at the time. Secondly apply a new way of thinking that will make decluttering much easier. Think of what to keep than what to throw away.
So whatever room you decide to start from you are going to pull EVERYTHING out and I mean EVERYTHING, trust me once you see how much stuff you have piled up, it will be so much easier to detach from it, because there is no way you are going to want to fit it back in whatever place it was hiding! Once your mess is all over the floor you are going to create 4 boxes:
- Temporarily undecided: for the things that you are not sure where to put. If they are still in there after 6 months still not used then maybe you have your answer!
- Trash: anything that is garbage or broken or useless also for Goodwill.
- Treasure: items that you will keep because useful or because emotionally attached to.
- Transfer: items that are useful to someone other than you! This pile can be subdivided in:
- Sell (sometimes selling makes it easier to let something go)
Finally once you can free yourself from the clutter there will be a place for everything in your home. At that point you will have to limit what comes in. If you buy a book, after reading it, don’t just keep it because you paid for it! Give it, put it back in circulation and just keep those titles that you really care for.
The final result
The book goes in much more detail. It focuses on each room and how best to work on it. It was truly a great source of inspiration!
As of now I have started mainly working on a few rooms. I’m really happy to see that my older kids are starting to pick up on this too. Just the other day, Emma filled up 5 bags of toys that she realized she doesn’t need anymore. It was very proud moment for me! I’ll be honest, some of the things she put in the bag I almost said “we just bought it or you just got it for your birthday!”. Immediately I realized that she was mature enough to understand that she didn’t need that toy. It was just sitting in her room. However we are going to be doing many yard sales this year. She will have her own space where she can try to sell her toys. We are also going to be donating many as well!
This is a little (although it feels huge for me!) topic of our trip planning that I really needed to share, because I really feel that when you are putting together such a life changing experience you can’t forget all the important parts that made the experience possible.
If you need to declutter your house, your mind and your life, it is never too late to do it and if you need inspiration definitely try reading The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify (Updated and Revised)!