What to do with your stuff when traveling
If you have decided to leave the rat race for good, take a sabbatical or an extended vacation you have a few decisions to make about what to do with your stuff. Many of us don't want to keep up the expenses of an entire home for the sake of our stuff collecting dust.
Once you have made the decision to go on your upcoming adventure which is the fun part, then you are faced with decisions on what to do with all your belongings. Many of us take a look around our home and are worried about what to do with the couch, dishes, clothes, and the list could go on. None of us are going to bring the kitchen sink on our upcoming adventure however some of us aren't ready to get rid of the kitchen sink either.
When we moved to China in 2011, and I didn't want to give Goodwill my baby pictures, or my blender, or the business suits that I had spent so much money on only 9 months earlier, I had to find a solution. We were renting out our house which had a basement. We ended up renting the house partially furnished and used the basement space to store the items we couldn't part with just yet, or the family heirlooms.
Every time we met someone on a longer than vacation adventure, we asked if they sold, rented their home, what about their car, oh and all the stuff. I found that every time we asked we heard a different answer. "We sold our home and store our stuff in mom's basement." "We were renting and didn't renew our lease, along with selling every possession we owned." The good news is that there is no wrong solution to what to get rid of or what to keep. So let's take it step by step.
First pick out the things that you would grab running out of the house if there was a fire, of course after your kids and pets. Are these items you will bring with you? If not, then where would make the most sense to store them? A few questions here are how big are they, do you have a friend or family with an empty basement?
Second, the clutter, the extra. This is where you go through the drawers, closets, cupboards and get rid of everything you haven't used in 6 months. I like this rule because 6 months is a long time and if in the last six months you haven't found a need for those 300 rubber bands you are saving, they can go. Getting rid of clutter is essential to cleanse your spirit and your home so you can focus on your adventure and your dreams. Many of us are in denial about how much clutter we have until we have to move (who wants to move all that stuff) or have a vision of a lighter life.
If you are ready to Declutter your life, then I highly suggest a Declutter Clinic which will help you get through those closet drawers, kitchen cabinets, and shelves of books so you can leave for your next adventure without worrying about *stuff*. Come on people stuff isn't worth worrying about while trekking through the jungles of Costa Rica or riding camels in Egypt. I like this clinic because it has been put together by travelers. They understand all that one goes through when making a big life change.
Third, sell, sell, sell. I loved selling our stuff. The extra money helped fund our experience. It also helped me let go of pieces knowing that we were getting money in return. I am also happy we sold some of the pieces we knew our renter wouldn't use. Because we never returned to that house. When we returned almost 4 years later, We continued to rent that house out and moved to a new area of town. The furniture wouldn't have fit anyway.
Four, get your storage in order. Having a reliable storage unit to store your valuables while you go on your next adventure brings a sense of peace. Storing our valuables while we were gone me feel better and I knew that when we returned my baby clothes were still there. They can take away some of the stress in your upcoming move. When you are undertaking a life change anything that can relieve some of the pressure is smiled upon in my book. If you don't have a friend or family member offering up square footage for your belongings remember to shop around for the best price. Storage unit fees can add up quickly, so make sure you are only storing the irreplaceable, and necessary.
Get out there and have fun on your adventure and embrace your life change. Don't worry about your things or your family treasures. First, you must declutter, second find a safe spot to store your memorabilia, third have the adventure of your life. See how simple it is? Relax and focus on your life change. Don't let your belongings hold you back.