I read a book on minimalism a couple of years ago and it got me thinking that if I’m leaving to go travel then I don’t want to have too much stuff weighing me down…so I started thinking about how I could to get rid of most everything I owned!
I had over 40 years of stuff…and I needed to downsize big time!
Last year I was moving into a new house so I thought that would be a good time to start my purge.
I decided that I wanted to get rid of at least 50% of my stuff. A huge purge!!! I moved my bed, big mirror, couch, TV’s, 25 pairs of shoes and a small plastic bin of purses into my new house. Yes…I LOVE shoes and purses, don’t judge me.
It was going to be tough to get rid of that much stuff, but I had a deadline. My mom and I scheduled a garage sale and put an ad in the paper. That made it more real and I needed to go through all of my stuff.
I started by organizing and packing away all of my son’s memento’s and his childhood items and put them up in my dad’s garage.
Funny story about that. My parents were out of town the weekend of the McLean Road Spaghetti Feed, but that didn’t stop some of my family from meeting at their house so we could walk over for yummy spaghetti. I was also able to talk some of those family members into hauling up my son’s bins into my dad’s garage. My brother thought it would be funny to record me directing everyone. And the video also showed how many bins went into my dads garage. My dad was less then impressed…but the bins are still there. Was a win for me!!!
I then went through my childhood boxes that I have been moving with me everywhere I go. I was ruthless while going through those boxes. It was emotional for me…making decisions on what to keep from my life, items from both sets of grandparents, from my aunt who died when I was young and items that I had gathered throughout my life.
I found out that I was not attached to the item, but to the memory that comes into my mind when seeing that item. So I setup a little photo studio and started taking pictures of all of the items in those boxes. Now when I feel nostalgic, I can go into Google photo’s and look at the pictures.
It was incredibly freeing to sell, donate or give away all of those things that were holding me back. It’s such an amazing feeling.
I believe that I gave up over 70% of everything I owned the day of the garage sale. After two days of selling we donated all of the left over items to a local church for their upcoming garage sale.
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get rid of everything. I have a small plastic container full of items from my childhood that I just couldn’t let go of. And I kept some small items that I have on a shelf in my bedroom. I also have all of my yearbooks since kindergarten and my baby book. I couldn’t go cold turkey…that would be too much of a shock!
I also took all my photos out of all of my photo albums and put them into photo boxes. This will be my next big project. I plan on sorting all the photos in all seven of the photo boxes…yep, seven. And storing all the photos digitally. WARNING: For those in my life that are in my photos, you will be receiving an envelope from me with those pictures enclosed.
After my big purge I decided that I still needed to purge more items. So every month I go around my room, garage and house and fill up at least one garbage bag with items to donate! The last few months I was able to fill up 2 bags to donate each month. It really feels so good to get rid of stuff. Not sure why we think we need so much stuff.
I have changed how I shop too. I used to see something cute or awesome at the store and I wouldn’t think twice about swiping my debit card and bringing that item and about ten of their friends home with me. Retail therapy. Now when I shop I ask myself, “If I buy this item will it be something that I will take with me when I travel?” If the answer is no, then I don’t buy it. And trust me, I haven’t been spending money on much. Which leaves more money to put into the renovation of my trailer, and to put more money into my ‘get outta’ dodge’ fund!