Confession: I have too much stuff

I have a lot of stuff. I don’t think I realized this until very recently. After all I live in a dining room. How much could I possibly have room for?

The answer is a lot. Obviously.

I guess when I orginially decided that I didn’t have that much I forgot about the boxes under my bed. Or the two walk in closets. Or the book sheleves. Or the kitchen. Eek.

For the last two weeks its been my personal mission to declutter my life. After all for the next 6 months or so I will be living with nothing more than what I can carry on my back.

So i’ve started the long process of sorting through everything. My life has devolved into piles. Piles to keep. Piles to sell. Piles to donate. Piles to take on the trip. I’m starting to feel like I’m just endlessly shuffling things around my apartment.

Selling

I haven’t sold much…mainly because I didn’t really put as much effort in as I could have. I should have started earlier and put things on craigslist. Oh well. Here’s what I did manage to sell:

(One of the items I couldn’t find a picture of..see if you can guess which one)

Patio Furniture – $200

iHome Music Player – $20

Foxfeild Framed Poster – $35

Ikea Shelving – $40

For a grand total of $295 that I can add to the trip budget. (Also, if you guess Foxfeild Poster as the item I didn’t have a picture of – you are correct! If you guessed any of the other three you are an idiot.)

Keeping

At first when I planned this trip I declared “I’m getting rid of it all. Selling all my things!”

Once I got over my crazy-world-traveler-possessions-are-evil phase I realize that getting rid of everything didn’t really make much sense for a 6 month trip. So I will be keeping a lot. Especially the things I will need on the other end.

Couch. Bed. Dresser. Work Clothes. Ugh.

Luckily my travel buddy and current roommate, Shannon, has a very nice sister who is allowing me to store my things in her basement.

Taking

This is the question that makes me want to hyperventilate and crawl into my bed and cry. Okay maybe not that dramatic but defiantly some whiney sniffling. I honestly have no idea what to pack. I keep finding things and putting them aside to “take.”

For example: All the little travel bottles I’ve been collecting. Well. It’s gotten a little out of control.

Sigh.

Back to the drawing board. I do have one pile that seems promising.

Yeah. That’s a book. A scarf, a pack of cards and a purse. That’s my packing pile so far. That will get me pretty far for 6 months in Asia, huh?

Obviously it’s a disaster.

At least I have a few weeks left. In the mean time I just keep focusing on paring down my stuff, organizing my apartment and hoping the Devine Intervention steps in and packs for me.

So far I’ve made some progress…. things are getting kind of empty around here:

As it happens, that olympic athletes stance pretty much sums up how I feel every 20 minutes as I pack up my apartment.

At this point I could probably change my confession to “I have a normal amount of stuff.”

Still, a lot more work to be done before I’m ready to head to Russia.

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9 Responses to Confession: I have too much stuff

  1. Hannah says:

    I feel your pain! It’s a tedious process that I have struggled with too, but one that I have also found deeply rewarding. Good luck sorting through the rest of your stuff :)

  2. It’s amazing how easily you can amass stuff! Tony and I figured we hardly had anything prior to our move because we lived in a 700 sq foot apartment… how wrong we were! It was definitely an eye-opener when we were purging our apartment, and I hope it will carry over now that we’ve gotten rid of it all. On the plus side, we made well over $1k selling our stuff, but lesson learned: it would have been better not to accrue all that stuff in the first place!

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Wow! Thats a lot of money. I guess yo udid a better job selling than I did. However, you are correct – my goal for when I get back is to cut down on getting new things so it won’t be so painful next time.

  3. Sylvain Beauregard says:

    Yes, I’m also in this process. I just moved into a smaller appt, to prepare myself for a world trip of my own next year. It’s incredible the amount of things we accumulate over the years and think we need. It’s so easy to forget stuff in a closet… or just say “that’s a smile pile there on the shelf”… until you begin to go through that pile… and realize it’s more than meets the eye.

    I too accumulated over $1200 already selling stuff, and I already did many trips to a charity store nearby to donate stuff that would be hard to sell or not worth the hassle (I just refuse to post classifieds for items worth less than $10, it doesn’t worth the time and trouble). Since the charity store was closed for vacation when I emptied my old appt, I had to move all that stuff to my new one… now I’m re-sorting stuff and go to deliver them a few bags every day. I’m so glad I have a locker here to store some of that stuff.

    I left what we call here a 3 1/2 appt (bedroom, living, kitchen, bath), into a small bachelor (already furnished, the only furniture I moved was shelving and chair on wheels). Before moving, I threw away dozens of large bags full of stuff.

    I will give away about the equivalent of 30 2-cubic feet boxes.

    I’ll be leaving Montreal next June… the “cleansing” process is far from being over… but a large volume is gone.

    I found liberating getting rid of all that stuff I didn’t really use, just accumulated over the years. Having a yard sale was a great way to get rid of stuff at a cheap price helping others a lot… but I still got lots of money that way.

    The hard part was more with the sentimental stuff… momentos, etc, stuff that cannot be replaced at any cost. I have kept some travelling souvenirs for now, to remind me of what I’m aiming to.

    Next step in the cleansing process is to scan important documents and store them securely online. Who knows, it might be needed on the road to prove I have a university degree or to answer government fiscal questions (even if all these documents are in French). I’ll probably have a few documents I cannot destroy before my departure (like tax reports, which we have to keep for X many years), but I’m confident all that will fit within a small box in a friend’s closet somewhere.

    Good luck for your trip and keep us posted… since many of your cities along the way are on my list to visit too.

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Thanks for the great comment! Its really interesting to see how other people are tackling their clutter. I’ll be sure to follow along as you plan your trip!

  4. Lindsey says:

    I guess when I orginially decided that I didn’t have that much I forgot about the boxes under my bed. Or the two walk in closets. Or the book sheleves. Or the kitchen. Eek.

    Haha this sounds exactly like me! I have stuff strewn everywhere that I forgot I’d have to deal with. Like you, I’m also keeping a fair amount, though I have to admit some of it is just because I’m ridiculously attached to an item. Like the ottoman I scored of the kerbside cleanup. I’m absolutely going to want that when I get home in 18 months. Yep.

    Congratulations on reaching a normal amount ;)

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      I think its something a lot of people find out as they start to move. I agree – I think I attach value to things based on memories I have or how I got them rather then the cost of the item. It makes it so much harder to part ways!

  5. It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate over the years, even when you think you aren’t.

    We’ve recently decided to donate or sell basically everything we own (besides personal mementos) and then make the move up to Alaska for a year. After that? Who knows.

    But we’ve begun the process of eliminating the unnecessary items – and there are a *lot* of them – and it’s actually been pretty fun. I can’t wait to be down to the bare necessities. It’s already been more freeing getting rid of what we have already.

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