In the last two weeks we have sold all of our furniture, all kitchen appliances, a significant portion of our dishes, glasses, pots, pans and bowls, our car (in 6 hours from posting to being handed cash!) and packed up almost the entirety of our apartment. Come July 31st, everything we own must find a space in the SUV we have rented to carry our gear and us up the western coast of the United States. While I’m displeased to be driving a monstrosity of an SUV up the coast, I’m grateful for the $1000+ saved by not renting a U-haul or similarly sized truck!
The process of selling and giving away most of our household was less painful than expected. Already before we started to advertise our moving sale we were able to sell some of the big pieces like the couch, the dining table and the bed to acquaintances that approached us about it. Once the rest of our things were posted for sale online the 80/20 rule came to life. 80% of the things were claimed within a couple of hours and sold within two days. Another 15% were sold more slowly over the course of the week and the remaining 5% will go to goodwill.
Another interesting discovery that I made during this sale is that it’s possible to tell with a high accuracy from the initial email or phone contact if somebody is really going to buy something or not. People who are really interested in the part move the interaction forward quickly, sound more enthusiastic and have more realistic price expectations. Paying attention to this really pays off when multiple people are interested in a part. Showing it first to the one who seems serious about it saves time and hassle.
We had contemplated keeping and storing our furniture, but with the uncertainty of which continent we will settle down in, and when, we eventually came to the conclusion that everything must go.
We also ran the numbers on renting a storage unit and shipping our household. The finances of this obviously highly depend on the type and value of furniture you own, the storage location and the shipping distance. Our furniture and future furniture aspirations led to the conclusion that starting over at our next home will be the way to go.
Selling our household has also taken the edge off of our pre-trip costs, as we have already spent over $1000 in plane tickets and travel related medical expenses alone!
While moving and packing is certainly stressful, it provides some much-needed motivation to sit down and decide what is important to hold on to. I moved here with everything I owned stuffed into a 1995 Ford Taurus sedan. M moved here with everything in two bags he carried on the plane. It’s absolutely astounding how much stuff two people can accumulate in a period of 4 years! Much of it, like furniture, help make a house a comfortable living environment (as I type this, sitting on our hand-crafted bed of thermarests, blankets and pillows, I can certainly tell you how much more comfortable chairs, beds and couches are!) However, we also tend to accumulate a lot of waste: extra food, bought on sale, which never gets used; an excessive amount of clothing; household decorations. All of this stuff is inevitably given away, or otherwise disposed of.
Of course, we’ve held onto a number of things, such as souvenirs from prior travels, a ridiculously large set of high-quality Pyrex cookware and a full set of camping gear, which will be stored in a family members house until we find ourselves a long-term home. These accumulated belongings explain the outrageously large fuel gobbling machine we have rented to transport them! However, as much as sorting through and selling our belongings makes us wistful for a minimalist lifestyle, we also realize how far we are from such an ideal. Regardless, by the time this posts online, we will frantically be filling every nook and cranny of our rental car. We’re looking forward to finally starting the adventure we’ve worked towards over the last couple of years!
UPDATE: Fully Packed!