Well, we’ve started! Albeit only a small step, but today we took our first boxes to the storage container. They consisted mainly of Christmas decorations and a few other bits and pieces. We have rented a 20ft container. It is basically a shipping container that has been painted inside and had a floor put in it. It is watertight and the whole site is secure with CCTV, gated entry and so on. This security will allow us to get insurance on the belongings that we are storing.
Not quite minimalists!
Even before we actually made the decision to commit to doing this trip, Andy and I had both started to feel very weighed down by ‘stuff’. After 21 years of marriage and 12 years of living in the same house in Congleton, we had accumulated a lot of possessions. There are many ways in which possessions flow into your life and your home – birthdays and Christmas are the two obvious ones – but very few ways for unwanted or unused items to flow out again unless they break and are consigned to the bin. So, over time there is a general accumulation and mostly, as long as there is room in the house or the attic, we simply hold on to all of them, just in case. You are probably familiar with the following scenario; not only are your shelves full, but there are boxes stacked on top of the shelves. Likewise on top of the wardrobe. And don’t even mention under the beds!
Every year we would go through the children’s toys and encourage them to donate things they had grown out of or pass them on to a younger child we knew and they were very good at doing this. As adults though, we don’t consider ourselves as having ‘grown out’ of any of our possessions in the same way, but perhaps we should.
So, even before we had started the ball rolling in planning our trip, we had begun to clear out. Items we hadn’t used for years and books we knew we were never going to read again were relatively easy to part with. The same goes for DVDs and CDs – who needs shelves and shelves of them when you have Spotify and Netflix? Some of it we sold on eBay or used we services like Ziffit, where you scan the barcode of books, CDs and DVDs and they tell you what they will offer you for them. You then parcel your items up, post them off and wait for the money to appear in your account. What is surprising is how little money your stuff is worth! You may have paid a fortune for it, but with the exception of a few, highly sought after items, you will receive very little for it second hand.
I tell you what though, it felt gooooooood to clear out, especially when we saw our PayPal balance increasing daily. We called it our ‘IWC’ fund – ice cream, wine and crisps – all treats we thought it could be used to pay for on our trip! What still amazes me is that the house still doesn’t feel empty. I know how much has gone out of the door – surely we should feel like we’re living in an empty box by now?. We have definitely not achieved anything close to minimalism, but we are much closer to it than we were before.