Boxing Up Our Lives

Boxes of TrashFor months I’ve asked Mike to go through two particular containers of his “stuff” that I knew he was avoiding. And now, with two and a half months until we depart for our round-the-world trip, we really have to start classifying things into stay or go categories. So instead of challenging our livers on St. Patty’s day, we decluttered, and for hours Mike sorted through those two containers while I emptied out my own.

It’s easy to throw your life into a bin, close the lid and push it into the corner, forgetting about its existence for months or years. What is the point in keeping things you never look at? We’re all guilty. But luckily for us, our trip is forcing us to dust off neglected containers and question the items we’ve been storing.

This process is necessary so we can reduce our possessions and keep our storage space as small as possible. Little by little, we’ve been sorting everything into three categories: sell, keep and donate. It’s tough to throw away something we own, have fond memories of once using and think we’ll eventually use in the future. But if it’s been collecting dust in a box season after season, year after year, we’ll probably never use again it. Why hoard for the sake of hoarding?

Throwing away garbage, donating household items and selling off our book collection among other things hasn’t at all evoked feelings of sadness. It’s been refreshing — like I’ve rid myself of baggage.

Similarly, we’ve been on a major spending diet for months. We vetted our credit card bills to learn about our spending habits and have cut out impulse food buys (goodbye, Skittles), superfluous clothing purchases (oh the agony of no new clothes for winter!) and we limited nights of partying with friends to special occasions only.

It’s been difficult stopping cold turkey, but it’s enabled us to save more money, limit our possessions and have extremely productive nights and weekends. And I like the thought of living with only the things you need. Too much stuff equals clutter. I hope that at the end of our trip, this mindset will mean a permanent behavior change.

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2 responses to “Boxing Up Our Lives

  1. I’ve been reading your posts but haven’t found one on this … do you rent or mtg a house and if so are you selling/moving out or continuing to pay etc. Would be interested to hear your response and how you plan to handle this aspect. Thanks

    • Ahhh, another reason that this trip is perfect timing: we rent an apartment. We simply give a month’s notice and we’ll be out of our lease. Then a family member is going to store the little we have left. I can’t imagine having the stress of selling a house before leaving or having to still pay for one while abroad.

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