Our Life in Boxes
„6th May 2019
First day of decluttering and cataloging of all our belongings has finished. Weirdly, it was a difficult but easy process.
We took EVERYTHING out of its home in the flat and made a plan for its future. 3 bags plus Ermie (our humongous toy snake) are waiting to be donated. 2 bags of textile recycling are ready to be filled further. Winter clothes are packed away. A box of items is waiting to be sold online.
Overall it wasn’t difficult because I had already made most of the decisions beforehand, however after lunch I felt anxious. I don’t know whether it was the mess, the fact that there are two whole months left, or packing our life in boxes, but it required effort for a while.
Despite that, I allowed myself to feel confused because I knew it would only be a short-lived feeling which would just transform into pure excitement. After all the next two months will fly by, especially with everything planned for May. #BePresent”
- From Vassya and Nic’s travel journal
A focal point of the preparations for our future travels is the leaving of our flat and the country. Currently, Nic and I know we will not be coming back to England for a year or two which is why we need to find a way to store our belongings that will not be going into our rucksacks. At the same time we want to make the potential of moving it all easier, once we’re back in Europe.
The place of storage is clear - Nic’s childhood room. Space - basically none, therefore minimal volume is required. Currently we have 6 plastic storage boxes at home and we plan NOT to use them all. How? Nic came up with a simple formula: Three categories with a clear hierarchy - 1. Traveling; 2. Storage; 3. Donations. If any item is between two categories it automatically descents into the lower one. Simple and easy.
Reasons for decluttering (summarised):
Storage and moving and their ease;
Worn and broken items - Many of the things we own (like kitchen utensils and towels) we have had since moving to university 5+ years ago. Knowing we are traveling we have forever postponed buying new ones (which could be considered a wise financial decision) therefore now it’s time they were“retired”.
Unsuitable items - here I picture mostly my clothes. Somehow I have been trying to build a wardrobe that allows me to be confident. And yet due to my minimalism and the practicality of some items my whole look gets ruined. Some pieces I have been wearing for years. I want to only leave that which truly bring me joy and confidence and build up from there (Even if that costs a bit more once we’re back in the European climate).
Decluttering - what, how and where?
For me this is the most exciting part and therefore I have decided to have a detailed approach towards it (a bit sad when you think about it :D). As you saw, in the beginning of May Nic and I went through everything to create the following list which we followed when moving out in June:
Bedding, duvets and towels - everything was donated to the local RSPCA. This type of “waste” is very useful for them either as raggs or as bedding for the animal cages. We messaged them and they were more than happy to accept everything and also quite amused when we turned up with a duvet full of stuff. (Quite happy we didn't get to see the animals because I would not have been able to leave without a puppy!)
Clothes, shoes and accessories - Our traveling luggage is quite minimal - a rucksack and a backpack each. What’s left to be stored is our Autumn-Winter items. The few things that have any value we tried to sell but without any success. Thus, everything left was donated to a local charity shop.
Furniture - we didn’t really own much of that. It came down mainly to a desk, a mirror and a couple of shelves. Everything was donated with the exception of the shelves which were broken down for burning wood.
Kitchen utensils - other than our Ninja blender and some valuables, everything else was donated. Some of it to a charity shop, some to my brother in law (I can call him that now) and his girlfriend.
Books and Games - The few books we had were returned to the local street library, the games were put back under Nic’s bed where they were taken from in the first place.
Electronics - only one computer is currently being stored. The other one Nic is trying to sell and our laptops and my camera are coming with us to Australia and SouthEast Asia.
Sentimentales - there is no formula here. Whatever we don’t deem valuable enough to be stored will be memorised through pictures.
Boxes, jars and packaging - I was hoping someone will take our huge collection of jars. Unfortunately - no one did. Fortunately, it is all recyclable so not really a waste.
Plants - All plants went to my brother in law and his girlfriend. I have only seen the succulents since, but they look like they are thriving, so I am not worried.
Thor - he will be looked after by Nic’s parents as he’s not complicated at all. Here’s the time to mention that we are leaving in Europe three old animals - a two year old hamster, a fourteen year old dog and an eighteen (!!!) year old cat. We are prepared to shed tears at one point from the other side of the world.
Reading, and writing, this I realise this is far from interesting information to share about traveling. But as we already said, I am weird when it comes to decluttering and cataloging. Currently (although I have been writing this for the last four months) I am back at Nic’s house with exactly a week until we leave for Germany. Everything is stored and proper packing for Australia will commence soon. Once we are fully packed I will write about everything we are bringing with us to Australia. I think it would be useful for future travelers.