The Benefits of Selling Everything You Own

It’s been five months since we sold almost everything we owned and embarked on our Never Ending Voyage. It’s been a long, hard trip. Each morning I wake up and think about all the cool stuff I left behind:

“This Paraguayan sunrise sucks,” I’ll lament.

“If only I could be back in Manchester, sitting on my Ikea couch and watching the latest Michael Bay DVD on my huge Sony TV.”

OK, so I never actually owned a huge Sony TV and I’m never likely to say that about Michael Bay – dude raped my childhood – but, really, I’m still very surprised at how little I do miss.

Even if you’re not planning to be as nutty as us and get rid of your house, your car and anything you can’t get on your back, take the money and spend it (Pensions? Pffs, pensions are for old people!) on walking the earth until it starts running out (the money, not the earth) at which point you desperately scratch around looking for a way to make more just to eat that month (on a totally unrelated note, I think you could do with a new awesome website), there are still some major advantages to be had from getting rid of your junk.

1) Clutter Free House

Space is important. Hotels know this – that’s why you pay five or six times as much for less than double the square footage. Space gives you, er, space. To think. To breathe. To do calisthenics.

Sitting cooped up in a closet of a bedroom surrounded by bookshelves and boxes stacked to the ceiling while trying to work on a desk where every inch is covered by papers, pens, coffee mugs and knick-knacks except for the napkin-sized space you’ve allocated for mouse movements is not conducive to a relaxed and comfortable environment.

Not at all.

2) Clutter Free Mind

Spoiler Alert – If you’ve seen Up In The Air, click here to continue

There’s a scene in Up In The Air where George Clooney talks about filling an imaginary backpack with all of the stuff you own – house, car, tables, chairs, computers, books, DVDs, sofas, broken picture frames, bent spoons, that Madonna T-Shirt from 1989 that you’ll never wear again but can’t bear to get rid of (NOT MINE) – and then trying to carry it.

Then he tells you to burn it. Even playing along and pretending to, there’s a palpable sense of relief in the activity. A slightly panicky, oh-shit-what-now euphoria.

That. Is what freedom feels like.

Slightly panicky.

(The fact that he then goes on to talk about relationships in the same way should be glossed over quickly because the rest of the movie is about how relationships are important and basically how these talks he gives are rubbish. Still, I think the stuff thing holds.)

We used to own cars that were worth less than £500 because we lived in fricking Manchester. If you own a Mercedes or a BMW in a city like that then how can you not have a lingering sense of anxiety every time you leave it parked in an on-street parking bay down some dodgy looking back alley.

That, my friends, is stress. Ownership is stress by another name and it’s only worth it if the good bits of ownership outweigh the stressful bits.

MacBooks, yes. Ferraris in Burnage, not so much.

3) Money!

Obviously, the act of selling stuff instead of buying it will make you better off overall (that’s math, that is).

But there are other, secret, unknown, hidden benefits that I want to share with you. Secrets that swagger with impressiveness. Secrets so great, your world might actually implode.

A story, to illustrate.

We stayed in a studio apartment in Buenos Aires for two months. There is no way we would have fitted all of our old life into this tiny space. Our dining room table would have taken up half of it. Add a drum kit and we’d have had to have moved the bed out.

But, with just two backpacks and a guitar, it was huge. We barely made a dent in the closet space alone. In fact, we could have lived quite comfortably with all of our stuff IN the closet.

Without our old possessions, we can live in a tiny shoeboxes, still feel like we’re living in a palace and save a ton of money on the rent. Win, win and win.

And once you live in a smaller place, everything else gets cheaper too – gas bills, electricity bills, insurance – it’s all extra cash in your pocket which you could use to, ahem, not buy more stuff or, even better, cut down your working hours and have more of the one thing that money can never buy – time.

I know, right? Mind. Blown.

4) Appreciation

Now, I don’t want to get too militantly anti-personal property here – I’m no Pinko Commie (U-S-A! U-S-A!). Stuff can be great. I am especially enamored with the shiny, electronic stuff (how I crave a currently unjustifiable iPhone – are you sure you don’t need a website?) and musical stuff (full disclosure: my drum kit is in safe storage at my mum’s – I couldn’t bear to get rid of it, but I WILL (someday)).

But, if you don’t have the space for the stuff and you don’t want to spend too much money on your stuff, then every purchase needs to be justified and carefully weighed (literally, if you’re carrying it all on your back).

And when you put that much thought into your purchases, you appreciate them a whole lot more. Just last week, I spent a full two hours stroking my brand new Columbia fleece.

That last sentence is possibly a lie, but I am wearing it a lot and I’m not past having a sly little stroke when no one’s watching (and also touching my new fleece).

If you want to be really hardcore, you’ll use the 1-in-1-out rule, where every purchase has to replace something similar – swapping a pair of socks for an XBox doesn’t count! I’m not there yet, but having a 40 litre backpack is kind of naturally limiting anyway so I almost rock.

Conclusion

Stuff sucks!

Kind of.

Well, not all of it.

Some stuff sucks!

Er.

Having more stuff than you actually need sucks!

Yeah, that’s it!

(Quick – get to the poignant summary!)

What’s really surprising is how much stuff I simply don’t remember owning. I’m sure if someone handed me a list right now of all of the things we sold I’d be surprised at how little I recognised; at how much of it was just clutter filling up my life, standing in the way of my freedom.

BOOM!

Now Go Do It!

PS. If you need a little help we’ve written about how we sold our stuff, and our friends fellow nomads Warren and Betsy have created a step by step online course called Declutter Clinic to help you get rid of your stuff and create the freedom to live the life you want. 

Declutter

Trail Wallet

Tell me how crazy I am! Militantly defend your right to buy everything you want, when you want it! Accuse me of being anti-American! Or, agree with me. That’s cool too.

162 thoughts on The Benefits of Selling Everything You Own

  1. I just sold all of my stuff at a carboot sale on Sunday. I now just have a large suitcase of clothes and shoes and the little things to take with me back to the UK where I am moving my base after living in Australia for two years.

    Its absolutely liberating!

    • Yay to selling all your stuff! Carboots are awesome places – full of some of the most interesting specimens of our species and the coffee is cheap (hideous, but cheap).

      When I sell my stuff I’m all “Evil thing! I cast thee out! Thou art a shiny temptress – begone from my life!” There’s often a lot of arm waving too. I get funny looks from the people at the carboot but then they’re getting stuff like 150 videos and a video player for £5 so they don’t often run away.

      Seriously, the guy bartered me down from £10. I was, like, “Dude. That’s 300 hours of entertainment. For the price of two cinema tickets.” But he was all, like, “But it’s video. What is this, the eighties?”.

      He had a point.

      Of course then Apple release something like the iTable and I’m all, like, “THIS IS AWESOME I NEED THIS RIGHT NOW MY WORLD WILL COLLAPSE IF I DON’T HAVE IT GET ME TO AN APPLE STORE IMMEDIATELY!”

      Good luck with your trip to the UK.

  2. I’m still not at the point where I have to sell all my stuff but I might be getting there soon. The problem I have is there’s a whole lot of storage at my folk’s place and it means I’m really good at hoarding a whole lot of pointless things over the span of years.

    Can’t wait to see what’s in store for you guys. I’ll be following with enthusiasm.

    • Ah, yes. The mum-has-an-attic/closet/basement/garage dilemma. If I’m honest, I still own a drum kit, two guitars and an amp, plus some old photos and evidence of my past life all stored in various nooks and crannies at Casa Mama and Casa Papa (thanks guys!), so I totally understand.

      You’ll feel better once you do sell it all*, though.

      Thanks very much, Waq!

      *results not guaranteed – Never Ending Voyage cannot be held responsible for any lack of euphoria/feelings of regret from selling everything you own.

    • I’m having this dilemma over everything at the moment! In fact, need to set up an eBay account. managed to give away alot so far though! Love this blog, you two are so inspiring. x

      • Ebay was one of our biggest earners so it’s worth doing. It take time but you do get quicker. Well done for giving away stuff – sometimes that’s a lot easier.

  3. Loved this post and it’s the topic I’m currently pondering – expect a post on my site soon. You’ve touched on some points that I’ll approach from a slightly different angle. Well done, and I agree. Now if I could just clean out this house of mine…

    • Thanks Keith – look forward to reading it!

      One of the things to do on my Bucket List is to start a secret society. Maybe I should start one for people who have sold all of their junk? I could call it The Secret Society for People Who Have Sold All of Their Junk™.

      It’ll be like the StoneCutters, but infinitely more awesome. I’d have a secret handshake and initiation ceremonies. I’d force the initiate to sell their most prized possession. While being paddled. And drinking a yard of ale.

      I don’t think I would pass, though. I don’t think I could bring myself to sell my MacBook (Damn you Apple! DAMN YOU!).

      • How has it been going for you? I saw this article was several years old, I’m just curious how the experience was of maintaining this, improving on it, or relaxing on it a bit over the years.

        You mentioned your MacBook. I was curious, have you considered doing the same type of thing with your digital files that you did with your physical possessions? Or perhaps moving everything into formats supported by iCloud so that you don’t even need physical data on a local machine at all. If you could do that, then in theory you could access all your files form iCloud.com using anyone’s computer and would not really need your own, and could still access everything from an iPhone.

        • Hi Steven
          We’ve been happily living out of a backpack each for over four years now and don’t miss the stuff we sold at all.

          Because of the work we do we need our laptops though, and as internet is limited in many places we travel to we can’t rely on accessing everything in the cloud.

  4. This is a great post — and one we can’t identify with very quickly! We’re decluttering right now. At any given moment we have at least a dozen items up for sale on eBay, Craigslist and Amazon. There’s pride of ownership and then there’s pride of owning nothing! We’re looking forward to joining the latter group!

    • eBay, Craigslist and Amazon – I like your scattergun approach. It’s like selling stuff with a shotgun. Maybe we should try that at a car boot sale – attach a coffee table to the end and fire it up into the air. If you can catch it, you can have it.

      The Own Nothing and Proud group is a good group to be in. I keep trying to join, but they’re quite a militant bunch (I think some of them have too much pride, if you know what I mean). They let Erin in – she sold everything – but my damn drum kit meant I ‘didn’t meet their criteria’.

      Thing is, the Proud Owner group won’t let me in either. Say I sold too much stuff.

  5. This made me smile and reflect that I’m supposed to be ebaying and not reading other people’s blogs as we are moving into a camper van on Aug 11th and we still have 10 years worth of accumulated junk to get rid of … and that’s just the kids stuff. Simon, you have re-affirmed that we are not quite as mad as everybody thinks, I don’t want a corner office … I want yours!

    • No, no, you should keep reading other people’s blogs so long as other people’s blogs means our blog. It’s much more fun than eBay.

      Don’t get me wrong, you are quite mad. You’re just joining a group of other people who are also quite mad, which makes you think you’re less mad than you actually are. Fortunately, on our side of the sanity fence the sunsets are prettier and the offices have sea views.

      Much better.

      Good luck with your trip. We campervaned around Australia and had an absolute blast. Where’s first for you?

  6. Hey Simon, awesome post. I just wish I knew who Michael Bay was so I could commiserate. And yes, stuff sucks in a lot of ways. I definitely feel the most free when I’m off traveling with just one bag to my name. Now if I could just find the strength to sell all my crap at home.

    • Michael Bay. n. Director of Transformers and Transformers 2.
      To Bay (e.g. a film). vb. To inexplicably butcher quality source material when producing a remake. ‘Did you see that movie? Guy totally Bayed it!’

      In his defence, the films looked really good and the actual transforming of the big robots was spectacular. Just wished he’d paid his script guys the same as he paid his CGI girls.

      I hear you about the stuff at home, though. My drum kits and my guitars sitting in lofts and garages at my folk’s houses are a testament to the weakness of my will. I will probably maybe sell them one day (possibly).

      • Ah, that Michael Bay. Yeah, I managed to choke down the first Transformers, but couldn’t get all the way through #2. Let’s hope he doesn’t get a hold of He Man or GI Joe or the Gobots.

        • New He-Man movie rumoured for 2011 – Grayskull – with John Stevenson directing. Hopefully he won’t Bay it.

          I mean, Kung-Fu Panda was pretty good, right?

  7. We’re delayed departing, (should have been in scandinavia about now … but, too much stuff to sell, including a house) so we’re heading to southern Europe / N.Africa for the winter. Then east … as far east as we can get (avoiding war zones) …

    … gotta go. I need to purge my soul on the alter of Ebay … Keep up the fab writing, I’ll be back for more

  8. Great post Simon! I love having fewer things. Yet, I still question whether I have too much! Although I guess I could be doing that until I’ve got nothing more than the clothes on my back and a toothbrush!

    • That’s the danger of this path and a side too few people talk about. What if you wake up one day and all you have is your underwear? You’ll be all, like, ‘Dammit! Why did I have to do this in Iceland!’

      Luckily for me, I have a little materialist demon called Steve. Provided Apple keeps releasing Shiny New Things every year, Steve will keep reminding me that maybe owning stuff isn’t so bad…

      How you liking being back on the road? Your blog looks well suave now and that photo from Turkey was amazing!

  9. Great post and what a great find, finding your blog and fellow nomads on twitter!

    I sold almost everything including my flat November 2009 and the feeling of no clutter, not having all that stuff I don’t need is great. Freedom to go where I want, chase the light for my photography. It’s funny what I’ve been missing, once in a while I have missed my own kitchen so I could actually cook my own food. And once in a while I really miss my old sofa, so good to relax and cuddle up on!

    • Cooking in a hostel kitchen is not fun. If you can scatter the cockroaches, find some clean cutlery and remove the crusty remains of yesterday’s breakfast from the pan, then you stand half a chance of being able to eat beans on toast.

      This is why, for the second time in six months, we’re renting an apartment for a month. Having a couch and a kitchen is an amazing luxury after eating empanadas for lunch and pasta for dinner every day for weeks.

      We cooked Mexican food!

      Mexican! With chili!

      It was bliss.

  10. Very nice. I wish I could sell all my stuff. God knows I need the money, but damn my tendency to be such a sentimental sap! At least, I’ve gone from pack-rat to just having a whole bunch of crap… lol. Keep up the good work!

    VII

    • Thanks! We did keep some sentimental stuff like photos and letters and things.

      They’re in a box somewhere in England.

  11. I cannot even explain the freedom you feel selling all your stuff. People kept asking, of all things, about my work clothes. I think I’ll be able to find black pants when I get back home – whenever that is :)

    • If you do go home, get a job without a dress code! I was once a Caseworker (a pretend lawyer) for a Law Centre and they didn’t have a dress code. I used to go to work with ridiculous hair (think Jimmy Page circa 1972), flared cords and paisley shirts.

      My clients were all ‘Is this a Law Centre or the 1980s? Can I really take legal advice from Jon Bon Jovi over here?’

      It was awesome.

  12. Yet again, you have made me think about my life. I sold (almost) everything once. I left ‘home’ and traveled the world (where I met you). Then, I came back ‘home’ where I am now. I will never be the same.

    • Traveling has that effect. That’s why we only lasted 9 months before we were on the road again…

      If you fancy upping sticks again, come meet us in South America! Otherwise, we’ll see you when we get to SF?

      Hope things are suitably awesome with you!

  13. Couldn’t agree more guys – enjoying your blog from a stalkers perspective! Keep up the inspiration. We are in BA so would love to meet you on the road somewhere? Loads of questions for you.

    • We’re in Salta until the middle of August, so if you make it over here before then we can go get coffee and, um, pastries!

  14. Loved this post!

    We sold our flat and freecycled most of our stuff before our first RTW and like you went home to save and head out again!! We have a small storage locker with the things we couldn’t bear to part with (me – my fantastic pots and pans, him – CD’s). It’s a wonderful feeling having virtually no “stuff” – I have enough emotional baggage so getting rid of the physical stuff was a relief ;)

    Having said that we’re currently renting an apartment in BA and have had to stop ourselves buying a few extra bits and pieces to decorate it!!

    How’s the weather now? We’ll be spending a couple of days in Salta next week on route to Bolivia and it’ll be good to prepare ourselves…

    • Yeah, emotional baggage is a tough one. I tried a two-for-one at a car boot but even at 50p, no-one was interested. Too much of their own, they said. Pah. I was all, like, who couldn’t use a little more?

      Freecycling is a morally righteous way of getting rid of your stuff – kudos. We were evil little capitalists when we did it.

      No! You can’t have my picture frames! You must pay me 30 pieces of silver! My Precioussssss.

      We’re in Salta at the moment and it’s freezing. If you fancy meeting up for a coffee, give us a shout.

  15. We’re currently in Prague staying with friends and looking for an apartment in Berlin to rent for a couple of months. It is so freeing to know that we can pick up and go anytime we find the right apartment – just put the backpacks on and hop a train to Berlin. Although our bags are bigger than 40 Liters each, it is still freeing to know that we have everything we need on our backs.

    And, we SO wish we could find that Buenos Aires apartment in Berlin. It was a studio, but felt so airy and roomy. Love that place.

    • It is a very liberating feeling – we can have all our gear together and be out the door in about 10 minutes. We found it especially useful if the cops are on to us.

      Good luck with the apartment – we’re relying on you to find all of the most awesome places all over the world for us!

  16. It is incredible how quickly you can accumulate stuff… My husband and I sold just about everything we owned (except our 4 cats, saint bernard and a few suitcases of clothes and books) before moving from Canada to Belgium. It was terrifying and liberating at the same time. After 5 years here, I have to say we’ve acquired new stuff. I am much more selective about what come into our home… I have to be, it’s tiny. But going without all of that clutter taught me how little we need to get by, and how the rest of it mostly is just excess baggage.

    • Well done on not selling the cats and the dog – that was restrained of you. Erin tried to sell me on eBay but I found the listing and made her take it down.

      The worst thing? The reserve price was 99p.

      Erin’s also very selective about what gets put in our backpacks. Me, not so much (we don’t talk about the chunky headphones).

  17. Somehow, probably because I began traveling right after school, I’ve never really owned much stuff so I never had to sell or get rid of anything. For as long as I can remember I’ve had two medium-sized boxes (although I’m no longer sure what’s in them) stored in the closet at my mom’s house. And I’ll probably get rid of that stuff eventually, about the same time you sell your drum kit perhaps.

    And at this point, I have no plans to accumulate any more than what I already have as I agree fully with all of the benefits you list above. I’m completely addicted to that freedom of being able to pick up and move on – anytime, and to anywhere….

    I get upset when my things don’t fit into my 40 liter backpack and I have to pull out my daypack to use!

    • Ha, that’ll be the day that the devil buys some swanky Prada snowboots and farmers install landing strips in their pigpens, then. I know I should get rid of it, but it’s so purple! And shiny!

      Nobody should ever have to sell something that purple and shiny.

      Having a small backpack is great cause it naturally limits what you can buy. It makes browsing music shops a lot easier.

      Me: ‘Hey, Erin! Check out this 16 channel SoundCraft digital mixing desk!’
      Erin: ‘…’
      Me: ‘Oh, yeah. Right.’

  18. GULP! You mean I wasn’t supposed to sell the drum kit?? ;-)

    I do wish that I could let go of ‘stuff’ – but I still want to hold on to the battered blue case in the loft – the one that contains cards and pasta pictures and stuff that you and Kevin made for me….

    BTW Pensions aren’t just for old people – I am kind of interested in mine, and I’d hate you to suggest that I am old (I am merely experienced in life!!) Love you guys and envy your bravery, wisdom, and ability to let go! XX

    • Hey, those pasta pictures are solid pieces of work. In fact, what are they doing in a battered old suitcase? They should be adorning walls up and down the country!

      Honestly, I’d actually love to have a pension but I have a feeling I’m just going to have to work forever. I’ll be like 98, tied to my Mac with the Grim Reaper standing behind me, tapping his foot and looking at his sundial watch.

      ‘Sorry, GM! Client’s come back with some last minute changes, you know what they’re like! Another couple of hours, I promise!’

  19. I also sometimes have a sly stroke… of my Macbook Pro. But besides that new love of my life, stuff does suck. Well, anything more than 60 or so litres of stuff sucks because then I have to start attaching crap to the outside of my bag and it’s never good to have smelly hiking books all up in people’s faces as you try to cram yourself onto a busy bus. Loved reading the post!

    • Ha ha, I know how that goes. It’s so…aluminiumy. And when you press those keys, mmmm. Just the right amount of resistance and a beautiful, perfectly pitched click that says ‘Sir, you have just done something exceptional. May I be the first to offer my congratulations on such an impressive S?’

      And you know when that glowy apple logo lights up, everyone else in the room starts whispering to their black Windows laptops: ‘See? See how she behaves in public? See how well turned out she is? Why can’t you be like that? With your hissy fit driver conflicts and your childish Blue Screens! She never acts like that, does she? You’re a disgrace! A bloody disgrace!’

      If the devil wanted me to commit original sin, all he’d have to is set up a tree full of Apple products. Damn Steve and his shiny temptations! DAMN HIM!

      It’s his fault I was rejected from Monk school.

  20. Good advice. I’d like to add ditch the things that don’t sell too!

    When I left to travel I sold nearly everything that was worth something. 15 months later on my return and my parents moved house complaining about how much stuff I still had, and they are right. I just kept a load of useless stuff for no reason (like a playstation 1 with 3 controllers and demo discs in 2010) and have no idea why I have it all.

    It’s weird being back and seeing certain things (tools are a big one) that you think ‘this’ll come in handy one day’ and still keep them, even though it may be years until you actually do and it’s been years since you last used it, and when you do need something they can be bought cheaply 2nd hand off eBay anyway!

    However you’re right about justifying gadgets. With a modern phone you get a phone (dur), GPS, music player, video player, camera, camcorder, and a games console, so they do make sense ;-)

    • At least tools might actually come in handy one day. Less so with a drum kit – it’s hard to see a situation where I’ll be saying ‘dammit, if only I hadn’t have sold that cowbell!’

      On the other hand, it is purple. And shiny. That has to count for something.

  21. Hi Simon,
    I love your blog and your writing style. It takes up a lot courage to sell everything and travel with your love one, I admire what you do. I’m also a designer (Full-time), so I understand how it feel to be at 9-5 job. Especially company here doesn’t give you a lot vacations days. I’ll check back on your blog again, great post!
    .S

      • Either or, you get to experience stuff that many other haven’t yet. You still get to design while you travel.. don’t you love the power of the web? haha. I just turned 27 in April and I have never travel in my life before. September of last year is the first time I ever flew and travel. I just realize how fun it is to go out and experience everything. I think I caught the travel bug! : )

  22. Really great post! I can tell how happy you are with your decision to sell everything and live the dream. I’m jealous, I wish I had more stuff to sell!

  23. Very fun post. :-) I always feel such freedom when I travel and have so little to think about, worry about, carry around. Now that I’m home for a while, I’m slowly but surely clearing out my life, garage, being brutal with myself in getting rid of stuff and once it’s gone YAHOOOING for the sheer freedom it brings. :-)

    • Good luck with it! When we returned from our first trip we were amazed at the stuff we’d left behind. This made it a lot easier to get rid of everything this time. We knew we wouldn’t miss it.

  24. Great idea. Except that my laptop cries whenever we talk about a new owner. She (yes, a she!) screams profanities at me, wondering what she did wrong. Then, I realized I just can’t do it to her. No.

    And you haven’t heard what my other stuff had to say.

    *excuses*

    I admire you for being deaf to their cries! =D

    • Well there’s no way we’d part with our Macbook so that’s understandable. It’s not bad to have things that you use on a daily basis, it’s just the stuff filling up cupboards for a rainy day that’s the problem.

  25. Being a univeristy student i have – moved to halls – moved home – moved to student house – moved home – moved to another student house – moved to bfs – moved home (all in three years)
    I thought this had forced me not to aquire much stuff. However I was pretty surprised when I started going through it all. Unfortunately there is no big sony TV :-( but shed loads of clothes/scarves/shoes/scarves/books/scarves/paper/scarves – seriously I have filled nearly a whole bin liner full of scarves!

    Unfortunately I dont have enough time to sell my stuff so I have decided to do my bit and donate it all to charity! Hopegfully it will go to a loving home – especially the scarves!! :-)

    • We found that selling clothes and books was nearly impossible anyway so you’re doing the right thing. We gave away tons of stuff to the charity shop once we had sold as much as we could. Good luck!

  26. Can I just say that you’re hilarious Simon!? I have read through all the comments and your responses, first as I am also preparing to take off for a year of RTW very (extremely panicky) soon and trying to get rid of most of the extras, but then because each of your responses makes me laugh out loud :)

    So thanks for making my day!!!

    ps. our blog is still a baby, and doesn’t even know how to talk yet, but we’re trying to slowly nurture it into a small babbling child, so one day soon it should hopefully spit out it’s first ‘mama’.

    • Thanks Helena. It’s nice when blogs are young but then they grow into surly, sarcastic teenagers. Hopefully ours will make it to a mature, responsible adult but, if it does (and that’s a mighty ‘If’), it’ll all be down to Erin.

      I’ll be happy if it can just stay out of jail. I have low standards.

      Good luck with the selling of the stuffs and the traveling of the world. You’ll have a blast!

  27. Wow, look at all of the comments this post got! I think as I’ve traveled more and more, I’ve realized that the best “things” in life are memories and experiences…not more stuff to fill your home with. I’m definitely trying to simplify my life more. Loved this post!

    • Dear Andi
      your comment summed up everything i am feeling right at this moment. I have just stumbled across this blog and i am thinking that finding such like minded people may just save my life!

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  30. Great read, I finally gave up all my stuff a few months back, and hit the road like you mention I have not missed anything, if anything i could do with ditching a few things I kept….

  31. We’re currently taking baby steps. :)

    We sold over half of what we have and going backpacking at the end of the year. When (and if) we come back and want to continue to travel, we’re just going to get rid of it all and leave. :)

    • That’s a good way to start. I’m pretty sure that after travelling you won’t find it hard to get rid of the rest.

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  33. Great article. I love this idea. I dont know yet if I am going to be able to sell everything I own but I know I am getting rid of alot and changing my habits. In my last post I talk about how I have become a minimalist. Its interesting what wanting to travel makes you do.

    • Selling absolutely everything isn’t the right thing for everyone but the important thing is to appreciate what you have and not buy things for the sake of it. It sounds like you are doing that so well done! I never thought I would have sold my entire book collection, but a passion for travel makes you reassess your priorities and now it isn’t a big deal for me.

  34. Selling and getting rid of your stuff also gives you more TIME.

    Saving time looking for stuff, wondering where you’re going to put it or rearrange your room, what to wear, etc.

    Also, you can get electronic versions of most books.
    There is no point buying information in printed format. Saves on trees as well. And the little electrons will love you for it :-)

    I Love a Simple Life!

    • I completely agree that it makes things a lot simpler and saves time. We can now pack up all our stuff and move to a new place in 15 minutes. That’s so much better that the stressful house moves most people have.

  35. Good post – less is more and all that. Except, I can imagine myself stroking a Patagonia Fleece, but a Columbia one? no way! Safe travels guys – look forward to reading more.

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  37. Thanks Never Ending Voyage! This blog really resonates with me.

    I’m 24, single and have an apartment full of anything and everything anyone has ever thought they might need…

    Every morning for the past two years, I wake up and look at all the junk in my room and instead of thinking ‘wow i love you stuff. what would i do without you?’, I feel like I can’t breathe.

    I want to sell/give away everything that I own over the next 15 months so that I can backpack around Europe for a couple of years without having to pay for storage and also to have a little extra cash in my pocket. But as I pull out all of the crap from underneath my bed and in my cupboard, I have no idea where to start…

    Its so true what Brad Pitt says in Fight Club, all the things that I own, own me. Everything I look at seems to have a reason for not being sold/given away. “Someone gave it to me and they might be offended.” “But the ice skates are basically brand new”. “What would I do without my bike helmet and surfboard”. I should note that I don’t own a bike and for the past 5 years the board is purely ornamental.

    I digress.

    Anyways, would appreciate any stories about how you sold/gave away your first item?

    • It can be hard to start, but I promise it gets easier. The trick is not to think about it (how new it is, how expensive it was etc). I can’t remember the first item I sold but it was probably on ebay. I started by making a list of things that we hadn’t used in over a year – those are a good place to start. I worked my way up to the more difficult things (my book collection and our snowboards). Good luck with it!

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  39. Interesting decision. I am assuming that you actually owned items of value and made a profit off the sale of your house and are now living off of your savings. Right now, I am faced with the necessity of unloading everything I have collected throughout my adulthood. Alas, I own virtually nothing of any value; it’s all just junk. In fact, I turn 40 in January and I have never even owned a home of my own.

    I’m actually quite terrified, not of letting it go of all my possessions, but of the revelation that I am soon to be homeless without so much as a penny to my name; and, because I hold a Masters in Education, it seems I am all but unemployable in this dwindling economy, so my prospects for the future don’t look so promising.

    At this point, I don’t know how much money it is going to to take to get me where I need to go, or even where I am headed. A few friends have offered to let me stay with them until I can get back on my feet, but I don’t want to be a burden. So, I am hoping that in selling my car, (the blue book value is @$4000, and given that it’s still in excellent condition, I hope to get at least that much).

    Still, I’m not really sure what to expect once I am left with only a backpack and a few garments of clothing to my name. I’m thinking if I head to Southern California, I will at least be a warm, dry bag lady, versus one who is soaking wet and freezing my ass off in Portland, OR.

    • Hi Rachel,
      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you – we were in the jungle!

      We are actually still in the process of selling our house (the market is very slow right now), and we made a few thousand from our other possessions, but mostly we are living off savings and Simon’s earnings from web design. We wish we’d never bought our house, it’s such a burden, so I wouldn’t worry about never having owned a home.

      I think you have so many possibilities open to you, and I hope you are able to embrace the freedom of not being tied down by things or a home, and being able to go anywhere you want.

      Have you considered teaching English in Asia? In Korea, Taiwan and Japan you can earn a decent living and save up quite a bit of money. With your Masters in Education I am sure you’d be able to get a position easily.

      Good luck with everything and I hope things work out OK.

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  41. Hello. Did you really sell everything you own? To what end? What did you do with the money from it? Did you spend it on yourself then? I’ve been thinking a lot lately and I’m thinking of selling my house, and my car, and everything in the house. And me and my daughter want to help the world. I don’t really know how, we want to help children more than anything, but really the world’s a friggin mess and we want to do some good with the time we have on the Earth. Hmmm…What am I asking you….Mostly I guess how hard is it on you? To like, own nothing. It’s scary, selling everything. So I sort of want a first hand account I guess. Thanks.

    • Hi Christine,
      We sold everything except for Simon’s drum kit and 2 small boxes of photo albums which are stored in Simon’s mum´s loft. To be honest we could do without these though. We also haven’t managed to sell our house yet but we have almost forgotten we have it and it will be sold soon hopefully.

      Otherwise we travel with two small backpacks (carry on size) and a travel guitar. Everything else got sold. It was difficult at first but it gets easier as you continue selling things. By the end I just wanted it all gone and we gave lots of things away to charity.

      We don’t regret it at all. We don’t miss anything and we feel very free. It’s an amazing feeling being able to pack up in 10 minutes and move on to the next place. When we feel like we need a home for a while we just rent a fully furnished apartment.

      We made a few thousand by selling our things and put this towards our travel savings.

      If you are interested in volunteering check out the Nerdy Nomad blog. Kirsty has ben travelling for years volunteering as she goes. http://www.nerdynomad.com/volunteering

      I would say if you are feeling the urge to sell everything and do something different then just go for it. Good luck!

  42. The iPhone is justifiable. It combines so many different functions that its actually nonsensical not to have one if you’re trying to save space. It is also shiny. I’m stroking mine right now. And my iPhone.

  43. Well, I haven’t gotten rid of all my stuff yet… I ended up salvaging the situation to a certain degree and staying put for now. I plan to sell off my belongings slowly and gradually over the next few years. I’ve started by downsizing my book & movie collection by selling them on Amazon Marketplace.

    I’ve pretty much stopped buying anything that isn’t perishable. I refuse to spend money on anything I don’t absolutely need for survival right now, which makes the most sense given my lack of funds anyhow.

    In answer to your question Erin, yes, I have considered teaching English overseas. I think I could do that fairly easily, but my kids would definitely not go for it. Right now, my life is pretty much on hold until they are grown up and out of the house.

    Only 3 more years to go and I am home free and the possibilities are unlimited. In the meantime, I am working on figuring out what I want out of my life… I turn 40 on Saturday, January 15th. I realize I’ve pretty much wasted my life up til now… Maybe in this next decade I will figure things out and get it right!

    Namaste!

    Rachel

    • Hi Rachel,
      Im totally with you on that… Also a single female, just turned 40, worked hard for the past 20 yrs not much to show for it, good job in London, yet feeling more and more disillusioned as each day goes by… “is this it?”

      I spent a year in India and a year in Morocco about 10 yrs ago when my quest for alternative living and minimalism was born, I realised I was the happiest when I had the least possessions and had the freedom to get up and go.

      I can no longer tolerate feeling like a battery for the system, to come home each day to a prison of four walls…Im currently downsizing the few last possessions and hope to just hit the road with my backpack, savings, laptop and a good cloud storage.. I realise that now is probably the last chance I will have to do this… No matter where I go or the outcome; I can say I have done it and succeeded or failed.. but I did it.. The Rat race will always be here waiting for us…

      Good Luck Ana Gabriella

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  45. I had a question, why do I want to sell everything I own? I searched the internet to see if I could find the answer to why I want to sell everything. I’m still not sure. I don’t have a specific destination in mind. I have struggled with this desire for many years, thinking I was crazy and would regret selling everything. Your site has given me some ideas of why I may want to sell everything. In truth I’m scared I would regret it. If you could help me with my issue, I would appreciate that.

    • I think you can benefit from selling everything even if you don’t want to travel. You’ll save money, have less stress, more space and more freedom. We haven’t regretted it at all. Good luck!

  46. Thank you so much for sharing your views, yes nowadays there are too much things with us that we don’t really need. And it’s really nice to see someone that has a good view on things. It’s like wants and needs, there are the things that we want to have that takes up space and there are things that we really need. These things really sums up what we will be getting at life. Keep it up and great work!

  47. Great stuff! We sold most everything we had (kept 16 boxes in storage) but the stuff we carry with us 3 years ago and have loved the freedom. After raising 3 kids it’s our time now. Thanks for the post.
    -David

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  49. Hey guys!

    My fella and I have decided to sell everything we own so we can buy a van to live in for a year to help us save up for our wedding, dream honeymoon to Canada and a new married life together! It’s ridiculous how much money you can save if you are not paying rent and regular bills. We’re into our 4th week of selling everything and up to about £450. We’ve done a carboot and selling lots on amazon and ebay. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

    • I completely understand that feeling. In the end we ended up dumping a load of stuff off at the charity shop. That was particularly hard with many many books we couldn’t sell, but we don’t regret it at all. A Kindle makes so much more sense that bookshelves full of heavy books anyway. Good luck!

  50. I don’t know where you live, but in Portland, OR there is a service that hauls away your unwanted stuff… the company is called JUNK.

  51. You guys are on to something here…

    I’ve just worked out that I spend £420 a year on my mobile phone bill. That goes up to £575 when I add on the cost of insuring the phone!

    Recently I’ve been itching to go travelling again, but since joining the grown up world of work, rent, bills and a car, saving seems impossible. After reading this I’m getting a slight glimmer of hope!

    • It’s amazing how your bills add up isn’t it? We always stuck with a pay as you go phone so that we could limit the amount we spent. You just need to examine everything you spend and see if there’s a way you can cut down. There’s definitely hope! Good luck with it!

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  55. I think selling all your stuff is great! I’m actually in the process of doing that. I want to have as little responsibility as possible :0 Great posts; can’t wait to see updates. Thanks for sharing!

  56. I actually gave my stuff away to chariy,
    Left London 1987 with a passport,guitar,cowboy boots and some clothes in a hold all.
    I see my current lifestyle in Finland as far better than what I had i the UK
    Do I miss anything?NO,no
    All the material things can be replaced,but I prefer only the essentials and I now have purchased two homes in Finland.An apartment in Helsinki and a country house in Lappeenranta on the Finland-Russian border
    I can not even think of retuning to UK as it has become dirty and rough
    Those are just my living abroad views
    I love it

  57. I find you to be an inspiration! I have been pondering this act in my own life, i am fed up with the matrialistic nature of N. America. Being from Canada myself its pretty much just the same as the U.S.A in terms of consuming, a never ending cycle of consuming….and i want off. Now i need to convince my wife….Did you have any issues of this nature with your partner? If you have any tips outside of the ones on your blog i’m all ears. I need to live not just exist….

    Thx
    Shayne

    • Thanks very much Shayne. It’s a process we really recommend.

      Simon found it a bit harder than me initially to sell his stuff but it really does get easier the more you do it. So maybe start small – convince your wife to clear out a drawer, then a cupboard, then the garage etc. Hopefully once she sees the benefits – more space, less clutter, more money she’ll get on board. Maybe keep an end goal in mind – for us it was travel but maybe you could use the cash from selling your belongings to do something you’ve always wanted to do together. Good luck with it!

    • I feel you Shayne, right there myself at the moment. Over the consumption lol! Husband still rather attached to some things.. but I’ll work on him ;-)

  58. Hello all!

    It’s been a while since we tried to embark on our adventure, but yesterday we finally started it.

    We’ve have sold most of our belongings and bought a massive van, which we are now living in! We’re hoping to do this to save for our wedding, dream honeymoon in Canada and our new married life together….it is so nice being free of all our clutter!

    So as of yesterday we are houseless but not homeless as our van is becoming more cozy everyday and I look forward to it becoming our true home for the next year. We can wak up to a new view everyday!

    Again….thank you for the inspiration!

    • Congratulations! It’s great to hear from others who are doing a similar thing as us but for different reasons. Good luck and have fun!

  59. I have said this for years and years…
    I am an only child and my mother died a few years ago and of course I inherited EVERYTHING.. lucky me.

    Of course YEARS ago I thought my life was going to be very different (children, marriage.. that lot).

    But I am pretty miserable right now and trying to live that life isn’t working out as planned.

    My parents had the whole set of china, silver, nice nice furniture.. clothes. Ironically, my dad, (my parents were divorced) died with nothing really. Lots of papers in a little studio apt. All the valuables were “lost” in storage (unfortuantely sentimental items..) but I did get some of his artwork that he did …

    But my mother had all the furniture the knick nacks the BOOKS.. She left the house to my stepfather and he bought back some of the furniture but I still have a full Barn FULL of stuff and I am feeling SOOO overwhelmed. I feel like my life is passing me buy.

    But I while I am choosing to let go much of this stuff, I am finding it is HARD to sell it. No one is wanting to buy it for what it is worth. (Crappy economy and all). This is nice stuff, valuable stuff.

    and I find I have little time. Yardsales: Wastes of time!.

    I have donated a lot of it.. and will probably donate more. But some I need to sell.

    I am an only child and have no children so the burden is all mine.

    I once fanticized having a nice home to put all this junk… but I have a small house. I have already sold a piano but I have a lot more to dump.

    Thanks

    • We also found it hard to sell some things, and to accept that we had to sell things for much less than they are worth or just give them away. It is a difficult process so I do feel for you. Good luck with it!

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  61. I’ve gone in the opposite direction from where I was a year and a half ago. Last July, I was offered a job that I reluctantly accepted back in Colorado. I bought a condo in March, which I am working on remodeling.

    Now, I feel like I’m losing my mind. Everything is about money… it’s such a trap. I hate it, and I feel caught in a web of drama and stress. My job sucks! I want out, and I am kicking myself for selling out again, but I don’t know if I really had any other choice.

    Everyone keeps telling me that I need to just stick with it… keep working at my crappy desk job for my youngest daughter’s sake. She has 2 years left of high school. But, then what? What happens to me after she completes high school?

    Right now, two years feels like an eternity. I don’t do well in a conventional lifestyle. I need meaning and purpose in my life. I need adventure – to see the sacred sites of the world and to feel like I am contributing to the world somehow. I want to be a writer.

    Any suggestions???

    • Hi Rachel,
      I think life is too short to spend it doing something you don’t love. Setting off on your own is tough but if you want it enough it is possible. If I was you I’d start working towards my dream right now. Even if you have to keep the job for a while as you save up and work on your writing or whatever I think the fact that you are working on it will keep you going. You might want to check out this site for inspiration (and he has written a great book called $100 Startup too): http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/

      Good luck with it!

  62. Thanks for the words of encouragement Erin! I completely agree with you about life being too short… I am familiar with these books, but haven’t read them yet… time to get on it! I will see if my library network has copies to check out… Namaste!

  63. Thanks Erin!

    I read both of Chris’s books over the weekend… great insights from both. But, I especially liked the Art of Nonconformity. I’ve been really struggling to make it through the day at work today. I don’t know how much longer I can do this job. I REALLY hate it! I need to find a better way… fast! I’m miserable and frustrated, and my coworkers are downright abusive. I’m SO done with this lifestyle. I am way too smart to be going nowhere and doing nothing with my life!

    • Dear Rachel,
      I feel your pain, woman. But you must hang on. The devil wants you to fail because he knows the wonderful gifts you have and the good it will do. Although our lives are totally different, I found myself at the end of my rope with work several years ago. It wasn’t just work, it was everything that was (or wasn’t) in my life. I thought I couldn’t bear to go to work one more day, stay married one more day, tolerate my life one more day. I finally decided I needed to get away for a few days by myself and that this would be the first step on the journey toward a better life. That was in 2009… things are slow going but much better; as I look back on that horrible time, I saw a lot of it was me. I was my biggest problem. My thoughts were nothing but negative and complaining. “why did we move to this awful city and buy this house?” why can’t my husband make more money? why do I have to be the one responsible for health insurance and paying all the bills? How can my co-workers be laughing and giggling all the time and seem so damn happy when I’m so damn miserable inside?” Then I listened to the story of the Israelites lost in the wilderness for 40 years and connected with it. It was a spiritual battle. And an attitude problem. They didn’t need to be lost all that time if they just paid attention. So I’m working less, living on less, loving life more these days, one day at a time, the bills are somehow getting paid and the internal complaining has almost vanished. However, less $$ is a driving force to sell our stuff and house. Rachel, my hope is that you hang in there and seek God for some peace. It will get better..it just takes time. And like you said before, you’re too smart to be going nowhere. You are worth being happy, not miserable. Don’t wait until you’re 50 like me! This is a cool blog. Hoping it will help inspire me to part with my stuff.

      • Thank you for the words of encouragement Anne. I’m still working at the same job, but I’ve been working on my attitude. I’m still doing more than my fair share of complaining, but over the past few months, things have gotten a lot better. I’ve really managed to turn things around in my work relationships. So, that makes it more tolerable. I’m in the process of developing my “escape plan.” My eldest daughter graduates HS in one year, SO my plan is to sell my condo and most of my belongings then. I need to follow my Personal Legend and go to India, which is what I plan to do by 2015. I’m excited about the possibilities, but frustrated that I must wait so long. But I trust that the universe will provide and all will turn out as it should in the end. Goddess Bless… Namaste! Taramathea

  64. Simon you are hilarious i love you! lol, we could totally have a ball laughing and talking for a few hours. We currently live in Australia, but moving to France at some point (French husband). I love this blog as I’m in the process of not only sorting through things for the future move, but also because I’m just reaching a point where I’m fed up with ‘stuff’ – it all suddenly seems so disorganized and cluttered and burdensome, when I loved it all before.. i feel like I’ve gotten to a place where I could have anything I want, (which I did), but it’s all so empty and pointless (which I knew all along, but thought I’d try it anyway lol). I’m longing to offload all this, and was wondering if ebay etc was worth it (so much time photographing and posting?!), but your blog has confirmed it’s probably worth the time if I can get to it in between work. Thank you for the info and smiles, love to meet you guys someday – I’d have you over but we might decide not to have a house haha! ;-)

  65. I’m in the process of getting rid of everything. As a typical American, I have everything, too, LOL. It’s a huge job. I’m moving permanently to Thailand.

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned is that in the US, charitable gifts are tax deductible. If one uses Turbo Tax or Quicken, there is a program that is a plug-in called “It’s Deductible.” It takes the list and suggests values, and generates a total. Receipts required for IRS of course, but the charity doesn’t put an amount on the receipt, just the item(s).

    Because for this last year I will have significant taxable income and be in a 39% tax bracket including state income taxes, for every dollar’s worth I donate, I get back about 39 cents in my tax refund, or pay less if I owe.

    Some of the piles of things I own such as clothing simply aren’t worth the hassle of selling, It’s Deductible suggests more value than I would have guessed, and I really won’t get hurt by doing a lot of donating of many, many smaller things.

    Just a thought.

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  68. Your writing is one of inspiration, and will be taken word for word by me as I travel down the similar path you have taken.

    Stuff is unnecessary weight that leads to heart attacks. Your comment of pensions and retirement packages being for old people can not be truer! I am 34, live on my own, have a great career, no kids, a house, and a ton of crap!

    It will be more than liberating to unload and free myself! I look forward to sitting on a beach this time next year with an ice cold beer and a guitar!

    Thank You for your inspiration, and if anyone in New Jersey is looking for a renovated ranch on an acre of land, a motorcycle, new furniture, or a go one 3 velomobile…don’t hesitate to reach out :)

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  70. Enjoyed your site – even at 63 I like travelling light, but agree “travel trousers” are awful!!
    I went to the site for info about Kindles, am about to buy one to take to Argentina where my son lives (He’s English she’s from Salta, wonderful city) UK books a problem, and for the kids, Kindle is brilliant. Stepfather aged 89 in Madrid uses one….
    I have a huge garden here in Galicia, and am enjoying “retirement” – glad of the Pension!!!!!! Ha Ha Je Je!!! But perhaps when its all too mcuh we could sell up and just travel around woth next to nothing – very appealing. Keep enjoying yourselves

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  72. I have to admit that I didn’t sleep well last night. I’ve been playing with the idea of selling everything, buying a car and just living off the road for awhile because I’m always struggling to keep my tiny apartment for $1,000 a month. I’m tired of fighting for an apartment that always leaks and is really just a space for my huge ass wall unit and *stuff*.

    Since I am a Virtual Assistant my income fluctuates. I was a Business Analyst for the NYC Mayor’s Office and when I got laid off years ago I started my own business and felt so free and happy not to have to spend a small fortune to commute anymore. But now, since I don’t have a steady income, my nerves are always on end trying to figure out what next. It’s terrifying.

    Since I can work from anywhere as long as I have an internet connection I figure I’ll sell everything as far as furniture, bedding, dishes, pictures, etc. and then use the money to purchase a vehicle that I can sleep in. I fear that so much but even if I did do it, the one un-figured out part is my cat.

    I adopted him when he was just a year old and that was in 1998. I’m single so he only really knows me and he’d die if I put him up for adoption. I can’t do it. And I burst into tears thinking of putting him to sleep just because he’d be inconvenient. But even if I took him with me and bought a cage for him to safely travel with me, I can’t leave him in a car unattended when I have to go into a library or a McDonald’s for wi-fi.

    It’s May 31st and I’m thinking about using the next 30 days to get rid of everything but the pet part…anybody, please, talk to me. What do I do about him?

    And I am also recognized by Forbes magazine and can design sites. I can do that from anywhere.

    I live in New Jersey.

  73. Dammit, I’m on it! I posted my ad on both Craigslist and eBay today. Check it out! And if you know any NJ people, please, please, spread the word. I already sent the link to Ellen Degeneres, too. And I said specifically that I do not want her money and I don’t even want to be on the show. I don’t want my current clients and one I’m working on now to know.

    http://r.ebay.com/o5H6g4

    By the way, how do you get mail? I’m trying to figure that out. If I’m cruising across states and figuring out where I want to go, how can that work? Guess I’ll just have to pay like a UPS spot or Mailbox Etc. (if they still exist) but then I couldn’t even pay to have them forward mail to me until I have a permanent address. They can’t forward it to a hostel or hotel – by the time I make the request I’d be back in my car driving to my next stop.

    How does that work?

    And tell me what you think of the listing. I’d love to know.

    Oh, and regarding your comments about my cat. You can’t leave a cat in ANY vehicle unattended. You ever sit in a closed car just 10 minutes in 85 degree weather with no air on? Second, I’m in no position to buy an RV, camper or even a van. I’m talking a small used car. I can’t afford more. So it is what it is.

    Read the listing and you’ll get the gist of my plan. It’s also on Craigslist.

    • Great, good luck with it Patricia!

      We use Simon’s mum’s address and get our mail sent there. She scans and sends us anything important, but we’ve mostly gone paperless (online bank statements etc). There are services I think that can accept and scan your mail for you.

  74. Being a techie and running a techie company I’d amassed thousand of pounds worth of ‘stuff’ especially expensive shiny electric stuff. An Apple addiction is way more expensive than a drug habit :-) Anyway, I sold about 75% of my stuff before I moved in with my gf in April. The other 25% will go before we leave in October.

    The experience has been liberating and a small price to pay for the freedom to roam the world.

  75. Well as an update I am having a good ole’ time myself. I just sold my lovely sofa that I purchased in 1998 for $975. That’s not so much the big deal as the fact that I have the receipt and paid only $1040 for it back then. Ha! That pays July’s rent here while I get rid of my wall unit, and some antiques and then I’m gone.

    I’m juggling with how I’ll end up there – roommate temporarily while I look for a “permanent” apartment of my own (so I don’t waste money turning on utilities and all) or stay at a hotel a few weeks (same reason).

    Either way the bottom line is I have never felt so excited to be free from the hostage situation my “stuff” has kept me in. Seriously – I’ve been a hostage.

    This is so friggin’ liberating. I’ll figure it out as I go but I am sure having a good time getting there! I’m giving up the living in a car idea but now that I’m experiencing the exhilaration of detaching myself from stuff, this is the most therapeutic and amazing thing I’ve ever done.

    I don’t think people realize how unfree they really are with their things. Not saying I don’t love whatever I have and that I won’t “want” and “have” again, but not to the point where having cripples me to come or go as I please. Never that again.

    Thank you for the support and great comments here everyone. I so appreciate what I’ve read and I’m gonna keep on reading whenever a new comment pops up!

    • That’s so exciting Patricia! I’m really pleased it’s working out for you and am impressed how much you got for your sofa. Usually furniture sells for a tiny fraction of what you originally paid. It sounds like you have a great attitude about it all.

  76. Oh, and Erin, thank you for the pet traveler link but as you see, those pets were all traveling in motorhomes and such. Again, living in a car is a whole different thing.

  77. I’ve gotta admit (heaven forgive me) but I have learned over the years to do what the stores do to us. Mark it up and then mark it down. “This couch cost me $3,000 when I bought it. Look at the good bones and the ultrasuede fabric. I’m selling it for less than a third of what I purchased it for and I just can’t go lower than that.”

    Sold!

  78. Great post! :) In general I definitely see the virtues of having less stuff rather than more, especially if it’s stuff you don’t really use. I used to travel a lot on long voyages and didn’t own much stuff and I was great at being “ruthless” with it, as I used to say. And that was cool. Loved the freedom.

    However, every time I came back home in between to work and settle down for a while, I’d have to go out and find a new place to rent, and then the place would need to be furnished – so it seemed like I’d always spend so much money (even if I was looking for inexpensive stuff) trying to find a couch and a couple chairs, and stuff for the kitchen, and a bed, and bedding, and, you know… this and that, and other things that you just kind of need to live comfortably. And then there was other stuff that I wanted or needed for my time at home – like camping gear, climbing gear, hiking boots, etc, so I could enjoy the great outdoor offerings that my home has to offer. Sewing machine so I could fix and sew my clothes when I needed. Board games or books.

    In the end, I actually grew to hate having no stuff! I hated all the money and effort I had to spend to get set back up again every time. It just wore on me. I finally said no more!! No more moving, no more getting rid of stuff (unless I really don’t use it. Clutter sucks, and we do live in a very small house). Now I’m going travelling to India for three months this winter and this is the first trip that I’m actually just going to pay the rent on my place and keep all my stuff put! ha. Yay! I am so happy about this!

    Also, Erin, we are going to Kerala for three weeks out of our trip and I found your Kerala travel guide blog extremely helpful. So thank you very much! Looking forward to maybe staying in the homestay in the backwaters you recommend. Looks lovely.

    • I can see the advantage of keeping your stuff if you return home between trips. We’ve been completely nomadic for 3.5 years and we rent fully furnished apartments while travelling so we don’t need any of our old stuff.

      Have a great trip to India, Kerala is wonderful.

  79. I received an email alert that there was a new comment by a “Mel” and then I visit and it’s not here. So are you deleting comments that don’t vibe with your own beliefs? I mean, the person was opinionated but aren’t we all? And I certainly read nothing offensive.

    • We have no problem with constructive criticism but we don’t suffer trolls, especially those that hide behind a fake email address. It was an angry comment written not to offer an alternative point of view, but to attack us personally (“stupid” and “witless”). So, yes, we deleted it as, just like comment spam, we felt it didn’t add anything of true value to our site.

      • Oh, okay then. That’s cool. I just didn’t know what that was about after I got the alert and then nothing new had been posted.

        As an update on my end, I made my move to North Carolina, literally donated just about everything I own through FreeCycle and I honestly can’t explain how…uninhibited I feel. I mean, I could go just about anywhere right now with just a van to fit the important things I have. Of course, I don’t plan to live this way forever but it’s the right time to not feel locked with things.

        And the problem I was having before (if you scroll up and read it) with my cat…well, he passed away just weeks after I got him here. 15 years of friendship with my true soul-pet. But there’s a reason for everything and right now I’m not ready to have another pet until I’m done figuring out where I’ll settle in long-term.

  80. I moved out of a house onto my sailboat almost three years ago and sold a LOT of stuff, so I have already put a BIG dent in what I have to get rid of before moving abroad. After getting rid of what I thought was enough, I ended up renting a big storage unit.

    So, in addition to selling what’s on the boat (and boat stuff AND the boat) I probably have quite a bit to get rid of in the storage unit. My plan is to leave the US for (probably) Thailand in the summer or fall of 2015, so I have time to start nibbling away at my STUFF (by George Carlin). If I wait until a month or so before the plane leaves, I know I’ll end up keeping the $75/month storage unit so I’d better start early.

    As I plow through my STUFF, I’ll let you know how I’m doing. And when I finally get to where I want to be, you’ll probably hear me screaming and cheering from great distances!

    Thanks for the great blog and advice!

    Cheers,
    Jack

  81. Pingback: How We Got Started as Digital Nomads

  82. Nearly twenty years ago we sold our house, some of our stuff, putting the rest into storage at the parents place and headed overseas. Nearly six years later we returned to find a room full of stuff that was not us anymore.
    So what did we do?
    We had a garage sale and sold nearly all of it and started again. Apart from the photos and a box or two of things from our childhood it is now all gone.
    To make up for our our want of a place to live, we bought a beautiful place in the country and made it our own, (read Don Blanding’s poem here), but soon it was more of a tie and we began to hate it. We moved and moved again and now own a large house in the city full of our things from our travels and with our two kids. But all we think about is buying a small backpack again and heading off overseas and that is what we plan on doing when the girls have left home and we will sell most of our stuff that we cannot digitalise.
    While all the stuff is nice, it means nothing and we would swap it all again for a sunrise on a beach in a foreign land. However, I have to admit it was and is nice to have a place to call home, even if it is just an attic with a drum kit in it, or as Don Blanding has, a dream home.
    All the best on your travels. Actually we can’t wait and are taking the girls backpacking in Sri Lanka at Christmas. Can’t wait. All the best on your travels.

  83. Your blog is my favorite! I’ve moved across the world a couple times but ended up within a few hours of where I grew up a couple times as well. I always leave a bunch of stuff at my parents house, but I’m at it again in the fall and I’m determined to only keep my snowboard, a box or two of winter clothes there and two pieces of artwork this time. I’m a huge environmentalist so I’m SO glad you introduced me to freecycle. I always feel really guilty recycling instead of repurposing, so that was a great tip. You also inspired me to sell my car! Anyway, I could go on, but I won’t. Sending lots of thanks and good vibes from Michigan.

    • Thanks Linds and I’m so glad you’ve found the blog useful. Good luck with selling your stuff! It can be a difficult process but I’m sure you’ll feel liberated in the end.

  84. I’ve spent the last twenty years trying not to accumulate too much stuff. Having lived all over has forced me to keep my stuff to a minimum. Been forced to be here in New Zealand for the past three years, and have accumulated way too much. I didn’t even realise this until I had a look around the other day. The amount of stuff I now own has me quite stressed out. Going to do a massive selling run as I’m almost ready to move on. I think the happiest I’ve ever been was when I had nothing more than a suitcase in my hand and some cash in my pocket. Looking forward to realising this state again.

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