Guys, I don’t know if you’ve ever gone though those dark corners, closets, spare rooms, basements or attics, but let me tell you… you probably have more stuff than you think. And if there are two or more of you living in your house, no matter how big or small, double it, at least. We move just about every year and so we have grown uncomfortably aware of how much can accumulate in just 12 short months- that’s not to mention if you’ve lived some place a normal amount of time- somewhere between 6 and 9 years. So with our decade of uprooting and moving our stuff around with us we’re bringing you 5 tips on how to survive. No matter if you your just trying to clean up, trying to downsize to move, or if like us you’re trying to shape up so you can try RV living.
- Tip # 1 Get a dumpster
This is my #1 tip because its so simple and easily the best way to get rid of all the extra. For real, if your serious, call today. Get three to five quotes and go with the best deal. You probably need it for about three days over the weekend, maybe up to 7 if its a lot of stuff. Some companies if you ask might even dump it and return it for a small fee. This of course will depend on where you live. We have found this option costs less in the city but we were able to do it even living down a dirt road. Getting a dumpster is going to save you so much time and effort trying to decide what to do with at the stuff you clear out. And if your neighbors are anything like ours, they will come clear out the dumpster for you. It’s surprising what you will find missing the next day! If you feel bad about throwing stuff away, just remember that feeling when you go to buy something the next time.
- Tip # 2 Deal with your own stuff
Sure, your partner is the one with all the cheap crap and junk, most of your stuff is worth keeping but this is THE secret to not getting into a fight… Your stuff is yours to deal with and their stuff is theirs to deal with. I’m going to presume that it was by mutual agreement that you are downsizing and cleaning up and so unless they ask you to throw something SPECIFIC away, just don’t. Support them when you can and remember this may or may not be difficult for you but this causes anxiety in a lot of people. My husband and I are both sentimental people who like to keep stuff. Over the years we have gotten better at it and we have learned to ask kind but pointed questions about the reason we are keeping an item. Any movement forward is a step in the right direction. You can always create a “look though again” pile. It’s okay, you’ve got this. Also we both find it easier to give each other the last say on things we’re on the fence about (knowing the other one will toss it). Sometimes its just easier to have someone do the physical throwing away for you.
- Tip # 3 Keep in mind your “Why”
This is key to paring down. If you don’t have a good reason, and you’re not in agreement, its not going to be easy. You’re likely not going to make as much progress as you had hoped. For us the first time we moved it was from KY to FL and it was without a RELO package. So we really needed to decide what we needed and what we could do without. We had a three bed room home at that point and had filled it up, as people do. We were excited (and younger) and ready for the adventure. The prospect of this “new life” helped to inspire us to clean out almost all of our possessions. We were able to fit everything we kept in the back of my Husband’s truck and in my little two door, which we towed behind us. Now we’re trying to move into the RV full time lifestyle and so we measured our storage and bought totes so that we could visualize how much we can keep and how much we need to minimize. Its how we have decided to put pressure on ourselves since there is no real deadline. Figure out whats going to encourage you! Need more help? Try here.
- Tip # 4 Walk away if you need to
I know I can only do so much sorting and purging before I start to have a mini panic attack. Sometimes you might need to go out side, or move to a different section of the house. Acknowledge this and walk away, don’t say anything if you’re having a disagreement that seems like it’s going to escalate. I give you permission to take a break, give yourself permission too. But this is why having a “why” is so important. In the few minutes you walk away, refocus on why you’re doing this. Give yourself a pep talk, listen to a upbeat song (here’s one) and remind yourself that you’re doing a really good job and get back at it! This is another reason for the dumpster too! You have a timeline to get this done so you don’t have to figure out how to get rid of all this stuff by yourself.
- Tip # 5 Eat out / Leave for a little while
You don’t need to over think this part, plan on either a nice lunch out or even a quick bite, whatever your budget allows. Just get out of the house for a little while! At least 20 minutes. Its going to help you to take a deep breath and think about something other than your stuff, which you’ve been doing for hours or even days. Reconnect and make sure you say something nice to each other because, if you are anything like us tensions can run high on “Cleaning up Days.” Smile, laugh and remember you’re in this together. I know, for me, even though coming back is difficult and I have a hard time getting out of the car to get back at having that little bit of a break allows my nerves to settle back down. Afterwords I can make more rational choices and I’m not as curt when speaking to my husband. Kindness is a key here.
- Bonus Tip! Yard Sale
Plan a yard sale for the weekend that your dumpster arrives or maybe the day before. The reason for this is to have an opportunity to sell everything first so that you won’t have the idea in the back of you mind: “Oh, but I could sell this.” Try. Then what ever fails to sell, get rid of it… in the dumpster. Make sure what ever the item is, if someone makes you an offer you’re going to take it. $1 for something you think is worth $10 is better than the alternative, throwing it away. Let someone who wants it take it home. If you want to get really crazy, give everything away for free!
In conclusion you can do this. You can get though this together with out a fight. Make it as easy on yourself as possible. What other tips do you have that make doing this together easier? Leave a comment and let us know!