The itinerary is starting to take shape. As you sit on your couch basking in all the glory of your planning, you start to look around. Suddenly you notice some things. Lots of things. Everywhere.
“Oh, boy!” you say to yourself aloud. “I sure do have a lot of crap here in my house/apartment/condo. What the hell am I going to do with all this stuff?”
Panic starts to set in, but then you realize how far you’ve come over these months (or years) of planning this epic, RTW trip. You can handle this, and while it may seem disheartening at the moment, you can soldier through and figure it out.
Getting Rid Of Your Crap
Not everything you own is crap. There are plenty of items you do own that get put to good use all the time. As for the other 85% of the stuff in your place, well, a lot of it is crap. Getting used to the idea of throwing stuff out is foreign to so many people from western countries. It’s just part of the culture to collect, collect, collect until your house is filled to the brim.
Well now is your chance to start anew. Rectify your clutter problem by getting rid of most of it. If you are moving out completely and putting your stuff in storage, I’m guessing you’d prefer a smaller (and cheaper) storage unit. Even if your parents, siblings, or friends agreed to give you space in their storage room or basement for your extra stuff, it would be nice not to bring truckloads of it.
What To Do With It All
Some stuff will have to be thrown out or given away. But a good portion of it can be sold. Craig’s List, Ebay, and garage or yard sales are great ways to get rid of stuff that you just don’t use or need anymore. Our culture is obsessed with collecting, so take advantage of other’s hoarding mentality and sell your crap off. Someone out there is surely interested in Aunt Martha’s flowered glass lamp from 1961.
Selling off a lot of your stuff is not only empowering because you’re paring down and learning to live on less (which is what you’ll be doing for the length of your trip), but it can also garner you a good deal of extra funds for your trip or for your nest-egg for your return. Sure, you’re most likely not going to want to get rid of everything, but once you start ditching stuff, it gets addicting.
If you can’t sell it or don’t want to mess with it, then give what’s still in good condition away to charity. Goodwill is always accepting, as are various charities in every city across the world. Obtaining some good karma for yourself before departing is never a bad idea.
What To Do With The Home You Own
If you own a home, your options become a little more muddled, but I’m sure you’ve already pondered what to do before you decided to go on a RTW trip. If you hope to come back to the same city you live in now and re-establish your life, then looking for someone to rent probably makes more sense than selling your house.
If you can get someone you know to rent your house out, even better. That will afford you the opportunity to work out a deal where you can leave some/all of your possessions there and not have to worry about paying for storage. You can maybe even charge less for rent to put a lot of your stuff in the basement or storage. Or you can charge more for rent and let them use your furniture/dishes/stuff while you’re gone (just be careful if you’re doing this with a friend or family member and be clear on expectations). If renting to a stranger, it’s still possible to work out a similar deal, but the trust issue may not be there (though you are already trusting this stranger with your home, so what’s a bit of your stuff, too?).
Putting your home on sites like Craigslist and AirBNB make it easier than ever to rent out your place. If you can’t find anyone to rent it for the entire time you’re gone, then consider renting it for shorter periods. This will obviously be more difficult, but if you have a friend or family member at home that is willing to help (perhaps for a cut of the rent), then you can make it work.
Of course you could just choose to sell your house and start anew after the trip. Who knows? You may not even come home!
Storing Your Stuff
If you plan on selling your house or you rent, you will need to store some of your stuff. There are countless storage units in every city, so it’s all a matter of shopping around in the city you live. Pods are great and makes the whole process even easier, but it’s more expensive than traditional storage units.
If you have a friend or family member who is kind enough to offer some space in their house, bonus! This provides even more incentive to get rid of as much as you can, as you don’t want to take advantage of someone who is doing you such a huge favor.
What To Do With Your Vehicles
If you own a car, deciding what to do with it can be a difficult decision to make. It depends on a variety of factors, like how old it is, how much it’s worth, and if you own it outright or are still making payments. Whether or not you plan on moving back to the same house and city also impacts your decision on this one.
If your car is an old beater that isn’t really worth much, it might be a good idea to just hold on to it for when you return (unless you don’t plan on returning). If your car is still in good condition and it’s paid off, you may want to sell it as it will just depreciate sitting there while you’re gone. This could give you some extra funds for traveling, or it can go into a nest-egg for a new car when you return.
If you still owe money on your car and can’t get rid of it without losing money, then consider seeing if a friend or family member is looking for something to drive temporarily. Maybe you can work out a deal that benefits both parties, with your friend or family member picking up partial payments while being able to drive your car while you’re gone. You may have to pay some to make it worth their while, but it would be nice to come home to a car after returning. Once less thing you have to worry about when trying to re-enter normal life.
Or if you live in a public transportation friendly city, consider getting rid of your car long before you leave. You can have some extra funds from the sale, and you’ll be saving money by not making car payments and paying for insurance and gas.
The Pet Dilemma
If you are both a travel lover and a pet lover, this provides a problem. Sometimes you simply have to choose one or the other, as long-term travel doesn’t mesh well with owning pets. It’s something travelers need to keep in mind, as it’s not fair for your furry friends for you to leave for months at a time.
But if you want both, it’s possible, though it’s going to take some work and good friendships to make it happen. The best things for both pet and traveler is to find a friend or family member to take care of your pet(s) while you are gone. This is not easy as asking someone to do this for you is a huge favor. If someone agrees, payment or some other form of thanks is a necessity.
Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, unfortunately, and you may be forced to give your pets away. It’s heartbreaking and no one wants to do it, but there are plenty of people out there looking for a pet who would provide a great home. And honestly, it will be much easier on your pet to adjust. Probably way more than you.
Check out the following articles and resources to learn more about getting rid of your stuff:
- Ready, Set, Sell, Fundraise
- Getting Rid of It: Eliminating the Clutter in Your Life
- Did You Sell Everything to Fund Your Trip?
- How to Get Rid of All Your Crap
What To Do With All Your Stuff While You’re Gone Checklist
- Start assessing all your possessions
- Begin making lists -1) Definitely get rid of -2)Definitely keep -3)Maybe
- Start listing things you can sell on Craig’s List and/or Ebay
- Have a garage/yard sale
- Give away things you can’t sell to Goodwill or other charities in your city
- If you own, make a decision on renting or selling
- If renting, try to find a friend or family member to rent it from you first
- If renting to a friend or family member, try working out a deal to have them store some of your stuff while gone
- If selling, research storage options in your city
- Do you have any friends/family members that have extra space for your stuff?
- Make a decision about your car – 1)Sell -2)Keep -3)Rent to a friend/family member
- If you have a pet, try to find a friend/family member to watch him or her
- If not, find a good home for your pet