Monday, April 21, 2014

How do I get rid of all this stuff?!

The thought of paring down our possessions for life on the road has been overwhelming.  I figured I'd start in the guest room and work my way through that first.  But every time I walk into the room and take a look around, my eyes roll back in my head and I just walk right back out.  It's going to be a lot of work.

In trying to mentally prepare, I've been doing some reading and have found several bright, interesting people out there who are devoted to minimalism and living a simple, meaningful life.  And they’ve given me some terrific ideas.

For sentimental items that I can’t keep with me, I can take a picture to remember it, then sell it or give it away.  Genius!  And luckily for me, my husband is a very talented photographer.

I’ll be attempting to sell my collections of snow domes, salt and pepper shakers and other souvenirs.  It will be painful to give up these beloved little things, but the joy of them really just resides in my mind.  The things themselves are ready to go to a new home.

A good place for books to go is the local jail or prison.  Who knows?  It could mean the difference between a human life staying stuck in misery, and actually breaking good.  I have a friend who is a social worker at a large county jail.  Their library cart used to contain one spider and one Spanish-English dictionary.  She and I can help change that.  The Prison Library Project in Claremont, California is doing admirable work in the area of literacy.  And just down the street Gloria Killian is doing imaginative, beautiful work on behalf of women prisoners and their children.  Check out her Greeting Card Project – it’s incredible.  Also, the kids could use toys for Christmas.  No time like the present to start filling up Gloria’s garage….

For the rest of the books that I’ll never read (or re-read), Bookcrossings is fun a way to set them free.  The website generates a unique identifying number for each book, you jot it down on the book along with simple instructions, then leave it at a coffee shop, bus bench, anywhere.  It could even be part of a geocache.  Then you get to watch the book’s progress as it moves around the world, being read and released, over and over!

I’ll give a lot of stuff to the Out of the Closet thrift stores, which raise funds for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  My local rescue mission also accepts donations both directly and at their own thrift store.

If I can get excited about where my stuff is going, it helps motivate me to start the process.  Come on, fists.  Unclench….  You can do it!

I'll let you know how it goes.   -Cait


  1. You certainly have the right attitude. I had beloved Christmas everything. I decorated the entire house from top to bottom. Then my son and his bride informed me that they didn't want all my beautiful Christmas items. They wanted their own. Broke my heart. But I knew I couldn't keep it. And once it was gone, believe it or not, it really was a relief. I knew that it actually went to people who wanted it and would enjoy it because they bought it from me. My clothes went to Dress for Success for women who are job hunting. Now I don't miss any of it. I love the simple less cluttered life. Just take a drawer at a time. Don't try and take a room at a time. That's too much to handle.

  2. You can write off I think it is $400 a year on the taxes donating stuff. We watch for families who lose their homes from fires and need household items (actually hoping those are few and far between). We are planning to sell at yard sales, maybe let some go with the house like the big lawn mower for the land. Lots of ways to get rid of it and hoping, like you, with eight years or so remaining, there will be plenty of time to get it done. I've though about waiting for the actual retirement date to come and then take a few months to get rid of stuff when we have more time to do so without having to work. Also, the wife and I have talked about agreeing to a storage shed for one year for hard to replace items just to make sure the full time thing works. If we decide its the life style we want, then ditch the shed and move a few boxes into the daughter's house (have to be quiet about that cause she does not know yet). Mark from Missouri


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