Before heading out on your grand adventure, one major task that faces everyone is what to do with all your stuff. Your house, clothes, TV, stereo, family photos. All of it. Unless you are walking out the front door and locking it behind you until your return, you’re going to need to address the question of what to do with your stuff.
The first major decision is clearly the house/condo/apartment. One of the great cost savings of long term travel is the ability to alleviate first world costs. Since most people will spend between a third to half of their salaries on housing, the ability to offload that cost can be a major uplift to any travel budget. Selling in particular, while emotionally challenging, is one option. The second option is to rent either furnished or unfurnished. If you are like me and you are renting, closing down your apartment is just as simple as sending an email to your landlord to give notice.
If you decide to liquidate your housing, your next step is to address your house’s contents. Here I would strongly suggest taking advantage of the opportunity to purge. People are like Velcro; stuff just sticks to them. If you look around your place, you’ll see lots of stuff that gathered innocently enough. Each item is not much, but collectively, it’s a burden you most likely don’t even realize. If you’re looking for more inspiration, go read up about Dave Bruno and his 100 Things Challenge.
The goal of the 100 Thing Challenge is to break free from the confining habits of American-style consumerism. A lot of people around the world feel “stuck in stuff.” They feel like their closets and garages are too full of things that don’t really make their lives much better.
I’ve personally just started the purge and have a bit of a ways to go, but I’ve found it a refreshing experience. I’ve been slowly posing items on Craigslist where I think I can make money and setting items aside where I think donations are more appropriate. If you chose to go the Craigslist route and have an iPhone, one great app I’ve found very helpful is the Craigslist iPhone App. Its a pretty quick way of getting from a picture to a post with minimum effort.