How to use decluttering to afford to travel
Over the years, any family in the US will have this happen: you find that you have too much stuff. I don’t subscribe to the minimalist philosophy I’ve seen become ubiquitous in the expat community. That may work for others, but for me, I like stuff. I like to purchase good quality products and use them for a long time. That can get you into trouble when you think about renting out your primary residence to take a family gap year or a long backpacking trip. Let’s dive into some ways to mitigate this, and learn how to use decluttering.
Junk removal and donations
Ideally, you’d move through life consciously accumulating items and cycling through others. At times, there are simple solutions like 1-800-GOT-JUNK. I recently used this service and it was about $340 for a truckload. It’s a good last resort, beleive me. But there are some other methods as well. You can donate many items at an ARC store or other local thrift store. I actually donated dozens of books recently. Sure enough, when I went to go buy a used book online, it was shipped from an ARC in Ohio. So that was good go see in action that donated books can help ARC make margins and do whatever it is they do.
I just heard an interview with the CEO and CFO of Goodwill of Central Arizona. This apparently is quite an operation. The host, Robert Kiyosaki, just marveled at the efficiency of the operation of this 501(3)(c) corporation. It’s good to know that your old “junk” might be cleaned up, resold, and the proceeds used for much-needed employment resources and help for those down on their luck.
Sell your stuff
Websites like Goodbuygear will help you sell items your children may have outgrown. I think they are only in Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia and Denver for the time being, but this list may expand to your area. We linked to this company in our prior post about travel planning. You can also use this company to purchase used gear for your trip like a stroller, or baby carrier–i.e. things you don’t have the budget for new while you save for your trip.
Of course there’s the tried and true method of Craigslist. Good luck with that. It is time consuming to say the least, not just because of the time creating the posts, but the added time to a “B to B” transfer (in a parking lot or dark alley, what fun!).
What expenses can you cut?
As an avid fine bourbon and wine drinker, this one hits home. I don’t consider myself an alcohol dependent person, per se, but I do spend a lot of my monthly budget on these products. They are fun when enjoyed responsibly, and enhance your quality of life. But It’s vital that I try to drink less expensive suds from time to time!
Though my family loves our ski trips (see our Telluride post for more on this), we have decided to cut back a bit on buying too many ski passes. We plan to stick to our local hill for Spring Break, for instance.
Our family does a yearly trip to Puerto Vallarta that we were able to use points for this year.
We also certainly can cut down on eating out. We’ve really tried to cook at home, but it is really time consuming.
UPDATE: We have apparently secured a renter for our primary residence. I figured that would happen right about March–so right on schedule. Time to start the work to get the place ready. Remember, you have to start small on this and early.
This trip is getting more expensive that I thought, so time to employ any of the skills we’ve learned about investing, preparing the house, and decluttering and put them into overdrive.