How we sold everything to start long term travel

Getting rid of everything we have… crazy! But we made it, we sold everything we owned except for the things we needed for our adventure.

A full time job, I can tell ya!

Even though we came with only a small U-haul truck 1.5 years ago to Hood River,  it took very long to downsize drastically, so we could fit ourselves into a 2 x 4 m camping trailer. The things must have had babies since we moved.

Anyway, we made it (almost, there is still a playstation and a bag with things which we didn’t get rid of), the house is empty.

How did we do it?

In the beginning I participated in Minimalist Month, a competition invented by The Minimalists. Every day you have to get rid of one piece more than the day before. So on day 1, you get rid of 1 item, on day 2, of 2 items and so on.

It was important to me to not trash things. Somewhere out there is someone who can still use my unwanted stuff. To get some company in the whole procedure, I called out to other Zero Wasters and started Minimalism Game – Zero Waste Edition. The start was easy and it was fun. I gave away an old mac book on day one:

We sold everything and gave away tons of unused stuff too

The main rule is that you have to get the items out of the house on that day. So if you can’t sell something during the day, you have to either donate it or trash it (which I didn’t want). Anyway, I made it to day 12 when it got too tricky. I had just donated a handful of necklaces and felt bad about it. I stopped that experiment there and admired the other participants that made it all the way till the end of the month.

Stuff had too much value for me

Since I couldn’t sell things fast enough I had to donate a whole lot during the game and that felt wrong. I wanted to purge the house but not without getting a bit back of what I had originally paid. So I went over to selling selected pieces via the local facebook group Hood River Virtual Yard Sale. That worked well, sometimes 5 or more people showed up per day to pick up stuff. I found other facebook groups just like that one and posted all my items to multiple groups. That way I was able to spread the word much wider. It became a whole lot more work though since I didn’t want to sell the same item to multiple people at the same time accidentally.We sold everything in 8 yard sales, or better to say porch sales

After a while it dawned on me that this process wasn’t fast enough. The time invested on my end to sell one single item was just too much: Taking picture, posting to 3 groups, writing description, making up price, discussing with people that are interested, answering questions, lowering price, posting again, keeping track of how often and where the item was posted, waiting for people who wanted to pick up items but then never appeared….

Yard selling you must

One night I dreamed of a yard sale on our porch. A ‘porch sale’ so to say. And that’s what I did then for a while: opened my little store in the morning, transported tons of stuff out, posted to the Facebook group: “Tadaaa!! Porch sale has started!” and then tried to make passing car drivers aware of the fact that I’m selling a lot of stuff.
It worked well. Many people stopped by, some only to chat, some to buy the weirdest things.
It was a great location for the store but the two babies in the living room where really annoyed by the many people stomping all around the porch. So I moved location and made it a patio sale.
That was much easier for me since I could store the things in the garage over night. But not so many passing cars stopped for the sale.
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Let it go

Finally the day had come, a week before our planned departure day, when we decided to give away all things of lower value to speed up the progress. Everyday, sometimes more than once, we showed up at Thrift stores, Goodwill and my favorite Zero Waste Resource in Hood River: The Re-Use It center for building materials.

The final days

The last two days were hard: Donating, selling bikes, cleaning, more cleaning and more cleaning, and more donating. The last couple of hours in the house were filled with a lot of stuffing things in the camper, a friend who offered help with a whole huge box of kitchen things for the trash, scrubbing floors…. oh and trying to get the baby to sleep.
Anyway… we made it. And we’re on the road.
If you want to see how the adventure unfolds, join us here:
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Have you ever dreamed of getting rid of all your stuff to be free to go where ever you want? Or did you actually do it already? Here are my

Learnings from SELLING EVERYTHING

  • You’ll never sell everything. Things will be given away or trashed.
  • Forget about the price you paid originally. It will only hurt.
  • People buy the weirdest things. Offer everything you want to get rid of. Even if you yourself wouldn’t buy it again.
  • Some people just buy stuff from you for the cool story behind it.
  • Social media is your friend when it comes to yard sales.
  • Don’t shy away from lowering the price. Better low price than no price.
  • Get more people to look at all your stuff rather earlier. Some need time to decide.
  • Furniture sells like crazy.

Now let me know, have you sold everything? Long term travel anyone?

 

 

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