KEEP or THROW – how to clear out your life

Now you’ve cut out your digital life, it’s time to do the same with all your physical stuff. The real problem with clutter, clothes, toys whatever is lack of a ‘delete button’, as for anything digital. Disposal comes at a very real environmental and financial cost, therefore we need to proceed carefully. KEEP or THROW.

Trust me, get as much time as you can for this as this isn’t a last minute job. First we need to define all of your worldly possessions into two piles, KEEP or THROW. Its imperative that we give everything (yes that’s right everything) a default ‘throw’ label initially. This prevents hoarding of unnecessary items. To warrant the keep label I want you to really justify why a particular item deserves to be in the ‘keep’ zone. Aim for 90% of your belongings to be donated, recycled or as a last resort, landfilled. This means the final 10% have to be the most important, utilitarian or sentimental items you own. If you’re backpacking, these are your core items you cannot live without such as: a sturdy laptop, camera, essential clothing such as t-shirts, boots, phone, pen and notepad, sunscreen. This is your core, the minimum number of objects that makes your existence viable. Have a long think about each of these (especially weight) given you could be travelling for a while. 

The next level of ‘keep’ are the essential items that you’ll need for a new life somewhere. These can be shipped to your onward destination if you’re moving countries. For example two tea crates will cost around £150-200 to send to Australia via sea, or double that by air freight. It’s hard to find quote comparison sites, so ping out a few enquiries to different shipping companies in advance. For somewhere like Australia you will also have to pay a minimum £70 quarantine search fee and customs / import tax if applicable. It is therefore important only to ship what is vitally needed.

teacrate
Some tea crates looking glamorous

What ever you ship, it needs to treated with the same scrutiny as whats in your backpack. Essential items can include, your favourite clothes, books, kitchen items, electrical items, desktop PC – no liquids or hazardous items are permitted. Clothing is an interesting one, after doing a clear of the closet I found I only really wear 20% of the clothes I own – what a waste! Armed with this knowledge, cull, cull, cull. Doesn’t fit? Throw. You might wear it one day? Throw. Worn out? Throw. Last season? Throw. It’s surprising how much of this stuff we keep unnecessarily.

What do we do with all this stuff?

Donate

There are lots of avenues to donate unwanted items to places like the The British Heart Foundation or Oxfam. Here your goods will be resold and the money raised will go to good causes.

Give Away

Nothing says a goodbye like a kettle or coffee maker. Give the gift of your stuff by giving first dibs to all your friends. Not only will these go to good use, they will also think of you (and shed a tear) every time they make a brew, toast some bread or blend a smoothie (you get the idea).

Sell

Here’s the thing, sorry to say it but most of your stuff is utterly worthless. You’ll realise this when you go to sell some cherished items and raise maybe 25% of the purchase price. Using Ebay, after you deduct seller fees, PayPal fees and postage it really eats into your margins. Future advice, only buy quality stuff you really need.

Hard Rubbish Collection

Failing the above categories if your stuff can’t be donated or given away, you can arrange with the local council to collect larger items. Other items such as electrical goods can be given to specialise recycling sites.

Future

What does this mean for your future life? It certainly means less clutter, fewer distractions and a freer life. We will cover how to maintain this bijou lifestyle later but until then LESS IS MORE!

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