How To Organize Your Stuff: Checklist For Long Term Travel
Question Asked on Our Website
What I am looking for is a checklist and guidance on how to do all the things necessary to be out of my house, every single thing sold (and I mean EVERYTHING without a storage shed) and living in the Motorhome in 10 weeks. Knowing each step that needs to be done would be extremely helpful to me.
Organized to Fit
1st Floor - Just Do It!
Start immediately and stick with it.
Many people say that they are going to organize their home. However, this person HAD to leave her house in 10 weeks so there was no way she could wait one single minute more. She asked the question and got an answer pretty quickly. Do Something and do it NOW!
How Organized is Your Home:
Can you easily find items?
2nd Floor - Organization
Second, organizing things first is the best way to go, that way you don't throw away important stuff. This means touch whatever it is only once to put into a To/D/S/K group which will be explained below.
For this person who had to leave her house, she needed to be brutal in her decisions of what to To: Throw Out, D: Donate, S: Sell, and K: Keep.
The same was true for us, we moved out of a 2400 square foot house into a 24 square foot truck camper!
I used these same steps and they do work; there just is a mindset that you need to get into before you start the process.
Go through the house, all of the drawers, and start with your least disorganized room and head downwards. In each room, put into FOUR piles using laundry baskets: Throw Out, Donate, Sell, Keep.
Great Item For Sorting
Throw Out, Donate, Sell, Keep
1. Throw Out: in order to not overwhelm your garbage people, do a little each week, because you will ultimately find more and more to throw out.
2. Donate: Great tax write offs here, and you will want write offs for next year. Take pictures of the stuff to be donated and use Turbo Tax- ItsDeductible.com - make sure the stuff is good or better quality, you can not give ripped or torn clothing and expect a write off. We were able to do over several thousands of dollars when we started full-timing in 2007.
3. Sell: Use Amazon.com for CDs, DVDs, Books, and Videos to sell. Use eBay.com for items that are shippable. Use Craigslist.org for things that are not shippable but are low priced items.
a.) Use an estate person for pricing your antiques that you have no idea what the price is, but do not have them do the sale for you - they usually take between 25-35% of the sale. Do estate sales in March - spring hopefully has come to the area at that time, and people will be looking. Plus it will give you some time to get the things you want to sell ready.
b) Put the estate sale up on Craigslist, community Facebook page, and if necessary, your local newspaper. Put up the signs (THE MOST IMPORTANT item for a sale to be successful!) - BOLD and Big, and not blow-away-able.
c) Tell your family and friends that you will be selling everything. Say "I've gone through the house and put price stickers on items that we plan to sell (not enough room in the garage for all of it). You can come over to tour the garage and house and buy what you want."
You can certainly do this, but make sure you are firm on the price, unless of course you want your friends and family to have it for free. If you want to give it to them, this is the time. Otherwise, be firm and say no.
4. Keep: During this process, you will come across: important papers, pictures and memorabilia. The decision on what to do with these items will be hard.
a) Papers can always be scanned, DO IT - especially the important ones. If you need to password protect, make them into PDFs and put a password to it.
b) Scan your pictures. Make them digital so it is easier to deal with them. You can then ask family if they want the old pictures.
c) Memorabilia - this can be the hard part; if family can't or won't take it, you could try scanning it or taking a picture of it....OR you could take it with you. Box it up, put it into the storage of your RV, and if, after a year, you NEVER took it out, throw it away or sell it. Sometimes hard to do, but if you do it, you have more space for the new memories and keepsakes.
Choose a room per day
Photograph items for taxes
Decide where to sell
Photograph item if unsure
PDF and Password Protect
Decide to throw out
No rips, stains, missing pieces
Purchase expendable file folder
Figure out worth for taxes
Put important papers in folder
Artwork estimators can help
Use external hard drives
Give family old pictures
Memorabilia - Scan or Take
Other online media
Scan and Give to Family
Box and Take
Laura & Sasha's Excellent Adventure
Organizing in a Small PlaceClick thumbnail to view full-size
Laura & Sasha's Excellent Adventure - Enjoying Life
Explanation of Video
I included this video because this is part of our life. We are adventurers because we are organized. If you plan, oversee, and execute your goals with your home first, then other aspects of your life will fall into place.
The mindset portion is the hardest to overcome. The memories of your "stuff" keeps popping into your brain and emotions get involved. It can be hard to rip yourself away from your stuff.
Just think of that woman who asked us the question about how to do it. She did not have much time. We can learn from her by setting assignments, goals, objectives, and then accomplish each room until you are done.
I used to be disorganized. Really disorganized. I thought, Albert Einstein's desk was a mess, yet he was a genius. But when you move into a smaller place, you need to become more organized. These steps helped me and I hope they can help you.
Then you too can have excellent adventures like my husband and I. If you have any questions, please post in the comments below and I will help you out.
Good luck and safe travels.