Perpetual travel tips: storing past life
My new year resolution is to share some useful things with you, everything I learned from our first year of constant travel.
This post is going to be about packing and getting organized to enter the life of a perpetual traveler (the kind who likes to travel comfortably).
It was about September 2011 when Tomek proposed a new way of life to me and in February 2012 we left for our first trip to Panama. For someone who didn’t marry in white that was pretty romantic. And crazy.
I had my full time job as a speech and language therapist (a nifty pay raise was waiting after New Year), Tomek had started his own IT business, we had paid off a wonderful apartment and completely converted the place into our very unique love-nest. Decorating was in progress, friends were visiting, we had our daily routines and were in the midst of a happy-ever-after life.
Turns out the thought of beaches and sun was too tempting. In the six months since ‘the proposal’ we had managed to sell our apartment, most of our household stuff, pack precious items, quit residency and all unnecessary contracts, like my job. (Haha. I am actually writing this with one tear in my eye, missing my ex-therapy-team and them crazy kiddos a lot.)
Packing is a major challenge when deciding to live on the road and does take some preparations before boarding the one-way virgin flight (admittedly with mixed feelings).
Yep, packing up for good is a lot easier said than done but also a lot of fun, going through all your stuff you have collected in a lifetime, realizing that a lot of it is unnecessary weight and some of it is really just trash. It feels good to do the ultimate clean up and sort-through.
First major task: GETTING RID OF THINGS. We did this to get rid of personal ‘ballast’:
- Placing price tags onto furniture and household in all rooms, we organized a home-garage-sale (without a garage), inviting everyone we knew a few weeks before Christmas (turned out it was good timing).
- We sold bigger electrical equipment and some furniture through our local eBay site in Cologne/Germany (people come to your home to pick up what they bought – very convenient).
- We gave a lot of things away to family and friends and I gave most of my clothes to a second hand shop, the rest went to charity.
Second major task: PACKING PRECIOUS LEFTOVERS.
We were supported by friends who supplied a huge amount of moving boxes. We could have taken more than we thought we would need – but didn’t – that’s why we continuously ended up buying moving boxes at the DIY, always convinced that it would be more than enough to wrap up.
I am the one in our relationship that loves sorting and I am proud to say that I have managed to pack up most of our stuff by myself while Tomek worked full time through, to build our financial base.
But he helped rolling the will-not-give-away-modern-art nouveau carpets and was the main force to carry boxes around and down to the rented truck to store our stuff in Poland (we lived on the 4th floor – no elevator). We tried to make boxes not too heavy but mix albums and other weighty stuff with pillows and lighter things. It was a lot easier and faster to carry them later on. In total, we have collected enough precious items to fill about 20 boxes.
We organised a moving company which had two people (and my hubby) carrying boxes and one truck to drive our belongings from Cologne/Germany to Szczecin/Poland. The trip was about 1800 zl (about 430 EUR) including carrying and driving to Poland.
Last major task. STORING PRECIOUS LEFTOVERS.
If you are like us, there will be stuff you will not need on the road but you might like to keep. We are not the hardcore no-possession perpetuals. I just could not part with all our antique furniture and décor we passionately collected at many flee markets over the years or our old fashioned photo albums.
Finding storage room was difficult. We were looking for storage solutions that involved professional companies renting long term storage containers but we were not sure about the humidity in those and I wouldn’t want to risk mouldy surprises on antique furniture. Professional companies were also rather expensive (starting from 1200 EUR per year).
Friends offered us their attics and storage space in their cellars but since we didn’t know when/if we will be back that was not going to be a good long term solution. In the end we decided to rent a heated room and luck had it that Tomek’s auntie who lives in Poland was going to rent out a room to students. She was very happy to instead rent out to unproblematic boxes and furniture that do not increase hot water and electricity bills.
We pay 600 Euros per year for a heated room offering perfect storage conditions.
Welcome to our storage room.
That’s the room. More like the wall. And our antique coat hanger.
A slim passage to the window and radiator lined by our boxes and furniture.
My granny also took some furniture to store for us, like the turquoise and dark brown sideboard, the desk and the big antique cupboard. I cannot but admit that things are clashing in that combination but granny wasn’t complaining after she had asked of what the furniture was worth. Coming from a family of collectors who enjoy and value material pleasures, I am not surprised I couldn’t just let go of it all.
This is grandpa’s former study after we had just arrived with the furniture.
Having successfully closed the storing-chapter, we were ready to pack our suitcases (see next post).
PS. After our first year we have managed to bring enough stuff to fill another moving box. I am so happy that we can store it all in our room of past life!