We stole an idea from our friends, the Currens, who are traveling full-time in their Airstream with their 3 children. They had a House Cooling Party before they moved into their Airstream. We thought it was a great idea, so we threw ourselves a House Cooling Party, too. Think of it as the opposite of a House Warming Party. Instead of people bringing gifts to welcome you to your new home, they come to take some of your stuff away and say good-bye.
So that is what we did. We invited our friends and family to our home and enticed them to come over by offering food. Then we asked them to rummage through our stuff and take home what they wanted.
We are reducing our household (2 adults and 2 children) down to a 12x10 storage unit so we can move to Australia for a year. Anything that won't fit won't be kept. So, it is a matter of prioritizing what is most important and the best use of the real estate. Grandma's flour sifter or my high school yearbooks? Troy's cowboy boots he hardly ever wears or my dishes from Japan that I hardly ever use? Troy's Elvis memorabilia or my toe puppets? You get the idea. Lots of decisions.
The house cooling party was a lot of fun for us. We loved hosting our friends and watching them go through our stuff. There were stories to tell about some of the items, and we found joy in seeing people pleased with their loot as they left. As an added bonus, an impromptu soccer game broke out in our empty living room the next morning with the kids. Think of all the spontaneity and creatively that we've stifled by having too much stuff and not enough margins in the past! There is nothing in the way to break, so bring on the cartwheels and the sword fighting.
Since we will only be traveling to Australia with our suitcases, we still have more stuff to get rid of, but this event put a big dent in the pile. As Troy and I processed how the day went, we both felt the same way. Happy with our decision and more committed to the process than before. One thing we forgot to mention to everyone who attended - this work visa could still get denied by the Australian government. If that happens, we want our stuff back!
In all seriousness, purging our stuff, on top of a move around the world, seems dramatic to me at times. Then I think of the book I just finished reading that outlined the living conditions in other parts of the world, and I am reminded that there is nothing drastic or dramatic about anything we are doing from a global viewpoint. America has a culture of consumerism, but just because we do that here, doesn't mean it is the norm. Other people get by, and even thrive, on much less than what we have. Our children will not suffer, and we probably won't even be able to recall much of stuff that we once owned. We are thankful for the people who have given freely and abundantly to us over the years, and we've enjoyed giving to others now as we downsize.
'There is a time for everything...a time to plant and a time to uproot..."
I am a wife, mother, and exercise physiologist with one foot in the world of travel and one foot in the world of fitness.
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