Vini Foster – Author of ‘The Life Changing Miracle of Creating Space’
One of the most stressful situations for any of us is moving to a new house, let alone a Tiny House. There’s so much more involved than simply packing up your life. I strongly recommend decluttering before taking that step or you will have nowhere to put or store your things. It will save you money and make unpacking a whole lot easier. It will help you clarify what you have and where your stuff will go once you’re settled in your new place.
There’s usually a deadline involved when moving. The earlier you start packing, the better.
I’ve moved many times over the years, and believe me, there’s nothing worse than carting stuff around that won’t fit because you’re downsizing or dealing with boxes of paraphernalia you don’t even want. It’s meant to be a fresh start, after all!
Make sure you are using boxes that are sturdy enough to hold what is going inside them. Better yet, use laundry baskets, suitcases, hand-woven baskets and anything else that can hold all your bric-a-brac and kitchen paraphernalia. Use blankets or rugs to wrap up whatever essentials you otherwise think of. This saves having to find or buy boxes. Items such as cushions, pillows, towels, or blankets can be used for protecting vases, glass-framed paintings or photographs, as well as other breakables.
First. Start by concentrating on the possessions you love and want to take with you. These should be obvious and will therefore take the least amount of time to decide on. Label all boxes, containers or whatever you are using as you go. That way, when it comes time to unpack at the other end, you know exactly which items go where. Wrap each piece of jewellery individually in tissue to avoid scratching, and ornaments in tea towels or linen for extra safety.
Second. Look at the other end of the spectrum. Focus on the stuff you want to get rid of, items that are broken, mean nothing to you, don’t fit or just don’t suit your lifestyle anymore. Concentrate on advertising any items you want to sell such as cars, boats, sports gear, hi-fi equipment, fish tanks, pool tables, or smaller antiques. Allow yourself plenty of time when advertising, as some of this stuff can take a while to shift.
If you’re moving with children, talk to them about it. Ask them what they do and don’t want to take. Also, discuss the merits of donating to those in need, should they not want to part with much.
Third. The leftover stuff you can’t make your mind up about. It’s best to have a clear head and vision of what your new lifestyle will look like, and how each item will fit into that existence. If you can’t see where to put your current dining chairs, or imagine when you would ever need that sleeping bag (now that you’re going to be mobile in your tiny trailer house), then donate, gift or sell.
Once you have achieved this, then invite friends or family over to take anything they might want before boxing up the leftovers for donation. It’s also a good time to ask family and friends to pick up any stuff they may have stored at your place.
If you want to go to the effort, organize a garage sale. However, it is time-consuming, and over the years, I’ve found the profit you can make has dwindled. Sellers and buyers alike prefer to do this sort of thing via the internet now. Garage sales attract people looking for valuable stuff at bargain-basement prices – often to resell on the internet for what the items are actually worth. Weigh up the value of the time you would spend setting it up and sitting outside all day, arguing with bargain-hunters over a few dollars.