Pin It
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Relocation and Travel Tips: How to Handle a House Full of Stuff

By
Relocation and Travel Tips: How to Handle a House Full of Stuff/ © Jesus Solana

One of the hardest parts of relocation and travel is figuring out what to do with the things you leave behind.

 

If you’re like most families, your home is jam-packed with clothes, books and toys—not to mention photo albums, financial records and other must-keep documents. However, you can’t take these things with you while you travel, and although a yard sale is a popular option for reducing the amount of your stuff, you’re unlikely to sell everything.

 

What do you do with your stuff when you need to leave it behind? Here are three ideas:

 

1. Hire a reputable housesitter

 

The first option when going on an extended trip is to hire a housesitter. Unlike a sublettor, this person is specifically hired to manage your home and belongings while you are away. The housesitter gets to live in your home in exchange for managing the yard, caring for your pets and keeping your house sparkling clean. A housesitter works best for relocations under one year, and there are many reputable housesitting services online. If you prefer, hire someone you know, such as a local student or a couple just getting started. Many young people appreciate the opportunity to live in a well-kept home at a reduced rental rate.

 

The advantage of hiring a housesitter is that you are able to leave your home without selling or storing your belongings. You are also able to travel knowing that you will not come back to a flooded basement or vermin-infested kitchen.

 

The disadvantage of a housesitter is the possibility that he or she will steal or damage your property while you are away. However, if you do your homework and choose a sitter who has been thoroughly vetted, this is unlikely to happen.

 

2. Store your belongings

 

Whether you plan to rent out your home or move out completely, you’ll need a place to store your belongings while you are away. Friends of ours in Fort. Lauderdale, Florida were renting storage from Unclebobs.com – as it is one of the easier ways to avoid spending extra money on rent when taking your children on extended overseas trips. They stored their belongings while taking their family on a two-year travel adventure. They also earned extra money by renting their house until they returned.

 

The advantage of storing your belongings is that they are kept in a climate-controlled, secure storage unit until the time comes for you to retrieve them.

 

The disadvantage of storing your belongings? Nobody likes the moving process and while renting storage is cheaper than continuing to pay rent or possibly paying a housesitter, you will have to double move (to the unit—then again to wherever you are moving). Of course, you can always use the money you save by putting your stuff in storage to pay some strapping young guys to do it for you.

 

3. Embrace minimalism

 

If you are planning to fully relocate to another country or to travel the globe with your family for several years, it’s time to embrace the minimalist life. A traveler quickly figures out that the important things are the ones that can be carried in a single backpack. So have the yard sale and get rid of everything. Your work clothes will be out of style when you get back, your kids will have outgrown their toys, and your book and DVD collection can always be replaced at the local library. Take the few key documents like the wedding photo album and the birth certificates and send them to Grandma and Grandpa’s house; then hit the road with no more than the packs on your back.

 

The advantage of the minimalistic life is that you truly discover how little you need to be happy. Kellen Kaiser has written about how babies only need five items to thrive; you’ll learn that you and your family also only need very few belongings.

 

The disadvantage? Depending on your children, expect a lot of tears during the yard sale process. While it’s just stuff to you, to them, it’s their whole life. Consider asking relatives to store a few extra toys or belongings until you get back; even if your child will have outgrown them by then, keeping them allows you to show your children that their possessions are important and that you value their needs.

 

How have you handled your belongings when you’ve traveled? Let us know in the comments.

© 2013, Christina Moore. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Don’t Touch My Child! Lessons from Asia

Has the West taken fear too far?

Primary School Privilege

Time outs due to whistling versus school's out due to poverty

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Christina Moore is a freelance writer, and stay-at-home Mom in San Diego, CA. She enjoys staying fit with weekly yoga sessions and running along the beach.

Leave us a comment!









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.
Hi Kim! I am so glad that this article was useful for you and made you feel validated as a parent. It's not often in this judgmental world of parenting we get that, right?! That's the main reason...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I love reading your work. I can olny imagine what it would be like to have such beautiful customs and true community. I understand why it is so very very important to keep these traditions alive. Be...
From No Kids Allowed: How Kenyan Weddings are Changing
Your mother in-law seems somewhat reasonable. Many Chinese Mother In-laws are not. In their scenario, they would be number 1 to the child and you would be number two. Many want to have a bond closer...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
I think Konstantina is actually responding to what is probably more familiar/praised/or preferred socially as well. I was an English teacher in Poland with a distinct accent. I struggled to get Engl...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Noor Kids' title "First Time Fasting" is another great rea...
From 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan
This article was shared in a community I run to connect globetrotting parents and everyone LOVED it. You should join us! We all relate to your experience. Many of us, including me, are in the same b...
From Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get
Please help: I Love my wife and my son. I am also EXTREMELY involved as a dad. I had to move to china ( in a tiny tiny town) where I am the only foreigner so that my wife can take over the family bu...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
Thanks for writing this!! My baby is 7 months, and I love having her sleep in my room. I don't mention it too often to people who have had kids because they seem a little judgy on it. So tonight I...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Honestly, it looks like the author married into a very backward and old fashioned family. Not stimulating children's curiosity, differences between boys and girls, and women slaving in the house, wh...
From French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family

More Columns