How We Sold Everything

What does it take to slim down your possessions to one backpack? Quite a lot unsurprisingly. Getting rid of everything you own can be twice as hard as moving from one house to the next, and I think we all know just how fun moving is…

How easy, or hard, this process is depends on so many factors. How much time do you have? How many things do you really have crammed in your apartment? How efficient can you be? And so many more.

Slimming down what you own into one backpack can fit into one or two categories: Selling everything, and getting rid of everything. Both arrive at the same place, but there are several very big differences.

Selling Everything

This is usually what people mean when they say they have to dispose of their possessions, but this isn’t how it usually happens. Make a plan, and execute day after day. To take advantage of what you own, and to help you travel as far as possible, sell sell sell!

Pro tip: Our sweet spot for pricing was between 30%-50% of the new price. Not what we wanted to hear, but that is just the facts.

Sadie and I started our purge about a year prior to leaving on our trip, and we still had a mound of stuff leftover. You have to set clear goals, and constantly post online, and answer the endless waves of messages. 

Hi, is this still available?

Hi, is this still available?

Hi, is this still available?

Hi, is this still available?


As a perfectionist (or Maximizer as Adam Savage calls it), I always want to be efficient and perfect when I aim to tackle a task. Which is NOT the trait you want to have for this endeavor.

I always want top dollar for my stuff, because I like it. I did buy it in the first place. But don’t die on that sword, you’re here to get what you can not what you want. 

Getting Rid of Everything

What happens when you don’t have the time to sell everything? Or what do you do with anything left over? Get rid of it.

There are several directions you can go. Give it away, donate it, store it, or throw it away.

Give it away

For me, giving to friends and family comes before I donate to a cause. I also tend to have a strong connection to my belongings and it makes me feel better when I can choose exactly where it goes. Not to mention the joy I get from making the people around me happy.

Donate it

Most people have donated an item at some point in time, but if not it is a simple but impactful way to give your belongings a second life.

As long as it is still in good working order, put everything in a box and deliver it to Goodwill, Salvation Army, and many others. You can even use it for a tax write off in certain circumstances.

Store it

I won’t lie, we did store a few things with a family friend for free. I had one box of dive gear(for work), one tool cart(half work, half play), and one box of personal items. Other than personal items, it only made sense for us because I could immediately start making money if or when we decided to come back.

But keep in mind aside from cost, less money to travel on, the more stuff you store the more likely you are to return. Meaning you have to go back, and you’re more likely to get stuck in the same rut. The less you have, the more you’re open to new opportunities in more places.

You don’t need to store your couch, or TV, or garage full of dive gear. If you rent a storage unit you’re just wasting money you could use to see the world. You need to do your best to detach your feelings from your belongings.

There were items it physically hurt me to sell. I spent weeks making furniture for my house, poured my heart into them and made them exactly what I wanted. But I sold them because I didn’t want a stupid TV stand to hold me back from a life changing adventure.

It was a pretty sweet TV stand though…

Throw it away

If you can’t sell it or give it away, it fits in this category.

If it’s too big to fit in the garbage can or there’s just a lot of things left over take it to the dump or call your county and ask for an oversized pickup. A lot of times the pick up is free.

The Master Plan

I’ll focus on just selling what owned, which is only one instrument in this orchestra.

Phase One

About one year out: We decided the big picture plan would include selling (almost) everything.

Phase Two

Planned for T – 6 months, but happened around T – 9 months: We (Sadie) started a list of every item in the house, organized them by type, and an estimated price to sell at.

I know that is a lot, trust me. But it has saved our butt so many times. It takes a while, but you don’t realize how much you own until you write it all down. You also don’t realize how much money you can get out of it, until you write it down.

Phase Three

Planned for T – 3 months, but happened around T – 7 months: I am so glad we started this so early.

We each had over a hundred items to sell, and not all of them were easy. Things we didn’t think would sell, like pocket knives, sold so fast it was hard to keep up. I had a collection of over 100, and I sold every single one without advertising. Then things like my Tesla Model S, with free supercharging for life, has been on the market for two months and it’s had one single offer that was $25,000 under market value.

So start early, and set a reasonable pace and reasonable price. List one item a day on facebook, have one garage sale a month, that sort of thing.

Phase four

T – 30 days: We had our final garage sale three weeks prior to leaving, and everything was boxed up to donate that night. That was our cutoff date, no more selling, no more donating. All we were left with was what we were taking with us.

Our last batch of donations.
Our final load of donations leftover from the last garage sale.

Don’t wait until the day before, give yourself some time in case something happens. But also because you’re about to travel the world, and you’re going to need time to tie up loose ends.

“The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.” -Leonard Ravenhill

Don’t wait. If you want to make a dream become a reality you have to jump. You can always buy more stuff, you can’t buy more time. Sell early, and sell often. Use that money to see everything the world has to offer, and don’t let the things you own run your life.

Want to know what happens next? See what we decided to keep and Pack for our World Trip, and follow our adventure on our American Road Trip Part 1 and Part 2 .

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One response

  1. Thank you both its Wonderful to read, why not write a book? Makes me happy to live the adventures.. happy trails and God bless .

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