Saturday, January 22, 2011

Liquidating Our Life

With a week and a half to go before we move out and our second of three garage sales wrapped up today, almost everything we own has been liquidated. It's kind of sad, seeing things we have had for decades being sold for pennies. Also, it's kind of telling that Americans spend so much of their money on crap that has very little actual value (and worse, like me, many buy this stuff of little actual value on credit so technically they are working for months and months to pay off stuff that loses about 90% of it's value as soon as you take it out of the store!).
On a happy note, I am really glad I don't have to pack up and move all of this stuff! My years of hauling boxes and furniture are over! On an even better note, I just realized that when we pay off the house and hubby's credit card we will have a higher net worth than we have ever had in our life! I would often drive by homeless people when I was buried under credit card and tax debt and think, that guy may have nothing but he has a higher net worth than I did since my net worth was in the minus six figures. I expect the relief from paying off these final debts will be quite liberating.
So far, even though we are still living in our house, being nearly house-less has the following advantages:
  • No bills! We will have a few final bills for our house but when we leave we will have a total of one bill, for our cell phones.
  • No shopping! Since all we are taking with us is what we can carry in our backpacks, we can't shop which saves a ton of money.
  • We actually have money! When you don't shop and you are super busy getting ready to move, selling stuff like a maniac on CraigsList, and packing up the few things you will keep in storage, you don't spend money, and it just keeps adding up. This is something that has actually never happened to me before because I used to spend every dime I had, and then some, because my daily "entertainment" was shopping. These days it always surprises me that when I check my bank accounts, not only is there money in there but there is more money in the accounts than I had the last time I checked. Amazing how that works!
  • Packing up our meager belongings, we realize how much stuff we actually NEED to survive. And it isn't that much. Some clothes, some toiletries, a laptop, a cell phones. That's it. Sometimes I think I just woke up from a dream. In my dream I am working furiously to acquire all of these consumer things that I thought I MUST HAVE in order to have a happy life but I wake up and after the fog has cleared, I realize that all that I need I already have (and it all fits in one backpack). Wow.

And when I start to freak out about this whole 'sell everything and travel the world with only what you can carry' thing, I look back on a bunch of Betsy's blog posts (her and her husband did a similar thing last year) here (mostly the posts from August and September 2010 before they left). Apparently a bit of panic before you chuck everything you have ever known and head out into the unknown is quite common...


  1. Not long to go for you both. I think with regard to our views we are on exactly the same page so to speak! I quite agree about when you dont shop, you dont spend money. It accumalates more than if were spending. It is so right about that you could pack up everything you need in a backpack.
    I guess as we go on (with each year older!), you really feel different about things. What was important once is not important now. I guess its enlightenment to a certain extent.
    I look forward for your journey to begin it has already xx

  2. Thanks! You are right that as we get older our priorities really do shift. Of course it is much easier to do with all of the kids grown and financially secure on their own. Now our important priorities are travel and enjoying spending time with each other as well as friends and family instead (probably because we already had the opportunity to own about every material posession known to man and it didn't bring us great joy, only debt!).