As someone who has relocated numerous (12 times to be exact) in my life, I consider myself a moving expert. Only when I discovered minimalism, I realised it was also the key to save money when moving house.
In the past, I've hired professional cleaners and movers when in a rush, but most of the times, I've done the job myself with the help of friends and renting a van. I've filled suitcases with books and mailed my kitchen items from one side of the world to the other.
I've spent a lot of money.
But after my 2-year living out of a suitcase, I've learnt to live as a real minimalist and nowadays I can finally share with you my mistakes, the lessons learnt and how I'm NEVER EVER going to spend a fortune again to move stuff from one home to the next.
Minimalism, as a lifestyle, is the art of letting go.
The benefits of moving as a minimalist
While having less stuff has obvious benefits, it's worth discussing here why moving as minimalist can benefit you.
1 It'll be a cheaper move
The various times I've moved, I had to ask my brother, my dad, a friend with a van, or worse, a rental moving company for help. This van services come with a high price tag. Even if you are moving for a sabbatical, an internship or to study abroad, you will have to store your stuff somewhere.
Storing is the devil.
In a city like London, it can cost like an actual rent. Are you sure you really need to store all those things?
2 Having less stuff, you will need less space
Because I’ve practised living smaller and lighter, I'm now renting a tiny apartment which is obviously much cheaper than if I had kept all my stuff from the past. Talking numbers: I'm saving around €300/month because I chose a small apartment and I don't own a car and that saves me an extra €200/month for the garage. That's €500/month saved = €6,000/year = 2/3 nice trips next year. HELLO CUBA!
3 No Stress baby
When I moved into my new pod, I carried with me 2 suitcases. By bus. Unpacking took me 15 minutes or less. And that's it. This is all I have here now (well, I did buy a few plants as I'm giving myself another chance as plants serial killer), but that's pretty much it. Once I'll move, I'll give them to my mum since she's got the greenest thumb in the world.
I have exactly 34 items in my closet (including dresses, socks, bikinis...), 3 pairs of shoes, my bike, my favourite cup, my portable office (AKA my laptop, mouse, notebook and planner). Alright, I'll admit it! I also brought 19 books with me, but that's my passion-obsession and the bookshelf would have looked so sad all empty, right?
So, now that you are aware of the benefits of a minimalist moving, you can also take the following actions to implement during when you are moving house next.
How to adopt Minimalism: the Key to Save Money when Moving House
You all know that living with less is the key to save a lot of money, not only buying fewer things will leave more cash in your pockets, but having less clutter in your lives, will also allow you to move from place to place in a quicker and cheaper way. Let's see how.
Keep, toss, sell, donate
As soon as you start sorting your stuff, create four piles or get four big bags/ box. Label them as above and never move an item from one pile to another. As soon as they are full, bring them to the charity shop, put them online, pack or throw them away.
Plan ahead for your furniture.
Identify those larger items and furniture that you will keep and organise their shipping to your new home. The early you book, the cheaper it will be.
Start selling furniture you no longer want early so you can get better prices. Ask around you, friends and family might just be looking for what you are getting rid of. Facebook can also be a powerful platform to sell things in your area.
Get rid of your clutter now
Sorting your stuff is a crucial part of the moving process. Before you begin filling those big black bags, you should set some rules for what is clutter and what is not. Marie Kondo suggests to get rid of everything that doesn't bring joy, personally, my kitchen pans and sheets don't really give me particular joy, but saving money buying them again, does. So, without being as drastic as the Queen of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I'd suggest keeping all the utensils and things you use every day, but to get rid of those you bought and never used before. The same thing goes for shoes and clothes you haven't worn in the past year.
Start early & get organised
My best advice is to start early. Even if you are planning to move in six months. Start today. First, go to your closet and get rid of anything you haven't worn for a while. Then check your old mail, scan and save what's important and get rid of the rest. Make a weekly/monthly plan about how you are going to clear the rest of your home. Write down on your planner the rooms you intend to clear each day/weekend.
Get rid of unwanted presents
Do you use that BEST FRIEND mug your mate gave you 7 Christmas ago? If you don't, it has to go. Don't feel guilty while donating or tossing presents, you are not a horrible human, just a practical one. If you wish to keep a memory of a present you like, but don't use, maybe take a picture of it and then bring it to the charity shop. Someone in need might pick it up and make good use of it. If your local thrift store doesn't take some items, make sure to check The Freecycle Org which gathers a 9 million members network around the world who are exchanging stuff for free in their own towns and keeping good stuff out of landfills.
Get LOADS of small boxes. And strong tape.
Either buy them or get them from a bookstore. The smaller the boxes the better. It will save your back and once they arrive at the destination, they will be much easier and quicker to sort out. Then buy a very strong tape, you don't want your beloved set of dishes to smash on the floor of your new home, right?
If necessary, buy bubble wrap for tech stuff like TV, computers as well as glassware.
Don't lose your focus
While decluttering, it's easy to get lost in memories as we find pictures, letters and diaries. But remember: you are on a mission. So, don't waste time, instead evaluate every item:
- Get rid of anything you might need in the future: if you haven't used for a while, you won't need it in the future.
- When was the last time you used this pot?
- Is this broken? Or does it fit me still?
Keep an inventory as you pack
You can name or number your boxes, if you prefer the latter, make sure to keep an inventory of your stuff so that once you get to your new home, you can quickly find what you are looking for. (An online inventory on your phone would be ideal and less likely to get lost).
Pack for a weekend away
Lastly, once you've packed most of your stuff away, pack a suitcase for the essentials you will need on your first night. As you were going on a nice weekend away. Maybe include a snack on top of your toothbrush and towel.
And that's all, folks!
Moving can be incredibly stressful. Only my 12th and last time, it was smooth, easy, quick and fun. I love looking at Audrey sitting on my bike next to my little staircase jungle on the corner. Being a digital nomad, I am always on the move, I feel incredibly reinvigorated by the idea that I could pack my stuff and leave for my next adventure in less than 10 minutes.
If you’re interested in learning more about minimalism, I recommend you check out these:
My article: How becoming a minimalist helped my travels
Book: The More of Less by Joshua Becker
Documentary: Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things by The Minimalists
Website/Blog: Be More With Less
How was your last move, have a look at Spotahome to find the best rental accommodations? Need some strategies to help you choose a new neighbourhood? Read more: