How to Get Rid of Prized Possessions

Answer: Move.

Nothing helps you say “it’s not that important” like moving across the ocean.

We’ve lived in Prague for four years. That’s just four years; it’s not a lifetime. (Unless you’re 4 or younger, right?)

It’s amazing how much crap we’ve accumulated in just these four years.

Now we’re moving to Canada. And so, the sorting, cleaning and digging begins. The packers are scheduled to come on May 30th.
We’re asking each other a dozen times a hour “Do we really need this? Is it important we keep it?”
With everything we touch, dig out, we end with one question: “Keep or Lose?” (and Lose can mean sell, give away or trash)

Our Guidelines for “Keep or Lose”
I figure I’m not alone here, so here are our guidelines how we decide what stays and what doesn’t.

First, is it something we use once a week or more? If yes, keep. Otherwise…see the next questions:

Did I already read it? — “Lose it.”
If no, will I read before 2011? No? — “Lose it.”

Does it fit? No? — “Lose it.”
Would I wear it tomorrow (given right weather)? No? — “Lose it.”

Computer stuff * (Guilty, so guilty)
Do we use it today? — “Keep it.”
Do I have more than 2 of them? — “Lose it” (like 7 extra USB cables)
* We switched to Mac 2 years ago, so A LOT was “Lose it.”

Electrical? (Or “European plug?”) Yes? — “Lose it.”
Use it less than once a year? Yes? — “Lose it.”
Under $10 to replace? Yes? — “Lose it.”
So …the screwdriver set stays. (sorry, duct tape)

Tougher calls here, but…
Did we buy it while vacationing? No? — “Lose it.”

“Oh, But We Can’t Get Rid Of That”
There is one, teensy-weensy exception to this rule. My four-year old daughter’s prized possession, a coconut lady.
See picture “exhibit A” in hideous picture at the bottom of this post.

The coconut lady must stay for two reasons:
1. It’s from a friend who loves giving us the corniest, ugliest gifts on the planet. (And he’s rather good at it)
2. My wife hates it. In fact, she delights in hating it. And, I get some enjoyment out of hearing from her just how much she hates it.

So, in the end, coconut lady stays. For all else, enjoy our guidelines above.


Click for a full-size revolting pic of Francis

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An American who likes to move around.
I now live on the eastern Canadian seaboard. My job? A stay-at-home dad for two cute but demanding bosses. My wife? Also cute; not so demanding.
My wife and I both love travel. We met in South Korea, travelled across Australia, India, Europe and beyond. We lived in Czech Republic for four years. Many stories to tell and experience to share. If you let me, I will help you travel as we do.

10 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Prized Possessions”

  1. Love it dude! My fiance have been struggling with this lately. We’re not location independent yet (although we’re getting close), but still, it’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate. We’ve been trying to simplify, selling a lot of things of ebay and whatnot. But it’s so hard to get rid of some things. Your article is inspiring!

  2. Thanks Trever!

    Wait – did you mean you love the coconut lady, or the post? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh, no matter, I’ll take both.

  3. Hi Jeff,

    Funny to read this post as we went through pretty much the same thing. We moved from Halifax, Canada (coincidentally) to Belgium and went through the same process. We kept books, cooking equipment, some minor computer things, photography equipment, and some craft stuff. It all fit in less than a quarter of a shipping container. We did keep some furniture in storage with family, but other than that we sent it all to an auction and sold the house; there was no turning back. It was actually very cathartic in the end… it felt like a weight was lifted from our shoulders. After 5 years in Belgium though… well I think it may be time for another purge! ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. The coconut lady is ridiculously-hideously-hilariously awesome – I love that you guys keep it – and kids can get attached to the strangest things right?! As for the rest – books are my downfall, I can rid myself of everything else but I store boxes of books in my parent’s attack. It’s an obsession I still haven’t gotten over! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh Shannon, our dear coconut lady is so ugly, she’s beautiful, isn’t she?

      Her shell necklace, her faux-grass skirt, her painted-on bikini top.

      I’m about ready to start a Facebook Fan page for her… hahaha!

      If only she had a name. Ideas? ๐Ÿ™‚

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