A few years ago, I learned about something called a boxing party. It’s a simple concept. You box up the majority of your material belongings. Then you store them in your basement or your garage for a few months. In time, you discover the things that you really need. You also discover that you don’t need much of what you own.
I’m Having My Own Boxing Party
A few weeks ago, I announced that I was highly considering selling my house. I still am. There are a few reasons why I want to sell:
- It’s a seller’s market.
- I’ll make enough money to pay off all of my consumer debt.
- I can relocate to a quieter area.
- To find a smaller space with lower rent or mortgage payment.
I’ve recently started working with a real estate agent. She did a market analysis and my house should list at about $225,000. That’s about what I expected. I’m still a little hesitant and scared about taking such a big step. But I’m starting the party anyway.
The idea of a boxing party is simple. You invite a friend or two over to help you box up your stuff. Sorry, but I’m starting my party without you. As busy as everyone is these days, you might be waiting for awhile before your friends are available. So I suggest partying by yourself.
The Three Pile System
I’m using a fairly traditional system as I box stuff up. I have three categories:
- Stuff I think I want to keep: Because I’ve already lived simply for several years, chances are good that about 70-80% of my belongings will get boxed up. However, if I don’t use much of this stuff as I prep my house for selling, I might not need it after I move.
- Stuff I might be willing to give up: These are the things that I struggle with letting go. I stick this stuff in an open “maybe” box for now. Chances are fair that I’ll either sell or give away much of this pile.
- Stuff to let go: This is stuff I no longer use or need. It might go to charity. It might be given away. Or it might wind up in the recycling or the trash. The point is that I don’t need this stuff anymore.
Don’t Sweat the Small or the Big Stuff
Don’t be afraid to think big. I’ve already moved several pieces of furniture out to the garage. These pieces will all be part of a yard sale this spring. I also found someone who’d love the old piano that we rarely play anymore. They’ll even haul it away for me.
On the other hand, I’m going through closets and drawers a little at a time. You don’t have to downsize in a day. But when you’re preparing to sell a house, you do need to have a timeline. I’m giving myself 4-6 weeks to have everything sorted.
And guess what? Even if I back out of putting my house on the market, I’ve just eliminated a bunch of unneeded stuff.
Be Your Own Host
Don’t wait to start your boxing party. You don’t need others to help you. You can be your own host and start today. It’s simple:
- Get some boxes and tape: I bought some cheap packing boxes and tape. I spent about $25.00 for a dozen boxes. I recommend taping the boxes up after you fill them up. That way you’re less likely to get into them for every little thing that you think you need.
- Box up the stuff you don’t use: Be careful not to put anything that you use regularly in your packed boxes. Assess how often you use something. If you use the item daily, weekly, or even monthly, it should probably stay unboxed.
- Store it away: Put the boxes in a place that is separate from your living space. Some people even temporarily store their boxes at a friend’s house or in a storage unit. You might be enticed to unbox things if the boxes are too easily accessible.
- If you don’t use it, let it go: Unless it’s a specialty item or a seasonal item, that you occasionally use, like a suit, winter boots, or camping gear, let go of the unused stuff. If you can go without it for 3-6 months, you probably don’t really need it.
Once I move, I’ll probably just store my boxes a little bit longer. Then I’ll unpack what I need and consider selling or giving the rest away.