Have you noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?
Every digital nomad has faced this situation: someone asks you where you live, and you reply that you don’t have a fixed address. Then they say, “oh that’s so exciting! But I could never do that, what would I do with my furniture/27 inch monitor/Bob Marley poster from my college dorm room?”
If you want to switch to a nomad lifestyle, you have to get rid of almost all of your stuff. No one should deny themselves their dream lifestyle because of some inanimate objects. Before you pack your backpack and board a flight to your first destination, what should you do with it all?
Give the like-new items to Goodwill. Sell a few of the expensive gadgets. And the rest? The hundreds of random items piled up in your closets, in your kitchen cabinets, and under the bed?
Throw them away.
This is much easier said than done. It’s easy to throw away items that are broken and beyond repair. But when we try to throw stuff away that still could be used we hesitate. We think, maybe someone will want this! And then keep it for a little bit longer. And a little while longer turns into forever.
Marie Kondo to the rescue
Wait. Didn’t Marie Kondo write her book for people living a regular lifestyle? Generally yes, but technically her method is used to “clear away clutter” to “live the life you want.” Sounds perfect for digital nomads!
When you use the Marie Kondo method to become a digital nomad you should go in two stages.
For the first stage, follow her method to get the number of your possessions down dramatically. Leave yourself enough items like furniture and kitchen gear to use until it’s almost time to leave.
When you have about a month left before you start your new digital nomad life, it’s time for the next phase of discarding. Start selling and giving away important items like couches, desks, bed frames, etc.
The day you leave, you should have your whole life down to a backpack. Things will be a little awkward at the end, living in a nearly empty apartment, but once this part is over you’ll be living in comfortable furnished rentals.
If you have trouble throwing something away, follow the KonMarie method. Thank the item for its service, say goodbye, then throw it away.
Marie believes that tidying is a celebration, a special send-off for things that will be departing from the house. There’s an opportunity to learn from all the things in your life, including the ones that you discard. If you’re letting go of something you’ve used extensively, thank it for its service and for enhancing your life. If you’re letting go of a belonging you never used, it taught that you have no purpose for something like this in your life.
What about a storage unit?
I’ve met plenty of nomads who rented a storage unit, and almost all of them ended up regretting it. They ended up either throwing the stuff away after months of paying to store it, or ended up paying more to store it than it would’ve cost to throw it away and buy new copies of everything.
This brings up a neat possibility – not only should you use Craigslist instead of a retail store to buy every manufactured thing you need. You can also use it as a free way to “store” your unused goods. I didn’t hesitate to sell my papasan chairs today, because I know if I ever need them back, I can open up Craigslist and find plenty more just like them at any point in the future.
Almost everything we own is a replaceable commodity.
Another thing to consider is that after you go on the nomadic journey of a lifetime and decide to return to normal life, you might not have any use for the items you stored. You might decide to live in another city (or another continent).
Save yourself some money. Don’t rent a storage unit.