Just sell it all!

When I was questioning the idea of cloth diapering, I started to realize convincing myself wasn't the hard part. Convincing Daniel was the biggie, and he said he wouldn't hear me out until I did the research and presented him the information in a powerpoint-type presentation. He was partly joking, but I did the research and guess who's cloth diapering. The added bonus of the presentation: it convinced me. So, in true trying-to-convince-my-husband-while-convincing-myself-of-this-crazy-idea fashion, I am writing a blog post about selling all our things.

In 18 days, after spending two years in Orlando, our family is headed back to Lincoln. We've been doing a lot of praying and searching and both see the potential benefits of Daniel taking some time away from teaching. This is a pretty big deal considering both of his degrees are in education and the work we'd pursue may or may not pay the bills. Basically, when it comes down to it, our decision is a spiritually based one, and as with many faith walks, isn't best put in logical terms. So, we're headed back to Lincoln and that is all we know.

When the average American moves, they rent a truck, pack up their belongings (maybe after getting rid of a few items), and haul everything to their new home. Being pretty typical Americans, this process is how we've approached our own move. We've priced moving trucks, noted the few items we don't plan on moving, and talked about packing. However, our home on the other end is temporary (thanks to my sister and brother-in-law for taking in this stray family!) which means all our things will be moved into storage until we find jobs and a home.

Storage units are becoming pretty common, so that may not set off any red flags for you. But it does for me, partly because of the reading I've been doing on minimalism, and partly because of the math behind it all. Here's a bit of the budget for our "typical" move:

$780     Truck Rental
$740     Truck Gas (calculated when gas prices were $3.75, they're already $3.90 and going up)
$150     Car Trailer
$1670   Total Moving Costs (without food & lodging for the trip)

Not terrible when you're doing all the work yourself; but also not great when you're essentially jobless and homeless.

Looking at these prices, I started to realize that the things we'd be moving are barely worth that total. Everything we own is hand-me-downs, or bought second hand or discounted, we own lots more than is really needed, and some of our big items need replaced. Throw on the $100/month we'd pay in storage prices for an unknown amount of time, and moving our precious belongings does not appeal to me.

Enter epic idea: Let's just sell it all!

It sounds irrational. The sentimental-keepers start worrying about the memories that might be lost. The practical-keepers wonder how much sense it makes to sell things that would need to be bought again. And Americans in general wonder what kind of a person you are to displace your family alone in the world without "things." (Seriously, though, you sell everything and fit your few precious belongings in your car when you're single and you're cool; do the same thing with a family and you're nuts.)

I assure you, it is both practical and even beneficial. Here's a little math for comparison:

$1460     Selling it all (this could be more, but I made a quick list totaling on the low end)
$780       Money saved by not moving all our things (minus costs in driving the car w/ a small trailer)
$2240     Total Replace-Our-Things Fund

Depending on where you personally are in your life, that may not sound like a lot of money. But to a jobless, homeless family, that's a lot of money. It could be added to savings until we have an income. Or, if we found jobs right away and immediately moved into our own place, we'd have $2240 to furnish our place. And by careful shopping, being thrifty and green and intentional, our items-to-replace shopping list comes to about $2225.

Of course, there are pros and cons and factors beyond simple math that ultimately affect the decision. But hopefully this at least starts the conversation until we find the right choice for us. Whatever happens, I know for a fact God never called us to be typical Americans.