UPDATE 2: Getting Rid of Our Stuff
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Yes, here is another update on getting rid of our stuff. Even us, who pride ourselves at aiming to be in the 90th percentile, are getting rid of more stuff. After hearing all of the stories of people starting off their adventures with large, heavy and full backpacks, only to quickly realize they needed to get rid of stuff to free up space and weight, we were sure this wouldn't be us....
This Is Us
Allow us to clarify. The way we thought we'd travel has changed in practice. Now that we’re here in Europe, we realize, rather than staying largely in hostels, we’ll be doing more house sits. This changes what we need to travel around with. Because of this change, along with a few more lessons learned (that you can only really learn in practice), we're slimming down just a bit. But who wouldn’t want to have less weight to carry around? We’ll probably keep fine tuning our bag.
A Pare Down in Ireland
A week into our adventure we looked at our bags and knew that we had too much crap. The bags are bursting with stuff and weigh too much. We purchased a larger bag (36-litters) because it fit us better, but our intent had always been to have some spare room in it. We regret to say, that our initial plan really didn’t happen. So, now we had a large task at hand, get rid of more stuff!
We pulled everything, and we mean everything, we were carrying with us and spread it on the bed in our room. And let’s be honest, there wasn’t much spreading out of the stuff, it was pretty crammed on the double bed. We split things up, his and hers. We then went item by item, starting at one end and going to the other. We discussed each and every item, defending why we wanted to keep it or get rid of it. Having this back and forth helped keep us realistic with what was absolutely needed and what wasn’t.
We thought this process would take an hour, maybe two at the most. We started with a full day of light and ended in a pitch black evening four (yes FOUR) hours later! Here's a bit of what we learned…
- The way we envisioned we’d be traveling, in reality has turned out to be much different. We thought we’d be primarily in hostels, but it now seems that our lodging accommodations will be centered around house sits. This means we’re in safe, well equipped places a majority of the time. In other words, less need for locks and basic equipment.
- We started in Boise, packing our bags with the idea that we needed to pack minimally, but for a year adventure. Our bags, our clothes, our tools and even some of our toiletries, like ban aides needed to last a year. How silly, and extremely un-realistic. Our clothes will last a fraction of what they would at home. We’re wearing them under different conditions, traveling, undertaking rougher activities, and wearing them over and, over as we only have a couple pairs to rotate through. Our day packs, our phone cables, our laptop cases, will all have more wear and use than they would at home. These will all need replacements once, if not two or three times over the next twelve months.
- We need to hand wash our clothing more often. We packed enough clothing to be able to go for four to five days between washes. That means 3-4 tops, 4-5 pairs of socks, 4-5 chones*, etc. This is too much. It really isn’t that hard to take the clothing in with us in the shower and wash it there. Or use our DIY reinforced Ziploc bags as washing bags.
- Warning: Tangent. Frankly, a piece of clothing has come in handy many times as a washcloth. You’d be shocked how many places we end up in that have fresh towels and linens but no wash cloth or scrub. Which is crazy, because we packed a handy dandy towel which we’ve yet to use, but we’re using socks as a wash cloth!
- Sergio, as an IT Consultant, is working on this trip. He’s not always sure what he’ll need along the way, so he packed the bare essentials for work. Smart right? Well, not really. We discussed it and came to the conclusion that most of what he was lugging around was stuff that he could buy if he needed it. Yes, it would come at a cost, but what’s a few bucks when you’re saving priceless space and weight?
- We don’t need to pack for both of us what we can share. This means we can share toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo etc., which will cut our toiletries in half. We’ll also focus on using as little as necessary to make it last as long as possible. We’ll buy more when needed.
- We sent back ‘sun protection’ items. There’s no need to carry around the sun sleeves and hats when there’s very little sun outside. Just as we purchased warmer clothing when needed, we’ll purchase summer clothing when needed as well.
What we go rid of**
- A few pairs of chones* and socks
- IT equipment (USB to SATA adapter, USB drive, Molex to SATA power cables, drive image and file backup CD’s, SD Card)
- Sun hats
- Sun sleeves
- 1/2 our toiletries (toothpaste, mouthwash, q-tips, dental picks, etc.)
- Notepad and pens
- Random battery (we weren’t sure how this ended up in our bag to begin with)
We ended freeing up a bit of space and probably around four to five pounds. It was such a relief to get rid of stuff! So much so, that we already know we’ll be doing another pare down in a couple of months. Sergio is prepared to get rid of a shirt or two and Shannon is prepared to ditch a couple of shirts and maybe a pair of pants. Shannon is leaning towards getting rid of the travel pillow. We’re both considering ditching our towels.
The plan is to go the next couple of months and see how we do and what we use. Then we’ll do one last pare down.
It's Not Too Late to Read the First Two Posts in the Series
* Chones is Spanish slang for underwear.
** We sent valuable items home and gave the rest away.