Toys: Preparing for Storage When Moving Abroad
It is almost time! We hope to travel in a little over two months. Now it is time to prepare our household items for storage! This process involves a lot of cleaning, purging, donating, and throwing things away. In our area, the cost for a 10x10 storage unit is about $150 per month. My husband and I decided we really don't want to pay more than that for storage, so we have to prepare the belongings in our four bedroom home to fit in this space.
Donate, Donate, Donate
For our family, step one is to donate as much as we can. Like a lot of families with small children, we are drowning in toys. We are so fortunate to have many wonderful toys for our children. Sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing. We have many plastic containers full of pieces that belong to different toy sets. Here is how I have been sorting the toys: bucket by bucket, I have been making piles of different toy sets and storing them in plastic zip bags. Most of these toys will be donated. It seems like a lot of work to sort out so many toys we aren't even going to keep. But it makes me happy to know the toys will have a new life somewhere else, so sorting them and preparing them to be donated is important to me.
What should we keep?
For my children, there are a few categories of toys that they play with consistently. My girls are six and three right now, so their main categories are: play food, LOL Dolls, Barbies, and American Girl style dolls. These toys are all going into large, clear, plastic totes with big labels. Since we will be gone for about a year, I'm asking myself: "Are they still going to play with this a year from now?". We are also keeping sentimental stuffed animals or dolls. Everything else is going to the donate pile. There are some things that my kids are having a hard time parting with. I am a firm believer in not lying to my children and not getting rid of their things without asking. This has been a challenge for us during the donation process. My six year old does not want to part with anything! We made the decision to donate the old toys when she is not around. We have a limited amount of storage, so we can't keep everything. I know which toys she loves, so we won't donate anything she will truly miss. This has been the hardest part of this process.
I have thrown away and recycled so many things! We had so many old papers and tiny plastic pieces that don't belong to anything anymore. I filled up about five trash bags during my first sorting project. Some things are not in the condition to be donated, so they either need to go to the trash or recycling. Our local donation center recycles electronics and clothing, so even the really beat up toys in this category can still be donated. Art supplies: I found so many markers and crayons in the toy buckets! I designated a zipper bag for art supplies. This will be used before we leave. Whatever is leftover will be trashed or given to a friend. So often the kids break crayons and forget to cap the markers, I really doubt these will last two more months.
We have so much!
It's amazing how many toys our children have already accumulated over the years. We are learning which toys hold their interest long term, and which toys get played with for a few days and then forgotten. My husband and I are determined to live a more minimalist lifestyle while we travel and when we return home. It feels so good to let things go! I love Marie Kondo and before beginning this process I listened to her audiobook and watched her TV special on Netflix. I thanked every toy that made its way out of our house. Each toy brought my children joy at some point, which also brought me joy. I thanked it for a job well done and let it go.
I was going to write about multiple categories in this post, but there are so many things to talk about! I don't like to make my posts too long, so I will end this one here.
Thank you for following our adventure! -Michelle