Monday, November 5, 2012

Cutting Down on the Crap

As much as I want to be prepared mentally, financially and logistically for an immediate move overseas, realistically, my plan has me 6 to 10 months away from relocating overseas. 

Phase Two:  ???
Phase Three:  Profit!!

Okay, so my plan may not be as simultaneously simple and/or incoherent as the Underwear Gnomes, but I do admire the singlemindedness in their focusing on their goal.

Here’s my Underwear Gnome plan:

Phase One:
Receive pension plan settlement from former employer.(6 weeks)
Phase Two:  Use funds to study English taught as a foreign language.  Earn professional certification. (2 months)
Phase Three: Engage various overseas employers to solicit optimal employment contract (1 month) negotiating new Indonesian laws about degree requirement.
Phase Four:  Find home for cat, pack up last of remaining belongings, drive to California, put stuff in storage under long term contract.  Ask relatives to send me the stuff later I cannot bring on the plane.
Phase Five:  Move to Indonesia.  Find home, pembantu, sepeda motor, istri.
Phase Six: Profit!!

Somehow, the Underwear Gnome plan seems a lot simpler.

Now, one thing I can do NOW that will, at the very least, give me a feeling of moving towards my ultimate goal is to pare down my personal possessions.  I can’t bring a U-Haul onto a plane to Indonesia.  Any personal effects I ship to Indonesia are subject to an import duty of up to 100% of the item’s value plus the cost of shipping…

So, looking forward to sometime in 2013, I picture myself leaving Seattle with a single van-full worth of me-ness, having a plane ticket to Jakarta departing from SFO or LAX in hand, and looking for a storage place that I could reliably leave stuff for one, three, five or even 20 years.  Once I’m ready to leave, I’ll sell my van, get on a plane and go.  Once in my destination, if I feel I am in a place I’ll want to stay for a while, I will ask folks here in the USA to please ship me some of my stuff I’ve left here.

Today was my first purging/paring day.  My goal was to reduce my personal possessions by 10%.  On a future date, I’ll cut another 10%.  Then another 10%.  Ultimately, I’ll get my stuff down to one AstroVan worth of crap.

I dumped about ten pounds worth of books into the unmanned book donation kiosk (I’m sure I’ll be visiting it many more times in this paring process) and donated a desk, bookshelf, juicer, miscellaneous games, wall art, toys and various other personal items to Goodwill.

Lastly, I returned a guitar that was given to me by a former roommate.  He was happy to get it back.  Also sold him my keyboard & stand for $50. Gave him a guitar stand for free.

My most poignant observation in this process had to do with how easy it was (and will be) for me to throw away crap from my deep storage about which I had to ask myself, “why have I toted this stuff around  from place to place over the last X years?!?

All I can think is that it is a lot easier to justify to oneself the logic of carrying around penny whistles, New Years Eve memorabilia, games you’ve never played, cordless phones and fax machines from one place to another or one decade to another. I got rid of a lot of stuff today, and had only one answer as to why I've held onto a 1990 fax machine...I
t’s one thing to hold onto something when you move across town.  It’s another thing altogether as you plan a move across the planet.


  1. Oh Dear, Here I was imagining driving a truck load of "stuff" up to you next summer! Good luck on this. It will give you incentive to get healthy and get into shape. I have found the promise of new adventure has helped me do that. Call me ... Could you please take the word verification OFF. I hate it and will not comment on any blogs that have it, particularly if I', on the iPad.

  2. I thought maybe you could sell some of that sports stuff I sent you on Ebay.
    You might have the time to do it. Let me know how it works, I got stuff I need to get rid of too!I

  3. What happened to your pursuit of becoming an alcohol and drug counselor? Did you finish the course work?

  4. Hey how come you don't post these on other sites...hint,hint.....
    I know your sans computa now....but later when you get another one ya know....:)
    And yes as anonymous said what did happen to those plans J....?


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