How Traveling Can Help Declutter

shelter
a favorite location in asheville

We just returned from our first family trip as a foursome. We rented a simple house in the mountains—it was beautiful and so refreshing to escape the intense heat of Florida. The house was simply furnished and had basic necessities, but we still brought a lot with us, especially because we were gone for so long (or at least it felt that way!).

While packing for the trip, our dining room became the command center. I lined up our bags and packed us over four days. It was a lot of work (probably because it was also my first time packing for so many people—hopefully I will be more efficient in the future). What amazed me the most? How much stuff was still left in our house after our bags were packed. If we could go without so many of our things for nearly two weeks, how important was all of it?

As crazy as it sounds, right before we left, I made a trip to Goodwill. Three bags full of toys, kitchen stuff, games, beach towels, shoes and lots of clothes … things I knew we didn’t need on the trip and no one was excited to see upon return. Out it went.

Many people have shared the strategy of pretending to pack for a trip in order to help minimize possessions. Having now seen it first hand, I can tell you it works. It also helps on the back end—there were things we (unknowingly) didn’t want or need that we took with us, and they were immediately put in the donation bags as I unpacked.

I learned a lot preparing for, experiencing and returning from this vacation, and I will be sharing many ideas in the coming days. What tips do you have for traveling with children?

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