One of the skills I’ve learned as a trailing spouse or expat/diplo wife is how to declutter before a move. Moving our entire lives in increments of forty-foot containers is not as easy as it seems because we actually have much more stuff (junk!) than we think. The experience of moving has changed my perspective on what is worth keeping and what isn’t worth taking with us. So much so that we end up selling, donating or recycling at least 50% of our belongings every time we move. They are either no longer appropriate to the country we are moving to, or just not up to the shipping stress.
ITEMS FOR DISPOSAL
A large chunk of items for disposal are sold in the different Preloved Expat Buy and Sell Markets – whether it’s an expat mailing list in Jakarta, eBay Kleinanzeigen in Berlin or the many Facebook Buy and Sell Groups that are popular now. The secret to selling is knowing where to sell the fastest, and how to pack your items, so they don’t break along the way.
If you can pack it, then you can sell it! – Undiplomaticwife.com
I’ve sold mirrors and shipped crystal glasses from Berlin to Amsterdam. The secret is…. PAPER. Yes the humble paper is what is used by the most expert of movers to pack each breakable item we own, from Asia to Europe and back.
Since we got back to Manila, I’ve tidied up our smaller space quite a bit. I am proud to say that I have never had to buy new packaging material to ship my items. The secret is using:
- Paper that’s been printed on both sides (we exclusively print on scratch paper at home)
- Packaging from the move
- Packaging of items that have been shipped to me
- Junk mail and documents that are no longer in use
While re-using paper, it’s also very important to keep ourselves safe from identity theft, etc. So, if you don’t want to shred your papers so that you can re-use them, here are some practical tips to protect your identity and privacy.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY WHEN REUSING PAPER
Use an Identity Protector Stamp, similar to the one pictured, to hide your identity and sensitive information on the paper.
Once the ink is dry, I file it with all other paper items to be reused, like shopping bags, paperbags, paper wrapping tissue, catalogues, etc. which I’ve organized using the #KonMariMethod.
I love using IKEA magazine holders. Just position them sideways and fold paperbags that are too large in HALF and arrange in the Kon Mari Method: big to small from left to right.
I never buy extra bubble wrap or wrapping paper, and always use what I have on-hand.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Make sure to have an inkpot and small syringe ready for when it’s time to refill the stamp’s ink.
I purchased the inkpot and ID protector stamp, INOZTO, from Noteworthy in Greenbelt 5. However, if you don’t want to get sucked into the Stationery Wonderland and end up buying more stuff, then you can also order it online here. Noteworthy and National Bookstores are sister companies after all.
I don’t use the other features of the INOZTO (shredding & envelope opener), so if you’re looking solely for Identity Theft Protection Stamps, you can also order them online here:
- Amazon USA then simply use Shipping Cart to send to your doorstep (FYI I am an Amazon affiliate and purchases you make via my link will help me with purchases I make for our home. Thank you!)
In a separate post, I’ll be teaching you the best way to wrap fragile items in paper to give them maximum protection during shipment. Stay tuned.
If you are Manila-based and looking for guidance on the best ways to declutter your life and space in a more sustainable manner, please feel free to join my private group called Declutter MNL, where you can also dispose of preloved items you no longer use.