During the pandemic in June 2020, I decided to sell all my home goods, except my personal belongings like clothes, jewellery, and shoes. The only piece of furniture I kept was a drawer that I had purchased in Marrakesh, Morocco. At that time, I had no way of knowing how long I would continue to live a digital nomad lifestyle. Fast forward three years later, having travelled to five continents and experienced a considerable amount of stress, I found myself questioning whether it was truly worth the expense to store my personal belongings for such a lengthy period.
Today, my belongings have been transported over a distance of 1600km to what I anticipate to be the penultimate stop before reaching their ultimate destination – the seventh storage facility, where they are expected to remain for at least another year.
Based on my calculations, the expenses incurred from moving my belongings around Europe to date amount to over 6,000 euros.
Cost Veruses Sentimental value
In 2014, I experienced a devastating house fire that resulted in the loss of 20 years’ worth of belongings. This unfortunate incident made me realize the significance of life compared to material possessions, as sentimental value cannot be quantified.
The reason behind my decision to keep my clothes, shoes, and even the camel bone wardrobe that survived the house fire is deeply rooted in my love for fashion and self-expression. Not only is my wardrobe an integral part of my business, but it also holds a significant financial value. The vintage items within my collection are irreplaceable treasures. The jewellery alone holds immense worth and is truly one-of-a-kind. Moreover, I have two teenage daughters who thoroughly enjoy wearing my clothes, shoes, and accessories. Therefore, holding onto these personal belongings holds sentimental value for me. Witnessing my girls confidently transform while wearing high-quality clothing brings me great joy. The cost of storing these items becomes worthwhile when I see them strolling through the streets of Tuscany, adorned with smiles on their faces.
In my wardrobe, I have acquired luxury fashion pieces from renowned brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana. Due to a house fire, I have boxes of designer shoes that remain unworn. Interestingly, one specific pair of shoes that I have kept in storage is currently being sold for over 1200 euros. Therefore, if I were to replace just my shoes, the cost would exceed the price of storage at this point.
I am in possession of a valuable and potentially expensive piece of gold. This item holds great sentimental value as it was gifted to me by my grandmother, who managed to save it from a house fire. Its worth cannot be determined solely by its monetary value, as there are certain things in life that are irreplaceable and serve a deep-rooted purpose in helping us navigate challenges. In addition to this, I also own a rare collection of YSL jewellery which is both unique and expensive. This collection holds particular significance for me as it was purchased after the house fire, symbolizing the process of rebuilding and the miraculous experience my family and I went through.
Tips for Nomads: What Not to Store
Over the past two decades, I have experienced the challenges of packing and moving numerous times. From shipping a container from the UK to Malta, and then to Barcelona and Andorra, I thought I had it all figured out. However, after just one year, I lost everything. Therefore, I strongly recommend that if you are considering a nomadic lifestyle, it is best to sell all your electronic items. They do not store well for extended periods of time, and the cost of shipping them is not justifiable. Instead, sell them and purchase new ones at your final destination.
Shipping at the moment can be quite costly due to various factors, such as Brexit. For instance, I recently received a quote for a friend who wanted to ship something from Europe to the United Kingdom, and it turned out to be quite expensive. Additionally, when shipping, you are required to provide a detailed list of all the items being shipped, and you may also be subjected to taxes on secondhand items by the relevant authorities. So, it’s worth considering whether it is financially viable to ship a 10-year-old washing machine, for example.
The cost of a quarter of a container of secondhand goods, excluding VAT, for her from Italy to London is 6000 euros. She made the decision to relocate from Australia to London amidst the pandemic. The total cost of the move, including rental expenses, has amounted to 70,000 euros so far. In her own words, she expressed that she could have purchased her items brand new five times with that amount of money.
Sell Your Furniture
Shipping in the year 2023 can be quite expensive, especially if you are not in possession of valuable items such as a Picasso painting or rare antique furniture passed down through generations. To mitigate these costs, it is advisable to consider selling off unnecessary belongings. This includes decluttering clothes that do not hold significant value. It is important to remember that holding onto goods that can be easily replaced can cause unnecessary hassle, stress, and storage issues.
It is important to note that this includes duvet and pillows. It is crucial to understand that storing items like these, including an old mattress, for extended periods of time can lead to unhygienic conditions.
As a digital nomad for the last three years, I have learnt that it is harder to sell than to buy. My taste in household goods has changed. Calculate what your personal belongs are worth.
Sell Your Computers And Screens
Now is an excellent opportunity to sell any computers, phones, or extra screens that are no longer in working condition. By doing so, you can upgrade your technology and stay up to date. It’s important to note that these items do not store well and often become outdated when reconnected to digital devices.
Declutter cables, paper, books and anything you no longer need.
Stress Versus Storage
During the past three years, I have frequently found myself packing and unpacking unnecessary items. This has resulted in wasted time, added stress, and additional expenses, especially when it comes to storage. Imagine living in Venice for four months exploring the charming streets of Venice with a load of 80kg of belongings that I rarely used, to embarking on a scenic drive through Tuscany in a car so packed that my family had to resort to taking a train. Next, we decided to relocate to Eastern Europe for a few months, only to realize that it wasn’t the right fit for us. However, the most memorable experience was undoubtedly the day I flew back to Italy with a whopping 250kg of goods, while my family embarked on a 2000km car journey with a trunk full of belongings, which were eventually placed back into storage. At one point, we had storage facilities in Romania, France, and Italy.
If you are uncertain about where you will end up, it is advisable to gather all your belongings in a single location and only pack a small suitcase for each family member. Avoid purchasing unnecessary items until you have settled in your permanent residence.
The process of packing can be quite stressful and time-consuming. However, I have a helpful tip for you when it comes to packing your boxes. I suggest collecting boxes from your friends and local areas where you reside. It is possible to find a wide variety of boxes, and opting for this option not only helps you save money but also promotes environmental conservation. Gather smaller boxes that are not too heavy, as this will make it easier for anyone assisting you during the moving process. By doing so, you are also taking care of your back.
Buying packing boxes is very expensive, supermarket boxes are brilliant.
It is important to label your boxes so that when you are moving in and out of storage, it becomes easier to locate your seasonal clothing.
Don’t Store Children’s Clothing
If you have young children, it is advisable not to pack any shoes or clothing, as they tend to outgrow them quickly.
I purchase items as my children grow and I have only retained sentimental possessions such as toys that they decide to hold onto. In my storage, I do not have any children’s clothing. However, when it comes to my girls’ wardrobe, it feels like we are going shopping for new clothes every time we visit my storage. Our preferences and clothing sizes tend to change over time.
Nesting Versus Digital Nomad Lifestyle
As women, we often have a natural inclination to create a comfortable and cosy space for ourselves, which is why it has been challenging for me to embrace a nomadic lifestyle in recent years. This includes resisting the temptation to purchase items that may not be used for extended periods, as has been the case for me over the past three years. It is truly remarkable how much we can do without when we decide to pack up our belongings and embark on a journey.
Life is brief and the recollections of a life filled with constant travel outweigh the benefits of a sedentary lifestyle. It is important to remember that when we pass away, our possessions will be disposed of, sold, or given away. However, the memories we create through travel will accompany us to our final resting place.
I will be departing from Italy for a minimum of several months, during which time my belongings will be stored in one location. In the event that I do not return, my storage bill will go unpaid, allowing for the disposal of my belongings at the discretion of the storage facility.