The last few weeks prior to departing on our lap of Australia were absolutely crazy, and it didn’t get much better up until we left. We’d been packing our entire house up to travel Australia for a year or two, and when I stand back and think about it, we’ve got it pretty good compared to others who do it.
We decided a long time ago that we wanted to travel Australia, and put things in place to make it happen. In this post, we cover everything you need to know about packing your house up, and the emotions that go with it.
What to do with the house?
If you are lucky enough to own your home, you’ll have to make a decision regarding what you do with it. You could sell it, and walk away completely, or rent it out. Alternatively, you could just leave it vacant, or get friends or family to stay or check in regularly.
With the way things are now, we wanted the peace of mind that there was a house available for us to return to, so we’ve decided to hang onto it, and rent it out. Initially we were going to sell, gift or throw virtually everything, and potentially pay for storage for anything that we wanted to keep.
However, family were looking for a rental property at the same time as this was going on, and it all came together perfectly. They get cheaper rent as its a private rental, and we get to keep some of our items in one of the bedrooms that won’t be used.
It means we’ll have somewhere to come back to mid trip if needed, we get a great tenant and it removes a huge amount of stress and work in vacating, cleaning and preparing a home for someone else! Our departure date can be flexible, as the family can move in with us still around, and if we have to delay it a few days its not the end of the world. You don’t get that luxury if you are formally renting it out!
The hope is that our property will go up in value whilst we travel too, but who knows there!
What to keep?
Months before our departure, Sarah and I started to go through everything we owned and put it in a number of piles; sell, gift, bin or keep. It was quite a shocking exercise, with the realisation that we’d accumulated a whole heap of possessions over the years that we really didn’t value much at all.
Every room had a lot of work required, with lots of items that we were happy to get rid of without much thought, and plenty of ones that we weren’t sure about. I found it was easiest to do things in stages; chuck out what you absolutely didn’t want, and then come back again later and do it again.
Kids toys were one of the major contributors, which required a lot of discussions with the kids to explain what we were doing, and we gifted a whole heap away to friends and family, and the local buy nothing pages.
Where to keep your items?
From there, you have to decide where you are going to keep your items. If you get rid of everything (or almost everything) then maybe this is not an issue, but finding storage is a problem. My initial thought was to buy a sea container and put everything in it on a friends block, but you will have issues with insurance.
The same goes if you want to keep any items on your property, and rent it out. Storage units are really expensive, and you can also have insurance issues too. We looked at the cost of storing our gear for two years, and it would have been almost cheaper to just sell it all, and re-buy.
Fortunately again, we were able to use a bedroom of our home that was going to be unused, and reduce the rent accordingly. We got rid of most furniture that we didn’t want, including all of the electronics, and just kept what we thought we’d want when we returned home.
Fixing any issues
Inevitably, the day you move out of your home its in the best condition its ever been in. Things that we lived with for many years were finally fixed, and we left the house in good condition for our family. The hot water system failed and was replaced, we had the oven and windows cleaned, fixed a broken towel rail, and did a whole heap of fix ups that were required.
Getting the kids prepared
We started talking about our lap of Australia really early with the kids, and kept it in our conversations to get them prepared. Its a big thing to turn their world upside down, and we certainly felt their behaviour change as it got closer.
They were ratty, and fought more, which we put down to the fact that we were turning their lives inside out and tried not to think about it too much. Both of our kids got upset from time to time knowing that they’d have to leave a lot of their toys behind, and when we started using Oliver’s room to store furniture despite lots of discussions earlier he wasn’t overly happy.
We got them involved where possible, and packing their own select items, which helped a lot, but at the end of the day its no small move for us, and even more so for them.
It takes far longer than you might anticipate
We gave ourselves a solid week to get things ready to depart, and that was with a flexible move in that we could hang back longer if we needed to. To be fair I did spend a lot of time getting things ready on the camper and Dmax (like our Diesel Heater Installation), but the time flew by and we only just got things to a point that we were happy with.
I moved a heap of jobs to on the road, and will have to get them done whilst we’re travelling.