The Decluttering Project: Day 1

The Decluttering Project: Day 1

Hello there! Today I want to talk to you about a very special experiment I am conducting to embrace a full digital nomad life: The Decluttering Project.

What’s this Decluttering Project, you may ask?

In Spain, it’s really difficult to live as a freelance developer or entrepreneur. The Spanish government is not freelancer-friendly, and we are under a lot of tax pressure. Just as an example, I have to pay a fixed fee of 344€ every month just to be able to work as a freelancer, even if I make no business or revenue at all.

At the same time, Spain is plagued by corruption scandals, an oversized administration, an excessive number of politicians, and above all, a retrograde mentality that’s really taking a toll on our society, especially on young people who want to do innovative things.

Thus, after much thought, my partner and I have decided to leave Spain and become digital nomads, becoming e-Residents in Estonia, founding a company there, and working remotely all around the world. Bye bye Spain.

As an essential part of this process, I’m selling all my stuff, except for my Macbook Pro and the clothes that can fit inside a suitcase. I want to be able to travel all around the globe as lightweight as possible, with just my suitcase and my laptop bag.

Getting rid of all my stuff

However, this has not been an easy decision for me. Apart from the usual stuff we all collect throughout the years (books, gadgets, music, etc) I happen to be a musician and composer.

The Decluttering Project.

As a result, I have all sorts of musical instruments, from guitars, pedals, and keyboards to a very big Yamaha U1 piano.

I will write about the emotional implications of leaving my life as a composer behind in a future post. Solely from a physical point of view, however, I had a whole room filled up with stuff.

Apart from that, there is the car, the furniture, and personal belongings… getting rid of a lifetime in some weeks is definitely a milestone in the field of human endeavor.

Nevertheless, I am completely decided to change my life. Thus, I decided to put together a website where I would document the whole process. First of all, to help me reach my goal and, additionally, to share my experience and help others in the same situation.

The Plan

The plan is simple: write a list of all you positively need and a list of what you own currently. Be ruthless with the former, and exhaustive with the latter. Then, cross off everything that’s included in the first list from the second. The remaining is the stuff you need to sell.

It’s as simple as this.

A List of everything I own

To begin with, I sat down and wrote a list of all the stuff I have. I went room by room, opening every drawer and closet, enumerating all my properties. That gave me quite a big list as you can imagine.

A List of everything I positively, absolutely need

Then, I opened the suitcase I usually take with me when traveling, and filled it with all the clothes I might need:

  • 5 t-shirts
  • 3 trousers
  • a pair of boots (I love boots), flip-flops, and my trainers
  • 2 pullovers
  • my leather coat (Yep, boots and leather, that’s me )
  • underwear
  • toiletry bag
  • pajama
  • a pair of gym t-shirts and short sports pants

Then, I also did the same with the stuff I absolutely need to carry with me to be able to work as a freelance developer.

The Decluttering Project.

I usually carry a bag with me that’s small enough but perfect for all my gadgets. Inside, you can find:

  • My Macbook Pro
  • My iPad
  • An Android tablet and Android phone
  • Some wires, cables, and AC adapters
  • A small notebook and a pen
  • A small aluminum multi-function stand for the iOS devices for development.

So… those are the things I really need to carry with me. My partner has also added a Thunderbolt Display from Apple. As we are going to live in Latvia for one year, and this adventure is hard enough as it is, we both agreed to allow this little exception and leave the screen at the coworking center we are going to work at in Riga.

Executing the plan

First, in order to execute the plan, I decided to put everything on the website of the project. That serves me as a reminder of the huge amount of stuff I’ve collected during all these years, and as a way of selling it.

Also, I did put everything on sale in a second-hand buy&sell app.

As for the prices, I decided to go really low, as a detoxification shock therapy, to avoid succumbing to the temptation again. I decided to apply a simple rule: I will give away everything below 20-25€ for free, unless I have a good reason not to. The rest will be sold for half its purchase price.

How do I feel?

Today’s been a tough day for me. One of the first things I put on sale was my beloved piano. Some minutes later, I was contacted by a person that was interested in it.

Immediately, my heart skipped a beat. My first impulse was to tell the man that I had changed my mind and quit the decluttering experiment. The piano is certainly the possession that I love the most. However, I swallowed hard and agreed on meeting him tomorrow to see the piano.

Since then, my mind has been in turmoil. I certainly realize now how owning things provides us with a sense of power and tranquility, while getting rid of them makes us nervous.

What if I need the car when I come back to visit my parents?
What if I suddenly want to start recording music again?
What if…?

While rationalizing all this is not easy, and there’s always that sense of regret creeping up on you, imagining yourself in the worst-case scenario, and then thinking about what to do, really helps.

I will rent a car, it’s not expensive compared to owning a car
I can always rent a studio for some hours, and it’s cheaper than owning a piano…
Well, I can always buy something if I really, really need it

What’s next

I am just starting my journey here. I want to document the whole process, focusing on how I feel, the strategies I use, and how things eventually end. I will keep you posted. Stay tuned!