Not so long ago, even thought it feels like a lifetime, we had to make the move from Scotland to Australia.
We had two months. Two months to figure out what we need in Australia. Two months to figure out what we need to do with everything in Scotland. Banks, housing, insurance, medical… I could go on as the list was endless.
Never have I ever had such a long to do list. And I very much doubt I will again.
One of the most important tasks we had to do was to go through our belongings. Our possessions that made a home our home. Two months to work out what role every possession played in our lives.
How do you do that? Do you just take everything? Do you put all bar the basics into storage?
We had to decide and we had to decide quickly. I have to disclose here that we did have a relocation package that included a budget for shipping over our belongings, but we didn’t know how much these things cost! And it depended on so many factors, boat or aeroplane? Mixed sea container? Choice of company. And according to custom laws everything had to be packed by our shipping company to strict regulations so that was going to take a chunk of the budget too. As you can imagine, we erred on the side of caution. We knew we needed to be strict.
I stood in our apartment on day one of sorting and I couldn’t work out where to start. I was lost. David was at work, this was my task and one I needed to focus on. I had read tips about not letting yourself take too much – but what if you go too far the other way? We knew we weren’t going to be able to take any furniture so I began with that, documenting everything and working out where we could sell it, when and what we would like for it. Easy part done first.
So I was left with personal belongings. Things with a story to them. Clothes with a history. Wedding gifts, kitchen tools, beautiful crockery and glassware. Board games we played for years with close friends.
I hadn’t read Marie Kondo. The whole ‘spark joy’ movement wasn’t well known. How do you choose?
Well my girl Marie was definitely on to something. You work out it’s value in your life. It’s meaning within you. You listen to your gut.
Those board games? Gone. The memories are the value. The wedding gifts? How do they make me feel, do they bring a smile? Books can be borrowed from a library to reread. Clothes can be passed on to others who need the warmth. I found being ruthless to be easy.
The key to being able to complete such a huge task was simply using my gut to decide. If I had used my head at any point I know we would have had such a different outcome. For many it might need to be the other way around. Do you become too attached when your gut is involved? I knew my gut would help me choose the right things. In all honesty, my head probably would have given away or sold too much.
So what was the outcome? They packed twenty boxes which went by air. Twenty may seem a lot however one of those boxes was our duvet, one our pillows and two simply empty suitcases! (custom laws not allowing any belongings in those suitcases). We took all of our wonderful Christmas tree decorations that we have collected over the years. Our fridge magnet collection and more mini minions than I care to admit! I took my favourite blanket that I have had since I went to University. We took photographs but no frames. Our Denby crockery set that we received as a wedding present but condensed it down to six bowls, small plates and dinner plates. We took the collectables from our travels but also the Lego Ghostbusters Ecto car that my brother gave us one Christmas (and it arrived in one piece!). I saw more than the practical. I saw everything for it’s value. To me, to David and the essentials in making a home on the other side of the world ours.
Do I have any regrets? Maybe one or two small things but nothing major. Mostly stretches to some kitchen utensils that I have never been able to find again! Ha!
This whole experience though was an eye opener into what really matters to me in the world. Your belongings can be a massive weight, a ball and chain attached to your ankle. They can also make you feel at peace. Let yourself feel that bond and don’t be dictated to. If it’s important to you then keep it, regardless of what others think. I may have gotten more use out of a casserole dish or more plates and bowls but those cute little minions who sit on my kitchen window sill every day smiling back give me so much more joy. They belong.
Have you ever had to have a big clear out before a move?
What is the biggest move you have ever made?
Do you sometimes treasure more random items over practical ones?