Scotland to Australia – Breaking the bond with your belongings

Hi all,

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.CTRG

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?

(Linking up with Thinking Out Loud)

17 thoughts on “Scotland to Australia – Breaking the bond with your belongings

  1. Scouse says:

    It never ceases to amaze me the things we lug around. I kept my undergraduate notes up until I moved to Cambridge. That means some folders (I kept from first year) travelled:

    Edinburgh 2004 (halls) -> Merseyside -> Edinburgh 2005 (Flat 1) -> Edinburgh 2007 (Flat 2) -> Merseyside 2009 -> Leeds 2009 (Flat 1) -> Leeds 2010 (Flat 2) -> Leeds 2012 (Flat 3) -> Bin (2014)

    Some folders did all that route, others modifications, but basically I moved around between 2 and 9 large lever arch files around the UK, none were opened after 2008!

    As for board games, Quest still lives on 🙂

    • Jen says:

      I took mine to Edinburgh and then up to Inverness. When we left Inverness (and knew we were downsizing) I went into complete clear out mode with our uni work. The recycling bin was so full afterwards!
      And it makes my heart happy to hear that Quest still lives on 🙂

  2. Coco says:

    I can’t imagine having to make all those decisions so quickly. We did a bit of purging for a cross-town move. The only thing that drives me crazy is not remembering if I donated something or just don’t know where I put it!

    • Jen says:

      Haha! I definitely had those moments where I couldn’t remember whether or not I had donated or kept something. Still to this day I swear there were some kitchen utensils I thought I had kept but disappeared!

  3. AmyC says:

    We moved from the US to China/Hong Kong a couple of years ago. We brought what we could in TWO suitcases each, reduced our three bedroom house down to one small storage unit and sold or donated everything else. Fortunately we have been able to rent furnished apartments and buy most things through online for sale groups. I DO miss our things.
    AmyC recently posted…Three Things Thursday – My RunMy Profile

    • Jen says:

      Because I knew we couldn’t put anything into storage I knew it was either take or sell/donate. It must be hard but also comforting knowing that the most important things you love are ready and waiting for you when you get home though 🙂
      We are always renting furnished too… will be nice when I have a choice of what furniture I want again!

  4. Juli says:

    I love that you brought your Lego Ghostbusters car! It’s things like that that make us feel really at home!
    Just a couple of days ago I said to Stefan that the last trip really was an eye-opener to me in terms of what I NEED in my life. I had taken my camera stuff, computer, a couple of books and some clothes. I didn’t feel deprived or missed anything at all. Then I came back home and saw all the things we had in our apartment. Some of the things I do love. Some I even value very much emotionally. I love my apartment and my stuff but if I had to I could give away a lot. I’d need a storage unit (or rather some space in my in-law’s basement) to keep a few unpractical things of sentimental value.
    This being said I have firm plans (and I am excited about it) to declutter and throw out A LOT once I have defended my thesis. I find it easy to be ruthless as well.
    Juli recently posted…Week in Review – So this is 2018My Profile

    • Jen says:

      Isn’t it amazing when you have those events where you come home and revaluate aspects of your life? I found that sometimes I was amazed on what I had kept for so long and the reason for keeping was so pointless (but very much valid to a lot of other people!).
      Unpractical but sentimental are the best items sometimes. Those things you don’t need a reason to keep apart from ‘I want to’. I look forward to hearing how the clear out goes!

  5. Cora says:

    This is so very, very interesting. Yours and David’s story is so fascinating! To get up and take off like that is a HUGE feat. I wouldn’t have any idea where to start! Definitely true that some of those “random” items are worth much more than any of the expensive ones. We need those things that put a smile on our face, no matter the mood we’re in.
    Cora recently posted…Week In Review: Appointments, Movies and Normal Life ThingsMy Profile

    • Jen says:

      Anything that makes you smile and feel that glow inside is worth it’s weight in gold, no matter what anyone else things (or you believe they will think!).

    • Jen says:

      Experiences trump everything. I am amazed sometimes on the money people will spend on ‘stuff’. The Aussies seem to blow so much money, totally different mind set to the UK.

    • Jen says:

      No need to stress. Just do a bit every day and it will all come together in no time. Storage is a good idea if you know for certain that you will be coming back. We didn’t go down that route because of the huge expense of storing your belongings. But definitely a good option if you know it wont be for too long.

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