How do you reduce thirty-seven years of collecting, acquiring, gift receiving down to two airline sized suitcases, a carry-on bag and a purse?
It is a very good question and one I was overwhelmed to tackle. Once I made the first move it seemed pretty easy after that.
At first I went through my clothes and emailed my favourite girlfriends to come over and rummage through a giant pile of outfits, shoes, purses and accessories. It took four girls about fifteen-minutes and five lattes later to sort out who got what. And I love seeing my friends looking great in my hardly worn clothes.
Simplifying this part of my life was surprisingly easier than imagined. It was even freeing to get out from under all my stuff. I got rid of all my skinny clothes that I had hung on to since before kids. I mean who really wants to be a hungry size two. And also the bigger things I thought may fit again. So only the current items I love made it to the second round. It quickly gave me a reason to buy a few extra things for my suitcase to look a little more… well… French.
When we moved over to the furnished rental home, we had a two week overlap. This was the best idea we came up with. Although we had no idea how smart we were at the time.
We sold off all our furniture, trampoline, infrared sauna, all the items that obviously did not fit on the plane, and left them in the old house to sort. The majority went to my brother and mother in 100 Mile House, BC the small town where they live. Gave away my good pots and pans, and only took over a few things I could not get along without for the four months in the townhouse rental.
I kept my Wusthof knives, a good Rachel Ray stew/fry pan with lid, a dutch oven, my red kettle, my Starbucks espresso/coffee machine and two Starbucks mugs.
I used the same equation with the kids clothes to down size their closets too. Same moms came by and we sorted through. We had piles of toys, books and sporting goods that went faster than my clothes did. Thank God for families in my life with the same aged kids as us! Like vultures swooping in…just kidding… it was a blessing.
The kids get one suit case for books, toys and games, and another for clothes. The books that didn’t make it to the second round we donated to Sunnyside Elementary School where they attended.
Alfonz and I each get one tote for computers and phones, important photos and that sort of thing and another for clothes and shoes. We seem set.
Alfonz also narrowed down his shoe collection and got rid of all his large-sized clothes. Since he hit the gym, I cannot see him ever getting that big again.
Once the items were gone, we really got used to the idea of getting rid of stuff. Even the Denby dish-ware set and multi-coloured knives are eventually being sold or given away instead of being shipped. Alfonz’s had special tools and equipment in his fully stocked garage, and there was no point in shipping these items when we can always buy them once arriving and are needed in Europe. Shipping is expensive too, $5000 for a container, however $5000 can buy a lot of stuff in a new home especially when B&B’s usually are purchased furnished.
My out-of-place West Coast style can be replaced with cool sleek furnishings suited for our new European life. Looking forward to our Expat Life!