Many years ago, when Ashley and I first moved in together, we both had houses. And spouses. Both of us dumped pretty well all the material gear and we moved into a furnished flat. A couple of years later we bought our own place, meaning to stay there for maybe three years. We moved in with two transit vans full of gear (much of it furniture brought with new place in mind). Over the fifteen or so years we ended up living there we acquired stuff. CDs, books, kilims, clothing, all those candlesticks and scent diffusers which arrive as presents, paintings, a whiskey collection, games, cookware – all kinds of odds and ends – none of which are actually necessary to survival.
I started serious de-cluttering several years ago but, last year, before we moved out to Turkey, we became acutely aware that every single thing we possessed had to be disposed of (given away or dumped), stored or become part of our BA baggage allowance. We flew out with about 60Kg in May, bought another 120 Kg with us in August. But the ‘take with us’ pile was a drop in the ocean compared to what was slung or stored in Big Yellow. Nothing focuses the mind like knowing you have to pay for everything you store and pay again for everything you ship. I think, for the most part, we brought out the right stuff. Some things I would have changed but that’s for another post. I miss the Dyson and I miss my Robochef. Both are with Ashley’s mother. We have a locally made food processor but it lacks the sheer power and is not as easy to clean (mind you, if I had cut my thumb on the Robochef and not the Arçelik when I was chopping walnuts I would have needed a visit to the hastane!). I miss the presents my son bought for us.
We’ve now arranged to ship over our boxes. I can’t remember precisely what was in them. I will be delighted to be reunited with my older t-shirts, some more of the boardgames collection (we didn’t keep them all) and my books. Though I am not sure where we will store the books. I only kept one bookcase full. Ish. The books were tough. If it’s available on Kindle or my e-reader and not signed, it went to Oxfam. Mostly. I think I did sling a couple of books I wish I had not slung. There was a book on vintage needlework and another on soft furnishings which would come in extremely handy.
It was hard parting with things I had kept for ages. Especially the books. Things like the bread making machine (a valued present from my son) which is not something we would use out here. My entire comics collection (I did estimate it’s value and it wasn’t worth the tube fare to Walthamstow) went into the newspaper recycle bin. I had to close my eyes and hold my breath… And a couple of the unpublishable novels. Most of the later ones I have in electronic format, but these were written back in the days before anyone had their own computer at home. A shedload of bad poetry, a whole load of rejection slips, ‘zines and artwork I got in swap for my fiction when I self-published.
On the whole, though I don’t think we made too many wrong decisions about our stuff. And, without this baggage, I do feel a lot lighter. It’s family and friends who are really missed.