Wednesday 2 May 2018

Just in case means never

Something we knew pretty quickly after deciding to move overseas was that we weren't taking most of our stuff. For a start, we'll begin our new life in a tiny, temporary apartment. Secondly, we have no idea if our old stuff will suit - or fit in - whatever place we eventually buy.  Thirdly, since my husband travels all the time, and the rest of us live out of suitcases in the UK for half the summer, we know how few non-utilitarian items we truly hate to do without.

A friend who moved to Slovenia last year shipped everything - and I mean everything - in an enormous container which is now sitting in storage until he moves into his permanent home. He's been paying rent on it for about six months thus far - and he hasn't even looked inside. That's a pretty concrete lesson.

Admittedly, it was made easier by the fact that my favourite pieces of furniture, like our vintage china cabinet, can't possibly be shipped. After that, it was easy to think of letting go. And the invention of that little thing called the Internet certainly helps - most of our photos and documents are now in the clouds.

It's a process of self discovery. Do I really need this? Would I be happy to digitize it? Can I find the information or item online if I really need it? Does it really evoke fond memories if I haven't looked at it in twenty years? Plus, do more mementos of a person mean more memories? And, to quote Courtney Carver of Be More With Less - just in case means never (I'm looking at you, bulldog clip collection and gym teacher's whistle, even though you're the real, authentic type with a dried pea inside).

And no, it doesn't mean that we're moving only with stark, utilitarian items. My vintage button hook is coming - because even though I'll never need to use it, I love to look at it and think about times when ladies needed button hooks. My Richard III paperweight isn't negotiable. Ditto my plastic Shakespeare figurine. But most of our stuff? Honestly, we don't need it. Not even - gasp - all of our books. Lots of them, but not all of them.

We're resigned to the fact we'll get rid of items we will wish we had - and regret taking up space with things it turns out we never use. And, there'll probably be a trip to Ikea in Italy soon after arriving, to kit out our teen's room - we're not heartless. But our hearts are a lot lighter.

Plus, if we need anything, I suggested that we could raid the above-mentioned friend's container - I don't think he'll ever know.