As I have told you we sold or gave away pretty much everything we owned to make this move. 12,000 lbs. down to 70 boxes. I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that we must have been hoarders or something to have that much stuff. However, if you don’t move a lot (like we did) you have no idea how much stuff you have or how much your stuff weighs. Look around your house right now and think about packing all of your stuff in boxes and how many boxes do you think it would take. To be honest the truth would probably shock you. Take if from a seasoned mover.
I think we were like most people we know…we bought stuff at times simply because we liked it. We didn’t “need” it, we just liked it. We thought it would look good in a particular room. So, we bought it. Every time we moved, which depending on how you count the moves has been 14 times in 20 years, we purged. Really, we did. But never enough. To give you some perspective…when we moved back to Monterey from Sydney in 1997 we shipped 30 boxes. How does 30 boxes turn into 12,000 lbs.?
Obviously, we do not “need” all of that stuff. We were not going to spend tons of money to ship it here. The houses here do not have storage like we do in America. In fact, they pretty much have no storage. We are used to walk-in closets in our master bedroom; a linen closet; closets in spare bedrooms; a coat closet and of course a two-car garage. This house has a closet in each of the two bedrooms. Space to hang clothes on each side and 4-5 shelves in between. That’s it. No other closets or storage. This is a huge adjustment for us but a very positive one.
So, what do you take with you on a move like this? Well, the obvious items are the ones that are sentimental…you know…if there was a fire what would you grab as you ran out of the house. To be honest, even choosing the sentimental items was difficult at times. Bob and I have saved every single greeting card that we have ever given each other. Well, who doesn’t? But people who know me know that I love to send cards. If I had been smart I would have bought stock in Hallmark and American Greetings when I was younger. So, we had a lot of cards. A huge very heavy box full. Yes, we went through each card, read them, laughed, cried, saved a few very special ones, and shredded the rest.
When my mother passed away 4 years ago I brought a lot of the family stuff she had to my house. Of course, with the intention that I would sort through it straightaway. But it was either very emotional at the time or my job got in the way of me getting it done years ago. What I found is that my mother kept everything! There were cards from her bridal shower and my parents got married in 1961! What treasures but again, I couldn’t take everything with me. I read them, took photos, or scanned them and yes, I shredded those too. Sounds awful and I apologized a million times talking to my Mom in heaven but I also know that she understands. For years before her death she wanted to sort through all of her “stuff” so that my sisters and I didn’t have to do it once she was gone. That never happened and I’m kind of glad. Of course, she kept other family treasures including photos of older generations and details of our family tree. There are some things you just never part with!
Christmas decorations was another area that needed purging. I only kept ornaments and decorations that were sentimental. I kept my family’s nativity set but gave mine away. I love decorating for Christmas so there was a lot to sort through. I gave some items to my sisters or to friends or it went to Goodwill. But, there is still a large plastic storage bin coming this way. I have no idea where we will store it.
Bob had a 4-drawer file cabinet full of files of all the racetracks he has designed and events he has promoted, letters of congratulations and newspaper clippings. Dating back 32 years. He kept a few things but the rest got shredded.
Clothes…oh why did we have so many clothes? Goodwill received tons of them. We did pack a lot though as we do wear them and buying a bunch of new clothes is not what we want to spend money on. Where we put these clothes when they arrive this week is anyone’s guess.
Bob loves to cook and we love to entertain but we can’t take all our dishes and cooking items with us. We have these great large square white plates that we love. Kept those and got rid of the everyday set. He chose his favorite pots and pans and we shipped those. We gave our fabulous wok away because it weighed a ton but sure wish we had shipped it now. We went to Hiper Sitges, the Chinese mini-Walmart, store to buy a wok. We searched up and down the aisle. A young lady, Chinese, who works there couldn’t understand what we were asking for. So, I Googled wok images and showed her. “Oh China…wok. No. Spain.” Yup, the Chinese store doesn’t sell a wok because they are in Spain. We get knowing your market – you can buy any size paella pan you want – however we need a wok. Cooking utensils is another thing that seem to multiply without us knowing. Just how many spatulas do two people need? Although kitchen items are not sentimental we ship some of this stuff because replacing it would be extremely expensive and hey…look what happened with the wok.
I’ve told you that we love to read and books were something we had to part with. No way we could ship our normal amount of 20 boxes of books. This also meant we had 8 bookcases to sell! Kept a few specials books and bought Kindles. We fought that previously as we both would rather hold a real book in our hands but no choice now.
One of the other big changes for us is that we are not allowed to put hooks in the rock walls of our new home. We totally understand this and wouldn’t want to. We love the walls! We have a few non-rock walls that we can hang pictures on. If you have been to our home in America you know that we fill every spare inch of the walls with pictures, Bob’s event posters and my nature photography canvases. We always had the wall of family photos too. Knowing that this isn’t possible here we sold some items, I gave my canvases away to family and friends and we took all the family photos out of their frames before packing them. We still have 6 picture boxes coming though!
We have a very nice Saeco coffee machine what we shipped. We love it and it is too expensive to just get rid of and replace. While we wait for our stuff to arrive we purchased a small French Press. By small I mean it says it makes 3 cups…3 cups of espresso maybe.
We also shipped two TVs – cheaper to ship them than to replace them.
We shipped my childhood rocking chair and a small wood stool that my father made. I did donate the cradle that my sister and I both used as infants. And one of the hardest things to part with…the doll house that my father made for us. 50 years later and I still had the furniture for it. I ended up donating it to a woman and children’s assistance alliance. I offered it to a couple of friends who have little girls but no takers. Not sure why…perhaps kids these days must have the ultra-fancy dollhouses and furniture. My sister and I just needed this special one from our Dad. When I sorted through our 5000 family slides one of them was a photo of the dollhouse on Christmas morning. Here is it.
The garden was another area that we had to purge. We loved making each yard we had a little piece of paradise. Lots of lawn ornaments and decorations; birdbaths and bird feeders. Most of these items were given to my cousin Donna or our friends Doug and Juanita. In fact, we joked that when we get homesick they can just send us photos of their backyard as so many of the items came from us. My Mom collected frogs so I had a lot of her garden frog decorations in our yard. I shipped a couple and the rest went to my sister Vicky. We packed some gorgeous colorful pots that we can hang on our courtyard wall and a few other items but thankfully we only have 1 garden box coming.
We had to have everything packed prior to February 13th. And we started packing right after Christmas. It is now May 2nd. Do we remember everything that is in those boxes? If I am honest…the answer is no. We’ve coped fairly well without our “stuff” all this time which makes you wonder how much we really need. Bob does all the cooking and I have been in awe that since the middle of February he has adapted to not having the right utensils and cookware yet still makes amazing meals every day. We don’t miss the excess stuff and pieces of furniture that we used to have. It’s funny…now every time we say we need this or that for the house we look at each other and say, “and that is how we ended up with 12,000 lbs.”
We have been told that our shipment has cleared customs and it will be delivered this week. We don’t know which day yet but it will certainly feel like Christmas opening the boxes and discovering (remembering) what we packed.
5 thoughts on “What do we take and what do we leave?”
Xan- we still have some of your stuff from the 1997 move from Sydney. You dining table is now at my mothers in Carcoar NSW and lives on the verandah!
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That is awesome! So many years ago! You and Paul should come visit!
I get a clear visual in my mind from every line and paragraph. Awesome chapter!
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Thanks Doug! I appreciate that so much!