Chunnel © by I
During the past year Shake and I have spent a lot of time sorting through all of our belongings in order to minimise what we need to take to France.
We had decided a while ago that it didn’t make financial sense to hire a van and drive all our belongings to France, especially as our new home is fully furnished. Instead, we plan to take just as much as we can fit in our car and Shake’s parents car, hence why we really needed to minimise.
It has been more difficult for me than Shake (my nickname is squirrel!) but having finished I must say it has been really therapeutic.
The easiest area to minimise I found was our clothes. It probably helped that I was pregnant when we were looking through them and doubtful as to what would ever fit me again!
As I know our lifestyle is going to change, it didn’t make sense to keep the numerous boring black suits which I occasionally wore for work, nor the expensive high-heeled shoes which I used to treasure. Of course, I kept a couple of pairs of shoes and my favourite dress for special occasions such as weddings, but anything else went to charity or to friends. What remains is mostly practical clothing for working outdoors and other casual items.
Paper Weaving © by FeatheredTar
The most satisfying area we worked through was our filing! My mother is extremely organised and when I left for University she tried to instill her good practices in me. I therefore had receipts and bank statements from over 9 years ago and we couldn’t think of any reason why I needed to keep these! We were reminded of Baz Luhrmann’s “Sunscreen”:
“Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements”.
And so we did.
Shake and I consolidated the paperwork we felt would be useful going forward into one file and recycled/used in our wood burning stove anything else.
The two areas where I struggled the most were my academic records and the kitchen.
I still had all of the ring-binders from my Mathematics degree, approximately 36, and was sad to discover that they meant almost nothing to me when I flicked through them. There were symbols, formulae, proofs etc that I no longer understood! I had to remind myself that I understood these at the time of my degree which is what matters the most. I kept a study book with a few proofs I had written, just to be able to show my son, but the rest went into recycling.
For whatever reason, I was far more comfortable recycling my accountancy studies. I suppose because the information becomes outdated each year and the it was through the working environment that my knowledge was maintained and developed.
Rhubarb crisp - Ramekins © by grongar
Shake and I spent the most time going through the kitchen. Initially as a means to reduce our washing up (which had a tendency to build up over a few days), we decided to select one plate, one bowl, one side plate, one mug, one set of cutlery and one glass each. The more we thought about it, there wasn’t any need for anything else, provided we washed up as soon as we had finished our meals. When guests came over we selected what was needed for the meal we were preparing, but once they left we stored them away again.
For everything else that was in the kitchen, appliances, baking equipment etc, Shake would ask me:
“How often do you use it?”
“Are you keeping it for sentimental reasons? If so, are you going to forget that person or that memory without this item?”
“Does something else we have do the same job?”
“Is it really worth transporting, given our limited space?”
This was frustrating at the start if I’m honest, but he really did help me to reduce things. We didn’t need all of those random knives if we kept our good quality set with sharpener. We didn’t need to keep the ramekins from the deserts we very occasionally bought. It really didn’t make sense to have a loose based baking tin without the base…
So with 2 months to go all our belongings, apart from our clothes, are packed into boxes and ready for the move.
The countdown has begun…