When we decided to move to Germany I began to ponder what to bring with us. We came on an open-ended contract, so I knew it would be home for quite a while! I had to make sure that I had EVERYTHING that I may ever need, as who knew what shopping in Germany would be like.
So, of course we did the clean out of the basement, attic, garage, and all of the other areas I had stuff hoarded in. The hoarding shows on TV say to separate things into three piles; Keep, Donate, and Throw Away. They make it look so easy...not so if you are moving half way around the world!! I had six piles; Keep, Donate, Throw Away, Storage, Air and Ocean. Yep, you expats know what I'm talking about.
The first three are obvious, but the next three, a little more difficult. You see the things you put in storage are well, in storage, sometimes for years and years. You see many expats think they will go home after their first assignment, but then they love being an expat so much, that they then go on to the next country, and the next, and even the next. Sometimes not seeing their storage shipment for decades! The air shipment usually meets you in your new country shortly, or in some cases a few months after it leaves your house...where does it go when it takes that long? And lastly, the ocean shipment; this gets boxed up, put on a boat and ends up showing up after you have spent 3 months in a hotel in your new country, and even in one rare case, at the bottom of the ocean after the container boat sunk...but I digress...how do you know what to take?
Well, like I said I made piles. The donate and throw away piles were actually larger than I thought. The storage was a mid-sized pile, I still have dreams about my Kitchen Aid mixer which sadly made it into the storage pile, but the ocean pile was CRAZY big. So big, that the man who came to give us our "shipping estimate" made a comment about me going to "Europe" and how "much less space" I would have in the house there! I ignored him and simply replied, "it goes, it all goes" for you see, I am attached to my stuff!
So, it all went, and it all arrived and, I got comments on this end as well. The neighbors actually came outside to see all of the boxes that the American family had brought. It took my movers three full days to unpack but, I had all of my stuff.
After realizing that this stuff wasn't going to all fit in my tiny cabinets, it all went to the basement to sit in boxes until now...yes, eighteen months later...you see, isn't that what the new year is for; cleaning and organization?
As I was putting Christmas away this year, I decided to see just what was in all of those boxes, and this is what I found...
Apparently, I thought I needed all of this, and that wasn't all. There was this
That, is enough extra bedding to bed a full soccer team!
Well, I have cleaned out the storage area and donated 4 boxes of un-needed stuff and it's very freeing. It's freeing to realize that while I may have thought that I needed all of these things to feel "at home" in my host country, that none of it has mattered. What has really mattered is that I have my family, our pets and our experiences and that's what makes me feel "at home", and not a bunch of Tupperware or bed linens!