Down sizing/de-cluttering?

Whatever you like to call it, when moving to the other side of the world there’s a lot of both that needs to happen – and then some!

relocatingI began being quite excited by the idea of getting rid of the junk. Removing all the clutter and ridding ourselves of some of the detritus that seemed to forever take over the house. I think the first room I started was the spare room. After all, that was going to be one of the easier ones to do right?

To call it a spare room for a start is a laugh. Ironing lived in there in humongous piles. Clothes the children had grown out of fought for squatting rights in there too; waiting on the day I’d finally find them a new home. Toys that were no longer given the time of day, bits of furniture that didn’t ‘work’ elsewhere. Oh, and not forgetting the boxes of old crockery, unwanted gifts, old soft toys and all sorts of other bits and pieces I’d acquired and was storing for the school fair.

It all lived in the room meant for guests. Good job we did have very many guests.

Sorry, I digress. So, months before we were due to leave I began the big clear our. My enthusiasm lasted about err, two hours. After that I lost the will to live. That first day really was an exercise in moving unwanted staff from one place to another. By the back door went things destined for the charity shop. The dining table was piled high with bags of things to give to friends. The bin was full of rubbish. Oh, hang on, of course it was. But, this was type of rubbish it takes a move to the other side of the world for me to see was actually rubbish.

The kitchen had mini piles of things I thought family would use. From that day forward it became a standing joke amongst my mum and sisters that they could no longer leave the house empty-handed. I prayed on their insecurities and their weaknesses.

“What if? You might need it for…”  “it’ll definitely come in handy at Xmas.”

My poor family now have houses full of things they neither wanted, needed or will use. Sorry guys!

After that fateful day of moving things around – and I did get the room cleared – I made lists instead. Ooh I LOVE a list. I made a list of what room needed what sorting out. Then a list for when I would do said room. A list of what I might need to do in each room once it had been sorted. Procrastinate became my middle name.

In the mean time, the once proudly clear spare room was beginning to fill up again. This time with boxes of stuff I was slowly sorting out. But it was slow going and time was ticking by.

After a bit of a meltdown one day my family rallied round and offered to help me organise/de-clutter. Apprehensively I agreed to a day the following week when we’d all get stuck in. First though, I needed a list for that. Who was sorting what to where?

The day arrived – we’ll call it the Essex Kitchen Nightmares day shall we?

When mum arrived I explained there were three ways to sort. Ship, Air or Pack.

If it didn’t fit in to one of those three groups, it was going. No questions asked. Right?

Ah, but  I wasn’t counting on dad coming too was I? Now, my dad isn’t a hoarder as such, but he does hate waste. To this day, I’m sure mum has no idea of what is stashed in their garage.

And then my emotions started to get involved.

“But I can’t NOT take Nan’s rose bowl can I?”

Questions arose over my favourite tea mug. Could I live without it for the next eight weeks? Would it make it if I tried to pack it? What about the new tea set my friends had bought for me. Should that go by ship, air or what? And should I just by all new cutlery or take some?

But, despite all my procrastinating, we did make progress. Little sis came to help too. She was on the list to sort towels and bedding. Again, same way of how to sort – ship, air, pack. Now, unlike mum – who either got it straight away, or much like the whole us moving away thing, she refused to think about it too much – little sis needed some explanation of what this meant. I thought it was straightforward really.

Ship meant anything we definitely wanted to take, but could wait eight weeks for and didn’t need in the next few weeks. You see, the ship set sail three weeks before us and arrived four weeks after.

Air meant anything we wanted to take and needed as soon as we got there, but that we could live without for a few weeks. Anything going by air left our house three weeks before we did, but arrived the same day.

Pack was anything we definitely wanted to take, but couldn’t live without, not for one day (think tea mug). So this stuff I was going to pack in our suitcases and was part of our luggage allowance, so nothing too heavy!

Oh, and silly me, there was also another category. The ‘staying but not taking’ sub group. Clearly, this was anything that we didn’t want to take, but maybe needed until the day we left. After that we would dump it. (Ahem, embarrassed cough. Actually, we just ended up taking most of this stuff to my mums on our last day, or leaving it for her to clear from outside the house. Best laid plans and all that. I’m guessing it got dumped??)

A-storage-locker-as-a-noetic-structureOh, and there was the other, sub, sub group. Storage. In this box – which turned in to a whole bloody storage lock up – were the things we didn’t want to take, but couldn’t bear to give or throw away.

So a good plan of action, lists to follow and jobs allocated. Simples!

Again, much like spare room day, Essex Kitchen Nightmares day meant piles of things everywhere. Again there was a lot of moving things around from one place to another. But, at the end of the day there were boxes boxed up to ship (Gulp!). Boxes of bedding to go by air so that we’d have something to sleep on when we arrived. Post it notes on every cupboard and drawer shouting “Don’t touch, to be packed!” and “Can use, don’t pack!” And simply “Ship!”. It all made perfect sense to us.

And so it continued like this over the coming months. Slowly but surely each room in the house got ‘organised’ – things were sorted, organised in to their group and labelled accordingly. It was Toy Story 3 on a grand scale.

Post it notes became my best friends. I knew where I stood with those lurid yellow notelets.

post-it-note-with-a-pinEvery single thing we owned was labelled – it was either going the long way round, going the short way or staying with us for the duration. Oh, and sub group ‘being dumped (at mums house) and the sub, sub group, going into storage.

And so, after what felt like the longest build up, the packers arrived on that fateful day in July.

I had every confidence in my well organised and finely tuned system. Ship. Air. Pack. (Dump {storage}). Simples!


So, why oh why, when we arrived in Singapore and, in a house empty of everything except the five of us (jet lagged) and an oh so happy to be out of the crate dog, did we end up sharing three sheets, two towels and with no pants???


Just some of the boxes destined for our new home.


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