When we knew we would be moving back to Australia from the USA in July 2007, we wanted to move straight into our town-house with all our belongings and settle quickly into our new life. I suppose that is when we truly began the decluttering.
We did several things to purge items we knew we didn’t want to take back with us. Luckily, we sold some stuff at a planned neighbourhood garage sale. We also listed other things for sale to other Aussies who were staying in the US, and sold some things to the family who replaced us. We also donated a bunch of stuff to charity. I kept several electronic items that I now regret not selling over there while we had the chance. At the time, I thought I would still use them but alas I haven’t for one reason or another.
Next we packed up all the things we felt we wouldn’t really need for a month and sent them ahead by sea freight at the end of May 2007. Then a month later we packed everything else up and sent that by air freight while we took a month touring Europe on our way home. I can’t say I remember missing anything out of the sea freight while living in the house for a month without it. We managed to survive quite well with just what we had left. Unbeknownst to me I suppose that was my first taste of minimalism.
We did notice that when everything lobbed on our doorstep in Australia two days after our arrival, there was far too much stuff to fit comfortably into our new home.
There was also the stuff that had been waiting in storage for seven and a half years for our return. Aside from furniture, there wasn’t much in this load of belongings that I had missed. Unfortunately, some of the stored items I looked forward to getting back no longer worked due to being unused for too many years. I will point out here that we weren’t expecting to be gone so long.
Over the next two and a half years, we continually decluttered stuff. At first, there was a quick purge of extra furniture and home goods that just would not fit into the house. Then, that slowed to sporadic purges as we began weeding out the obvious items that needed to go. Then the 365 day challenge began and the slow but steady fine tuning was under way. Now we are at day 320 with only 45 days to go to the finish line. Somehow I don’t think that is going to be the actual finish line because I am sure there are more than 40 items left but I am very pleased with the result so far.
The lessons I have learned along the way…
- When moving from country to country think very carefully about the things you take with you. Although I thought I did this there were several expensive items that have never been used since the move that would have been easier to off load in their country of origin.
- It is amazing how few things you really need to get by day to day.
- Things can be rendered useless from lack of use just as easily as overuse.
- The bigger the house the more stuff people tend to buy to fill it.
- Open space is a wonderful thing.
- If you don’t want to clean it, store it or move it don’t buy it.
- Decluttering slowly has been more effective and educational for me than decluttering quickly.
Item 320 of 365 less things
While my daughter was visiting we went through the box of old children’s books that she had chosen to save and culled them down a little.
5 Things I am grateful for today
- Having made a head start on tomorrow’s cleaning day
- Rain – We have had a string of hot days so it is nice to have a little cool down.
- Having fun while answering comments today – I always enjoy it but today I was just being a little silly
- My garden growing madly without any help from me
- Liam’s progress –He is through his post traumatic amnesia period and has an interview with the brain injury clinic tomorrow. Hopefully that means he will be moving on to the next phase of his rehab very soon.