Will you let go of the Korean wooden mask decorating your wall? Will the baskets you bought in Kenya now find its way under the house rubbish pile? Would a clearance sale be necessary to pare down your stuff for your next move?
For veterans in Wandsworth, moving and packing still pose logistic issues, more so for those who are moving for the first time to a different country. If you’re looking for ideas on how to declutter or pare down for a move, the following discussion could be useful.
Americans on the Move
The US State Department estimates that about nine million Americans live abroad. Mexico, India, Canada, the Philippines, Israel, and the UK are the top countries with the most American expatriates. The average American relocates at least once in five years. In a lifetime, they’re expected to move for about 11.7 times.
If you’re in your mid to late 20s just starting a career in diplomacy or international relations jobs, there’s going to be more packing, paring down, and moving that you need to attend to.
It’s easier if you’re bringing a single suitcase. But if you’re expected to uproot yourself, bring your belongings, and move to another country, you’re going to have to decide on things that you will let go and something that you will take with you. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Mindset first. There’s a tendency to feel overwhelmed, especially if you’ve accumulated plenty of stuff over the years. Start with your mindset. Don’t think of sorting some of your things under a pile called “for disposal” as a chore. Think of the process as a new beginning. Will that not-so-expensive lampshade find a place in your new home? If you’re going to grade all your stuff, this is the opportunity to take only the A++ stuff. Leave the Bs and Cs behind or sell it or donate it.
- Not irreplaceable. Listen to Beyoncé. Some things aren’t irreplaceable. Sort through your kitchen drawers, for example. Chances are, you could replace everything in there, from your favorite spatula to your whisk. If you put everything that you could replace on a pile, they’ll probably fit in several boxes already. Those extra boxes might save you a few dollars of moving costs. A new beginning needs new things.
- Digitize. OK, If you’re from a particular generation, chances are you still have print photos. This is the time to scan and digitize them. And it’s not only for photos, those documents that you’re keeping in folders for several years now, scan them too. It might be harder for some stuff with more sentimental value, like an elementary school certificate, but those can be scanned.
- Get help. A friend or family who knows you well, your house and your belongings can offer a fresh perspective. Seek them out for help in sorting and discarding things. Better yet, a more forceful and objective view is that of a professional organizer. Yes, it might cost a few bucks, but they’re professionals and will work methodically in keeping your things organized, including transferring all your data to the cloud.
Paring down and letting go of things can be difficult for some. But look at the flip side of the coin and anticipate the beauty and novelty of moving on to a new beginning.