Thoughts on… stuff

Right now, we are in the middle of moving. Again. This time to a new home in the same neighbourhood, and while I keep packing I think of all those moves I made over the years.

Since 1997 (which is the year I moved out of my parents’ home), I have moved 10 times, and what really scares me everytime is how much stuff I / we have – and it is getting more and more.

Don’t get me wrong, I am far from being a hoarder, I LOVE to throw things out. I very frequently scan my wardrobe e.g. and throw everything away, that I haven’t worn in 2 years. But of course, some things I could just never throw away. Some pieces may seem like nothing to most people, but memories are inherent in them, and when I look at them, a part of my life opens up again. Like those two tiny green schnaps glasses that I inherited from my mum. My parents got those for their wedding, and when I was little, each time I looked at them I could picture my parents as bride and groom – which appealed to my girly romantic nature.

My beloved custard jar.

Or a rather shabby looking jar that my mum used to serve custard in when we had dessert. Whenever I look at that jar, I can picture us all sitting around the table enjoying a baked apple with custard. I also keep a collection of letters and cards that I look at every now and then, only to remember that my grandma travelled Greece in 1982, the year I started elementary school or that my best friend got into a fight with her maths teacher in 1986. Good times when we still took the time to write postcards instead of updating our status on FB… And I still keep a box filled with love letters of my first boyfriend who used to write me a letter every day. How could I throw these out? It seems like there is a whole period of my life preserved in those things.

Yes, it is nice to keep things that hold memories. Other things we buy because we think we need them or because we just like them so much. And while it is great to have them, I feel on the other hand that all those things that we have accumulated over the years, are weighing me down. How did we end up with so much stuff? And how much more is it going to be?

My first flat was a tiny studio. The kitchen just had a sink, 2 burners (no oven), a tiny fridge (even tinier than the regular German fridges) and a little cupboard that could hold my 4 plates, 4 cups and some glasses and cutlery. My bed/living room had a bed, a small wardrobe, many bookshelves and a tiny table with 4 chairs, and the bathroom was big enough that I could sit down while peeing. But I was so proud and so happy, and when I met Mr. R., he even moved in with me for quite a while since he had a long commute otherwise.

However, after 2.5 years, I decided it was time for a bigger place, and I added a sofa, a coffee table, and a washing machine to my possessions and stocked up on china and glasswear. Still my clothes and my shoes all fit into the same tiny wardrobe, and I hadn’t got into the habit of collecting bags yet. Mr. R. also got himself a new flat not far from mine, and we started to go back and forth between our places.

Moving back then wasn’t a big issue and could be done in a day. Nowadays, it is getting more and more difficult, as it is getting more and more difficult to find a place that offers enough space for all our stuff. At the same time, I still think that we never were happier than when we started living together in my tiny studio. Taking this into account, I almost wish that the movers might break some stuff – just not that custard jar! Or the schnaps glasses…

When we arrived to Mexico, we had 147 boxes to unpack…

How about you? Have you moved recently? Have you, too, accumulated things over the years, or do you manage to keep your possessions at an even level?

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16 thoughts on “Thoughts on… stuff

    • Whoa… 18 years in the same house? I can only imagine how many things you must have “collected” over the years! Thanks for stopping by!

  1. We have most of of “memorabilia” back in storage in the US, but we still manage to accumulate stuff between each move (which lately is every 2-3 years): lots and lots of kid stuff, clothes for different climates than the one we live in now (no, I do not need wellie boots or a down parka here in Hong Kong…), and piles of plug adapters.

    • That’s a smart decision to keep things in storage – at least when you know you will be back some day.
      Ha, I can imagine how many things you accumulate when having children!

  2. As you know I just moved too. In Asia I’m still living pretty light as I don’t have furniture here, but I still managed to double my boxes from 8 to 15 over the last four years!

  3. I’ve moved so many times in the last year, and even though it’s so much easier without so much “stuff” it’s still hard to keep things down to a minimum for us. We’re definitely ready to settle and start collecting a bit. The memorabilia is the hardest to part with, because even though they’re probably the least useful things to have while moving a lot, they’re also among the most important to me because now I’m so far away from the people they remind me of. Dilemmas, dilemmas!

    • Your constant moving must have been quite strenuous. Congratulations on your visa, by the way!
      And yes, you are right, some things we just need so we can feel at home. I shall keep my fingers crossed for you getting settled in soon in Denmark!

  4. When I was single, I used to move from country to country with only two suitcases. I would give everything away when I left and just start fresh in the new country (I never accumulated much to begin with). But this most recent move with a husband and two kids was another story. A container full of goods later, I brought along all of the things that I couldn’t possibly live without. Life was so much easier with just my two suitcases!

    • I completely agree. Back in the days, my most precious possessions were always my books. Apart from that, I didn’t have much. Nowadays, we have to move china and silverware and expensive furniture…
      Also living in those small places was so convenient, I find! Sometimes, I am not sure whether we are all striving for the right things.
      Thanks for your input!

  5. I had 40 boxes when I arrived in Spain… half of them books. I’m now tempted to throw half of them out, rather than moving them again next time round. But it’s hard… how do I know I’m not going to need them again?? Many of them are textbooks and technical books, which were once horrendously expensive. I might not have looked at them in a decade, but maybe I’ll need to find a specific bit of nerdy info in a few months down the line? Decisions, decisions…. lol.
    Just found your blog, and working my way southward 😉

    • Oh, throwing out books is so hard! I never can do it unless it is a book that I didn’t like in the first place. And yes, I also keep some old books from my studies I haven’t looked into in ages – but you never know, right? 😉
      Thank you so much for stopping by! I will check out your blog later, the title alone makes my mouth watery!

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