Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Phase 3: The Household Purge

If there's one thing I love about moving, it's a damn good spring clean and purge.

The spring clean is done by professional cleaning company, so that's probably why I don't mind. I'm great at organizing and tidying but hopeless when it comes to cleaning.

The Household Purge is my favorite, and sometimes most emotional part of moving.

I'm a sentimental soul (we have 5 huge moving boxes in the cellar full of MissM's baby books, clothes, soft toys) so not everything gets purged, but we do have to keep things to a minimum courtesy of our employer. I still have, well MissM has my first proper doll, my first dolls pram, Chi-chi (soft cat given to me by my Uncle and Aunt when I was a year old) and my first Winne The Pooh book.

Our employer limits all expats to a set amount of container space based purely on the number of people in the family. A friend had a fight with HR based on 'how dare you tell me how I should live by limiting me to what I can take with me for the next 3+ years away from home' and evolved into 'Australians, like Americans tend to live in large sprawling homes, unlike Europeans who tend to live in smaller apartments. Of course we have a lot of stuff' (and the are empty nesters)

My friend 'won' and was able to take her home gym, formal and informal dining and formal and informal living with her along with bedroom furniture and other bits'n'pieces, and the dog on 3 Adventures.

Alternatively, some companies dictate you can only take clothing and a few personal items, and they will store your furnishings and rent you what you need at the other end. Now, in Japan that's fine, cos you get an enormous selection of stunning furntiure, from modern western style to Japanese, Chinese and Korean. At the end of the contract, you can buy your furniture for a fraction of it's retail price. Most of the families who do this, do so with 'going home' in mind and select items they will take when they return home.

While our option is limiting, at least we have our stuff with us. Memories from Sydney (artwork, books, photos), Ireland (artwork, books, photos), Japan (artwork, books, photos', ornaments, Ikebana stuff) and we'll have memories from here too - yep, one more piece of artwork, books and photos.

The books are from exhibitions, or places we've visited and really enjoyed. We don't do fiction anymore, just coffee table memory books, usually soft cover (lighter in weight)

The most obvious purge of all is food, right? Several weeks on a seafaring container. YUK.
You slow down the amount of shopping you do weeks before the move, then a day or two prior to packers coming in you invited friends around with Tupperware containers to go thru your pantry, fridge, freezer (include laundry) and take what they want. I'd been to a few of these get togethers in Japan, and hosted one when we left. It's fun and can get quite manic even between friends.

Go now and open your pantry and SEE how much stuff you have that, let's be honest, have you ever used? It reminds me of Michael McIntyre's skit about the herbs'n'spices. If you've not seen it, here it is

We usually end up throwing out the spices used for Christmas pud each move, and Chinese 5 Spice, and friends relish taking the rest. And OIL. How many different types of OIL do we now have to have?

The hilarious part to this Purge is as soon as you land at your New Adventure you have to go to the supermarket and STOCK UP on everything you've just got rid of! This move however, will be a short truck trip up'n'over the water, so we'll be able to take all our food but for fridge/freezer stuff. Finally, we get to take things with us!

Then there's the electrical's - depending on where you are moving from and going to this might also involve purging.

We sold, gave away, left every single piece of electrical equipment we owned in Sydney before moving to Ireland, only to have to replace most of it (tho we've never owned a microwave since, and I still use my GHD hair tongs with a converter).

Business colleagues of G's have the shortest electrical cords on all their things cos they opt to cut the cord and change the plug and run thru a transformer rather than buy new items.

The Car - yep, it gets flogged too. In Sydney, FIL bought our car; Ireland we sold it to friends moving to the UK; Japan we sold it back to the dealer who sold it to friends whose car died and they only needed it for a few months before they repatriated; and this move, we get to take ours with us this time!

In fact, we'll pack the car with clothes and food and DRIVE ourselves to Dublin. It's just like moving from one part of Sydney to another. A normal move.

Clothes change as well depending on where you live. I thoroughly enjoyed throwing out every single piece of summer clothing I bought in Japan. Not one piece actually suited me, but it was so frickin' hot, I had no choice. MissM has the nicest summer wardrobe out of the 3 of us, tho its seldom worn these days.

We definitely own more pairs of boots than when we lived in Sydney, and less sandals.

The Household Purge is done on a room by room basis and goes something like this:

Linen gets a good look at, hence we don't have 'old' sheets or towels.
Clothes get sorted - if it hasn't been worn in 2 years its tossed, if MissM has outgrown stuff etc.
Blankets - really need to do somethign with these as they haven't been unpacked from Japan!

Dining Room:
Sideboard - not much gets purged from here as we're down to bare minimum for entertaining as it is.

Home Office:
AH! Here's where most work is done; paperwork gets scanned and filed on disc; unused CD's get thrown away; old mobile phones get recycled; various receipts no longer needed but kept 'just in case' get recycled; things we, correction G hoards for no apparent reason. He has one huge plastic tub full, no overflowing with bits. It moves with us every move and is seldom sorted thru.

Drugs - out of date drugs get chucked down the loo.
Makeup - sorted.
MissM's hair clips, ties and bands - sorted.

Assess what food needs to be eaten!

Ikebana branches and twigs - mulch.
Tablecloths - sorted, washed/recycled
Grog - sorted (have to check on import status)

There's so little to do this time round as we've purged as much as we can. My AHA Moment is all about realising how little we actually need to own to live well and happily. When I think we still have half a house of furniture in storage in Sydney!

We were packed very very tightly to leave Japan and be within our specified allotment of space, this time round the packers are going to have to do an even tighter pack - trampoline, outdoor setting (table and 8 chairs), several new Ikebana containers, a few more books, coffee machine, bread maker, toaster, kettle, Dyson vaccum cleaner, steam mop and a one or two more things are all additional in the past 20 months and need to come with us.

Still, nothing like doing it one more time to be sure.

With friendship

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