At this time of the year a lot of you are looking for tips and advice on how to spring clean and de-clutter your homes and closets, but for a few of you probably will need more than just a spring clean.
As I said in my previous post, we just moved country, from the UK to Canada so you might already guess that we don’t have much with us at the moment. We only came with a few suitcases and most of our stuff were left in a storage unit in London, to be shipped later, when we find a permanent place to live.
My spring clean this year in fact started last year when I had to eliminate most of our things in order to be ready for the big move. We’ve decided that we weren’t bringing any furniture or electronics like TV and small kitchen appliances. Electronics wouldn’t work here anyway. Most of the things were sold, freecycled, donated or passed on to our family.
Here is how I did this major declutter and how you can do it too. I didn’t want to ship to Canada anything that we probably wouldn’t use. I would be wasting money and time to pack things that weren’t important. But, how do you select what it’s important and what’s not? Since you will be restarting your life in another country and you will need everything to furnish your new home, everything seems important, right?
Well, not exactly. Some things are important because you use it daily but you can buy new ones in the new country, those I’ve decided to call the replaceable ones. Others are not important to take with you because you are not using them anymore and some are very, very important to take because they are the irreplaceable items.
On the replaceable list, it’s everything that you are using at the moment and you will need to use at the new place, but you can buy those items in the new country. A few examples would be furniture, electronics like TV, sound system and appliances, if the voltage is different you won’t be able to use them. Kitchen utensils, decor objects, rugs, lighting, printer, sewing machine, power tools, sports equipment and so on. Everything that doesn’t have sentimental meaning and can be replaced can go on this listing.
It’s important to keep a copy of this list with you because you will need it to buy all those items again when you get to the new country. You can even put them in order of importance to buy, because if you have a limited budget, or you don’t want to spend all your budget at once, probably you will want to buy first the items that are more important for your daily lives, like kettle, coffee maker, microwave, hair drier, bed and mattress, table and chairs, sofa, etc. Other things that are less important, like a sewing machine, printer, power tools, you can buy later on as you need it.
For the not using any more items, here you can add everything that you haven’t used for while and you probably won’t be using again. These are the items that you can get rid off and don’t need to replace them. On this list, I had my daughter’s toys that she wasn’t playing anymore, books that I wasn’t planning to read again, a drawing board that wasn’t using because I have another one, clothing, shoes, etc.
On this list, you have to try to add as many items as possible because here is where the de-clutter is happening. Without this list, you will not be doing any de-clutter, and de-clutter is very important on a moving because you are getting rid off of stuff that you don’t use it anymore, items that are taking up spaces, items that are gathering dust and not being useful at all. My major closet makeover went on this list. I’ve donated many clothes and shoes and I didn’t regret at all. I’m not missing them and won’t. It was such a relief to get rid off of clothes and shoes that were just taking up spaces. And why would I bring all those clothes and shoes to another country if I wouldn’t be using them right?
On the third list, the irreplaceable list, you can have everything that is important to keep and to bring with you, no matter what. Here you can add, photo albums, important documents, travel keepsakes and mementos, decor objects that have personal meanings, antique, vintage and retro items that have some value and/or sentimental meanings, like inheritance furniture. You can keep everything that you won’t be able to replace them or have an attached importance to you or your family.
I’ve kept some vintage and old books, a retro typewriter, antique picture frames, two small vintage chairs from my daughter’s bedroom, her toys, books and other items that she’s got as gifts from family and things that she still uses and plays with it. These are things that you won’t be able to find an exact replacement, so if you really like it, keep it.
Talking about my daughter’s toys and books, when you move to another country with children, for them will be a great impact to restart, make new friends, get used with food and other impacts that might have on their lives. So, to minimize this impact I thought that was important to bring most of her things to make her feel at home, even in a different place.
We’ve packed in our suitcases some toys, books and things that she was currently using it and the rest of them were left in storage. When we were selecting the items, I’ve let her choose what she wanted to keep and what she wanted to donate or sell. Letting them be part of the process can also help them to understand the meaning of moving to another country.
At the end, our storage unit was 15sq feet, about the size of a small walk-in closet. It’s not much, I know, but as I said in the title if you are moving abroad, you have to major de-clutter. It’s easier to de-clutter before moving because will make it easier to restart in another place with less baggage, less clutter. We are restarting our life, so let’s restart afresh.
One last note, every person and family is different. If you have a big budget and you have really nice and expensive furniture that you wish to take with you, go on, do it. I would do it too if I had a bigger budget and expensive furniture. Otherwise, if you feel that you can replace with a similar one, even if it’s antique or vintage than you can get rid off. It’s up to you what you decide to call important or not, what is replaceable or not.
If you have any question about how I’ve created my listings and other details that you would like to know, please get in touch. Until next week.