Some serious editing of stuff!

Weary, but we made it.

We finally managed to get all our possessions down to hand luggage. It was weeks of sorting and repacking but we paired down to absolute essentials. Okay, I may have a couple of large suitcases stored with stuff that may be essential in the future, and we have to buy a few things such as underwear pretty quickly, but it’s not bad. This is how much stuff came out of our apartment for a yard sale:

There’s about the same amount of stuff behind me in this shot.
Enough cuddly toys for our own store!

While this process was stressful and exhausting, I learnt some valuable lessons:

  1. Our family had way, way too much stuff! I will NEVER let it accumulate like this again.
  2. Stuff really isn’t that important. People, pets, doing things you enjoy, your health etc. are important.
  3. You shouldn’t get nostalgic about objects, just because they bring back memories. The memories are fine in your head, not cluttering up your living space.
  4. Only keep things that are very useful and only keep clothes that are functional AND bring you joy (thank you Marie Kondo).
  5. You shouldn’t have so much stuff that keeping it organized stops you from doing the activities that you love.

I now have to figure out what an ideal amount of belongings is as we move to our new island. I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets, so I’ll have to watch that habit. I’ve also realized that I tend to hang on to things incase they will be useful in the future, and I found out from reading articles online, that this is a hoarder habit. Scary. I’m determined that we will be a minimalist household from now on, something that will be hard with two children. Relocating from a small island may be incredibly difficult, but it’s also been very liberating.

One Suitcase

As I write this, I have five and a half weeks left until my family and I leave our current rock. We’re relocating to another rock. We’ve done this before, twice, but it was between two islands in the same country, from Eleuthera to Nassau, and then back again. It was relatively easy because there’s a ferry service, so we loaded our pick up truck with whatever we could fit and six or so hours later we were in our new home. This time, we realized, a little late, that there are no direct flights between The Bahamas and the BVIs, so we have to go via the states. We’re going to the UK for a visit home in between, which further complicates it. To summarise, it would mean that it would cost over $500 in luggage fees if we each took a suitcase. I was pretty devastated at first, because a quick scan around apartment suggested we could need at least eight of them..

However, last weekend, I did a quick practise pack and realised that all my stuff easily fits into one suitcase, including my wooden easel and all my shoes. In fact, all my clothes fitted into a hand luggage bag, so I only needed part of a suitcase.  I was shocked. My girlfriend’s response when I excitedly told her, was, ‘You don’t have enough stuff!’ This is and isn’t true. I have a lot of stuff, as my stuffed drawers and wardrobe can attest. It’s just that most of my stuff should have been thrown out long ago. The reason it hasn’t is twofold. I’ve watched ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ and was keen to expel the things that no longer bring me joy. I never did this because it’s not as simple here as taking things to the local Goodwill store. There’s Social Services, but the opening hours are a little erratic. The second reason, is that it’s so hard to get anything to the island, so I don’t want to throw anything away that I might use. When I went through my wardrobe and only selected the items that were worth keeping and (just about) brought me joy, it would fit in hand luggage. I wasn’t sure how that made me feel, but I’d recently read an article on ‘Women who live on Rocks’ about how little you need to pack when you come to an island, and that made me feel better. It’s what I’ve always felt, but I’ve always thought maybe I should have a few cuter clothes. Yet when I do buy the odd item, I rarely wear it, saving it for the special occasion that doesn’t ever come. I’m going to try and be brutal and keep to hand luggage plus part of a suitcase, for all my possessions. I’m both excited and nervous. I’m hoping that my daughters are on-board with this minimal packing too ….

clothing items and pair of shoes in luggage

This is NOT what my suitcase will be looking like!