Amsterdam Mood Board
A big part of this move for us, was going through everything in our apartment in Montreal. EVERYTHING. We sold a few things to friends, which was fun and friendly and we are so grateful that we had friends who needed the things we were getting rid of. Most things, however, were sold on craigslist or kijiji, which is not a process I would willingly undertake ever again. It made sense financially to sell what we could, but selling in volume on the internet means that you get all the most inconsiderate people to deal with (along with a very few totally nice and reasonable people). If you ever try it, be prepared for people who ask for stuff for free, people who want you to deliver even though you've said in the ad that you can't, people who ask lots of questions without wanting to actually come buy anything, people who ask you to call and provide a wrong number or have no idea what ads they responded to, people who don't show up or show up an hour after they agreed to, and on and on. If you haven't had this experience yourself, you are forewarned!
For all the stuff that didn't sell, no matter how much we thought it was worth, we "threw it on the fire", our phrase for donating it to the Salvation Army. It added a gleeful feeling to getting rid of things ("What about this?" "Throw it on the fire!"). From our perspective, everything we kept would cost us money to either store or ship.
We got rid of a lot, but it still feels like we saved a lot, and I'm sure that we'll get back and look at some things and say WHY?! But so it ever is when you box things up and don't look at them for awhile. We mostly stored books, art, and nice kitchen things (lots of them wedding presents). The decision-making involved in going through all our possessions was the biggest part of the work before we left Canada. Having spent a couple months forcing myself to really evaluate my Stuff with the most vicious eye has had a lasting effect. I am feeling very hesitant about getting new stuff here, despite the fact that we actually need things now. I still feel like I have too much and when we've actually unpacked (we're still living out of suitcases), I won't be surprised if I immediately box up some clothing.
Part of my hesitance to acquire is that I never want to be living with such an over-abundance of Stuff again. This intense de-cluttering forced us to not only get rid of the obvious things that we'd just been too lazy to deal with (e.g. an old stereo we weren't using anymore), but also to examine even things we thought we were attached to. Much as Europe will be filled with flea markets and thrift stores and pretty things that aren't available at home, I am going to try to enjoy these things with Restraint. Being faced with all my clutter has made me want a place with empty spaces, to not have everything already filled in and filled up.
I think North America's obsession with huge living spaces with lots of hidden storage leads one so easily into acquiring and then Keeping so much more than we actually need. I'm hoping that a lack of cupboards and a smaller space, coupled with my self-awareness will be the cure for me. In any case, I have been thinking about how I'd like our new space to look, and I made the "mood board" above to try to clarify my ideas. Hopefully it will help keep me on track when in the shops!