Flashback! Relocating. Again. August 2014

Is there anything to inspire a person more into action than accepting an international job that gives you two months to pack up and prepare to move? Especially when you’ve done it all before, and learned all the mistakes the hard way the first time? Oh the clarity of what really needs to be done and what hard choices really need to be made!

Over the past month I have been working and attempting to finish up some projects that I’d really rather avoid taking with me. But in the back of my mind, I’ve also been constantly thinking about my month of no work before I move, and my 13 metre square unit full of all my worldly goods, that could probably be whittled down before departure. Continue reading

How Did I Get Here? Examining My Hoarding/OCD Tendencies

As I do every summer since I became a student, I am visiting my parents’ home for an extended period. During my past stays since I first left home in 2002, including all the short trips home from overseas, I have always been distracted with my stuff stuck in storage here – now relocated interstate with me and into a storage unit in Melbourne.

For the longest time coming home meant ‘shopping trips’ for pre-loved clothes I had forgotten about, books and other knick-knacks. It meant hours in the unit rifling through boxes to list the contents of each box or container or bag – so I knew what I actually had – or sorting it out, reorganising it even. It meant repacking my bags to leave things behind and packing new things, or even (over)packing it all desperately to try to have everything with me. All this amongst the usual home rush to see friends and family as much as possible. Coming home was always one big stress ball for the added pressure that my storage unit gave me among such a full schedule – more so once my niece and nephew were born, because spending whatever time I could with them shifted my priority rightly to them. Continue reading

Flashback! Early Rumblings, November 2013

I started writing the content for what would eventually become this blog just over a month ago. In it, I lamented about the huge amount of decluttering I had to do. I noticed a habitual pattern of collections, and decided I should shake that habit – or at least decide what to do about it. I wrote and wrote about three pages of frustration about the hoarding I have done over the years and my efforts over the past five years to deal with it.

Then my laptop got stolen. Words. Gone. Go figure. The irony of decluttering and having certain things stolen from me in a robbery was not lost. I hated that my precious, sentimental and favourite things were gone. Jewellery from my childhood and 21st birthday. Two computers, my passports. And random things too at times, like my shopping cart (getaway vehicle!) and favourite Thai sarong (to wrap the laptop in?). A lot of data was gone. But thankfully not the external hard drives I had carelessly left on the desk that day. They had my entire photo collection on them.

It’s November 2013, 5 weeks since the robbery, and I’m trying to move forward. Continue reading

The Story of My Stuff: How it Grew

By your late 20s, how much had you/have you accumulated? If you had to pack it all up in suitcases and boxes – how many pieces would you have? How much would it weigh altogether? Would it all even fit in boxes and suitcases? How much would you have without counting furniture?

When I first moved overseas at the age of 23, I took 1 small and 2 large suitcases. It was about 70kg that I tried to take with me on the plane to London. I was moving over for ten years, I determined, so I wanted all my favourite stuff with me. Except I didn’t have anyone to ship it to; no one I knew had ever lived abroad long-term before, so naively, I thought the only other option was to lug it all myself by plane. Continue reading

Moving … again

The day is 35 degrees Celsius. I am due to leave by overnight train for my holiday destination late in the day. Two days earlier, I have packed up ‘the big stuff’ and moved it back into my three-quarters full storage unit: my bike, extra blankets and bedding, my Christmas tree and decorations, a barely-used camping washer I thought could substitute an actual washing machine. I was tasked thereafter with packing my clothes back into their long-term home (my favourite large suitcase) as well as packing up my blow-up mattress and mismatched, ill-fitting bedding and towels, my beloved radio/cd player, my fan and portable rail/wardrobe, ready to move out of my latest temporary home and back into their packed up status in their usual boxes and shopping bags to live in my storage unit. I was loathe to pack up the fan and make do with open windows of hot air for lack of any air-conditioner.

What are the signs of an eternal nomad? That I never throw away boxes because surely I will soon be packing the contents back in again? That I have an unusually high collection of green, chilly and other cloth shopping bags for random stuffing at each move? Is it normal to own no less than 6 suitcases that are constantly filled? Since 2002, I have lived out of a suitcase – travelling, living and working in 13 countries around the world. Back ‘home’, despite seeing it as the sign of having too much, I have rented storage space almost the entire time. Nomad. Hoarder. Guilty.

Continue reading