The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

So here we stay……..for now

on April 18, 2015

I am just as surprised as you are that I will still be in Singapore for the foreseeable future.


I know! I remember it clearly myself just a few months ago when we were back in the UK having discussions that we may be moving back to the UK some time this year.  But we’re not.  Actually I recall thinking we’d be moving back last Autumn too.


Anyhow, we have moved and just a local move has been chaotic enough let alone thinking about an international move.


This has been our fourth move in six years.  When Husband and I moved from the UK to Singapore it was courtesy of his work which meant professional packers came swooping in and taking care of everything.  Back then it really was quite simple with just packing up our small two bedroom flat with hardly any furniture.  How those packers must have rejoiced at landing that particular job.  Back then we were inexperienced relocatees even though throughout our Student and formative gainful employment years we were still in rental accommodation and moving once a year.


The difference between now and way back then is the amount of stuff we (or as Husband will be quick to correct – I)  have accumulated.  You may be congratulating yourself on how ruthless and systematic you are at purging excess belongings that no longer serve a purpose, will never be used again no matter how useful the person on QVC persuaded you it would be or that just, sadly, will never fit you again no matter how achingly ‘vintage’ they may now be.  Nothing illustrates how lightly we once lived than the one small carload of all our worldly possessions we once trundled off to University with to live our whole lives by.


Ok, so perhaps we didn’t have to pack up beds and sofas, washing machines and microwaves, sideboards and cabinets too but the contents of one storage cupboard in our previous apartment that never saw the light of day in two years would easily fill two empty people carriers.  And as I was filling up boxes with said items, I questioned why on earth was I even bothering taking it with me. It just didn’t make sense.


So how has this happened??


Well I think by nature I am a hoarder.  Not quite so bad as the people they make documentaries about whose homes are jammed packed full of, quite literally, rubbish that is treated with reverence.  There was an episode of ‘Life of Grime’ that featured a gentleman who owned a whole house in Crouch End that I used to pass on my way to work.  Developers preyed like vultures for the property which was in a prime location and with huge potential.  The garden looked more like a scrapyard and you could barely open the front door wide enough to squeeze yourself in sideways.  How could anyone live like that? Well, it transpired that he was a refugee displaced from Poland in World War 2 and to have had nothing under such circumstances affected his attachment to possessions the rest of his life.  There’s always a reason.


I have no reason for my hoarding tendencies than the fact that I am an optimist in believing stuff will once again be useful, be used and will fit.  Although I am much better at accepting that stuff will no longer fit.  And even if they did fit, I am much better at accepting that particular look is no longer appropriate for my current lifestyle (or age).


This recent move happened quite suddenly.  Initially we thought we would just renew our lease but with rental prices falling sharply and our landlord failing to grasp this notion, we decided to move somewhere slightly cheaper and bigger that came up.  And without a six month baby in tow hindering all ability to reason and be proactive, I had a clearer picture of just how much we have that was out of sight, out of mind.  Again Husband will tell you this concept has been known to him for some time.  What has really unsettled me this recent move is the volume of our belongings that does not help with our  daily lives.  It became painfully apparent as I emptied cupboards and drawers into 110 boxes.  Some things I totally forgot I even had and had even bought a new replacement of.    


Moving is a great time for purging excess stuff I know that.  Some of you are very good at it, I know that too.  And I am aspiring to be like that and will at some point get around to it.  As I emptied out cupboards and drawers into 110 boxes, I was drawing up a mental itinerary of all our stuff. There’s the box of cables that we have long forgotten what gadgets they belonged to and yet have kept ‘just in case’ we need it.  We haven’t needed it for two years, surely it’s safe to say we probably no longer have the gadget the cable belonged to.  I was also amazed at the amount of socks we have in these tropical climes.  To be fair to Husband he has to wear socks everyday to work so those are mitigating circumstances.  But he has 60 pairs of socks.  Outside of work socks, there are socks for trainers, socks for cycling, socks for other sports, socks for hiking, odd socks and holey socks.  Frolicking socks breed like underpants in the dark corners of your underwear drawer.  It’s the only explanation.  Same goes for books.  Books are my greatest joy and greatest weakness.  I will always take in stray books with the promise that I will read it some day.  I have a book shelf full of books I’ve mostly read and another cupboard full of books I haven’t read and if you were to pile them up high, you would find it would be twice my height and more.  Books are wonderful.


After packing up the big stuff, the practical stuff and the used daily stuff, there’s the other stuff that just exists. Everyone has this stuff.  Buttons, small change, Allen keys in multiple sizes, safety pins, adapters, receipts, memory cards, Sim cards and so on that lives in a top drawer.  It all got swept into a carrier and moved into another new top drawer.  Then there’s the stuff that comes with small people.  Cots, clothes, blankets, nappies and related paraphenalia, bottles, snack boxes in various sizes, bedding and towels.  Then there’s the toys.  Toys suitable for small people from age 0 to now.  Soft toys are my nemesis.  They are everywhere and they are bulky.  And they cannot be parted with for sentimental reasons because that soft toy was sent by that special person. And just when you think your child has no emotional attachment to said soft toy, once you deploy the services of that soft toy elsewhere it will suddenly become the only soft toy to comfort your child to sleep.


Then there’s the stuff that I can’t part with because as you know by now, I am sentimental to the core.  The tiny sleepsuit #1, 2 and 3 all came home from hospital in.  The boxes with loose photos in that will never see the inside of an album.  The artwork of not just #1, 2 and 3 but nearly niece Strawberry Mousse going back a decade.  The bags and shoes that will always be in fashion to me even if they are not in the wider sense.  The woollen items knitted by the Mother In Law that are like new.  The memorabilia collated from trips we’ve made since moving out to Singapore that will be used to decorate our Forever Home once we really settle somewhere.


So you move from one apartment to another apartment that is bigger than your last one.  Although our previous apartment looked pretty big again when it was devoid of all our stuff in it. It would seem obvious that the new apartment should accommodate all your stuff quite comfortably.  This is not the case and never will be.  You moulded your old place to fit in all your stuff.  You put all the big obvious stuff in place and fill it with the all the big obvious stuff.  Then fill in the gaps with all the other stuff that exists.  And even though you existed quite happily on all the stuff you have in your previous home, when you move, there will inevitably be a post moving in trip to Ikea involved even though you already have too much stuff.


When you move, the initial frustration of trying to find new homes for all your stuff makes you even more determined to filter out what you don’t need.  Every time we move, there’s always that period of boxes just being there for weeks, sometimes months, because you don’t know where the gaps are to fill in with the stuff that just exists.  Plus, I kid myself that I’m going to sort it out properly and purge what we really don’t need.  But after while, I am always just tempted to get another cabinet but Husband will tell you that is not the solution and so in a bid to just rid ourselves of the unhomely looking, cumbersome boxes, I just end up filling in the gaps with the stuff that just exists with the promise that I will one day very soon get around to properly filtering it all out. I really will.


I’ll let you know in two years time how that plan worked out.



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