When I moved from the UK to the USA last year I was faced with the task of packing up my entire life. Deciding what to and what not to bring with me was very hard. Little did I know that the shipping company would mess up the paperwork and it would be 6 months until I saw my belongings again. However, when everything did arrive there were a few things I couldn’t remember why I’d packed them and then a few things that are still at my parents’ house that I wish I had brought.
If you are moving abroad forever or for a year it’s a pretty crazy packing job. Also, I am a very sentimental person and that part of me did not help during this process!
What I found hardest to decide on were things that I didn’t want to let go of but knew I didn’t need them in the near future. We all have those things we want to save and give to future kids or have to look back on. I didn’t get any less sentimental after going through the packing process and now every time my family visit they have a pile of more things of which I haven’t been able to let go. Things like my old toys and dolls house, books from when I was younger and CDs are not necessities in life but I always thought they’d stay with me until I had a little someone to give them to. Also, I like my CDs I only ever got them for my absolute faves and where am I going to find S Club 7 in America?
What I’m glad I brought:
I have a lot of books, I loved shopping in charity shops in the UK and my degree came with a long reading list each year. I loved my degree and kept my books, there are still so many home and I’m trying to stop mum from eBaying them.
The thing with books is that I knew it would be a while before I had a job in the USA so I knew I’d have time to start reading again. Also, I have different books to James and I’ve always had a large bookcase in my room. Once the books arrived and we put them around the apartment there was a familiarity that came with them and made the place feel like it belonged to both of us.
These are not useful but I have many of them. I keep all sorts of random things and collect odds and ends from holidays and charity shops. Sentimentality is the death of minimalism but helps to make a place feel more like home.
Again, a lot of these came from charity shops so most are pretty odd/old. I can’t help but think that if I throw out my 25p black and silver vintage heels I’ll just regret it in the future. It’s not the value of the things I brought but the fact that I don’t want to have to try to replace things in the future.
What I wear is very much a part of my identity. I’ve left my home, my friends and my family and it’s been hard to feel myself. Putting on my favourite things and putting together an outfit that shows my style and who I am has really made me feel more comfortable. In the 6 months that my boxes were crisscrossing the Atlantic ocean I had a limited supply of clothes and often felt very uncomfortable when we were out and about. Once my clothes arrived (and completely took over the apartment) I felt so much more like myself.
Even though I moved back home after uni I still collected a few homeware pieces to bring with me when I eventually moved. James bought a yellow TV stand from IKEA and I found these great cushion covers from H&M home. I also found this amazing pink leather pouffe in a vintage shop in Nottingham. The ice cream cone lamp was something I’d always wanted to have in my house when I moved out and the light up speech bubble was a leaving gift from my friend.
Having these things around me now makes it more homey which is a very important feeling to create when you’re so far away from what you know.
What I should have left behind:
I brought a lot of random craft stuff as I thought that is what I’d be doing while waiting for my visa… I still haven’t actually sewn/embroidered/scrapbooked/made jewellery. Definitely could have left those things behind.
What I should not have left behind:
Whilst packing up literal things sometimes it feels like I forgot to pack myself. This might sound a bit weird but once I got to America and everything was new and different I felt like I’d left myself behind. Talk about an identity crisis, I felt so lost and without a job and driving license and friends it was a pretty low point. I don’t sound like everyone else here and I don’t dress like everyone else here so I wouldn’t speak and I would wear what I had that made me blend in. Thankfully I have a very supportive and understanding husband that is helping me regain confidence and self-esteem. It’s important not to lose yourself when you make a big change – the you that gets on the plane is the same you that gets off it.