A purge like no other

I’ve moved a lot growing up. My dad moved up in corporate America, and each promotion felt like it came with a new town. I’ve tallied it up. This is my 20th move. (Maybe there was a few more in Flagstaff for college). But we’ll go with 20 big moves in my lifetime.

I thought I had this down pat. Sell a few things. Go through your closet. Need to have a garage sale or two. Then you pack all your things into boxes and rent the Uhaul or make a few drives – depending on how far you’re going.

This move is … nothing … like … that! This move has been piles. This pile needs to go into storage. Is it really something I need to keep for 7-10 years? This pile I need to pack into my suitcase so we can wander around Europe for 2 months. How many toys and books should we (can we) pack in a suitcase? And the last pile is shipment. We are trying to squeeze everything into 4x4x6 feet. I have it taped up on the wall. I’m still looking around my house wondering; maybe I can squeeze that into the shipment? What about this pile? Can it go too? And because part of the package I paid for was the movers to pack my stuff, I’m not boxing anything. It’s just sitting in piles in K’s bedroom. Which in some ways is nice because it’s one less thing to worry about. And in other ways it’s driving me nuts, I won’t know if I hit that 100 cubic feet until the day they pack it into boxes.   And do they know how to really cram a box like I do?

Meanwhile, I spend my time just purging accumulated stuff. Where did all this stuff come from? Most of the purge is reactive. Oh, I sold that shelf? Guess I should clear it off. 4 month of selling things online and I still fret that I can shovel the rest of it out in the next 3.5 weeks. Wish me luck! The countdown continues.

This is what 109 cubic feet of stuff looks like:

Our move to Germany

About a year ago, my husband came home with a crazy idea. Let’s move to Germany. Why you ask? Well, he’s a German citizen, so are the kids. I’ve been blessed to travel there for work for many years and love it. It was a good kind of crazy as far as ideas go. Then we thought, well, why not? Kids are young, changes can happen, our parents are in good health. We should really try this! We walked around for months asking each other if we were serious and if we really wanted to make the leap.

In March this year, everything just clicked. Nothing in particular happened, just – life is short. We were going to do this, just because we wanted to! So we started taking all the necessary steps to make such a large move happen. It really all started out as a wild dream, but we are now in the process of making everything happen.

People have been amazed that we are taking such a giant leap of faith. And several suggested I blog about the experiences. I thought it was a good idea and also a way to let out thoughts as we heave through this huge move.

Most people begin asking me if we are military. Nope. Then they ask if our job is moving us across the pond. Nope. In fact, we are doing all of this in hopes that we get a job when we get there. Yes, you read that right. My husband, I’ll call him M, has been putting out resumes but we haven’t had a job offer yet. How’s that for positive thinking? We have a couple of positive things in our corner. M is a civil engineer. Germany’s websites are posting over 17,000 available jobs for civil engineers alone. And most friends and family we’ve talked to tell us that once we are there and available for interviews, we hope to find something relatively quick.

People think this leap of faith is the hard part. Not really. It’s the exciting part. Getting to live in Germany and sharing the culture and the world with my children is the part that drives me now. The hard part has been dismantling our household stuff that we’ve been collecting for the past 12 years, selling it off piece by piece. The hard part is watching my children say goodbye to half their toys, or their beloved swing set. Ok, I will admit shoveling out my closet actually felt rather good. But I still haven’t posted the couch because it’s the most comfortable thing I’ve ever sat and slept on. Is it ridiculous I’ll miss a couch?

We are taking a few things. I didn’t want the kids to feel like they lost every single toy to this move. That would only lead to resentment. So we have hired a shipping company to come in and we are shipping 100 cubic feet. I thought that sounded like so much stuff! It’s not. It’s 4 feet x 4 feet x 6 feet. Once you start looking at how much stuff you have to fit into that small size, it feels about as small as it sounds. I admit I’ve gotten a bit creative though. This is all about space and not weight. So I’ve gotten a bunch of vacuum seal bags for all of our clothes – and stuffed animals!! That has really shrunk everything down to very heavy size. Creativity is the key!

Right now, we have sold the house and quite a bit of our stuff out of the house. We have piles in every room – to be sold, to be put into storage and to shove into a suitcase. It’s a work in progress and I can only take it one day at a time. 4 weeks before we leave our house and 6 weeks before we depart. But as I tell all my travelers: “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.”

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