Our long awaited shipment of “household goods” arrived on Tuesday after an 11 week journey from Boston to Rotterdam to Oirsbeek. Since we rented a furnished house with basic kitchenware and purchased other basic necessities (like towels, pillows and sheets), we didn’t really miss most of our stuff. We had a sense that we would be second guessing decisions we made about what to ship. Ohhhh yes! 

I should start off by reviewing the fact that we got rid of A LOT of stuff before we moved. We took at least six carloads to the Salvation Army, sold a bunch of items on Craigslist, gave items to our kids, neighbors and friends and tossed out junk. We did some good purging. About 75-80% of our remaining household was moved to storage. We decided to ship the contents of the kitchen (minus appliances), winter clothing and gear, camping equipment, bikes, linens, one box of books and one box of pictures. Seems reasonable, right?

Well, I didn’t really think enough about the contents of our kitchen. I thought it would be easier to send it all instead of selecting the kitchenware that we absolutely needed. The problem with that notion is that I really only postponed the selection. I didn’t consider the probability of moving this stuff  into a smaller kitchen. Having to do the weeding on this end is a royal pain because everything is so nicely wrapped in tons of paper. You can’t really tell what the item is without unwrapping it! We also didn’t anticipate that we would be using an induction stove and that most of our pots and pans do not work on that surface. At first I was overwhelmed and then I got angry at my own foolishness. We ended up repacking three boxes to store in the garage. I guess if we ever need that one dish for that certain use, we can dig it out when the occasion arises! 

Then there is the other extraneous stuff that we will be storing. Dick decided to ship our cross country skis and according to the locals, we will have to go to Germany to find enough snow to use them (and our winter boots). Two large area rugs came over and one of them is too big to use in any room in our house. We won’t use half of our linens because bed sizes are different and duvets were provided with the house. The baker’s rack doesn’t fit anywhere in the house and serves no purpose anyway.

On the postive side, we are happy to have our tableware, plates, cooking utensils that we’ve been doing without (veggie peeler!) and proper wine glasses. I think we can finally feel comfortable entertaining.  I’m glad that I have pictures of my kids to look at and our Bose audio system to play music. We can play games and do puzzles now. Dick has his longed for raincoat and tool box. Our road bikes will allow us to do longer rides on the weekends.

One of the goals of this adventure was too live more simply. We’ve been doing that and it’s been good. The invasion of our unnecessary stuff allowed us to reflect on what we really need . . . and want. I anticipated that we would be inundated with the excess when we returned to the States. I think it’s helpful that we’ve already been confronted with it here. I hope we can choose to live with less on a permanent basis!

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