A to Z Challenge Letter B: Belongings

Back in 1999 when my impending move came closer and closer, I started to sort through all my belongings. Most of them were boxed up and stashed in the attic, some were donated, some were thrown out. Another pile was deemed necessary to come with me to America. I managed to downsize to two suitcases and a backpack.

My first six month in the States I rented a furnished room in an old craftsman house in Santa Monica. Since the room came with everything I needed I didn’t accumulate much. A radio, a couple of plants, a phone, a bike and a few summer dresses. My landlady then decided to spend the summer in England and sublet out the whole house for three months, forcing me to move out. By then I had a steady circle of friends. Three of them were in similar temporary housing and we decided to band together and get a two bedroom apartment. Just before the move I acquired my first own car, a tiny white Subary Justy. Moving took one trip in my little car. Done!

The first year in the apartment we didn’t have much. An old couch and coffee table we found in an alley in Beverly Hills. An ancient TV from the thrift store, an old dining room table from our neighbors and three mismatched chairs, and a wild array of dishes and silverware. I slept on a camping mattress on the floor. I had made myself a bookshelf out of bricks and two pieces of wood. My neighbors threw out a rickety old desk that I quickly scooped up and fixed up. Our possessions grew as a good friend of us moved back to his country and gave us all his furniture. I finally had a bed.

Next time I moved, my then roommate and I had to rent a small U-haul. My belongings had tripled. And so it went on. Every time I moved I purged stuff, but my possessions became more and more. Such is life I figured. I didn’t really downsize for 15 years, not until I decided to move up to Washington and only could take what fit in my car. Most of my stuff went into storage for a year. I lived in furnished places the first half year in Washington as well. Then flew down to L.A., rented a van and brought up most of my furniture and important things. A year later I drove down to L.A. with my car, went through all my stuff that was still in storage. Filled my car with what I really couldn’t part with (and there was actually room to spare!), the rest was donated or thrown out.

And so the cycle started over. I now look at my house and I know I need to downsize and purge soon. I sigh inside at the thought of it. It is so easy to get attached to material things. I’m sure you all understand.



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