We’ve traveled more while we’ve been here than almost any other time in our lives. And every place is filled with souvenir shops. And I have to admit that I find myself drawn in, gazing and wondering what I just must get to commemorate my time here. The girls certainly are drawn in right with me. The flamenco fans, postcards, piggy banks, swords, hats, flamenco dresses, magnets, the list could go on. I look, I deny the kids opportunities to stock up on souvenirs that will last a month and yet, I think, maybe I should get something, maybe I will regret not getting something to remember this place. But then I flash forward (and yet at the same time remember only months ago) and think about purging my stuff ten years in the future and will this thing even be still around, will it remind me of this time or will I have anxiety over purging something that’s been buried in storage for years yet I feel compelled to keep? The allure of buying and the idea of needing stuff to remember is quite a strong pull.
I’ve managed to keep the kids souvenirs to a minimum. To encourage them not to have to have stuff to remember a place, to instead spend money on experiences or items they may use longer into the future (think a nice purse over a paper fan, a row boat ride together over quarter ride). I’ve managed to keep my souvenirs to a minimum. In fact, this last vacation was the first souvenirs I have bought. A kitchen knife from the city of Toledo — a city that is known for it’s knife and sword making. I’m hoping it’s a useful and long-lasting souvenir. And one that TSA does not confiscate.
Amelia spent her money buying her sister a pony ride in Seville.
The purse Violet bought with her Christmas money. A leather purse in Seville.
Very cute piggy banks in Segovia…..which we DID NOT buy. Instead we took a picture.
We really saw our move to Spain as a reset button. An opportunity to get out of our small condo, a opportunity to reconnect as a family, an opportunity to get our condo rent and sell ready, an opportunity to travel abroad and an opportunity to reduce the amount of stuff we have.
We have packed what we need or is important to us in a storage unit that is 15ft x 10ft x 8ft for the year. This included sofas, beds, dressers, tables, bikes, etc. And I really hope that all is well and safe. To get to this point though we sold our stuff, we gave away stuff, we tossed stuff and we donated a large amount of stuff. It’s quite amazing the hold that our stuff holds on us. We move it. We store it. We cherish it. We pay for it. We use our hard earned money to save stuff that we may not even remember we have! Yet, the very thought of letting it go can induce anxiety. I tried to embrace the philosophy of reducing our stuff will reduce my stress. If I didn’t remember it was in storage it must not be that important to begin with. Before we began to purge our on-going storage unit I tried to think what exactly was so important in there that I would pay a monthly fee to keep. I tired to embrace the idea that if I couldn’t answer that question without seeing the object than it really wasn’t important. I purged based on this ideal. I saved based on this ideal. I sold and donated based on this ideal. Is this item worth $X.xx per month to keep? Is it that important?? In reality, I am choosing my time (and the dollars that it earns me) to keep this item. Some items were things we no longer needed while other items were ones that could easily be replaced. Think board games like “Battleship” or “Twister” or modular shelving from Target. Things we can easily and cheaply replace if we want but not worth the storage space it requires. These are seemingly, insignificant items but when you picture an entire house full of small items it would quickly become a rather large storage space.
It’s been months now since we held our garage sale. Which I’m going to say was more difficult and time consuming than just donating it…albeit I have yet to do our taxes and see if donation was more worth my time and energy. I’ve had time to reflect on what I tossed and donated. There are a few regrets I have already. A couple were mere hours after they were sold or donated. The original doll clothes for my cabbage patch kid (accidentally sold) or my old college day planners (tossed). Others, I wonder if I will regret and maybe I shouldn’t have sold them. An old pair of overalls that were easily 50 years old, a hodge-podge mini-Christmas tree or the few albums and turn-table we owned. Most of which had been in storage or not used for the last ten years. Others I wish I had gotten more money for. I have to remember I am choosing more space, less stress and less stuff. All of which I hope will mean more time, more space, and more money. It still doesn’t keep me from awakening with anxiety on what I no longer have.
Our full storage unit right before we closed it for the last time.