Down Sizing To Two Suitcases Each

How do you reduce 37 years of collecting, acquiring, gift receiving down to two airline-sized suitcases, a carry-on bag and a purse?

It is a very good question and one I was overwhelmed to begin. However, once I made the first move it seemed easy from there. At first, I went through my clothes and emailed my favourite girlfriends to come over and rummage through a giant pile of clothes, shoes, purses and accessories. It took four girls about 15-minutes and five lattes later to sort who got what. In addition, I love seeing my friends looking great in my hardly worn clothes.

Simplifying this part of my life was surprisingly easier than imagined. It was even freeing. I got rid of all my skinny clothes that I had hung on to since before kids. I mean who really wants to be a hungry size two. Then, I got rid of the bigger clothes items I thought might fit again. Only the current items I love, made it to the second round. It quickly gave me a reason to buy a few extra things for my suitcase to look a little more, well, ‘French’.

When we moved over to the furnished rental home, we had a 2-week overlap. This was the best idea we came up with. Although we had no idea how smart we were at the time. We sold off all our furniture, trampoline, infrared sauna, all the items that obviously did not fit on the plane to my brother and mother in 100 Mile House where they live. It is small town in the interior of British Columbia.

Gave away my good pots and pans, and only took over a few things I could not get along without during our four month stay in the townhouse. I kept my Wusthof knives, a good Rachel Ray stew/fry pan with lid, a Dutch oven, my red kettle, my Starbucks espresso/coffee machine and two Starbucks mugs.

I used the same equation with the kid’s clothes to down size their closets. Same moms came by and we sorted through. We had piles of toys, books and sporting goods that went faster than my clothes did. Thank God for families in my life with the same age kids.

Like vultures swooping in…just kidding. It was a blessing. The kids get to keep one suitcase for books, toys and games, and another for clothes. The books that did not make it to the second round we donated to Sunnyside Elementary School where the children attended.

Alfonz and I each get one tote for computers and phones, important photos and that sort of thing and another for clothes and shoes. It was enough, were our thoughts.

Alfonz narrowed down his shoe collection and got rid of all his large-sized clothes from my pregnancy. Since hitting the gym, I cannot see him ever getting that big again.

Once the things were gone, we really got used to the idea of freeing ourselves from under all our things. Instead of shipping them, even the Denby dishware and knives I love were eventually sold or given away.

Alfonz's had special tools and a garage full of everything a man could desire, but no point in shipping items and spending the money when we can always buy them again in Europe.

Shipping is expensive too, $5000 for a container, but $5000 can buy a lot of stuff in a new home especially when Bed and Breakfast’s usually come to the new owners furnished. My out-of-place West Coast style is replaceable with cool sleek furnishings suited for our new European lifestyle.

That's Hamori

:) lol I love how you said 'tight spaces, narrow and winding roads, wretched weather, and the "no parking" standard of here'

Daniel has a funny effect with cold meds that make most kids drowsy. He goes off the hook and his eyes get super wide and he won't sleep. I too tried different varieties, and now stay away from them completely. SO true every child is different.

I wish you luck when you do try again! And keep us posted on your progress, I would love to hear it.

From Vancouver BC, each year to Budapest Hungary to travel through Europe. Been to Mexico a few times too. Alfonz took Daniel to Toronto ON Canada...

I wrote about this topic on our blog, the tricks to managing time changes with little ones, by increasing nap time through the night and decreasing regular sleep time. It works like a charm. If the kids do not nap, just keep them up. Same as you would do.

There was one time Daniel at 1 1/2 was flipping out on the plane, and a man came up to me and said. Do you have gravol? I said yes I do, do you need some? He said ,I am a doctor and now is the time to give it to your son! I did and he slept the rest of the flight! LOL On the same flight back a very nice off duty flight attendant saw Daniel crying and snuck him a chocolate. I thought oh great now he will have a sugar high and then what. What goes up must come down, he fell a sleep 1/2 on me 1/2 on the floor. With over 14 trips under his belt with who knows how many connecting flight, that was our only issue. KNOCK ON WOOD :)

Abigail,We have travelled with the kids since birth, and the theory was, for them to adapt to our travel lifestyle. Guess what, they did adapt! They were the quiet children on the plane with a knapsack full of games and toys to keep them preoccupied, no matter what age they were at. They learned to sleep anywhere, entertain themselves, help make travel itineraries to suit every member of the family. Now at 6 and 8 they love travel. And when they were little, it made no difference to me where I fed them, or laid them down to rest, or changed their bum. I found a well planned diaper-bag was key, with a good portable baby carriage.

Damaris, we now have a home here in France, and the car boot sales are the best thing we found on our budget. Le Bon Coin is fabulous. Our family does van travel, and once I even had the laundry hanging all over the van, and Alfonz my husband said, "There you have it, we are proper gypsies!"

Hi Eva,

When I moved out to France 3 years ago, I did exactly the same thing although most of my stuff went to car boot sales that then paid for my trip out and the cost of the cat's passport and transport!! Each time I have moved since I have pretty much given everything away or sold it on the good old Bon Coin (which is also an ideal site for buying replacement stuff when you reach somewhere new).

I love the freedom that comes from buying stuff secondhand or swapping with friends because it's never a burden to get rid of it all and move on again. Pretty soon I shall just get a caravan like a proper gypsy ;)

If we can lighten our loads and travel with kids we teach them to adapt to change, to change their focus from the material to things that really matter. Like our relationships, our connections and our world. Through exploration, we educate and prepare them for an ever changing tomorrow.

In someways me writing about our journey, I wanted to tell people that it is possible to live your best life now, and not wait until retirement, and also that children are not a burden while travelling but a reason to travel.

When my two twin 20 something nephews left england a few years ago one to settle in Spain the other eventually in Japan, they cycled from the channel to my house near the Pryenees, they had two sets of clothes each, a wallet and a passport, everything else they had given away before they left. One bike fell to bits the other found it's way to Spain in the back of my car some time later. Most people thought they were a bit balmy, one for cycling 700 miles across France but mostly for devoiding themselves of all their worldly goods. I envied and admired them and thought at the time could I have done it, I probably could have done it in my 20's before I was married but not sure I could now. They are now both married the one in Japan has a son.

You are so brave! We took the easy way; just moving down from England, had a removal company who checked before to see how big a lorry they need, they packed everything over there and unloaded it here. My excuse is that my husband was away working and me being on my own with a baby and pregnant with the second one couldn't have done it.... I managed the building site here afterwards though.

I am not moving anywhere any time soon - but I think I need Eva to come and stay with me for a week (or a month) so that I can "downsize" all the STUFF that I have been hanging on to!! :-)

Currently trying to get a house into the 45cbm space that I over-optimistically told the removal company we needed. (Should have doubled it!)

I take my hat off to you for managing to 'downsize' so much....well done!

We sold tons of things on ebay and made a lot of money - still got too many tools though, stuck under beds and piled into cupboards.

Like the way you invited your friends over. Wish I'd thought of that. I used TradeMe, garage sales and gave stuff to schools, doctor's waiting rooms. The last few days in NZ I threw what I was wearing each day in the bin (ouch) cos it wouldn't meet the 20kg requirement of my one suitcase. Put old linen in the community recycle bin. had only a studio to go to so couldn't ship stuff other than videos, books and a couple of my old dolls. Some things were heartbreaking to abandon, I still miss them but most houshold stuff I gave to my daughter or the nieghbours. My stuff is now recycled throughout NZ so that much is satisfying.