Monday, January 20, 2014

The cull

It's always nice to have a clear out and get rid of some clobber. Having moved 4 times in the last 4 years we have had that opportunity plenty. Still, stuff accumulates. So before the packers came this morning to pack and load our stuff up, and before we pay through the nose to have it all shipped out, we did a quick cull.

This is partly about throwing out possessions that have outlived their usefulness. Clothes, old baby things, books that have been read and aren't worth keeping, that sort of thing. But there's also a category of possessions which are perfectly useable - but we just won't need to use them.

Some of the things we won't need in California are:

  • My large collection of Oyster card holders, including this limited edition gem from an old Arts Council promotion. We're not going to need a lot of public transport accessories where we're heading.

  • Our little milk pan (scratched and worn from overuse). We use it for warming TLOML's milk for coffee, as we don't have a microwave. And we have a special freezer-friendly plastic bowl we use to store ice in, since we don't have an icemaker. It's actually against Californian property law to rent out a property without an icemaker. I think. So both of those items can be left behind.
  • Socks. When we last lived there I think I wore socks for a few weeks out of the year. So any substandard, slightly worn out, fall down too easily pairs are going to go. Best socks only make the cut.
  • Coats, gloves, and hats too.  When you don't wear a coat every day for months on end, you don't need a few options to rotate. So I'm waving goodbye to the older, less favoured coats. We'll keep some for when we go away. After all, we're visiting Saltburn again in June. Just kidding: I was bare legged and sleeveless all summer this year. I'll really only need winter clothes for travel: winter visits to cooler cities, July jaunts to San Fran, and that one week of the year it's actually a bit chilly in LA and everyone gets excited about being able to light a fire. For the rest of the time we'll be like everyone else in LA, and keep our winter warm layers mothballed in the attic.
  • All stationery items designed for standard ISO paper. As in, the paper size system that is used across the whole rest of the world. You know, the perfectly logical system where an A0 sheet folds down to make A2, A3 and so on, and all our envelopes and folders match up. North American favours a quirky system of two competing and very similar sizes of paper ('Letter' and 'Legal') and so all my C5 envelopes and A4 folders are being culled. American paper sizes is one of the things of the things that makes me sad about America (along with gun control laws and the religious right. But I'll keep politics out of it).
  • All the little plastic drawers and wire hanging trays I've bought to supplement our bathroom and clothes storage in our rented places here. Even the most basic US rental will have proper built in closets, and a bathroom with a decent storage. Of course, that's because they were all built within the last 50 years. For what it's worth, I'd always happily trade in convenient closet spaces for characterful period properties. But as characterful period properties are in short supply in California, I'll embrace the spacious, many-shelved closets of the 1980s bungalow instead.
  • This parking disk, for use in a scheme beloved by those who run Yorkshire's market towns. 'Free disk parking' signs completely baffled TLOML when he first saw them, though I'm proud to say he adapted as quickly to disk parking in Northallerton as I did to valet parking at The Grove.

It's almost a shame we are culling this stuff, as in our new, walk-in closeted, two-car-garaged* lifestyle we'd actually have room for all the crap we've thrown out.


*This is the kind of house I picture us in, purely fictional/ aspirational at this point pending actual house hunt and lease signing.

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