After the decision was made that we would choose a “life with a difference”, we began the process of selling our possessions that we had treasured for the past 10 years. It was time to make even more decisions – which items to sell and which items would we not be able to part with. Photos, memorabilia, letters, personal items from our past, the lace work my mother made me when she learnt to crochet at the age of 70 and much more. A suitable box was found – it was wooden, completely lined with Styrofoam sheets, had strong, metal handles on each side and was lockable. The box was the size of a standard television set from the 1990’s (not a flat screen) so we would be limited to what we would keep. While the tough decisions were being made, the garage sale of the century began in earnest and it lasted for about 10 weeks. Our house was abuzz with people, some we knew, some had come because the grapevine was busy in the town. We have lived in Yeppoon, then a town of 20,000 people, for nearly 10 years so word about the bargains for sale had spread quickly.
Household furniture, electrical goods and items from the man’s shed were all sold. Towards the end, the man was selling half used rolls of electrical tape, a partly used tin of paint or CRC and people were paying us money for them. I assembled tables in the lounge room with items from cupboards around the house and each day, people would come and buy. I would then restock the tables with more items from around the house and each time I did this, we were amazed at the amount of possessions we had acquired. Some were a surprise as we had completely forgotten we owned them and others had been bought and never used. I continued to restock the empty sale table each night until finally, there was nothing left. If I had thought about it for a minute, I could probably have become a Tupperware dealer, as I owned at least one of every item in their entire range and yes, I did actually sell every piece.
It was a difficult time as we were separating ourselves from possessions which had been part of our everyday life and we had become attached to them. We were also pondering our future when we actually had no definite idea of what that might be. My friend came to our rescue when we had no fridge, no lounge furniture, no TV, no bedroom furniture and invited us to spend time with her family during our final few days in the small town which will always be etched in our hearts.
We anguished over each item in our home of 10 years before we made a decision – sell or keep. Every possession had a story, a yarn to tell. Trying to decide if to sell or keep some items involved so much time as we recalled the moments that created them, such as our wedding photos, letters we had written, books we had read, music we had listened to. Some family and friends were unable to understand what we had decided to do with our lives but our decision was made and we were about to leave this town of friends and memories.
At the end of three months, we literally had our car, a suitcase and a backpack each on the back seat and off we went, heading south.
On reflection as I write this blog, I wonder what makes our possessions become precious to us – are they only treasured when we see them and recall the memory attached to them or are they engraved in our hearts and thoughts and we subconsciously treasure them at all times.
Throughout the next 20 years, our possessions and where we lived changed often. You will read more about our travels in future blogs, but for now my focus is possessions – how many do we need and do they make us happy?