End Feb - March 2010 004

At last our stuff has arrived!

I have had to re-think and eat some humble pie along the way about the worth of material things. While I was packing up the house in cold, wintry England I realised that we just had too much stuff. It seemed like a good time to chop all the clutter out of our lives. Things that we never used, furniture that Ned had reduced to feathers and firewood – it was time to Get Rid. I enjoyed it, I can’t deny it.

But, when everything had been sold, recycled or dumped we were left in the shell of our home which was now barren, cold, empty and really, really uncomfortable. The house had no heart left. We were still in it; it was just our stuff that wasn’t. That was not what I was expecting.

In Singapore it was the same feeling. We didn’t feel settled in the new flat. It didn’t feel like home and no one could quite put their finger on what felt wrong so we all just put it down to emotional exhaustion from the move.

Then, our stuff arrived. We filled less than 1/2 of a 20ft container. The weekend was a flurry of unpacking, arranging, deciding it looked better in a different place, moving it again and then deciding I liked it in the first place better. Dom is an interior designer; he is a patient man.

front room 2

Everyone suddenly seemed happier. What had we missed the most and what was most cherished when it arrived?

Me: I hate being uncomfortable. I read a lot. I read mostly in bed. I missed my bedside lamp (it’s Terance Conran with an IKEA shade) and my bedside table to put my cup of tea on. Happiness has been restored for me.

our bedroom

Dom: Dom insists I threw most of his stuff away. I’m going to ignore that comment. He spent most of the weekend putting up our pictures. Despite the swearing, that has made him happy.

Millie: Millie has by far the most stuff. She is a hoarder. When asked to pick something that made her feel like she was home she chose this picture. I bought this as a scrapbook page from ebay when she was a baby. On the page it was signed by a girl called Mary Grove and dated 1851. She loves it as much as I do.

millie's pic

Ned: Need we ask? Swords of course. (He also managed to swing the bigger bedroom.)

Ned's room

I have a stronger sense of what possessions I truly value (except for a lot of the kids junk – sorry!) and no doubt we will add to this flat too during our time in Singapore. I already have my eye on a shop called Bangku Bangku on the Joo Chiat Road. This move has been an exhausting process, I’m glad it’s done.