Part of the coming home process is unpacking.
I took more than my fair share of things home. I sent my mother and sister each home with an additional 20 kilos of baggage. I brought two suitcases at 23 kilos each. And that was 80% clothes/shoes, 15% books, and only 5% other stuff.
Back in the USA, things are so inexpensive compared to in Slovenia, that whenever a new event was coming up, I’d go shopping to buy a new outfit (or two) plus maybe shoes to go with it. This has resulted in: shoes that were inexpensive but make my feet bleed every time I wear them; clothing piles up the wazoo; and a handful of things I’ve bought and only worn once–or never worn at all.
If you include the weight of my carry-ons, I literally brought my weight in luggage home. Then I had to contend with unpacking and organizing that–in addition to dealing with my old clothes.
To be clear: I’m not rich by any means. I’m on a student budget. Nothing I bought was more than $15 or $20, for the most part. It’s been accumulated since I started spending my own money on clothes, back during freshman year of college, with the generous help of my mother buying me things I actually needed, like jeans and decent shirts/shoes.
But it became all too clear as I began to unpack: this was not all going to fit in my room back home. It was definitely not going to fit in my new room in Connecticut, when I move to attend UConn for my PhD in a few weeks. Nope, not possible.
What to do?
A giant cleaning splurge.
In the hallway to donate:
– 1 trashbag of shoes that it is impossible to wear without seriously injuring myself
– three trashbags of still-decent clothing to donate (perhaps four when I more pack things so they’re not so overflowing that I can carry them to the donation bin)
– one giant hamper of clothes that, as a result of me dropping a few dress sizes while in Ljubljana, are too big right now but are so nice that I should save them for when I inevitably gain that weight back
– a small pile of books that I’ll never reread, like college biology texts which are uninteresting to me and too easy for my med school-bound sister and already-passed-the-AP-exam-with-a-perfect-score-even-though-he’s-only-a-sophomore-brother
And–I’m only three quarters of the way through with the room cleaning.
So here’s a new challenge to myself: can I go six months without buying a single item of clothing–or shoes? Even after I’ve cleaned up shop, my closet and drawers are still full. Even though it seems like I brought a ton of luggage home, I lived in Ljubljana for 10 months on a few suitcases worth of clothes, with four pairs of shoes. For me, that was a big discovery: I didn’t need all the stuff I had back home. OK, still, I realize I had a lot, but when you think of the few suitcases, realize that I had two winter jackets, snow boots, etc., in there as well.
Anyway, I know I need to buy a new pair of running shoes soon, so that will be my only concession for my six month challenge. If someone gives me something, I won’t turn it away. But no more spending on clothing or shoes for myself.
Can I do it?
I better be able to!