My Life in Suitcases

Now that I have all the time in the world to get things done, the ultimate question is: where do I begin? Migrating to the US with my husband meant bringing my entire life with me there. Sometimes I find myself propped in my bed, looking at things in my room. From that perspective, I ignite several emotions at once. I plan on doing this in sections, but which do I tap first?

My father-in-law was in town several months ago, and before he flew back to the US, I had him bring an advance party of one per cent of my things with him. By one per cent, I mean no more than 20 kilograms worth of junk. Okay, they’re not entirely rubbish because most of the things I tossed into the box were my college books, some wedding stuff Roan failed to bring last time, and some stuff I don’t plan on wearing or using in the next couple of months.

Shoes and clothes take the biggest portion of my belongings. I probably own more than a dozen pairs of footwear—ballet flats, wedges, heels, sandals, flipflops, sneakers, and running/training shoes—but I only wear my sneakers and trainers most of the time because comfort wins over style without a doubt. I could possibly let go of everything except those two. My wardrobe, however, is a completely different story, I can’t tell whether I don’t own a lot of different stuff or I have lots of similar things in my closet. My mother would hands-down agree on the latter. After all, cotton shirts and denim jeans match sneakers best, thus these two dominate most of my closet space. I seldom-to-never wear dresses before, and only started buying some a couple of years ago when I learned that sneakers look good on them, too.

The thing is, a lot of people I know who moved across the globe discouraged me from taking everything with me because there is little-to-no chance I would wear them all when I get to the US. My cousin told me to just bring my favorite pieces—those I’d still wear regardless of the season. And speaking of changing seasons, I kind of see the point. So how do I rectify this dilemma?

1. Garage Sale

Seven out of ten people recommended I throw a mini garage sale to get rid of some stuff; however, my father has always discouraged doing so because he believes that it’s hypocritical to sell things you have zero investment on (i.e., things received as gifts). While this is more practical especially now that I am unemployed, I kind of see the point, and it’s probably the least in my options. (Oddly enough though, it’s first in my list.)

2. Donate

  • To distant relatives and friends

I only have two younger girl cousins left here in the Philippines, but their family travels to the US twice a year, so I don’t think there’s enough room for my second-hand clothes in their closet. Plus, I doubt my sense of style is the same as theirs.

Two weeks ago, Mom told me that upon learning my impending migration, a family friend asked if I could possibly give away some of my old stuff to her teenage daughters. I also plan on sending some to Roan’s cousin which I really don’t mind because they’re about my size.

Before I left my job, I gave away most of my paperbacks to my former colleague. I couldn’t bring them all with me when I move to the US, so I had to find someone who’s as devoted to books as I am. When I asked Mayie—a potential candidate—if she was willing to adopt my ‘babies’, I was relieved to know that she was more than willing to take them. 

  • To calamity victims

When a back-to-back earthquake and typhoon calamity hit the country in October/November of last year, I immediately packed most of my seldom-to-never used clothes to donate them to the survivors. It was unbearable thinking how they lost not only all of their material possessions, but lives of some loved ones as well. 

Letting go of things is not an easy task, and it would probably take me weeks or even months before I figure out how much I’m taking with me when I leave. I‘m not done packing; I still have a long way to go, but at least I’m started somewhere… My very supportive husband advised that I send more boxes in advance, so will that leave me with a luggage or two? We’ll see.

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