Sometimes trying to part with things proves challenging. The kids didn’t really like the idea of getting rid of toys and books that they might still play with. Mom and Dad might even have all manner of weird things lurking in the back of the closet – like a hundred-year-old camera or an old slide projector. Still, once a level of detachment was reached and we decided what to get rid of, that didn’t necessarily make the process easier.
There are a few ways that I am aware of to move things out of our lives in Beijing. Initially, we let friends and neighbors know what we didn’t plan to keep. Surprisingly this led to a number of large items – bookshelves and the like – being sold. People also wanted books and kitchen appliances and other paraphernalia. Still, we had more to part with.
Next, we posted items on discussion groups like Beijing Mamas. This seems like a great idea, but it comes with drawbacks. People want to buy things, but then there is the scheduling of pickups, giving directions, helping carry things out, and no-shows. Nothing dashes the hopes of trying to get something out of the way like promising it to someone who doesn’t show up. Fortunately, this isn’t our first move and we began the process early.
Of course there is the old garage sale/yard sale method so popular in the USA. We could advertise something like that, but then we need to hang out and let people mill through our home while looking over our stuff. That works well if you have a garage or a yard to put things in, but not so great if you are still living in the space where people are shopping.
One of our ayis surprised us by requesting to purchase a large number of items. Some she will use in her small apartment, some in her new home in Inner Mongolia, and some she is sourcing for friends. Still, it won’t take care of everything.
Another great option we use is to donate things to charity. Our favorite in Beijing is Roundabout. All year I have been culling clothes, toys, and household goods and making periodic donations that they graciously pick up. I suspect we will still have one or two more large donations for this move since we are leaving most household items behind.
Ironically, when we arrive at our new apartment in the USA, we will only have a few suitcases with us and I will be looking for all sorts of quick ways to outfit a new home with furniture and household goods. I foresee hitting more than a few weekend garage sales with the kids as we look for toys, books, and old camera gear.
Photo: Courtesy of Roundabout