When we arrived in Bremerhaven more than seven years ago, we had no idea we would be staying for so long. But now it is coming to an end. This summer my contract is ending and we will be leaving.

In the 13 years Esben and I have been together, we have lived in three different countries and moved five times – not counting the summer in Denmark just after Runa was born. It seems that a lot of my colleagues at AWI coming from a foreign country bring only a few personal items when they arrive in Bremerhaven, and then they buy the rest here. We never did it like that. Every time we have moved we have packed up all of our stuff and brought it with us. I suppose owning a lot of stuff can be okay if you live in a big house – but we do not. And we have some hobbies that take up significant space – try living with 5 sails and 9 boat cushions in your bedroom, while a full set of standing rigging and a life raft is stored in the living room. So we simply need to make sure that the stuff that we do have is not just crap that we should never have gotten in the first place. After seven years, it’s time to clean out.

I have basically gone though the rooms one by one to get rid of things we do not need anymore. In the corner cabinet in the kitchen I found countless strange things that we must have thought looked handy at some point. And when I was done I had a whole bag full of candy that the kids have been given at various occasions and we just have put out of sight.

In the bathroom I found make-up that I bought when I was sixteen. I don’t think I am going to need bright blue eye shadow anytime soon, but I did keep the gold lipstick we used in tenth grade when the whole school made a sailing trip around Denmark.

I have even gone through all of our book shelves, and sorted out books I bought quickly on holidays and in airports. In the end, the books in the living room actually fit on the shelves and we have 1.5 meter free shelf space in the bedroom.

And then there’s the kids’ room. So full of stuff that it spills out of drawers and falls down from the tables. We do regularly clean up with them – last year we donated two big sacks and a toy kitchen to a fugitive centre in Bremerhaven. But then there’s another Christmas or birthday and we have to start all over again. This time Runa took part. I guess she wanted to keep an eye on me. But in the end she decided herself to give away the Barbies she has never played with as well as the little ponies she used to love to make room for her new lego. In additionally, to getting rid of a lot of things directly, I moved some big toy ships and cars that Mattis does not play with anymore to the bedroom. Then we will see if wants it back. Otherwise they will also be sold.

On top of all of our “normal” things there’s all of the boat stuff that came with Chip-Chip. I sold the old anchor, but other than that, most of it has just gone to trash – except for the reserve parts for the old Volvo Penta, which are very difficult to buy these days.

All in all, we have gained quiet some space, and cleaning up has become so much easier now that there’s actually space for everything. And the really nice thing is that when we move out, we do not have to pack down stuff that we have carried around for the past thirteen years, and bring it to yet another country!

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