To keep or not to keep, that is the main question. At least for the moment. Just before Christmas, we got a few quotes from Bristol removal companies. The quotes were for them  to come and empty our house, store our furniture and boxes, and then bring it all over to us in France once we find a house. This is another big cost in the move, so the big questions have been: what can we sell, what can we throw away and what do we keep?

The quotes have ranged from £3000 to £5000 to move everything from our Bristol home to the Charente area. Storage isn’t too bad, currently priced between £40 and £55 a week.

Some days I feel like all we have is mostly just stuff, that can easily be replaced once we move into our new house.  We are also hoping to go for a renovated farmhouse, or other similar period property. We currently live in a 1959 house, therefore our modern, square furniture that fits into our modern, very square house may very well not go with it anyway. On the other hand, we’re being told that furniture is a lot more expensive in France, so it may be better to bring over more rather than less from the UK.

In any event, we definitely have a fair amount of things we would like to bring. The sofas and armchairs we currently have would go well in bedrooms, and we have a good few boxes of memories from the kids were little, vintage Christmas decorations from my grandparents, just a few (!!) big framed photographs and about a million smaller ones…. So in any event, we’re going to need some form of transportation because it won’t fit into our car. 

Which then brings us to the car. It seems that second hand cars are more expensive in France, so it may be worth taking over our car to France. This is not something I initially wanted to do, as I would rather drive a French car rather than drive an English car on the other side of the road. But then we will probably not get much if we tried selling it, so perhaps it makes sense to keep it? We do have 101 things to sort out admin wise with the car first but that’s a whole other post…

It also means we can fill up the car with as much as possible and have more to live with for the first few months we arrive in France, which is a big bonus point.

We have also been busy selling lots (!). The kids’ slide has gone, but the trampoline is coming to France. The Ikea furniture is being sold off one by one and being collected over the next week. Our living room furniture is up for sale (Next Corsica range if you’re interested 😉).

Part of me loves the idea of selling most of what we own furniture wise as well as kitchen appliances, and starting afresh in France, perhaps then able to embrace a more simplistic way of life from the start. It will also sort out the problem of having to get a million adapter plugs.

The other part, the one who loves and uses her modern gadgets on a regular basis is trying to convince me that I do actually use most of my kitchen appliances and getting rid of them doesn’t make sense. Selling stuff can also be a pain… negotiating prices, people saying they’ll come to pick things up but then never show up. It usually gets to a point where a lot of things go to the charity shop, and a few have made it to the tip when no one would take it, even for free… I’ve reached a point where I wonder if the charity shop will tell me to go away if they recognise me from all the trips I’ve been doing lately!

For the time being, the plan is to keep a fair amount. We have decided to sell the IKEA furniture we have as if we did want these items again, we can simply buy them again in France. Doing it this way is most probably cheaper than paying to store and move them. But hopefully, we’re getting rid of things that we may not in fact need anyway.

For things we’re selling, I’ve used Gumtree and Facebook mostly. I created an album on Facebook where I’ve put photos of items for sale, and a fair amount went this way. I did laugh when friends started messaging me about other pieces of furniture we have at home, asking whether I would sell those too! Vultures, the lot of them (you know who you are! 😉 )

We’ve chosen a removal company and will get an updated quote from them in a week or two. We have packed most of our belongings… The kitchen is the next big one, which I’m dreading! But generally it’s felt organised and productive. I try and do a few bits each day so over the last 10 days we’ve done lots.

Have you moved abroad?  What did you do with all your possessions? Did you sell everything you had and arrived with a suitcase (like my sister did when moving to Australia)? Or did you take everything with you? Perhaps you compromised on some things and found a way in the middle?

I’d love to hear from you and see if you can help me decide on what to do and be more efficient with our packing!

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