As I have chronicled over the last few weeks I am leaving Dubai, where I have lived for six years, to move to Riyadh.  I don’t know how long I will stay but I cannot imagine setting up a home there.

In my six years I have built and created a home.  I have bought and own everything that sits around me.  So here I am with a major decision to make: do I keep all my furniture in store in case I come back quickly? And if don’t store and decide instead to sell, then what do I keep?

I wondered for a time what it would be like not to have a ‘home’, a bolt hole, somewhere to run to when times get bad.  And so as I thought about the ‘keep’ decision I even considered, if only for a short time, about renting property in either Cyprus or Ukraine (because it is relatively cheap) and put my furniture there.

The alternative was to keep the furniture in store in the UAE and pay every month for things I might never see again.

As I have said a few times previously I have had a few years of total personal turmoil but as I am about to leave I have no sense of ‘running away’ from my past.  But even having said that undoubtedly there is a sense of another new beginning and so I have decided to leave my past behind and split all my belongings into four groups:

  • Rubbish and throw out
  • Sell and never see again,
  • Keep for another day
  • Take with me to Saudi

My criteria

I have collected six years of furniture, knickknacks, ornaments and memories.  But most of what I own was bought either with or by someone else helping to make a home.  Everything carries a memory.  And so making the split between the four categories was not easy.

Deciding what was rubbish was easy – it was all those papers and stupid commercial letters that we hang onto.  So old invoices, brochures, take out menus were black binned.

I am selling all the furniture large and small.  Sofas I have sat on, sofas I have slept on and sofas I have done everything else on are going.  Wardrobes, beds, chairs, TVs and cupboards are on their way.

I made this decision because I decided the memories weren’t in the large things but in the ornaments, soft toys, candles (even if half used), pictures that hung on the wall and not least my books.  So these I have kept for another day.  They have been boxed up and will be stored.  Wherever I happen to end up some day they will rejoin me.

What is left is what I take with me to a furnished apartment in Riyadh.  It turns out not to be too much just clothes and few DVDs.  They too have been boxed but will be shipped.

What would you do?

Now maybe you think I should have thrown away all those mementos of the past.  After all if it is a new life then shouldn’t I junk everything?  I did think about taking that route.  If my life had been so bad why carry the memories into the future?

Well here is my argument.  An exciting, funny, loving, best friends, laughing and learning three years was turned upside down.  But my problems were of my making and not caused by anyone else (although for a time I didn’t understand that).  And now in many ways I am better for the fullness of all the experiences.  So I am going to celebrate the good times and keep all the past close to me.

My friends have all given me conflicting advice.  I have made my decision so for me it is now best foot forward.

But if you had to pack up your life what would you take, keep or sell?

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