2 Bedrooms to 2 Suitcases

Karen Espig
5 min readJun 25, 2021

Downsizing for my international move.

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

I am preparing for my move from Canada to Europe. I will be vacating my apartment to temporary lodgings on January 1 until my flight out, which I anticipate will be in March. I am very excited about the adventure ahead.

My plan is to have everything I need in a large suitcase, a carry-on backpack, and a purse. Since I will also be transporting Vincent, my cat, in a carrier, and my guitar in a case, my hands will be more than full as I travel. I expect it will be very ungraceful, and I sincerely hope no one is paying any attention to my travel-weary, introverted self as I negotiate the airport.

To move this along, I am now making “sell, donate, trash” decisions about everything else in my apartment. I will be placing my finished paintings in storage until I have a more permanent housing situation, but I will be renting the smallest unit available that can house the artwork — the very little bit of extra space will allow for only the dearest of mementos.

How to proceed without getting overwhelmed?

I believe this to be impossible. My strategy, therefore, is to work on reducing until overwhelm sets in; pause, and repeat. This is why I’m starting now, six months out. I expect that it will be difficult to make meaningful decisions in the last desperate weeks, and besides, I don’t want to leave my current home anxious and burned out. I want to enjoy the 11th-hour time with the people I love.

I am starting with the easy stuff.

Since my days in an office setting are done, I have already donated my business-style clothes and more are on their way. I’ve just passed my last brutal winter in Canada (hallelujah), so the really warm clothes and outerwear can go now too. Anything that doesn’t fit right now (which seems to be a lot) — gone. The tough part will be the shoes. I’ll work up to that.

At the moment, I am diving into the kitchen inventory. All the gadgets and gizmos and stuff for serving are going to new homes. I feel like I have three of everything, it is ridiculous. I have started a Facebook group and I am populating it with photos of what’s up for grabs.

Karen Espig

I am a contemporary figure painter, working primarily in oils. I am also a Canadian Expat currently in Albania. Follow my art and travel journey. karenespig.art