It’s been six years since our move from the USA to Israel when I wrote ‘The Ultimate in Decluttering’. This was before I officially called myself Klutter Koach. I am happy to say we wisely selected our items we brought with us. The one thing I would have done differently was to have ditched the American beds, as they have always posed a problem overwhelming the small Israeli bedrooms with their bulkiness. Little by little we have been replacing them with their narrower Israeli counterparts.
I have always been a proponent of not keeping items the family doesn’t use. If toys are unused, books unread, or clothing unworn, out it goes to a gemach, family in need, or second-hand shop. Rarely are items thrown away unless they are in such poor condition someone else can’t use them. Because of my rule, which is practical and guilt-free, I have managed to keep my house relatively clutter-free. Israeli apartments are much smaller compared to American homes. Not only are the rooms smaller, there aren’t built-in closets. A free-standing closet (an “aron”, or wardrobe in more common terms) is used. They come in different sizes some are make better use of space. In any event, this is what we’ve got to contain our belongings.
Though my family doesn’t have clutter or excess, we have been feeling a bit cramped in our space. We are a family of eight people in an apartment with three bedrooms, no basement, no extra bedroom, no play room. There is a kitchen, a salon (living room/dining room combo), 1.5 bathrooms, and a ‘cheder sherut’ which houses the washer and dryer. We also have what is called a ‘machsan’, a storage room where we keep things like our Pesach dishes, Sukkos decorations, and unused car seats.
My husband and I had been going back and forth on whether to move to a larger apartment. To have the space we wanted in an affordable price range, it would have meant moving to a new neighborhood which is still a construction zone. We had our qualms. In the end, we decided to renew our lease and not move.
To make our current space work better for the family, we decided to flip-flop all the bedrooms of whose bedroom was whose. It was exhausting to get everything moved, plus a few disagreements along the way, but the end result was a good one. We are happy with the new arrangement. It was a two-step process. The first step was moving the furniture. The second step was transferring the belongings to their new locations. Since no clutter was involved, it was a matter of re-purposing shelves, drawers, and bookcases. Time consuming it was, but better than packing up an entire house and moving.
This is the time of year when most people tend to relocate or make aliya. Lots of decisions are being made on what to take or not take. I have one Pearl of Wisdom to impart. That is: follow the sage advise of Marie Kondo with a Yiddish twist– if an item doesn’t spark joy, don’t shlep it, bring it, or pack it.
If anyone out there in Cyberspace reading this blog post would like a follow-up post on what to take or not take on aliyah or how to adjust to Israeli living spaces, I’d be thrilled to oblige.
Thanks for reading.
-Karen aka The Klutter Koach
June 14, 2015