Let’s compare some THEN AND NOW details of my life. THEN: Prior to making aliyah my husband and I lived in a small house, had four children (KH), and two cars. NOW: 9 years later after making aliyah, my husband and I live in a small apartment, have six children (KH), and don’t own a car. THEN: My main income came from teaching Spanish to English speakers and after aliyah my main income came from teaching English to Hebrew speakers. NOW: I am a business owner with a business that focuses on home organizing and moving services.
For those making aliyah in the next few months are taking a long hard look at their belongings deciding what to bring. As a HOME ORGANIZER AND DECLUTTERING EXPERT I have a few things to say on the topic.
While some olim move into duplexes or houses, many olim are moving into apartments or smaller living spaces. This new space may be MUCH SMALLER than what you’re used to. Unless a previous tenant or owner has left closets, you will have to buy them. You may be lucky to have a machsan (storage room) or you may not. There most likely will not be an attic, garage, basement, hall closet, coat closet or space room. Bottom line, STORAGE SPACE IS LIMITED.
The list below uses bullet marks for categories. **note**THIS IS NOT A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL list but general guidelines. My insight comes from categories I encounter when working with clients who have found that even though they “got rid of things” prior to their move, now realize without the storage space they were accustomed to, find themselves in the situation of having “too much stuff”.
- sentimental items-While sentimental items are irreplaceable, put a limit as to how many to take. Perhaps let each family member have one x-large box and select their favorites. In regards to photos, kids art or projects keep your favorites but you can’t keep everything. You can photograph items and even upload them to create a keepsake photo book. BUT if a sentimental doesn’t “spark joy” because you have bad memories attached to it, then chuck it.
- collections-pare them down. One doesn’t need 500 of X. Also keep in mind it is very dusty here, especially when the windows are open. The more things you have, the more you things have to dust.
- clothing -I suggest keeping your current size only. If you are someone whose weight fluctuates often, then by all means keep a few pieces in sizes up or down but not an entire wardrobe. For kids clothing keep what they currently wear. If there is a sibling close in age that you are saving clothes for, then ruthlessly save only items that aren’t stained, are in good condition, and more classic pieces that can be mixed and matched. If you plan to save for future, not-yet-conceived children, save ONE BOX of each gender of only clean, unstained items. There are plenty of second-hand establishments, gemachim, and ordering on-line options. Additionally there are what I call “generous relatives” who will come bearing gifts and more gifts…
- books-favorites only. Just because you once bought a book does not mean you need to own it for posterity. Play this game: Select a book. If you liked it enough, would you check it out of the library and re-read it? If yes, then keep it.
- toys-favorites only. Try to eliminate large, bulky items. Stuffed animals-drastically downsize and keep only favorites, as they are dust magnets.
- games-if they are currently being played and enjoyed, bring them
- furniture-In the 9 years we have lived in Israel we brought (and have kept) our dining room table (belonged to my husband’s parents), an antique cabinet with a hutch, and an antique piece called a ‘dry sink’. What we brought and eventually replaced with smaller, more streamlined Israeli versions: beds. Beds, couches, dressers, and other furniture from chutz l’aretz (outside of Israel) are bulky, and take up a lot of floor space plus often don’t provide additional storage. I recommend buying new or second-hand smaller, more streamlined Israeli furniture that better fits the space.
- electronics and appliances-with the exception of a computer or laptop (if you can convert the current) I would not bring anything else and buy here. Some places give olim discounts when you buy a lot of merchandise. Here is a GREAT OPPORTUNITY to ditch that box of random cords that have been stored for the posterity and “just in case”.
- warehouse club items. I go against the common advice of “stocking up”. If there is some medical item you must have then that falls into a different category, but it is totally unnecessary to buy disposable items in bulk. I have clients who still have plastic utensils many years after having moved. See The Aliyah Files #17 https://theklutterkoach.com/2018/07/18/the-olim-files-17-ditch-the-warehouse-club-mentality/