Arrietty, Pod, and Homily Clock enjoying a quiet evening in their house under the floorboards.

Growing up the way that I did, I became something of a pack rat. I am not sure what exactly inspired me to be that way, but I think part of it came from the charm of The Borrowers. The other part surely came from a desire to claim roots somewhere. Since we moved around so much, my roots became my belongings that I could bring from place to place so that no matter where I was at in the world, I felt a semblance of “home.”

As I’ve grown up, I’ve actively tried to undo that entrenched habit of keeping everything because I am just sick and tired of carting so much stuff around with me wherever I go. Even so, Eric and I have a home–albeit a small one–and we have belongings. A great deal of those belongings will not be making the move with us to Mongolia because it is neither practical nor cost efficient to ship these things with us. I have mentioned this before and will probably mention it again as an international move is no small undertaking.

Currently, we volunteer at a local shelter which will likely become the resting place of a good deal of our belongings as I know that they will be put to use there. But how do I decide what to donate and what to put in storage? Some items–like my grandmother’s sewing machine and attached sewing table–will obviously stay in storage because of their familial importance, but what about dishes and such? The minimalist lifestyle holds great appeal for this former pack rat, but won’t I regret getting rid of our cozy little nest? Fortunately, I should have several months this summer to determine what will stay and what will go. I just hope I’ll be able to make sound decisions!

In unrelated news: we are continuing to raise our support for Mongolia and are inching along slowly. Any progress is better than no progress! Thank you to everyone who has committed to supporting us in one way or another. We appreciate you!



PS. Any suggestions on how to approach this move are more than welcome!


  1. If it’s something you know you’ll use when you return in two years, store it. If you picked it up at a thrift shop (unless it was a really awesome find), you probably won’t be out much to donate it and repurchase next time around. Those not always easy decisions, though.

    • A lot of our stuff is thrifted, which is what we meant to do with the intention of moving overseas one day and not wanting to be tied down. I suppose that helps. 🙂

      But what of our books? How do we decide what to keep and what to get rid of or what to ship to Mongolia? TESL books will all go, of course, but beyond that…?

  2. Hi Bethany,
    We were surprised to find that every apartment we saw in UB had an induction stove, meaning that none of our pots would work. (I don’t fully understand the technology, but induction stoves conduct heat magnetically and thus require particular metal pots to cook food.) So, you may want to put your pots in storage and either have your Mongolian landlord provide at least some or get them once you’re here. On the positive side, I did find that landlords tend to be very accommodating about providing small stuff — you can negotiate a lot when you find a place you like.

    I think this is very common all over Mongolia, but if you know anyone in Erdenet, it would be good to ask them about the stovetops.

    Hope this is helpful?

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