There is a saying: “New is well-forgotten old”. These days, as we are unpacking after returning from sabbatical, I am confirming that there is indeed a lot of truth in it.

We had so much luggage while travelling for seven months that it seemed that we were carrying the entire household with us. In reality, we had much more stuff packed in boxes while we are away.

When we came back, there are many logistical issues to take care of in order to put the school-work-other life routine back on track. It seems that whatever stuff we have brought in our suitcases is perfectly enough for us to function. It is tempting to think that the rest of it is simply not needed (which, technically, is the case).

It is actually a fairly unique chance to re-consider which objects “spark joy”, to borrow the term from Marie Kondo, and which ones can be thanked for their service and discarded. The killer, of course, is that the “konmari” organizing principle implies physically picking up each single item I own and engaging with it intellectually and emotionally. And I have too many socks to talk to.

On the other hand, our daughter is having a blast as we unpack the boxes, because she is uncovering her old toys that she has completely forgotten about. It literally seems like Christmas. Oh, and of course we are are re-confirming the well-known fact that the packing boxes often make much better toys than whatever gifts they contain.