We have left some belongings in our apartment in Berlin, to be able to rent it out furnished. Mainly furniture and a few decorative items such as a large Indonesian mask to scare away the evil spirits or a 1.50 m high nude wooden statue. Stuff that makes people’s stay pleasant. Also standard utensils such as kitchen equipment, tableware and the like.
Mainly clothes went straight into our suitcases and some of them (work clothes, and fancier pieces) are later shipped from Germany to wherever we are. A relatively small amount of our belongings fell into the ‘storage’ category and went into the basement, which turned out to be quite full despite the clearance, or the basement is just small. Things that no longer had a direct function were sold on eBay or given away to family, friends and strangers.
Giving things away via eBay-Kleinanzeigen, the local German website, was quick and easy.
My attitude to consumption and materialism has changed quite a bit over the past 15 years. For example, dealing with our food, where it comes from and how it is made, and purchased. I think the wisdom ‘back to basics’ is a relevant one. In the 3 years that we lived in Berlin, we have ‘learned’ to buy our groceries unpackaged in Markthalle 9 in Kreuzberg (similar to Adelaide Central Market) or in small-scale supermarkets such as Original Unverpackt. Just bring your own jars, trays, glass bottles and lids and fill them on the spot. In Adelaide, where we started our journey after the mandatory 2-week hotel quarantine, we haven’t gotten that far apart from buying nuts in a paper bag. We try to avoid packaged products in the supermarket as much as possible until we find a better solution.
And as for how I consume – I currently see myself as a ‘flexitarian’, with a lot of emphasis on the vegetable part. The occasional good cut of meat – especially in Australia – or local and home-caught fish have not yet disappeared from the diet.
Except for what goes into the shopping basket, and as far as it is realistic and feasible for my wife, only materials that are really needed are bought. If possible 2nd hand on eBay or Gumtree, the Australian variant. Not an easy task in the middle of our consumer society.
We did, however, spot a small eco-shop in the neighbourhood (Hove), where we currently live. In addition to largely drugstore-like products, they also sell washing and cleaning products that you can fill yourself with bottles and containers. Nothing you can eat. This store is also quite expensive, but it’s a start. We think that there are still many opportunities for cities like Adelaide, where people can shape their lifestyle and consumption more sustainably.
Markthalle 9 in pre-COVID-19 times (source: tagesspiegel.de), and during COVID-19, where the market was visited a lot less. The last three weeks in our apartment looked like this. At some point you get used to it.