Friends of Abacus: Emily and Ben
October 20 , 2020
From Coast to Coast, and back again. A true story.
My husband Ben and I left the beautiful city of Vancouver at the ages of 30 and 29 in a search for bigger and better career opportunities abroad. As exciting as this step was into a bright new world, there was a lot of baggage – literal baggage. Aside from the endless cardboard boxes, we had a futon couch, queen-sized bed, coffee table, and a dining table that sat six. All generous in size, these were just the significant pieces – there was even more. Eventually, the cost of shipping furniture across the continent became more than the collective value of our belongings. We ended up leaving more than half of them behind.
Our dreams landed us in New York; one of the biggest and brightest cities playing host to so many not-so-big or bright apartments – we moved into a 350 sq.ft studio looking into a brick wall of a neighboring building. The bed we hauled over 6,000 km had to be thrown away because it no longer fit in the space we lived. Our couch was used to its maximum potential; we used it as a banquette for dinner parties, a comfort zone for watching the Friends re-run, and of course, a beloved bed for sleeping. One would argue that this was probably not the most hygienic way to live.
Missing the Pacific breeze and endless coastlines, we set our sights next on San Francisco. Moving from a 350 sq. ft studio to a 750 sq. ft one-bedroom apartment, we were able to ship everything we owned this time, and the excitement was elating – a new city, a new life, with more space!
Our first instinct was to go shopping for a new bed and other accessories. But because this felt temporary, we didn’t want to invest in anything nice. Sure enough, after 3 months of owning a new dresser, it broke. I am not going to name names [insert large corporate companies], but I will say, you just get what you pay for. Into the landfill this dresser went, and we learned to value spending a little more to get something more durable, a little more secure.
Once our lease ended there, we moved once more into a different apartment. With the new layout of our new place, we got rid of our couch and purchased a new one that was more aesthetically pleasing. At this point, we were just constantly throwing away all our hard-earned money at these furniture companies, while adding more waste to our precious earth, and the guilt ran deep. If you need a reminder about this, I suggest watching the video of the plastic straw stuck in a turtle’s nostril. It is deeply ingrained in my mind.
Just as birds always find their way back home, Ben and I found ourselves back in the Pacific Northwest. We proudly purchased our first home with 2000 sq. ft. (YAY!). I look back at how far we have come, and how far our furniture has travelled. Only the lucky ones made it to the end with us. A lot was disposed of and lost along the way. And yet, once again, we are looking to get rid of our old stuff so we can furnish our new place in a fresh way. “Let me dig into my wallet once more to purchase more furniture, while I contribute towards more furniture waste”, I think to myself.
If we knew a company like this existed 5 years ago, our journey and moving experience would be very different. We would have thrown out zero furniture during all our moves. We could have furnished the distinct spaces with different, fresh, and more appropriate pieces set that could have been delivered for us each time. Whether or not you live a nomadic life like we do, what the company offers is for any kind of furniture user. We all have the desire to change our style, our space, our life. And I think Abacus’ supports just that… a new way of life.