A key expat skill is packing light but there’s another important art to master – knowing the essentials to buy for your new home once you arrive. Fitting it out in truly local style will help you not only to fit in with your new neighbours, but also to impress the flock of eager visitors who will no doubt soon be arriving as your guests, lured by the prospect of a moneysaving holiday.
Here’s our top 10 list of items for living in Spain and kitting out a sunny Spanish pad:
One: Olive Oil
Spain is the world’s top producer of olive oil, and, if you’re planning to embrace local cuisine as well as culture, bottles of high quality olive oil will soon become a cupboard staple.
Two: A clothes line
Tumble dryers are rare in Spain – why use further electricity when the weather is so good? Even if you don’t have a garden, stringing up a line on your apartment balcony is more than acceptable, and many apartment buildings have an internal patio where laundry can also be hung.
Not just for restaurants or special occasions, Spanish guests will expect to have a napkin handy while eating.
Four: Una Cafetera
Good coffee requires a cafetera, so banish that jar of instant coffee and wake up and smell the real coffee!
Five: Blinds or shutters
Blinds and shutters aren’t anywhere near as common in the UK as they are here in Spain; ask any Spaniard who’s gone from here to there– it’s a big shock for them! Curtains just don’t keep out the hot summer sun (or the light when indulging in a siesta), so which will it be – Venetian? Roller? Made from esparto grass?
Plenty of Spanish properties don’t have access to a mains gas supply, so you may need to get bombonas (bottled butane gas) delivered and get used to changing the cylinders as needed.
Seven: A mop
Carpets are rare so housework is no longer dominated by the whirr of a vacuum cleaner. Instead tiles (often decorative as well as practical) are most common, along with wooden floors which can require waxing and varnishing. And apparently the mop was invented in Spain, so even when cleaning you’ll be following a local tradition.
This should be red and plenteous, and, with the highly affordable local prices, your home should always be well-stocked!
Nine: Side plates
Serve bread with EVERYTHING. Even meals which are already carb-heavy.
Ten: Un brasero
Not strictly necessary (central heaters will do) but worth having just for the novelty of it. This ingenious, electrical contraption is placed, or sometimes even fitted, beneath the tableclothed dining room table and serves to keep your legs warm during the cold winter months. This is about as Spanish as it gets!