I don't have any pictures for this post, but something major that happened in the spring...the week of March 9, 2015, to be exact...was something that we had both looked forward to and stressed out about for a number of months. It was time to ship the household goods to the States!
This involved a major, major overhaul of our house! I don't know how many boxes and bags we donated to the thrift store or to people who for some reason wanted what we didn't. We sold a few bigger items but mostly just kept shoving things out the door. It was so freeing! The actual pack out went much faster than we anticipated; the folks had told us it would take 4 days, but it really only took about a day and a half to pack everything, and then they went ahead and loaded the truck on that second day, too.
I kept out many of my kitchen items, not really thinking through the timing of when I might see things again on the other side of the ocean. (Oh, well, we needed more silverware anyway...) And since it was early March in Naples, we kept all of our clothes since it was freezing inside our house but going to be wicked hot before we actually made the move in May. I kept out the school items we would continue using and shipped the rest; kept enough toys to keep the littles occupied and shipped the rest; kept out enough books to keep us from going mad and shipped the rest.
And then came the loaner furniture: a bed and dresser for each person, a table that seated 6, a table that seated 4, 9 chairs, 2 love seats, 2 chairs, and a coffee table.
That was it.
In a three-story, open floor-plan of a house with all tile floors, our nearly naked house was loud. I mean LOUD. Lego Duplos bouncing down the stairs had nothing whatsoever to cushion those sound waves. The furniture was cheap and light enough that even Zaden could move it handily all over the main floor. Love seats were pushed together to make a ship, and I'd be lying if I told you the kids never flung themselves from one cushioned seat to another, despite dire warnings.
You'd think with so much less stuff in the house it would be easy to keep it clean, to continue on with our school routine having way fewer distractions. Not so. We quickly learned that the lack of horizontal surfaces meant a severe work space shortage, both for school tasks as well as cooking. The few toys that we did have always, ALWAYS ended up strewn all over the floor like plastic land mines. And the lack of Toy Variety meant the number of meltdowns increased exponentially throughout the day.
In desperation we borrowed a small TV and blu-ray player from a kindhearted friend who obviously did not want to see me check myself into mental health. Between that and trying to squeeze in as many day trips and friend meet-ups as possible, we survived the subsequent 8 weeks or so before we then moved into the temporary lodging in preparation for our final out. WHEW! Strange, though, how the bare house quickly became a new normal for us. It was truly freeing to not be weighted down with so much STUFF!