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    • #158418
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      You want a challenge? Here’s a challenge. You have about four months to sort through everything you own and get rid of most of it, because you’re moving overseas.

      How and where do you begin?

      This week, my husband was offered a job in Tokyo. We are excited! But our moving date will be in July. We need to decide what’s worth taking with us, and what’s not, and figure out how to get rid of what we don’t keep in this very short time. Obviously all the furniture and the cars go (though what do we do about the one car that we’re still making payments on? How does that work?). And culling our books and sentimental items will be very difficult, but we know what to do.

      But what about things we love and use a lot, but would be very difficult to take? Like my stand-up mixer? Or his multiple gaming consoles (all of which he uses regularly)? These aren’t things you can easily replace over there or will be expensive to replace. We’ll be taking a severe pay cut by moving there (half his current salary, and I’ll need to find a new job). We could ship some things, but the cost of shipping would have to be less than the cost to replace it (and shipping is expensive).

      Excluding anything we might ship, everything we own has to fit in four suitcases, two carry-ons, and two laptop bags. Can we say AHHHHHHH! or what?

      At its very shortest, this will be a two-year deal. But so long as they’re happy with my husband’s work and he still enjoys the job at the end of the contract, we’ll continue (presumably) for life. So, getting a storage unit would just be a waste of money. With no plans to live state-side again, there’s no point in holding on to stuff that we won’t be able to use for years, if ever again.

      Advice? Suggestions? Stories of when you had to make a big move and/or make big decisions? Please share!

      It’s been our dream to live in Japan, and this is a great opportunity to work with wonderful people. But this will be a difficult transition. Any help we can get would be wonderful, whether it’s advice or moral support.

      Thankfully, there are no kids or pets to worry about. At least that’s one thing that’ll make all of this easier!

    • #163515
      Sky
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      How exciting! Please keep us up to date with your uncluttering…this will be a good lesson for all of us.

    • #163516
      silkee1213
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      How exciting! You mentioned taking all of your furniture and both cars and I am wondering if you will need it all. I’m not sure how urban the space it where you live now, but Tokyo has great mass transit, and small living spaces than the American average. I would avice you to take that into consideration. If you know the dimensions of the space where you’ll be living, see if all of your furniture will fit.

      If there are other expats within the Company he will work for, see if they have any advice on things they thought were necessary to bring with them but in the end did not use in their new life in Japan.

      Good Luck!

    • #163519
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’m glad everyone agrees that this is exciting. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll try to keep you all updated. So far, I’m just making lots and lots of lists!

      silkee1213, by “go” I meant “get rid of.” So no, we won’t be taking any furniture or cars with us. One car is payed off, but the other we’re still making payments for (it’s a used car, but we only got it in January when one of our cars died). :/ Does anyone know how to go about selling a car we’re still making payments on?

      The voltage in Japan is very similar to the US, so we won’t need to worry about adaptors or replacing our electronics. Thank goodness!

    • #163520
      Catrien
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I packed for a long vacation and put everything else (that I wanted to keep) in storage. A year and a half later, when my move turned permanent, my husband-to-be and I cleaned out the storage unit in about 4 days (while dealing with last-minute wedding details).
      It can be done.

    • #163521
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs.Mack, since you will be taking a pay cut, you need to sell as many of your items as you can. I suggest putting the furniture on craigslist, since it is hard to ship, so just sell it locally.

      The vehicles can also sell on craigslist. My niece just bought a really nice older truck on craigslist. Of course, the car you are still making payments on will have to be sold for more than the balance you owe. Look at the blue book price and figure out what you need to charge. If it is a Toyota or Honda, you won’t have any trouble selling it. The imports are in high demand. You will have to get the title when it is paid off, so you can sign it over to the buyer. You might consider letting a car dealer sell it, if you are worried about the time.

      Everything else should go on eBay. Appliances and gaming stuff, if they are working, should sell really well. If you are worried about time with the eBay stuff, you should find someone that will sell it for you, for a commission. I will see if I can find a link for you.

      With the electrical stuff, you need to see if it will work in Japan. I know it won’t work in Europe. I don’t know about Japan.

      Only ship the stuff you don’t want to get rid of. If you have photo albums, you could ship those, but I would keep a representative one with me, just in case.

      I’m going to do some research.

      I am so excited for you!

    • #163522
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Here is a link for finding a Trading Assistant on eBay.

      http://ebaytradingassistant.com/directory/index.php

      Here is a link for craigslist. You could sell the furniture by making an ad for each grouping or piece, or you could advertise a huge moving sale and put a few photos on. If sales do well in your area, this might be the best thing. If they don’t, I would do it the other way. Always include photos.

      http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites

      Here is an article about how to sell a car on craigslist.

      http://www.ehow.com/how_2000928_sell-car-on-craigslistorg.html

      You can also sell cars on eBay!

    • #163523
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Here is an interesting site with some feedback about selling a car that is still financed.

      http://ask.metafilter.com/17518/Selling-Car-with-Lien-still-on-it

    • #163524
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      In what area of the country do you live, Mrs. Mack?

      Added: You will need a power adaptor/converter in Japan to use your appliances, so this is a definite consideration in how many of your electrical appliance you want to take.

    • #163525
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Claycat, how did you know that our two cars are a Toyota and a Honda?! Hehehe, funny coincidence. I googled the bluebook price on our Honda (the one we’re making payments on) and it’s valued at about $4,000-$6,000 (depending on the trim of the car, which I don’t know off the top of my head). We owe about $7,000, which includes the 2 year warranty through Carmax (the warranty is very newโ€”got the car in Januaryโ€”so I’m hoping the warranty will be a plus in the buyer’s eyes). So we’ll see how that goes. We’ll probably talk to Carmax and see what they suggest.

      Most of our photos are already on our computers. We’ll have to figure out a way to scan our (large) prints, or take them with us in a safe way so they don’t crumple. We don’t have any traditional albums.

      Is there a reason you think selling our household items on eBay would be a better choice than also selling those on craigslist? Or is that what you meant by your comment? (You said: “If sales do well in your area, this might be the best thing. If they don’t, I would do it the other way.”) So, if craigslist does well in my area, do it that way, but otherwise through eBay? Just making sure I understand you. I live near Chicago, so I think selling things on craigslist should be fine. But if we get desperate with time or can’t handle all of the effort, I’ll see if I can find a trading assistant for eBay. I think I saw an eBay store about 30 minutes away from here.

      There will be a few things that aren’t worth any money, but are still usable (stained, missing one in a pair, etc.) that I plan to Freecycle. But otherwise, yes, I’m hoping to sell everything so we have as much money for this move as possible. We have some savings, but not as much as I’d like.

    • #163526
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      As for adapters, I’ll only need adapters if I have a three prong plug. Two prongs won’t need an adapter, since the watts of the two countries are similar (I used to live there as a kid, which is why I know).

    • #163528
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      LOL! I live in outer podunk. I had two estate sales for my MIL. The first wasn’t too bad. The second was not good. I live 50 miles from Austin, too far for people to come to a sale. There are not enough people around here to make a sale very good. That’s why I said that. If you live near enough to Chicago, you shouldn’t have any problem. Location!

      I have a Toyota, and that is probably what we will buy from now on. They are such good little cars! Used Toyotas and Hondas are both in demand, more so than other cars. That may affect the price. Hopefully you can make enough to pay off your loan.

    • #163529
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Also, I would choose a trading assistant over an ebay store, because she/he wouldn’t have the overhead of having a building to pay for. Someone at a store probably won’t give you as much. A trading assistant takes a commission. I’m sure you could find someone local.

    • #163530
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I checked what the specifics of the Honda are, and found out that the private party value is just under $5,000 and the retail value is just over $6,000. Tack on the benefit of the warranty, and I’m hoping we’ll break even on that one.

    • #163539
      Gypsie
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      How exciting! I lived overseas for 5 years and loved it!

      One thing to keep in mind about moving overseas with electronics is the Hertz, or the cycle of electricity. For example the US is 120 Volts/60Hz and Japan is 100volts/50Hz (Tokyo – eastern Japan); therefore, an alarm clock from the US will actually lose 10 min per hour if plugged into an outlet in Tokyo.

      Get rid of all furniture and cars. Personally, I’d only bring what I absolutely love and slowly buy new as needed. I have friends that live in Japan and they love it!

      Keep up posted!

    • #163548
      fileboxx
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I had to learn the hard way after I moved overseas what I should have brought. Moving to a different culture is exciting and then a couple of weeks into it a bit overwhelming, so here is what I learned:

      Clothes
      Bring the clothes that fit you properly and feel comfortable and bring extra underwear and bras – I only brought one weeks worth of clothes and regretted it, the clothes styles that were in fashion at the time were very uncomfortable for me to wear, also find proper fitting bras and underwear has been like a search for the holy grail for me.
      Leave all clothes behind that don’t fit the seasons that you will be living through, for example I brought heavy sweaters that I should have left behind and didn’t bring the light cardigans that would have been very useful.

      Towels
      If you like a really big bath towel to wrap yourself in after a shower, then bring one with you because it will be difficult to find them.

      Toys and Books for the kids
      If you have kids bring their toys and books that important to them, they are going to need things familiar around them to help them transition as well.

      Laptop and Portable Hard drive
      If you don’t have enough space, put this info on a portable hard drive but on your laptop have a copy of your important documents, your favorite recipes, music you enjoy listening to, pictures of people that matter to you, and e-books or stories that bring comfort to you, and a list of all the phone numbers/emails of people you want to keep up with

      Household Basics
      If the place you are moving to does not have the basics, then stop off at Ikea in Japan http://www.ikea.com/jp/en/ and buy the dishes/pots/pans Startboxes (http://www.ikea.com/jp/en/catalog/categories/departments/kitchen/15939/ )The cost of shipping these items is far more expensive then buying them there and the sheets/bedding you need will be different in size than what you are used to because the bed sizes are different.

      A folder to bring your most important documents in
      You will need a secure folder to hold paper copies of your passports, birth certificates, life insurance docs, social security info, etc. Keep this folder on your carry on luggage. Sometimes the original documents are asked to prove your identity for utilities, bank accounts, etc.

      Banking
      Try and have a bank account with a bank that has branches in Japan and the US so that you do not have to go through the frustrating experience of trying to bank from a different country that does not have a branch with people that you can talk to face to face if any ‘glitches’ happen.

      Technology
      The technology you will want to bring with you are a good watch with an alarm clock, a laptop with DVD player/portable harddrive/powercords/adapters, digital camera or video camera, a good translation tool so that you can know what the words are for the important things like ‘bathroom’.
      The technology you will want to buy overseas is a mobile phone because the mobile phone system is different than America. You can buy cell phones that have a camera/mp3 players, etc to minimize the other stuff you bring.
      And pretty much I would leave the rest of the electrical stuff behind because of the voltage issues because even with adapters you can still have problems and with Region Codes your games may not work as well.

      Chocolate, spices, comfort items
      If there are things that bring you comfort like a favorite type of chocolate, or a home cooked meal with a certain spice, or a favorite small item, bring it with you. Even though you are living in a different country, you will still want your home to feel like home.
      Leave the big furniture behind
      This was hard for me to grasp because I was so used to the idea of lots of space and I am not just referencing lots of floor space, but also large fridges, bigger beds, wider sidewalks and roads, larger cars, stores with wider isles, etc. So spatially adjusting to smaller spaces helped me realize that bringing big furniture was just not practical because not only might it not fit but trying to sell or give away the furniture in the foreign country may be even more difficult than just putting the stuff into storage.
      Connect with people as soon as you can
      Find a church, social group, etc to connect with people because they will be the ones who will help you understand the new culture you live in and help you with the things one needs to find like a doctor, dentist, good language school, etc.

      Be prepared that change is hard but also has a lot to offer
      I wish someone would have just told me this: It will be really exciting when you move and live in a different culture but there will be times when you really miss ‘home’ especially around the holidays and when you are in frustrating situations but the whole experience will change your perspective on life and people and you will grow as a person.

    • #163549
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Great post, fileboxx!

      Trillie, I’m just a beginner, but thank you for the nice compliment!

    • #163554
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      AJ, what a great idea! That will help me with those items that I don’t know how I could take but I really want to take. Thanks!

      Trillie and fileboxx, because I grew up in Japan as a kid, I’m aware of the clothes issue. I’m very curvy (large bust and large hips, narrow shoulders and waist) and have extra wide feet, and my husband is very tall (with long limbs) and has extra narrow feet. So the only thing we’re definitely buying before we go to Japan is new clothes and shoes! There’s lots of walking in Tokyo, so we’ll be buying good quality shoes that really fit our feet. We’re planning to purge our current wardrobes of all clothes that don’t fit, have problems that aren’t easily fixed, are stained, or we just don’t really like. And we’ll be shopping with Tokyo seasons in mind (mild winters, hot and humid/wet summers). I have a light jacket I’ll probably take with me, but otherwise we’ll shop for coats once we get there. Everything here (Chicago) is too heavy since they’re used to below freezing temperatures. Tokyo winters usually hover between 30 and 40 degrees F.

      Also, fileboxx, we have a small external hard drive that we have our computers backed up on. We’ll be taking our laptops (we each have one), but we haven’t decided what to do about my husband’s desktop (he’s a gamer, so he uses advanced PCs). He might just take parts and rebuild on that end.

      As for banks, we’re currently with Chase. My parents (who live in Japan already) use Chase, so I think that’ll be fine. I’ll ask them for advice about banks though, since I know sometimes Chase will randomly refuse a transaction because they forget my parents are overseas.

      With technology, I have a pretty good idea of what we should and shouldn’t bring because of my experience living there. I’m already fluent in Japanese, so I won’t need a translator (my husband doesn’t speak Japanese, but he knows a few words, like “bathroom” and “train station”). But I’ll suggest that dictionary you mentioned to my husband, and see if he might like it. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ At the very least it could teach him more words if I write what it is in Japanese on the pages.

      Like I mentioned, my husband is a gamer (and a movie buff), so he has a large collection of games (and movies). We have hundreds of them, but they’re confined to CD/DVD binders that hold 200 discs each. That saves a lot of space, so we’ll be able to take them all without worrying about using up a whole suitcase on just discs. Because we have such a large collection that gets used regularly, we’ll be taking consoles that can play them, even if they’re in an American region code. He wouldn’t be able to understand games in Japanese at this point anyway, so no sense buying Japanese games yet. We’ll try to consolidate the electronics though (example: PS3 plays all Playstation games 1-3, DVDs, and Bluerays, so no need for PS1/PS2 consoles, DVD player, or Blueray player).

      I’ll probably take some spices that are hard to get in Japan, and other things like that. My husband will probably take things like that too. But about an hour away from where we will live there is a Costco that sells American products, so we won’t need to take chocolate, peanut butter, cereal, etc. Also, my husband may need some non-food comfort items from the states, but since I consider Japan my home already (I’ve only lived in the states a total of 8โ€“9 years), I have Japanese comfort things here! I doubt I’ll take many American-specific items with me for sentimental reasons. Just pictures (on the computer) and stuff.

      The reason we’re moving is because my husband got a job at an international school (the one I attended as a child). They are a very friendly community, so I know my husband will be able to get lots of support from them (and me) when we move. Plus they’re used to new teachers and staff who love Japan but have never lived there, so need help. I think this transition will be much harder for him than for me. Your advice about “it’ll be hard but worth it” is something he’ll need to remember. That’s what I needed to remember when I moved here to the states for college.

      I think this whole consolidation/purging/packing process will be completely doable. It’s going to be tough, but I think in the end we’ll be able to pull it off.

      And to be honest, I’m looking forward to living with much less stuff. I’ve been feeling the itch to purge lately anyway, but since my husband is a bit of a pack rat I had trouble making any headway. Well, I’ll make lots of headway this time for sure! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #163561
      Joy
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Before a trip, I set out my suitcase and toss things in as I come across them. It keeps the mind clear and helps me to see how much or little space I really have.

    • #163569
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      That’s actually a good idea.

      Already my husband said we could pack this or that if we wrapped clothes around it, but when measured, it wouldn’t fit in any of our suitcases!

    • #163571
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      None of our furniture is special. It’s either all hand-me-down or purchased for $50 or less. Our bed is the most expensive thing we own, and it was only $500. None of it’s worth saving.

      A big reason for that is I’ve put my tastes aside for frugality’s sake, hoping that this move would happen someday. Neither of us have put our roots down in much because we were hoping to leave the country. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Depending on the stuff we have trouble getting rid of, we might have to seek storage. I don’t think there will be enough to warrant that, though. It just seems a waste to pay to have stuff we’re not using put somewhere. Might as well get rid of it (but easier said than done!).

      I’ll look into the laptop idea. I need a new laptop anyway, and I was trying to decide whether to buy here or there. I don’t think it’ll make too much difference in use though, because I’m using a Japanese laptop here in the states just fine.

      And though I understand your reasoning behind giving up the games, it’s not going to happen. It’s more than just a way to kill time for him, so I’d never win that battle. If I think of it as me being forced to give up all of my hobbies, I’d only ever allow it over my dead body. So I won’t do that to himโ€”I’d kind of like a living husband, rather than a dead one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #163574
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’m a gamer myself, Mrs. Mack, and you are right to not ask him to give it up. If it doesn’t interfere with his life, like it does with mine, I don’t see a problem. I’m afraid mine is ADD related, and it has become a problem for me. However, I seem to be getting bored with it lately, because eBay has become more exciting for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #163578
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Good news! When I was asking my mother (who is currently living in Japan) for advice on things to take or not take from the kitchen and linen closet, she told me she already has enough for several families so she’d have plenty to give to us. A few less things I need to worry about packing!

      For example, one thing I was wondering about is measuring cups and spoons. A Japanese cup is a smaller measurement than an American cup, so if I used an American recipe I’d have to convert it each time to Japanese measurementsโ€”annoying! But my mother says she has more sets than she needs, so I can have American measuring cups without having to worry about packing them. Same for towels and the like, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #163579
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      That must be a relief, Mrs.Mack. It will help you a lot.

    • #163738
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs.Mack, we need an update on your progress!

    • #163771
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’m glad you’re interested!

      Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do much. It won’t be until May that things really start moving, I think. We’ll see. But I’ve made lists about things we’re planning on selling, or keeping, or (possibly) storing. I’m also in the middle of filling out paperwork to get my passport updated, since it’s still in my maiden name.

      I’ve gotten advice from those who live in Japan that the three things we really need to bring are: Clothes/shoes that fit well, deodorant, and medicine (ibuprofen, Benadryl, etc.). Their clothes won’t fit us, and the aforementioned products are not strong enough/hard to find/treat different kinds of symptoms than we need.

      I promise I’ll post here when more interesting things start happening. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #163773
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      No, I didn’t read the comments. I’ll read them right now, thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #163777
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I hadn’t read that one from the archives, trillie. Thanks for posting the link. It was a great article, and I enjoyed the comments.

    • #163810
      viola
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’m so jealous Mrs. Mack – I’d love to be heading back to Japan again! (I lived there for a year in 2001-2).

      I’ve moved internationally at total of 7 times now (with numbers 8 and 9 coming up within the next 5 or 6 years – that’s the way my life goes! Can’t beat my wanderlust).

      One suggestion I would make, particularly when it comes to things like books and CDs is ‘pack (at least) twice’. What I mean is this: go through all your books, decide which ones are being taken, and then donate/give away/sell the ones that are being left behind. Then a couple of weeks later, do it again. You’ll be surprised the amount of books you’ll cull in the second attempt.

      My rule for books was always – will it be hard to find again, and will I read it again. If it didn’t fit these two categories, it almost always went. (With the exception of anything that had particular significance – given to me by someone special etc).

      Good luck with it all! We didn’t declutter all that well for this move, because my work were paying for shipment and movers etc, and I really regret it. It’s going to make the next move (which they won’t be paying for) that much harder.

    • #163814
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      That is a good point. I recently culled my books (before this whole possibility to move to Japan) and thought I got it down to the minimum. But as soon as I heard we were moving, immediately I thought of several more books I could let go of. I’m sure this summer there will be even more.

    • #163838
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I found out where we will be living exactly, and was given a basic idea of what the place is like! No floor plan, but a good enough description. (More details to come later, they said.)

      It’ll be a 1-bedroom apartment on the second floor. A small but decently sized bedroom (room to walk around a double/queen bed), and a living room/kitchen that is about 10×15 feet (the measurement was eyeballed) with a counter and a hanging set of cupboards separating the kitchen from the small living room.

      There will be a Japanese style bath (fully tiled room with shower on one side, and deep bath on the other). And thankfully a Western-style toilet and laundry machines! Most Japanese have a tiny washer and hang their clothes to dry, but we’ll have a stacking washer and dryer in a closet. Also, they said the fridge is an American size, which is great (Japanese fridges are about 2/3 the size of Americans ones, based on my memory).

      It’s fully furnished, so furniture (couch, bed, etc.), appliances (stove, microwave, etc.), dishes, cookware, and more will be there. It’s looking more and more like we’ll really only need to bring clothes to wear, and just a few things we can’t bare to part with. The less we have to pack or ship, the better! ๐Ÿ™‚

      This is a small place by American standards, but by Japanese standards, quite spacious. We already live in a fairly small space (I think it’s about 700 sq ft or less) so downsizing won’t be too much trouble, especially since we’re not taking much with us.

    • #163840
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      It sounds good Mrs.Mack! Thanks for catching us up! I can feel your excitement. It’s funny; I pick up on your excitement, and it makes me excited, too, and I’m not even going anywhere. LOL

    • #163853
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hee hee! It’s fun to have people excited with me! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I do have a question that I need some advice on though… Most of my cooking pans/pots/etc. are in pretty poor condition. They were cheap-o pieces we got when we first got married, and recently we had been talking about needing to replace them. They’re stained, scratched, and some of them are a bit warped.

      Obviously we won’t take them to Japan and we have no interest in storing them. But as poor of condition as they’re in, should they even be sold? Should I just toss them (is there a way to recycle them)? That seems a bit wasteful, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to inherit these unless they can’t afford $30 for a new cheap-o set from Walmart. Especially since these are non-stick, but stuff is starting to stick to them now.

      What should I do with them? I thought about donating them to a homeless or women’s shelter or something, but since scratched non-stick isn’t healthy… :/

    • #163854
      Vivace
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Some municipalities do recycle them, but if they’re still usable, you can donate them to a thrift store and let the shoppers decide if there’s still a market for them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #163864
      Gypsie
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      You might try to donate them to a thrift shop as Ive known some people to use them as inexpensive pots for plants, or a science expiriment. If they are at all usuable, on most military bases/posts have a Free “Thrift” store where young families can get some basics (all donated) to start out. There is no charge for these young families to get these items. I am sure there is a similar thing on the civilian side too.

    • #163871
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Thrift store it is, then. I’m sure there will be other things we can’t sell and will end up donating to them, too.

    • #163918

      Moving Overseas

      This is a great thread!

      I too am moving to another country, but I have a lot less time than you. I’m moving from California to Argentina in about 3 weeks. I’m excited but getting a little overwhelmed as the day closes in. However, reading all your tips, I think Im doing pretty well!

      I have 2 suitcases laid out that I have been throwing things in to take.

      Craigslist has been excellent for selling furniture and appliances, the hardest parts are getting over the fact that things are not worth what you hope/think they are, and being patient with people who aren’t on the same schedule you are.

      Another thing I recommend: I posted my things for sale on my facebook page in a photo-album. That way friends or acquaintances get first dibs. Works well, but Im selective about what I post there, only the really nice stuff so it doesn’t get overwhelming for my friends. When I hold my garage sale, I will also post a notice on fb.

      I started with 2 piles: Things I can’t part with, and things to get rid of.

      So far the most difficult are books and art supplies/ paintings (I am an artist). Yesterday and today is all about the books…. Im avoiding the art room still. I absolutely agree that multiple stages are good for getting it down to the bare minimum. My other piece of advice: box the items to get rid of immediately , Label it (sell/donated/whatever) close the lid and do not open it again. That little nugget is saving me from changing my mind, and deciding that I must keep Dante’s inferno because I really will read it this time, though once in college was enough.

      My plan is to list furniture or things I don’t have the heart to haggle over at a yard sale on Craigslist. If I can’t get what I want (give or take), I’m taking that as a sign that I’m over-valuing it and should price it lower at the yard-sale.

      My yard sale will either be the first or second week of April. First week seems like a great idea because people tend to get paid/move at the first of the month. Bad because it is the day before Easter. Any yard sale pro’s out there want to weigh in on that or should I not worry about it?

      I will also invite (beg) a few friends to hang out with me that day. Specifically friends who are good at uncluttering and who will be un-emotional about getting rid of my stuff. My mantra for the day will be: I am doing this to simplify my life, and get rid of things I don’t need. Cash to help me on the trip is wonderful, but it is not the end goal. I will surely be saying this over and over as the day goes on. I will also try my best to remember that by nature, people will be looking for a good deal. That is what garage sales are for.

      Anything that doesn’t sell will be loaded into a truck and taken to goodwill or posted on freecycle. I’m making a pledge not to change my mind just because it didn’t sell.

      I come from a pack-rat family, so uncluttering is relatively new to me. I’ve been following unclutterer for about a year now, and I have to give myself a little pat on the back for all the things I’ve let go over the year, things I am grateful I don’t have to deal with on this move.

      I’m looking forward to starting a new life with only two suitcases, and just the basics waiting for me on my return.

      Somewhere in all of this, I am also selling my car. Thanks for the link on how to craigslist a car & for all your nuggets of wisdom, this is great!

    • #163943
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      The Facebook idea crossed my mind, too, though instead of a photo album, in the “market place.” I might still do it, but the problem is most of my friends don’t live near me. So I don’t know if that’d do me much good. But I’m glad it’s working out for you!

      Also, I would love to host a garage/yard sale, but living in an apartment means no garage or yard. My husband and I have talked about when the end gets close and if we still have stuff, to put what we don’t want to sell in the bedroom and close it off, and then open the rest of our apartment to other tenants in the building to wander through and see if they want anything. Not sure if that’ll happen, but it’s an idea.

      I’m no yard sale pro, but would it hurt to host it twice? I know it eats up your day or weekend, but if that means more people have a chance to grab your stuff… And if it all/mostly all sells the first weekend, no need to host it on the second weekend, too.

      Books and art supplies are my weakness, too! I tried culling my books the other day and it was HARD. I’ll definitely have to take another hack at it later. I haven’t even touched my paints and whatnot yet. *sigh* I sympathize!

    • #163945
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Being an artist myself, I can imagine what you are both going through!

      DisplacedArtist, I’m curious about what you will be doing in Argentina. Do you mind sharing? It sounds like you are making great progress.

      Mrs. Mack, your idea about selling from your apartment is a good one since you don’t have a yard. Is there no communal space in the building where you could get permission to sell your things, or would it be too hard to move everything?

    • #163951
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      No, there isn’t. The lobby is smaller than my living room, so our stuff would cause a fire hazard/block exits. And there isn’t an appropriate spot to put anything outside, either, since the building is right up against a street.

      The closest thing to a “yard” we have is our tiny patio, but I doubt it’s big enough to hold more than just our couch!

    • #163954
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Your responses are encouraging! I’ll definitely consider this if we have trouble getting rid of stuff in time.

    • #163957
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      That’s a good idea about craigslist, trillie!

    • #163974
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Help!

      I’ve just started reading Erin’s new book, and the first project to tackle is the closet… which made me realize I have a wedding dress tucked away in there that I haven’t given a thought to in a long time.

      If it were a dress I bought at a store (David’s Bridal, etc.) I would happily eBay/craigslist it. But it’s made from scratch by my mother to fit my body, which is by no means off-the-rack shaped.

      Sentimental wise, I’m willing to let it go. So turning the fabric into a pillow, or saving parts of it for scrapbooking, or something else like that isn’t that appealing to me. I have plenty of pictures from my wedding of it, too.

      If I were of a regular body type, I’d be happy to donate it or sell it. But I’m a little tall and have an extreme hourglass figure. This dress won’t fit just anybody. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who is even close to my proportions (I haven’t been able to share clothes with anyone since I hit puberty).

      What do I do with it? While I’m not that sentimental about it, I really don’t want to just trash it. :/

      I’m also worried about what my mother will think if I get rid of it. I know it’s not hers, but she put A LOT of time and effort into it. It was a really big deal for her.

      Advice, please?

    • #163978
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Gosh, Mrs. Mack, that’s a hard one! When I married my husband, it was my second marriage. I wore a red dress! LOL! (In China, it’s good luck for a bride to wear red, so I figured I could wear red, too.) Anyway, several years later, I was cleaning out my closet to send clothes to Nuevo Laredo after an awful flood. So, my red wedding dress ended up going to Mexico. It felt good, because I could picture a woman, who had lost her clothing, receiving a pretty, red party dress.

      However, yours was made by your mother! You don’t really have room for it in Japan. You could put it on ebay for a charitable donation. They have an area where you can designate a percentage that is going to your favorite charity. Or you could find someone local who is having trouble affording a wedding dress.

      I’m sure the other posters will have some really good ideas.

    • #163986
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’m just worried that no one will have use for it, since it won’t fit 99% (if not more) of the world’s female population. I’m not kidding. I wear a 30J bra, and have hips to match. With that small of a rib cage and waist, but that large of bust/hips, and long enough to fit my 5’8″ height… (Most girls who are as busty as me are either overweight or quite short.)

      Oh! I just remembered that the top can be removed from the skirt. So at the very least, someone might be able to fit the skirt even if the top doesn’t fit (the top is fitted and has boning in it, so it’s not easily alterable). I can’t believe I forgot that.

    • #163989
      Sky
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs. Mack….Are you a Barbie doll? You sound gorgeous!

    • #163996
      Gypsie
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      You might still try to sell the dress at a very low price as I’m sure someone might be able to reuse the fabric for something (a quincinera dress, christianing, etc.). OR you could donate it to a theater group who might be able to alter it for a play.

    • #163999
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Measurements have nothing to do with beauty. And excuse my language, but it is a BITCH to find clothes. Not fun. At all. Shopping for new clothes or bras always leaves me depressed and full of self-loathing, because nothing off the rack ever fits me. If surgery wasn’t so expensive and potentially risky, I’d love to be a B or a C. LOVE IT.

      (Edit: Sorry I sound so angry. I’m bitter about my situation, that’s allโ€”especially since I’ve spent all afternoon today calling stores in my area looking for someone who carries my bra size, and no one does. Please don’t take it personally!)

      Donating the wedding dress to a theater group is an option I hadn’t thought of, but is a good idea.

      Laetitia, are the hyphens supposed to be in the e-mail address or not?

    • #164001
      Sky
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs Mack….I meant what I said only in the nicest way. I am 5’9” tall and very thin, not any curves, have always had a terrible time finding clothes and my Mom made everything I wore growing up. If I can find something “off the rack”, I have to have it altered. So from how you describe yourself, you really sound beautiful.
      I do hope I didn’t offend you.

      For bras, have you tried http://www.nordstrom.com

    • #164005
      Vivace
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      You can consider contacting Trash The Dress! who do art shoots involving wedding dresses.

    • #164010
      s
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’m not a 30J, but I have a hard time finding bras in my size, too. And shopping for bras, clothes, bathing suits…none of it’s much fun. (I like shoes, though!) There are lots of great places online…don’t forget to check there. Especially if you know a brand or the exact style that you’re comfortable with. If it’s not being sold anymore, I’ve used Issac Sultan & Sons (I think it’s just issacsultan.com). They stock styles that I can’t find at stores.

    • #164018
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Sky, I’m not offended. And like I said in my edit I’m not upset at you, I just had a really frustrating day yesterday trying to find things that fit. I hope you’re not offended. And I grew up having to have all of my clothes altered or made from scratch, too. But reallyโ€”measurements aren’t beauty. For all you know, I could have the ugliest face in the world.

      And while I appreciate everyone’s comments about bra shopping, trust me, I’ve done my research. Nordstrom does not carry my size, and neither does Intimacy, Victoria Secret (ha! what a joke), or any other department store. I been to specialized boutiques in multiple states, I’ve shopped online (Bravissimo, Figleaves, etc.), and sometimes they’ll have my size, but not in a style that fits my body. Currently I’m researching custom made bras.

      Anyway, this thread isn’t about bras, so let’s set that aside.

      Vivace, that’s a really fun idea, but I think it would break my mother’s heart! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #164030

      Moving Overseas

      @ Claycat— Sorry Claycat, I wasn’t ignoring you; just off-line.

      The short story is I’m moving to Argentina for love ๐Ÿ˜‰ A few years ago I went to Argentina for a wedding and met someone there. After many long flights, and countless hours on skype we decided we should actually be in the same country. One benefit to being an artist is I can work anywhere. I have chronic wanderlust anyway so I’m more than happy to go on an adventure!

      It is an incredible opportunity to unclutter, and frankly I think I do better with this “all in one fell swoop” deadline.

      I’m selling my car because it no longer fits my lifestyle. I bought it several years ago when I was working a corporate job. I love the car, but it is much more than I need and maintenance on it is expensive. I’m going to a small town in Argentina, my welcome gift from my beau is a shiny new bicycle, which I think will do fine for the time being. We plan to come back to the US next winter so I will buy a car that fits me then.

      I’m only keeping the furniture that I absolutely love. My wardrobe has been culled down to a little less than one suitcase. Books seem to be difficult for everyone. I chose to make a rule that I keep all my artbooks, a few cookbooks that I regularly use, as for the rest, I used Erin’s idea (I think it was hers) that if Im not going to read it within 6 months, it goes. What that actually meant for me was: if I am not willing to put it in my suitcase and take it with me, it goes. If I had a little twang of sadness over that decision, it went into the library donation pile; If I didn’t it went to the yard sale pile. I figure later if I remember that I wanted to read a particular book, I’ll know where to find it.

      As I’m going through everything (literally) that I own, I am evaluating what exactly is important to me about the object. I find it incredible how much importance I put on things that when I think about it, I dont really like. It is usually the memory that the object brings up, not the object itself. Many of the objects I have, don’t make me happy, they kind of just stress me out because I have not done a good job of having a place for everything. I’m really looking forward to having a home that is filled only with things i truly love.

      The art studio: I’m inventing new and improved ways to procrastinate on that. I will find a solution that Im happy with, I’m sure, but so far, Im avoiding it. It is the big giant elephant in the room.

      Ideas I have: I know, for example, that I have way too many paint brushes. The 80/20 percent rule applies to them: I use 20% of them 80% of the time. So I think I will make a box of 80% of them and drop them off at the art school. A starving art student will hit the gold mine. My anxiety is “what if I need them!?!?!” They were soooo expensive!! My antidote to that is to remember how hard it was in school to afford supplies, and to think that some kid is going to be really happy to have them. Same for materials I bought but never got into (pastels for example). The rest– no idea. I’m sure a big chunk will go to the art school, but there is a lot of stuff im just going to have to figure out. Soon.

    • #164032
      Zora
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’m not a 30J, but I am a DD, and I’ve had a lot of trouble finding bras. I ended up ordering custom-made bras from an online shop called Decent Exposures. They are the most comfortable bras I’ve ever worn and they last forever. They’re comparatively expensive (I think mine were $50 (US) and they’ve probably gone up since then) but it’s worth it. They’re not lacy; they look like sports bras, and they flatten you out like minimizer bras. No 1950s rocket cones ๐Ÿ™‚ You can choose from a range of fabrics. I bought boring beige. So practical.

    • #164035
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Trillie, thanks for the link. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Zora, have you tried shopping http://www.figleaves.com or http://www.brastop.com ? They will probably have bras in your size. If you don’t mind shopping overseas (it’s in the UK), http://www.bravissimo.com is another excellent site for bras, and they offer clothes for curvy figures, too. And may I also recommend the following communities for moral support (sorry for the pun, but I can’t think of a better word)? If you have a smaller ribcage (34/36 and smaller): http://community.livejournal.com/thirty_twod If you have a 36/38 or larger ribcage: http://community.livejournal.com/bustingout

      DisplacedArtist, you’ll have to keep us posted on your progress!

    • #164313
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hey, it’s been a while. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I got some recommendations from friends and relatives about buying plane tickets 8 to 12 weeks before our departure date. We’ll be flying in during a busy season (obon is late July/early August) so we’ll probably order our tickets early May. I’ve been keeping an eye on prices for the past few weeks, and it looks like $700 a person is the cheapest we’ll find, via Air Canada (US to Canada, Canada to Japan).

      Do you have any favorite Web sites to buy your tickets at? We won’t need any other amenities, like hotels or car rentals.

      Another question. What should I do with all the little reward/membership cards on my keychain? I’m talking about those loyalty cards that give you a discount at grocery stores and bookstores. Should I save them in case we come back (or get new ones if it comes to that)? Throw them away? Giving them away or selling them doesn’t sound right.

      As for my wedding dress, I’ve offered it in a few places now and have gotten no bites. I’ll probably include it in the line up when I start selling stuff on craigslist, and if it doesn’t sell there, donate it.

      I’ve been looking at luggage, too. In case we do end up with Air Canada (it looks like they’re pretty strict about size/weight), we’ll buy our luggage after we buy our tickets. That way we know we’ll get pieces that comply to the airline’s rules. Right now we have a duffel bag, a carry-on that’s too big, and a heavy hard-case suitcase. Yeah… not gonna cut it.

      Any luggage recommendations? Brands you like? Should we buy new (our inclination) or off of craigslist?

      I think we’ll aim for a soft or soft/hard case, not a hard case, since hard cases tend to be heavier (and we’re already worried about weight). We also want pieces that nest inside each other for better storage later, though that probably won’t be much a problem since most of them seem to do that already. Recessed wheels would be nice, but they’re not a deal-breaker.

      Also, just for fun: I think I know what seats we’ll ask for on the plane, but I’d like to know your opinion. What’s the best seat to ask for? Window, middle, aisle? By an emergency exit? By the bathroom? Etc. If there’s two of you (instead of just one), does your answer change?

      We live about 15โ€“20 minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare airport, so we see a lot of airplanes fly overhead every day. Each time I see one, I get more excited, knowing that it’ll be just 3.5 more months until I’m on one!

    • #164314
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Exciting, Exciting, Mrs.Mack!

      I can’t think of where I’d like to sit on an overseas plane. Probably close to an emergency exit.

      The last time I flew across the Pacific, I had an infant son. He was teething, and I was sad, because I had just left my husband. (The marriage didn’t work out.) So, we both cried across the Pacific. I feel sorry for any people next to us, though they were all very kind.

    • #164328
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Aw, Claycat, I’m so sorry. ๐Ÿ™ I hope you and your son are doing better now.

    • #164341
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs.Mack, I should have said that was 1970! Don’t feel bad! We are fine! It was almost forty years ago! I have a wonderful husband now, and my son has a wonderful family, too!

    • #164358
      RJ
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      For airline seats, this is an excellent website: http://www.seatguru.com

    • #164360
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Thanks, that’s really helpful!

    • #164361
      fileboxx
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I found this webpage called 40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune – http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources

      For luggage there is a company called Design Go that has luggage that can be folded down into a small package after it has been used so it is convenient to store when you are not travelling – http://www.design-go.com/en/browse.php?a=b&catID=745

    • #164362
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Thanks fileboxx. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #164365
      Vivace
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I used http://onebag.com when I went overseas to study – even though I wasn’t taking just a carry-on, the packing and luggage advice were helpful.

      I’ve had good luck with http://kayak.com for airfare in the past, since it searches virtually everything else for you.

    • #164373
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Great advice, Vivace. I’m pretty well-versed in packing, but there are some good reminders on that site. And yeah, kayak is a great place to look at ticket prices!

      So far we’ve had the best luck with Priceline.com. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #164396
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Tickets have been purchased! We will be flying out during the last week of July. In the end, Priceline.com had the cheapest tickets, on average saving us about $100 per ticket when compared to other travel sites, and saving us about $50 per ticket when compared to the airline’s site. And that was NOT using the “name your own price” feature since that doesn’t apply to one-way tickets.

      The work contract has been signed, my passport has been updated in my married name, and we’ve sent out all the paperwork needed for our work visas. Once that goes through (and I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t) everything will be set in stone! I’m excited!

      We’re still trying to find luggage. Much of what we find (online and in person) has one of three problems: A. Too expensive. B. Poor quality. Or C. Right price, right quality, but wrong sized pieces. And sometimes it’s two or all of the above. ๐Ÿ˜›

      We’re looking for a set of two full-size suitcases and a carry-on (preferably rolling, but duffel bag works too), all that nest within each other. We’re hoping to spend $100 on a set, give or take about $30 (less than would be better, but willing to go more than). I found a couple of sets that might work on Amazon, but I’m not sure. Wish I could see them in person…

      We might have to increase our luggage budget to be guaranteed quality, but I’d rather not spend too much. :/

      On a different note, is it possible to embed pictures in this forum, or do only links to pictures work? I’m getting a point-and-shoot camera for my birthday next week, so it might be fun to show progress of various things for this trip, instead of just talking about it.

    • #164402
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      What about something like this, Mrs.Mack?

      http://www.worldofbags.com/Samsonite-4-Piece-Nested-Set

      Be sure to try the craigslist in your area, too! I bought a set of nesting soft-sided luggage at a garage sale once for $10.

    • #164410
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Thanks for the link! Those suitcases are a bit small, but I didn’t know about that site before, so that increases my chances of finding the right pieces! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Here’s the kind of thing I’m looking for:
      http://www.amazon.com/Travelers-Club-3-Piece-Expandable-Travel/dp/B001P7I964/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I10Q3JC8JFR3MC&colid=PNACQEBI4TVD
      http://www.amazon.com/Black-Skyway-3-Piece-Expandable-Luggage/dp/B002L1CO32/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1MOYFWBXQ5X0O&colid=PNACQEBI4TVD

      Good idea about craigslist, too. I forgot about that.

    • #164442
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Well, we decided to go with new luggage, and we bought our sets last night. We chose Traveler’s Choice Amsterdam 4-piece set (originally seen here, but Overstock had it for cheaper, and only $3 shipping, vs. eBags’ $12). Reviews seem pretty good on this set. I’m pleased. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Another issue that came up is my mother reminded me I needed to bring omiyage. Thankfully not many (about 5), but a must if I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with certain people. For one group of people, she suggested bringing a big bag (or two) of Oreos in an interesting flavor.

      Any suggestions for non-traditional Oreo flavors? I’ve never had any other than the normal kind before.

    • #164446
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Unfortunately, I do not live in Switzerland. That would be really neat! But no, I live in Chicago, IL, USA. I linked to it so that those who don’t know what omiyage is would be able to understand a little better. That is the blog of the woman who is famous for justhungry.com and justbento.com. She’s been featured in the NY Times before.

      Nutella, however, is an excellent suggestion for an omiyage gift! It’s a bit pricey in the US, but it’s even more expensive (for smaller portions) in Japan, and it’s not available everywhere. I’ll consider that.

      PS: I cracked up when I saw that XKCD comic the other day. I love that comic’s humor. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #164680
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      How’s it coming, Mrs.Mack?

    • #164702
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I went shopping for new clothes! My SIL has a really fashionable friend, so the three of us went out this past Saturday to get me clothes. It was so much fun! Clothes shopping is usually a really stressful experience that always leaves me in tears, because I can’t find things that look good on me. But this friend was really good at picking things off the rack that would work with some adjustments (like wearing a camisole underneath, sewing in darts, etc.). I feel great! I’m wearing one of my new outfits today. <3

      Still need to buy new bras and shoes, but otherwise I think I’m set. My husband still needs new clothes though.

      Our new luggage arrived. They stink! We’ve aired them out a couple of days now (all day outside each day), and now they only stink if you lean over them and sniff. Before the whole room became suffocating with their smell when you took them out of their boxes. But at least there’s improvement! We still need to febreze them.

      But they’re a good size, and seem easy enough to handle. The wheels spin really nicely, so no getting stuck and having to drag heavy suitcases. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      The next to-do item is to get our International Driver’s Permits (IDP). It’s just a translation of our US Driver’s Licenses into 10 languages, but in Japan that’s enough to allow us to legally drive for up to a year. Since we’re only guaranteed to live there for a year, that’s perfect! And only the cost of the photos ($8) and processing fee ($15). Not bad, seeing as how getting a Japanese license is not only a very complicated and difficult process, but incredibly expensive.

      The IDP will be nice, too, because if we get in an accident or something, they’ll have all of our personal info in a language they can read. Living in Japan will required us to carry Alien Registration cards, but the IDP will have more physically identifying info (complexion, height, weight).

      I have to admit, I’m starting to feel the pressure of the up coming move. It’s less than 3 months away now! We need to start getting rid of our smaller stuff this month.

      Feel free to keep nagging me for updates! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #164839
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Yesterday I got my husband to finally sort through his books. I still need to sort through mine again (it’s harder for me! I need to take baby steps) but we’ve already accumulated several large piles of books to get rid of. I’ve started typing up a list of all the books so I can offer them for sale to coworkers via our social e-mail chain (a common practice at my job), and it’s already a couple of pages long… and I’m not done typing them up!

      Also, on Saturday we went into Walgreens to have our “passport” photos taken (for our IDPs), but they were having problems with their camera. I really don’t like the way they do it there. I had my real passport photos taken there not that long ago, and I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the results of those, either (but gave in because I needed them quickly). Walgreens’ process is really unprofessionalโ€”they pull down a screen in front of a door, don’t use any lights (just the regular fluorescents that are on in the store, which make for awful color and bad shadows), and use a cheap (crappy) point-and-shoot Kodak camera.

      The problem we had on Saturday was that no matter how many times the girl took my picture, it came out slightly fuzzy (not enough light in the room, and the camera didn’t offer a way to bump up the ISO). So we left. I can’t believe they want to charge $8 a pop! Ridiculous for how poor the service is. We’ll probably take our own and print them on a 4×6, and then cut them out ourselves. Cheaper (only 21 cents!) and more efficient. And probably better quality, too.

      Where do you go to get your passport photos taken? Any recommendations?

    • #164968
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Another question: What should I do with our bed once July rolls around? (We’re flying out the last week of July.) We can’t sell it, can we? Is it possible to recycle it? If so, how? And where? If we can’t, do we just leave it by the dumpster out back (that takes everything and anything, from daily trash to old sofas)? Just a reminder, we live in a Chicago suburb.

      What do you do with old mattresses and box springs?

      We don’t have a proper frame or headboard (just the very basic metal frame that came with the mattress/box spring), so I’m not worried about that part.

    • #165023
      rw86347
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      When I moved to china I brought 4 boxes. That was too much! Don’t bring anything electric except computers. Don’t bring any furniture. When you want to return home it will be very hard to bring things back to the USA.

      Sell the car with payments!!!! Maybe keep the older car assuming it won’t depreciate too much.

    • #165062
      RebeccaL
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      have you figured out what you’re doing with your wedding dress yet? Could you reuse any of the material? I imagine it could make a pillow cover/wrap/table runner or clothes or placemats/ christmas (if you celebrate it) tree skirt/ etc, etc.??

    • #165099
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Nope, still don’t know what to do with my dress.

      It probably could be turned into something else and I’m sure it’d look lovely, but since we’re trying to get rid of as much as possible, I’d rather not have an extra pillow to pack, you know? I’m not terribly attached to it. I have a couple of small leftover scraps of the fabric from when my mother was making it, and that’s enough for me (and it fits in a small flat envelope, which is nice on the space-saving front). Also plenty of pictures of me wearing it.

      I’ll probably end up donating it somewhere.

    • #165151
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs. Mack, the Salvation Army will come pick up your bed.

      On another note! Y’all were talking about Nutella. I had never tried it. I tried it and loved it! Now I have one more yummy chocolate thing to put weight on! LOL

    • #165196
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Really? I thought because of bed bug issues no one would be able to take it? (We don’t have bed bugs, but that fear seems to be the main reason people don’t like buying used mattresses.)

      I’m planning on doing some purging this weekend, so I hope I’ll have another update soon.

      Isn’t Nutella wonderful??? I love it. And it’s theoretically sort of healthy for you, since it’s a hazelnut spread, not melted chocolate chips. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #165475
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Well, after some discussion with my husband during the past couple of days and sorting through more stuff, we’ve decided not to host a garage sale.

      Originally I thought that might be easiest. Put everything out on tables, this table everything is $5, that table $3, all books are $1, etc. But even if we keep it simple and don’t tag individual items, that’ll still be a lot of work. Also, we don’t have a garage, a yard, or any other place to host it. Our apartment building butts up against the street. And I really don’t want to encroach on my friends who have driveways.

      So, we’ve decided we’ll sell big or valuable things on craigslist (furniture, computers, appliances, etc.) and send most of the little stuff to a thrift store, being careful to itemize our donations for tax purposes.

      The point is to get rid of stuff, not make money. The money is a bonus.

      I have to keep reminding myself of that.

      Deciding not to host a garage sale takes some of the pressure off. I’m still feeling the stress of preparing for this move, though. 9 more weeks until we fly. So much stuff! Though I wouldn’t consider us minimalists, I always thought we didn’t have very much. We live in a (I think) 700-ish square foot apartment, and we have room/empty space in our storage unitsโ€”closets, cupboards, and the like. Empty space in a small space = not much stuff, right? Oops, wrong. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      This isn’t impossible. But it will be a lot of work.

      I’ve marked pretty much everything we own with how soon we can get rid of it. We’ll be selling/donating things in waves. Our longest list is “immediately.” It’s an eye opener, really. All this stuff are things we would never miss. Why didn’t we get rid of them before we even knew we were moving? Clearly we don’t need, nor are attached to these things.

      Then the next wave is “soon,” which I hope will be gone by the 4-weeks-left mark. “Close to the end” somewhere around the two-weeks mark, and “last minute” will be in the couple of days before and day of. Things like cleaning supplies and our alarm clocks. Stuff we have to have to live and move out properly.

      I could use a bit of encouragement. Any advice? Or just good wishes?

    • #165476
      JuliaJayne
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      It sounds like you have a really good plan, and it sounds like you have a little wiggle room for things that might go wrong. Do what you can to relax and take a mental break from all the planning.

    • #165477
      GardenGirl
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Just read this thread. FWIW, I think it’s a good idea to forgo the garage sale and just donate the little things. Much less hassle. I recently took a car-full of stuff to Goodwill to donate — it takes me so long to sort through things and make decisions, that once I finally get it boxed up and ready to go, it needs to leave the house. (Still took me 3 weeks to actually get the boxes out of the house. And that is much less time than it took me the last time I did this.) I’m now working on the next round of Stuff That Has To Leave.

      I’m often feeling overwhelmed by the thought of everything I need to do to move house, and I probably won’t even move more than an hour away from where I am now. (Need to get out of the city; I’ve been here for 19 years.) I really can’t imagine doing what you’re doing — getting rid of almost everything and moving overseas. Very adventurous of you & your husband.

      I have no advice — I don’t move often; and I have chronic organizational problems and work with a wonderful professional organizer from time to time — but I can certainly offer encouragement and good wishes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #165501
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      sounds like you have things well under control Mrs. Mack! don’t panic, it will all come together. I have survived my 2nd international move (after about 13 domestic ones) and this is the 2nd time I have moved to Europe, and I have a tendency to get rid of TOO much that I then have to replace and that gets expensive. I have also gotten rid of things that I sorely miss and assumed could get here (nesting measuring cups and spoons, for example, quality sheets without paying literally hundreds of euros for the same quality I could get at Winners for 40-50 dollars, etc.) If you are in doubt google “Japan expats” and see if you can find a forum where people discuss what you should bring or what they miss from home. (oh…I think you lived there before? so disregard that. However I will leave it in for other potential international movers!)

      As this is my 2nd long-term expat experience, I am always looking to buy used furniture from other expats who are going home–so are you currently in a city where there are expats from other countries who may not know about Craigslist and Freecycle, nor have enough English yet to know where to go to furnish their places? such as: is there an ESL school nearby? local library programs for ESL? Colleges? students and temporary visitors might greatly appreciate information tacked to a notice board with photos and prices listed

      Am interested in hearing how things are going! Keep us posted

    • #165502
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Good luck, Mrs.Mack! I’m rooting for you! I know you will get it done. You have been preparing.

    • #165504
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      another thought for anyone planning to move overseas–get a dental check-up and a cleaning before you go. May be a while before you can organize another one or get insurance in your new place.
      Took me 2 years of living here/adjusting to everything before I finally got around to a cleaning! used to be every 6 months:)

    • #165518
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Thanks for all of the encouragement, everyone! It makes me feel better. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And djk, you have good advice! Feel free to share more if you want to.

    • #165612
      Gypsie
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      As far as oreo flavors go: I love the strawberry milkshake flavor!

    • #165649
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Duly noted. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #165693
      spicykissa
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      What a great thread! I moved cross-country last week. Of course, I lived in a teeny three-room apartment with a roommate (and all the furniture minus the beds was hers, thank goodness), but it was still pretty stressful. I ended up moving with one checked giant duffel bag, two backpacks, a rolling carry-on, and a smaller duffel on the plane, and then shipped three medium-sized boxes and two smaller flat-rates.

      Two bits of advice for when it gets down to the wire . . . I thought I was pretty well ready. I had taken three carloads to Goodwill and gifted all the furniture, and everything I was going to keep was in a pile. It was STILL way too much when I started trying to pack it up. I ended up tossing half of it–some to the neighbors, and the rest to the dumpster, which I regret (HATE throwing things away). Get rid of more early on!

      Also, no one will take used mattresses. I was able to donate the frames, and a friend took one set, but I ended up having to toss the other. Fear of bedbugs, like you said. It’s too bad.

    • #165709
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      How did you take all of that on the plane? Was more than the giant duffel bag checked?

      Maybe because you were on a domestic flight, but the international flights are really really strict about what we can and cannot take on board. We’re limited to one carry-on bag and a “purse” (anything small enough to fit under the seat, but just one… which means a laptop bag, a backpack, or any other non-purse item becomes a “purse”). The only exceptions are baby carriers or medical equipment (like a CPAP).

      As for the mattress, that’s what I thought. ๐Ÿ™

      We really ought to plan a “practice pack” and see if all the things we want to takeโ€”including clothesโ€”will not only fit in our suitcases, but also be within the weight requirements. But I’m not sure how soon we should try that, since every day I find myself taking something out of the “take” pile and putting it in the “get rid of” pile.

      Any recommendations? Two weeks ahead, maybe? We’re almost exactly at the 2 month mark now.

    • #165715
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I think Rescue Mission will come pick up mattresses or homeless shelters! You should call and find out.

    • #165719
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’m sorry for the awkward sentence. LOL!

      I meant that Rescue Mission will come pick up mattresses. If they don’t do that anymore, you might check with other homeless shelters.

    • #165720
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I expect it is getting scary right now, where a couple months back it was pure excitement. A very big change necessitating a lot of little changes that must seem, at this stage, irreversible.

      I don’t know what all you still have at hand, MM, but it might be good for mental health to rent a few movies, or read a few books, set in Japan and be inspired all over again by the wonderful new experiences you’re going to have.

      A “practice pack” is probably a very good idea even though you’re still constantly revising your “to take along” piles.

      Re: Oreos, other than the original, I’m partial to the peanut-butter flavor. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #165744
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I haven’t been able to eat Oreos since they started using high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar. ๐Ÿ™

    • #165751
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs. Mack have you checked the cost of oversize luggage? I think a few years ago on Air Canada an extra (large) box was about $100 extra. And I am pretty darn minimalist (by circumstance, not choice) BUT if you are counting every penny then $100 seems like a lot, I know. But I DIDN’T take that option although I knew about it, and I do regret not taking more things I value.

      My situation was: moving from a small city apartment in Canada where quality is higher, things are cheaper, and I was in my late 30s and had carefully edited and selected and upgraded and winnowed out the crap to the point that I had beautiful and practical things, edited hard, with taste.

      Then I moved to another beautiful city, on another continent–and we are living 2 in a place less than half the size of my Canadian apartment, also with no storage–making less money as I am less marketable here and less established–and things that are nasty and cheaply made are still costly, and quality things (like what I donated to family members and charities, may they be everlastingly grateful) are so very exorbitantly expensive they are prohibitive. So here I am, in a beautiful city, with a wonderful husband, gritting my teeth over the horrid jersey or seersucker bed linen that costs more than my beautiful Egyptian cotton, my perfect pillows, etc, my feather bed, now gracing a musty shelf in a thrift shop.

      wow, what a whiny post this is. Don’t mistake it–I don’t regret my life or my choices–but I do regret not researching better what I value as far as “stuff” goes and then fighting to keep it. I am not remotely interested in keeping photos, old clothes, my mother’s whatever, but I become very sentimental about practical and beautiful things I have let go because I was told I “should”, because “I could get everything Over There”

      so pay the extra money for oversize luggage, if there is something you actually care about, is my long-winded point

    • #165753
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      @djk I’m so sorry you don’t have your lovely things! That makes it really hard when you’ve already had to move a long way! ๐Ÿ™

      @trillie LOL @ the ground trembling and the birds flying up! (And, yes, I still have Nutella, and Belgian chocolate toffee truffles, and Breyer’s chocolate ice cream!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #165797
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Oh, I just love posting here and reading all of what each of you have to say! Trillie, your last comment cracked me up!

      We’re visiting relatives out of state this weekend, so that noise you heard wasn’t me. Must have been some other unfortunate soul. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Djk, we have discussed the $100 fee (paid once, not per bag, which is nice). If we need to ship stuff and it’ll cost more than to pay the baggage fee, we’ll definitely pay the fee. I guess that’s part of the reason we need to practice pack (and not get rid of the bathroom scale until almost the end, haha)!

      Chacha1, I’ll be sure to make some time to not only take a break, but also to remind myself why this is so exciting in the first place. Thanks for the advice. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Claycat, I’ll ask around before tossing, then.

    • #165835
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs.Mack, have you seen Ramen Girl, with Brittany Murphy?

    • #165843
      Sophie
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I moved countries ten years ago, and I still cry thinking about the fact I had to pay 150 pounds (UK) to get some of my stuff on the plane as excess luggage. This was despite the fact that I had sent the rest of my stuff via ship. It was all those “small” things that added up at the last minute that I just couldn’t leave behind that meant my plane luggage was just too heavy…So, never again, I always make sure I’m under the weight limit for my stuff when travelling, oh and have no intention of moving countries again – it would be too hard!

      If I did it all again I would put most everything on the ship and keep plane luggage to minimum, and certainly not overlook how much those “small” things can quickly add up last minute.

    • #165846
      bandicoot
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      i moved to australia from new zealand, in 18989.
      then i moved back to new zealand in 1994.
      i thought it was for good, so i shipped all my stuff back.
      after a year i was out of there again, back to australia…..and it took me a long time to scratch together the money to move my stuff back.
      in between i moved up and down the country and australia of course is huge.
      most of that stuff is long gone, apart from the books and photos and letters.
      it was a good lesson to me.

      i have no intention of moving countries again and i have no intention of even moving house again.
      i travel enough to keep myself happy.

      seersucker bed linen would drive me clean out of my mind!

    • #165854
      vjb
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      @bandicoot โ€“ I’m the same. I’ve lived in the UK and Japan and am now back in Australia, and I do not want to move countries EVER again. A few weeks of travel here and there is enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Having said that, I do love Japan. Good luck with the move, Mrs Mack!

    • #165864
      bandicoot
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      o boy, i actually would LOVE to live in japan for a year!
      *sigh*
      one day maybe….

    • #165882
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Claycat, no I haven’t. But you’re not the first to ask! Maybe I should finally get around to watching it.

      I posted my first list of stuff to sell (7 pages worth of books, CDs, and movies!) at work today. So far only a handful of things have sold. ๐Ÿ™ Oh wellโ€”the point is not to make money. The point is to get rid of it, and I can do that by dumping it at the thrift store later.

    • #165908
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      @ Bandicoot
      seersucker. yes, seersucker. I had only read about it in books before, never seen it in life…

      Every time I go to another country (France, Italy, back to Canada) I use my ongoing list–and often it is stuff like “plain cotton sheets” LOL. And baking soda. that stuff is gold here, but I can get it in Italy for 99 cents. Weird…

    • #165912
      Patch
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hi Mrs Mack, I’ve followed your thread for all 6 pages now, how exciting!

      RE- the wedding dress: Since your Mom made it, and since she already lives in Japan, have you tried asking HER what to do with it? Maybe she will have some ideas for how to best honor/”dispose” of it, or if she insists on you keeping it maybe she will at least pay for shipping it?

      RE- the mattress: check with animal sanctuaries or shelters, or even your local zoo (Chicago has a big one yes?), as they often use them for larger dogs or animals to sleep on

      RE- bras: I haven’t shopped here in awhile, but howzabout justmysize.com? or maybe http://catherines.lanebryant.com/ or http://www.loveyourpeaches.com/?

      Do continue to keep us updated on your progress, as well as anything you find out! Your posts can be useful to others moving overseas, or even just to those of us fellow declutterers who are staying put (for now!). ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #165956
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      was reading this month’s in-flight magazine and saw something I think I will incorporate–a keychain usp memory stick for travel with all medical information on it. Always with you, listing any medications or allergies, all your vaccinations.
      I would just make a usual pdf with our information on it. I will somehow mark it as medical info., perhaps a simple label.

      As for international or domestic moves: I find it useful to have multiple photocopies of each document (and its translation if necessary) in plastic sleeves in a binder which will accompany you during the move and while you are dealing with foreign bureaucracy. I have 10 copies of each document and translation I could ever need, organized in a binder by subject. To move to Austria I needed a criminal record check from the Canadian police, I needed proof of a previous divorce, paper (not card) birth certificate, translated drivers’ licence, university diploma, extra passport photos, passport copies of important pages, proof of healthcare, and official translations of everything etc. etc. So every time I have to deal with a bureaucratic process here I have all the copies needed in advance, organized by dividers in a binder. I grab and go, and have found this to be invaluable. Especially watching other immigrants sweat in line and dash to the photocopier at the immigration services offices, freaking out. And I have received much better service as a result of looking competent and prepared.

      For fun travel I do much the same, but with a Duotang (does this only exist in Canada?) with all of our flight info, boarding passes, hotel information, car rental reservations, pre-printed driving directions to our rental house or hotel, pre-printed area maps, yada yada. Then as we go along I toss the papers we are done with so we can lighten our load as we go.

    • #165974
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Well, after two days, I only sold a handful of items. But I made $50! A nice bonus. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Now I need to cart what didn’t sell (most of it) to the thrift store. In the past when I’ve dumped things at a Goodwill or the Salvation Army, they handed me a blank receipt to fill out later. If I donate so many things that it won’t all fit on there, can I just keep that receipt and also the list of objects on another piece of paper, perhaps stapled together? For tax purposes, I mean.

      Usually when I donate stuff, I just throw the receipt away and don’t bother since I don’t donate enough to make it worth the tax write-off (or I’m just too lazy). But this time is different and I’m not sure how to go about it.

      Advice?

    • #165975
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      If you haven’t itemized on Schedule A before, I’d advise reading the instructions for the form at irs.gov. I believe if you have significant charitable contributions of goods (as donations to Goodwill are considered) you do need a detailed itemized list with descriptions and approximate values. I don’t believe you can claim full replacement value, just current value.

      You might also want to go ahead and write a letter for your tax file outlining the circumstances. Schedule A is where a lot of tax fraud happens and if you haven’t filed one before it could flag your file, so it’ll be helpful, if you should receive a suspicious letter from the tax man, to be able to fire one back just letting them know that you moved overseas and that’s why you were giving so much away.

      Just bear in mind that the standard deduction for a married couple for 2009 was $11,400 – will likely be a tad higher for 2010 – so if the total claimable value of your deductions won’t exceed that, may not be worth keeping very detailed records. Of course, you may not know till you fill out the form.

      I’d go ahead and download the version from 2009 and start making a worksheet. Then you’ll know whether to bother or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #166004
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Wow, that was incredibly helpful. Thank you! I’ll look into all of that.

    • #166006
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      You’re very welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚ I personally find the IRS website an enormously helpful resource since DH is self-employed and I have a side business. There are very few situations that aren’t addressed somewhere on the site.

      You can also look at the tax rules re: filing a return in the US while living and earning overseas. Just thought of that. You still have to file a US return even if all your income is from your overseas employment. Paperwork, oy!

    • #166008
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      After a little digging, here’s what I found. Hope this helps others, too!

      Moving Expenses
      Explanation: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p521.pdf
      Form 3903: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f3903.pdf
      (via this page: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=124364,00.html )

      Schedule A Instructions
      Gifts to Charity, pages A-8 and A-9: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040sca.pdf

      “Note: If your total deduction for gifts of property is over $500, you gave less than your entire interest in the property, or you made a ‘qualified conservation contribution,’ your records should contain additional information. See Pub. 526 for details.”

      Publication 526: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf
      From page 13, under Limits on Deductions:
      “For 2009, the total of your charitable contributions deduction and certain other itemized deductions may be limited if your adjusted gross income is more than $166,800 ($83,400 if you are married filing separately). This is in addition to the other limits described here. See the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040) for more information about this limit.

      “If your total contributions for the year are 20% or less of your adjusted gross income, you do not need to read the rest of this section. The limits discussed in the rest of this section do not apply to you.”

      Also, how detailed the records for donations can be found on page 18 (in my case, under Noncash Contributions).

    • #166158
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Our IDPs came in! Since they said it would take anywhere from 2-6 weeks (and usually people send stuff out later than sooner) I was worried about it arriving in time. But thankfully that worry is over. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As for more progress, well… My start-procrastinating-when-you-start-to-feel-stressed-about-it tendency is kicking in. ๐Ÿ˜› Having to be honest here because I know you all (especially Claycat!) will ask for updates is helpful. I need the accountability.

      The next few things I need to do are:

      – Sort/purge/scan the pile of papers my husband said was mine and he didn’t know what to do with (he went through the rest of our filing cabinet and purged stuff already).

      – Carry over the various media (books, movies, games, CDs, etc.) that we’re getting rid of (that didn’t sell at work) to the thrift store. I’ve been putting this off with the excuse that I don’t have the appropriate boxes to carry them in. But that’s a poor excuse.

      – Sort through the pile of clothes I’ve already deemed not worthy to be a part of my closet and see which ones can go to the thrift store, and which ones should be trashed. Then carry the appropriate clothes to the thrift store.

      Hopefully I can get those done soon. However, there’s a family birthday party this Saturday and I’m trying to make/finish two dolls for my cousins’ little girls by then. And I’m only about 2/3 done with one! So we’ll see how it all goes…

    • #166165
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      So, when is the big move actually happening, again?

      Don’t know if this is a helpful suggestion or not, but have you considered just taking the media and clothes to the birthday party? It would give the adults something to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #166169
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      We’re flying out the last week of July. Just over six more weeks!

      No, I hadn’t considered that, but I think it’ll just be easier if I dump the stuff at the thrift store. I may take a few books to the party, but most of what we’re getting rid of probably wouldn’t be of their tastes (and the clothes wouldn’t fit them).

      But that is an excellent suggestion. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #166180
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Woo Hoo, Mrs.Mack! It’s approaching quickly! I know what you mean about the procrastination problem. That is something I have to work against constantly.

      I hope you will keep in touch with us when you get to Japan. We want to hear about your adventures and how you organize your new space. We want pictures, too!

    • #166349
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hello? How’s it going?

    • #166381
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Whoops! Sorry. I had a bit of a busy weekend with family obligations so I haven’t been checking here.

      I’m hoping to stay in touch after the move! I’m thinking about starting a blog so my family in the US can keep tabs on us (we’re not good at picking up the phone…). So, if I do that, I’ll definitely link to it here. I’ll still pop my head into the forums to spout my opinions from time to time too, so I won’t be gone completely from here. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Pictures. Must remember to take pictures!

      As for progress, we received all of the paperwork necessary from Japan to get our visas. Now we just have to find and go to the Japanese Embassy downtown to finalize it all and get the actual visas.

      Also, my husband went through his clothes (and we both went through our shoes) to consolidate our wardrobes.

      Other than that… eh… I haven’t done anything. *is ashamed*

      Keep nagging me! Guilt helps me finish tasks on my to-do list. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • #166387

      Moving Overseas

      I hope it isn’t too late to say this but… don’t throw away the damaged clothes! Some recycling centers DO accept textile recycling!

      Do a search for your area to find out if there are any local recycling centers that do textile recycling. If not, or if you want to cut down on the amount of driving around that you have to do, check with donation centers. Many of them recycle damaged clothes either at facilities that offer textile recycling or sell them to industrial companies that can use them as cleaning cloths (I know that Goodwill does this).

    • #166393
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      It is not so long now, Mrs. Mack! can you take some time to really treat yourself, whatever you love? (girls’ night out with friends, a movie by yourself, a long coffee in your favourite cafe, a book on the beach for a lazy afternoon, a facial or massage?)
      I love to book a massage or facial the day I fly–makes the trip fabulous and makes me feel fabulous! A big move is so exciting and fun but there are so many things to remember and take care of, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. I had a morning packing/cleaning party then went out for a champagne lunch with my posse to say thank you and goodbye. A lovely bon-voyage gift from one friend was bringing me an audio book and commandeering my laptop and iPod to have it all organized for me to listen to on the flight. I loved that.

      6 months before I moved I had an interior designer friend come over for the weekend to help me purge. That was great too. She began at the door of the flat and went clockwise with every single item and asked me questions about it. We had a lot of fun, laughed our heads off and drank a lot of wine and had boxes and boxes to send to charity by the end. Do you have someone who can have fun with you and help you do that last-minute organizing and make it a pleasure? Another friend sat on my bedroom floor and repacked my suitcases to make them works of art (and squeezed in a lot more that I had) asking for help sometimes is good. People who love you want to help. I am trying to learn to let them.

      So how is the countdown? how are you doing?

    • #166403
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I don’t think I need time to myself just yet… especially since I’ve been procrastinating. Once it gets a little closer I’ll be sure to do some fun things so this doesn’t become all-consuming. Thanks for the advice.

      Six more weeks left! (Eek!)

    • #166476
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Made my first itemized list (of who knows how many to come) and dragged a bunch of stuff to the Salvation Army yesterday. Feels good to dump all of that stuff! Grand total value of that load was $1,311 (based on these prices: http://www.salvationarmy.com/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/vw-dynamic-arrays/D477340FFA28755C8525743D0049D1EF?openDocument&charset=utf-8 ). Wow! And that’s just the price it’s worth now. I can’t even imagine how much money was spent/wasted up front. (This is all “get rid of immediately/I’ll never miss it” stuff.)

      One thing I’m kicking myself about though is we didn’t have enough cheapo boxes left to lug all of that stuff over, so I used a banker’s box to help carry some of it. I’ve been saving the banker’s boxes because they’re sturdy and uniform, so they’ll do well in storage. Well… I forgot to take that box back when we dumped the stuff! Those boxes are hard to come by without paying a pretty penny, so I’m annoyed with myself.

      Oh well. It’s just cardboard. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Overall, the donating process was pretty straight forward. It was slightly confusing because when I went a different day to ask a manager how the process worked, he said to make up a list of everything I’m donating and their values, and bring that list with the stuff. I did that, but apparently they don’t do it that way and have their own forms. But now I know for next time!

      One thing I’ve been a bit worried about (can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this) is what I’m going to do about a job when I get there. We’re moving because of my husband’s job, but it’ll be really tight to live on that salary alone. Plus I know from experience that, even if money weren’t an issue, I’ll turn into a lazy bum and get depressed from a lack of purpose if I don’t have something to do.

      I speak Japanese fluently enough that I should have no problem getting a “teaching English” job or working as a cashier or something in a store, but I can’t speak the polite Japanese (keigo) well enough to work in an office. Not to mention since I grew up speaking Japanese but never studied it, I read and write to the level of a kindergartener/first grader. So, an office job is out. (I hope to take lessons to improve my speaking and reading/writing when I get there.)

      Like I said, I could teach English or work in a shop, but I’m not sure if I would enjoy that. I’m kind of keeping those as a “plan B” option to fall back on. It’s fairly easy to get an English teaching job, tooโ€”being Caucasian helps.

      I’d like to work from home. I was a professional photographer for a year, but I’ve only ever worked in a studio and I’m not sure how I’d fare outside of one (maybe stock photography?). I’ve done some freelance graphic and Web design for a few years, but since that sprouted from a hobby, not a degree, I’m noticing that I’m quickly falling behind in the design world (my skills/software are not up to industry standards). I can draw and paint pretty well, but I don’t think I could make a consistent living from that. And I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in professional writing, which means I’m trained to write anything from a dry manual to juicy fiction… this is what I’d most like to pursue.

      However, I am infamous for my lack of self-discipline (as you’ve seen thanks to my procrastinating tendencies). Though I’ve been trying for years to get better at it (and I am better than I used to be), I’m still not good at managing time and setting appropriate priorities. I’m afraid that without a supervisor to breathe down my neck I won’t be able to do this. And I really don’t want to make my husband my professional nagger, as I’m sure that would ruin our marriage.

      Have any of you made the switch to work freelance/from home? Any advice or warnings?

    • #166501
      Joy
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hi Mrs. Mack,
      You seem to be an artsy sort of person. I’ve seen so many beautiful Japanese fabric and sewing projects. Are there quilt shops or fabric stores that you could work in, maybe even temporarily? The only problem will be wanting to stock up on all those pretty things!
      Joy

    • #166510
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Those kinds of stores exist, but I’m not sure how well I’d do in them as I’m not very knowledgeable in fabrics. But trying to work in an “artsy” store may be more appealing than, say, a convenience store. I’ll keep it in mind, thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #166525
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hi MM, since you already have some language skills, I’d encourage you to brush those up ASAP. I was just talking to one of my bosses about how hard it is for American businesses – we’re a law firm, but this must apply in other fields – to communicate over the phone or even by email with Japanese firms. They always want us to send a fax. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Someone with good Japanese-English skills might be able to create a work-from-home situation as a communications facilitation consultant, or something (nice polysyllabic description for mail router). Something like, you set up to receive calls or emails for a Japanese firm, get them on a second line, and serve as an interpreter.

      Have no idea if or how this would really work in practice, but hey. I am excited for you.

    • #166530
      lucy1965
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs. Mack, my BIL has worked as a teacher in Japan for the last 9 years and is pretty much settled there; I could ask if there are any on-line fora he finds especially useful.

      May I thank you for this thread? We’re a year away from starting our move, but it’s been very helpful to read over what you’ve done.

    • #166553
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      No need to thank me! Thank these wonderful people who keep commenting and asking how I’m doing. Otherwise this thread would have died months ago, and I’d probably be even more behind than I am now.

      But if you have questions, feel free to ask. There are things I’ve done or thought about that I haven’t bothered to mention that perhaps you’d find helpful. The other commenters will give you great advice as well, I’m sure.

    • #166638
      Gypsie
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      What about transcription of some sort (like medical transcription for American doctors) or something. Do you know how far away the nearest military installation is? I know we have a few in Japan, I just dont know what area you will be in. There might be work for you there, too.

    • #166653
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs.Mack, you need to do a blog about living in Japan. Take a video camera and make videos of places you visit or things you do. Use your own photos as the accompanying photo to your blog posts. Then, put ads on your blog and do affiliate marketing. It would be a great way to make some money. It would be slow at first, but I guarantee there would be people very interested in subscribing to your blog. Me, for one!

      I would concentrate on the human interest type posts. Find interesting people in Japan and interview them. Everyone has a story. Talk to them about their dreams and aspirations.

      Show us the flower shop on the corner. Take us with you to try new and exotic foods. Show us new fashions in Japan. Take us with you to a beautiful Japanese garden. Gosh, you could spend a lifetime doing this and never run out of material.

      I’m planning on doing something like this down the road. I have some ideas that I think would work well.

      Anyway, seriously consider this. You already have all the skills you need. You’re a natural!

    • #166655
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Gypsie, the closest military base will be several hours away. I don’t think that would work out.

      Claycat, I would certainly enjoy that! And while someday it might make a bit of money, I kind of doubt I’ll be able to earn an income from it, especially this year when we’ll need it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I really do hope I manage to keep a blog when we move (my arch-nemesis: procrastination), so I promise I’ll link it here if I get around to it.

      Thanks for the confidence boost. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #166771
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      A little update:

      We were out of town to attend the wedding of one of my bridesmaids this weekend. It was good to see her, but it was a long weekend.

      On Sunday evening my husband and I had some time to reflect over our preparations so far and what we still have left to do. There’s a lot. We’re quite a bit behind where I had hoped we’d be at this point. Four more weeks, and we haven’t even finished getting rid of all the “immediately” stuff, let alone the “soon” stuff. This realization, combined with the long weekend, left us feeling exhausted.

      We went to bed an hour earlier than usual so I feel a little better this morning, but I’m still a bit worried/stressed. Doesn’t help that I have a pile of job related to-dos that I need to worry about, since I’ll be giving my two-weeks notice this Friday.

      I guess now is the time to just “girdle up my loins” and do it, as my dad used to always say! lol

    • #166818
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’ll be thinking about you, Mrs.Mack! Heave-ho!

    • #166852
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’ve posted our cars on craigslist! This afternoon I hope to separate those things we want to store from the rest of the stuff in our apartment.

    • #166858
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs. Mack!
      can be done! will be done! do not stress, it will all come together. Yay for getting the cars posted!

      When you are in Japan and get that blog up and running I would LOVE to see a post on what worked and what didn’t. Immediately after you are settled in your new place is a good time–will be a post for anyone else preparing to move. The post-move analysis will help others making a move.

      exciting times ahead! do make sure you book in some “saying goodbye” times, even if it is just a leisurely walk in your favourite park or swim at your favourite beach (or pool). I did that before my move, and took a camera and created a “postcards from home” series which I look at when I get homesick. Strangely, lots of mountains and ocean but few people:)

    • #166904
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Djk, what great ideas! If I forget to post a reflective this-worked-but-this-didn’t post at the end, you all have permission to nag me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I am kind of planning a goodbye project. About a month or so ago I decided I wanted to take pictures of things that seemed very “America” to me. Then, when I get to Japan, I’ll take pictures that seem so “Japan” to me.

      I got this idea when I realized that in these past four years I haven’t been able to even visit Japan (and seven years since I lived there), I really missed seeing the land and examples of typical life, but I didn’t have any photos other than what I took in high school. But those were mostly of people/classmates that I don’t interact with anymore. My uncle (who lives in Tokyo) is a picture taking fiend, and his pictures on Facebook always made me homesick in a good way.

      So, I decided to kind of copy him. But in both countries. That way, when I’m in Japan I can look at the American pictures, and if we come back to the US, I can look at the Japanese pictures.

      I’ve started taking some “America” pictures. Once we get to Japan and I know my album is as complete as it can be (can’t take any more US pictures while in Japan!), I’m planning on posting it on Facebook. But now I think I’ll post my favorites on my blog as well.

      I’ve only ever lived in the mid-west, so my pictures will definitely be influenced by that. But I hope people still enjoy them ๐Ÿ™‚

      Any suggestions as to what to take pictures of? Anything that you guys think is distinctly American?

      Here’s my hope-to-get list so far:
      – Lots of shopping carts
      – A large, full parking lot
      – Sea of cubicles (work)
      – Patriotic pride (lots of US flags)
      – Belt-clipped phones
      – Shoes on carpet
      – Garage sales
      – Hay bales (Those big rolls of hayโ€”is that what they’re called?)
      – Empty plots of land/wide spaces
      – Billboards (Japanese have them, but they look different)
      – Low tops and short bottoms (clothes)
      – Clunker cars (Japanese have laws that forbid clunkers)
      – Shopping malls
      – Gallon of milk
      – “Small” size fountain drinks (they’re HUGE!)
      – Not many wires in the sky, even in cities
      – Old graveyards (very different style than Japanese ones)
      – Starbucks (to compare with a Japanese Starbucks picture)
      – The horizon
      – Drive-in movie theater
      – Coffee mugs (they use tea cups for western drinks)

      What am I missing? Any ideas would be great!

    • #166910
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’m not American, but I think of 7-11s and enormous old boxy gas-guzzling cars–Kings of the Road!

      I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

    • #166924
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      American icons … over-the-road trucks? I have this idea that japan must move goods more efficiently (e.g. by train).

      Suburbs with big yards?

      Public restrooms (I have been assured that the average mall restroom is a paradise of luxury compared to the public facilities in Japan, but maybe this has changed recently)?

      Good gracious, the things I think of. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #166930
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Diners?

    • #166932

      Moving Overseas

      A lot of great suggestions here. Do you have any lesser-known landmarks around where you live? For example, here in Seattle when you think Landmark, everyone thinks of the Space Needle. However, we have a large sculpture of a troll under a bridge in Fremont that I love and rarely visit, but I know I would miss if I moved away.

      Or maybe you could snap pictures of street signs from places that you’ve called home in the past, both in America and Japan?

      How about pictures of your favorite American meals, the type you’d be hard-pressed to find in Japan?

    • #166970
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Great suggestions! Big cars, suburbs with big yards, and diners are very American.

      chacha1, yes, they’ve had a bit of an update. ๐Ÿ˜‰ In fact, Japanese toilets are often referred to as the most technologically advance toilets in the world. I don’t know if that’s true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

      You’ll still find squatty-potties in some older establishments, but most places have western toilets you can sit down on. And more often than not, they’ll have a slew of options for you to try. Like warming the seat, a bidet, warm blow dryer to dry off the parts you just got wet, music to play to “drown out” the noises you’re making, etc. Even sometimes an automatically lifting lid! (It’ll go up when you approach, and go down when you leave.)

      Go to Google Images and search “Japanese toilet.” You’ll see both the squatty-potties and the fancy toilets.

      GirlOverboard, I like your ideas. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a cousin who lives in Seattle and she’s posted pictures of the Fremont Troll. Did you know the “bug” it’s gripping used to have a California license plate? That was before vandals stole it, though.

    • #166986
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Whew, now I can add Japan to our top ten destinations. Arigato! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #167081
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Good news! I posted all of our furniture on craigslist on Sunday, and already things have sold and have been taken away by their new owners. We’re still looking for buyers for our cars and our big furniture (sofa, love seat, etc.), but all of our floor lamps, reading lamps, the big TV, and the microwave are gone. And dibs are placed on our computer chair and exercise bike.

      Three weeks from today! It’s finally feeling like we’re actually moving, but it hasn’t completely sunk in yet. I’m wondering if it will before we get there. Haha!

    • #167085
      SunshineR
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      How about photos of an antique car cruise (that’s what they’re called here in PA) with hundreds of cars and thousands of people eating corndogs and drinking biggie size cups of Pepsi.

      IMHO, sounds like you miss Japan. Keep us posted on your adventure as you arrive and get settled in.

    • #167090
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      That would be neat! Not sure if I’d find any in my area in the next couple of weeks though.

      I really do miss Japanโ€”I’m so glad to be going back. But I’ll miss the US, too. I’ve lived here for 7 years now, so I’ve gotten a bit attached. But I lived 18 years in Japan. It’s my home.

      By the way, it’s amusing to me that your handle is SunshineR. My sister-in-law’s first and middle names are “Sunshine Rain”! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #167104
      SunshineR
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hi there, Mrs. Mack. I chose Sunshine because it is my dog’s middle name. It reminds me to be happy just like her. R is my first initial.
      I did work with a girl whose real name is Sunshine….near Pittsburgh, PA. Wouldn’t that be unreal if she is your sister-in-law!

      Anyhow…enjoy Japan. I’m jealous of you and Bandicoot (who lives in Australia but is touring Europe right now)…oooh the sightseeing and food.

    • #167126
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      SunshineR, nope, that’s not her. She’s lived in Indiana most of her life. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Update/problem:

      When cleaning out my bookshelf, I came across a scrapbook “cookbook” that my friends in college put together for me when I was getting married. I don’t particularly want to keep or store such a big heavy book, as it takes up a lot of space and only a handful of pages are filled (the rest are blank). If I wanted to keep the recipes, I could just type them up. I’m not a scrapbooker, so keeping it for other projects doesn’t interest me at all.

      But my friends also drew pictures, wrote funny things in the margins, pasted in photos, and other such sentimental stuff with/in the recipes that makes me smile when I look at it. I thought about just keeping the pages I like best, but they’re so large that they won’t fit in any normal binder (and they glued thingsโ€”like dried macaroniโ€”to the pages, so they don’t lie flat).

      I feel torn between feeling obligated to/wanting to/and not wanting to keep it. I still have access to these friends on Facebook so it’s not like I can never talk to them again… but we don’t talk very often.

      What do I do? ๐Ÿ™

    • #167127
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Oh boy. Would one of your family members be willing to hang onto it for you?

      OR … do you have time before you go to photograph the pages? Since it sure doesn’t sound like they would run through a scanner. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #167129
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Photographing them might work…

      Yeah, they’re definitely too wide and lumpy for our scanner.

    • #167152
      lucy1965
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Is there a Kinko’s/FedEx printer near you? Particularly if there’s one near a university, they might have the equipment on hand to handle something that large.

    • #167156
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Wow, Mrs.Mack! Closer and closer!

    • #167296
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Where are you, Mrs.Mack? We need an update!

    • #167308
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      My update is that I’m stressed out!

      This is my last week of work, and I have 150 things I need to do in the time it takes to do 100 things. So, now I’ve got “homework.” ๐Ÿ˜› Even then I don’t know if I’ll finish in time.

      A lot of things have sold from our craigslist ads, but all of our major furniture (sofa, dining table, etc.) have not sold. :/ I keep telling myself that it’s fine, it all can be donated. The problem is neither of our cars have sold either, and we only have two weeks until we fly!

      We’ve taken another car load of stuff to the Salvation Army, but there’s still so much to purge. And no time to do it since I have “homework” to complete.

      Too many things to do in too few days to do them in.

      Somehow we’ll manage, I’m sure. But right now I’m wigging out!

      On the bright side, I’m told our apartment in Japan is being prepared for our arrival now, so I might get to see a picture next week. It’d be nice to see it before we move in.

    • #167332
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs.Mack, you can do it! Calm down. Put your feet up.

      Are your cars on craigslist, too? You may have to take them to a dealership to sell. I’m surprised they haven’t sold. Japanese cars usually have a good resale value.

      Would you post links to your listings on craigslist, so I can look? I don’t know if I can help, but maybe I can give you some ideas. I would like to help.

    • #167333
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Tips on selling cars on craigslist:

      http://www.yelp.com/topic/chicago-selling-your-car—on-craigslist

      Where to sell a used car fast:

      http://www.yelp.com/topic/chicago-where-to-sell-a-used-car-fast

      You can also put an ad on eBay that is like you do on craigslist for local pickup only.

      Here is a place for selling cars in Chicago.

      http://chicago.sellmycar.com/

      You could put them on Chicago Tribune online.

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/

      Just some links. I hope they help. Advertise as many places as you can. If you get desperate, take them to a dealer or Carmax.

      Good luck! I will be thinking about you!

    • #167334
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Also, good photos are really important! You probably know that, but I just wanted to add it.

    • #167358
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Judging from the ads others have posted, we have good ads (theirs have little to say and bad/small or no photos). Ours are descriptive and with lots of photos. I think the price might be too high for the Honda, but it does come with a warranty… :/

      Honda
      http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/cto/1831698272.html

      Toyota
      http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/cto/1831711311.html

    • #167362
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Those are nice clean cars, Mrs.Mack! Great photos!

    • #167366
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      You might add some more particulars to your ads. Have you checked the blue book prices for retail of these vehicles? Look at the blue book info, so you can list the model numbers/letters. (For instance, I have a Toyota Corolla LE.)

      Most of the blue book retail prices for the Honda were closer to the lower $6,000 prices, except for the fancy model which was around $6,700. I don’t know which yours would be. However, since the car is so clean and has a warranty, I think it’s good to start high.

      The Avalon price is higher in excellent condition, but since it has some flaws, you have priced it reasonably. I would not say pretty decent. I would say a decent car. That is a more positive statement. Also, you might use the blue book price as a selling factor. You could show how you have priced yours much lower, because of the handle, the dent, and the key. Actually, if you can find a way to get a standard key, without too much trouble, it might help it to sell faster. Those are just thoughts!

      Also, people want to know if the air conditioners work. They want to know if there are power windows. Oddly, some want the power windows and some would rather have manual windows, so that really doesn’t matter, except for personal preference.

    • #167367
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Do you have links to the furniture, too? You never can tell who might be lurking here. Someone might need some furniture.

    • #167376
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’ll try to update the ads with the model numbers/letters, blue book prices, and all the power this and power that info. Thanks for the advice. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As for getting a key for the Toyota, we thought about it, but apparently the key we have has a chip in it, so it’ll be expensive to get the regular key, and we’d have to get it from the dealer (Walmart refused to even make a copy of our current key). More money and hassle than we care to put forth for a car that won’t be ours for much longer.

      Here is our furniture ad:
      http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/gms/1837261880.html

    • #167378
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I just took a look at the furniture ad. I think in your situation I’d abandon all hope there – donate the good, newer-looking stuff like the Christmas tree and file cabinet, maybe to a school or nursing home that will give you a receipt, and the rest to Goodwill – and concentrate on the cars.

      Dealers won’t often give you more than half the Kelly blue book value, because they want to turn around and sell it for as close to KBB as they can! And private buyers often can’t come up with cash. If there is someone in your family who might be willing to manage the car issue – so you have a little more time to sell – and/or are there any auction companies in your area that might handle the sales for you?

      On the countdown …

    • #167384
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I agree with chacha1–I think it is time to cut your losses with the furniture and donate it all. Some charities pick up. Churches sometimes have a “rec room” for teens and youth groups, and they might want the furniture. Teens are out of school right now and like to show off those developing muscles. Call some local larger churches and ask the secretary to speak with the Youth Pastor. Barring that, my church at home ran programs for the homeless out of the basement, run and funded 100% by volunteers with greater compassion than money. Furniture might not go amiss there.

      At this point you need peace of mind and time more than the 100$ you COULD make if you left the ad for as long as you needed. Time is not on your side right now: move on. Focus on the cars, and all the other details.

    • #167388
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I was beginning to think this about the furniture, too. Thanks guys.

      ONWARD I CHARGE!!! *runs like a raving lunatic, wind blowing back her hair, fist in the air*

    • #167410
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I agree with the others about the furniture, Mrs.Mack. It looks like nice sturdy furniture, but I had to sell some love seats for about $10 apiece. If the upholstery needs to be redone, it won’t bring much. You could drop the prices a lot or donate it. If you donate it, donate it to someone who will bring a truck to pick it up. That will save you a lot of time and trouble.

    • #167411
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Here are some charities in Chicago that people are saying will pick up donations!

      http://www.yelp.com/topic/chicago-charities-that-pick-up-donations-in-the-city

    • #167412
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      This one looks promising!

      http://www.howardbrown.org/hb_brownelephant.asp?id=57

    • #167497
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      You are on my mind, Mrs.Mack. It’s just a matter of days now! I can’t believe I am so excited about your move! I feel this sense of anticipation. It must be contagious. LOL

      I hope you are making great strides!

      Sending you love and good vibes!

    • #167498

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs. Mack, Craigslist is showing that your car ads have expired – does that mean that they sold? If so, congrats!! If not, and they’ve just expired due to time limitations, get those ads back up – I have a friend that JUST moved to Chicago from Seattle (and I’m certain he took very little with him) a couple of weeks ago so I’m sending him your links in the hopes that he can help take something off of your hands. I also have a couple of other friends in Chicago that might be interested as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Also, I’m sorry it didn’t occur to me to think of contacting my friends sooner. I rarely speak to those that have been living there, these days, and for some reason when my friend moved there the other week it didn’t even occur to me that he might be on the market for furniture or vehicles. I still don’t know if he is, but it’s worth checking!

    • #167517
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      One more week. I can’t believe it.

      GirlOverboard, they expired because of time. With just a week left, is it even worth posting again?

      On Friday someone called me for the Toyota, asking for a lower price. I told them I’d call them back, discussed it with my husband, then called her to say the car was hers. But I got voicemail, and she didn’t call back. I called again yesterday and left another message… No call back.

      UGH. I’m so sick of this.

      Moving on to happier thoughts, I received pictures of our new apartment! The furniture is really mismatched, but it’ll have to do. We won’t be able to replace any of it unless I get a really good job. But the bones of the apartment seem really good. Here are pictures!

      EXCITING~!!

    • #167519
      lucy1965
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      *makes geebling noises* Holy cow, Mrs. Mack, that’s HUGE! I think my BIL’s place would fit into the bedroom!

    • #167521
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      …Huge? The bedroom is just big enough for the bed. You can see in the dining room photo that the doorway shows the edge of the desk. That’s a pretty small room. Also, I was told the living/dining area is less than 10×15 feet (it was an eyeballed measurement).

      From the looks of it, I’d say the person taking the picture was using a wide-angle lens. I don’t think the place is as big as these pictures make it seem.

      But just to clarify, I’m not complaining. I’m used to living in smaller spaces, and for Japan this is pretty spacious. The washer/dryer is particularly fantastic! (Most Japanese don’t have a dryer, and the washer tends to live on the balcony in apartment buildings.)

    • #167525
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Oh, maybe you think it’s huge based on the size of the furniture? Japanese furniture on the whole is much smaller than American furniture.

    • #167527
      lucy1965
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Um, no, I’m basing this on the size of the studio apartment my BIL and his wife share in Osaka.

    • #167529

      Moving Overseas

      That’s a lovely apartment, Mrs. Mack!

    • #167532
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I like your apartment, Mrs.Mack! It’s warm and cozy!

      Maybe you need to take your cars to a dealer and see what they will give you. At least you would get something. Or do you have someone who can sell them for you?

    • #167533
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      lucy1965: Oh, well of course a 1LDK is bigger than a studio! Silly. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Our plans for the cars: We’re hoping the one girl will come through for our Toyota. She finally called me back about half an hour ago and wants to take the car to a mechanic tomorrow for review. Hopefully she’ll buy it then.

      But if that doesn’t work out, and as for the Honda, we’re planning on taking them to a couple of dealers to see what they’ll give us. If it’s reasonable (even if it’s not as high as we’d like), we’ll just sell it. If it’s ridiculously low, we’ll leave the cars with my brother and sister-in-law and continue to craigslist them.

      We have a friend who said he might be interested in the Honda if he can make small payments, but that means he’ll be owing us money for a couple of/few years. I don’t know how I feel about that. :/

    • #167534
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      It would be better if your friend could get a loan to buy the Honda, so he can pay you cash. In my experience, it isn’t good for friends or family to owe each other money.

      I wish you good luck on selling your cars.

      How is everything else coming?

    • #167535
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Well, today (in the next two hours, supposedly) the Salvation Army truck is supposed to come pick up my furniture. We’ll see how that goes. Once that’s done, we’ll have a falling-apart-desk, a falling-apart-dresser, a home-made-by-someone’s-dad-in-college bookshelf, and the mattress on the floorโ€”and that’s it, for furniture. ๐Ÿ™‚

      My goal today (other than praying the SA truck comes within their promised window of time) is to figure out meals for the following week, so we can get rid of any cookware and food we won’t be needing.

      We have a small closet we’ve been using as an outbox of sorts to hold all the stuff we intend to dump at a charity, and it’s getting quite full! We’ll need to make a run soon. Maybe Wednesday (tomorrow is busy with I-want-to-see-you-before-you-leave obligations).

    • #167536
      JuliaJayne
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I agree that the apartment has good bones and it looks like it has been taken care of, and the kitchen seems newish and clean.

    • #167537
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs.Mack, if the truck is coming, send the things in the closet with them, too!

    • #167538
      badkitti
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Good luck!

    • #167541
      chacha1
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      MM, I will look forward to hearing from you again once you have landed in your new nest. Best wishes!

    • #167542
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Well, I decided to update the Honda craigslist ad:
      http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/cto/1851664975.html

      Thanks for your advice, everyone. Especially Claycat.

    • #167545
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      The ad looks great! Here’s hoping!

      Thank you, Mrs.Mack! This has been such a fun thread! I’m anxious to hear about your move. Blessings!

    • #167546
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      This thread isn’t over yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #167556
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Well, the SA truck never came. ๐Ÿ˜›

      I’m going to call them first thing in the morning to see if they can come tomorrow. If they can’t or don’t, I’ll call my church and see if their refugee ministry needs furniture. Didn’t go that route before because we’d need to rent a truck and haul it ourselves.

      If *they* don’t, I’m putting it all on the curb. The tax write-off would have been helpful, but I just don’t have time to babysit all of this stuff.

      Grr. Why can’t people be at places when they say they will? Between SA and craigslist I’m losing faith in punctuality and common courtesy. :/

    • #167557
      lucy1965
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Oh, that’s unbelievably rude!

    • #167561
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I called this morning, and they couldn’t schedule for today because the pick-up guy already left for his route (five minutes before they weren’t answering the phone though!). They said that yesterday the truck was running behind, and he wasn’t used to this route, and other such excuses. Really, a phone call to let me know what was up would have sufficed. But not hearing anything is ridiculous.

      The phone person said the word “sorry” once, but they didn’t sound sorry at all, which irked me. I just want acknowledgement that they messed up, that’s all. ๐Ÿ˜› I have them scheduled for tomorrow, but I went ahead and contacted my church’s refugee ministry. We’ll see how that goes. If it looks like it’ll work out, then I’ll cancel SA.

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks they were rude!

      Yes, for a Japanese apartment that is spacious and I’m quite pleased. But all of my American friends are marveling at how we could be downsizing from our current already small space. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #167593
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      This is not exactly going to Japan related, but I just wanted to note that I’m going to an “All American” party tonight, which our friends are hosting as a farewell party for us. There’ll be hot dogs, chicken wings, corn on the cob, apple pie, and all things American to eat.

      I’m really looking forward to it, as I need a little break. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #167603
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Sounds yummy! Have a great time!

    • #167717
      Dragonclayer
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’ve lived “overseas” for more than thirty years. International and American schools exist almost everywhere near the bigger cities. Here in Den Haag they have an advice blog. I’ve been collecting advice for people moving here and have put it into a rough collection. It includes pre-moving and adjustment advice, substitutions for products, where to get info , etc. It is 28 pages long but very useful. Are there any suggestions on how I could disseminate this information? Here it will be put on the school’s site but I’m new to these forums and don’t know what to do with this. Suggestions?

    • #167728

      Moving Overseas

      Hey Dragonclayer, can you contact me off forum? I am planning to move to the Netherlands in the next few months, and I wonder if you can give me some advice? I dont know what your story is, but I would love to hear why you are in Den Haag!

      My email is april (dot) zookeeper (at) gmail (dot) com, or is there a way to private message?? (Sorry I am new!)
      Thanks!

    • #167749
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hi Dragonclayer!
      have you considered putting together a website for expats? Or just start a blog and organize your 28 pages broken down as blog entries by theme? Some information will probably be necessary for people living in Den Haag, some will be general for the Netherlands.

      A quick google for “expat forums” pulls up a number of sites which are used in different cities. I have found them fairly similar in structure, except for one for Prague, which is particularly good. http://www.livingprague.com/

      and hello to MovingToLowlands, you might want to also check out this site:
      http://www.expatica.com/nl/essentials_moving_to.html

      a good start for anyone going overseas is: http://www.justlanded.com/ This site is a good starting point for anyone moving overseas anywhere–several countries and languages are available.

      btw, these expat sites are marvelous sources of information when going to a new place on holiday too. A quick read through what expats experience living in your destination can be really enlightening.

    • #167752

      Moving Overseas

      Thanks djk, I have been looking at expatica, but justlanded hasnt hit my radar yet. I will check it out.

    • #167872
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Just sitting here, thinking about your long trip, Mrs.Mack! I didn’t know exactly what day you were leaving, but I hope you have a very safe trip. I know you will be back to check in, but I’m feeling a little blue. I don’t know why! I think I’m feeling a little of a let down, because this part has ended and the next part is starting. That’s just me! I’m sentimental, or I should say sillymental. LOL

    • #168237
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Sorry for the lack of updates; we were SUPER busy.

      But now we’re in Japan!!! We got to our new apartment about 10 pm Tokyo time (8 am Chicago time) on the 28th and promptly crashed. The next day we got some groceries, and yesterday went to the ยฅ100 store to stock up on items this apartment lacksโ€”like bowls, as there are only a couple of really large bowls (not good for cereal) and a gravy boat. And no chopsticks, of all things!

      We have about two weeks of nothing scheduled to get settled and over jet lag before my husband starts his job. We’ll be spending that time getting our apartment in order and just relaxing. We both really need a vacation, and though technically this is a stay-cation as this is our home, it’s still novel enough that it feels like a real vacation. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Okay, let’s go back to where I left off and catch you up on all that went down. The cars FINALLY sold, but at much lower prices than expected. One guy bought the Honda for $3,300, and someone else bought the Toyota for technically $1,700, but only brought $1,500. They said they’d bring the remaining $200 the next day, but of course they never came. ๐Ÿ˜›

      We managed to get all of our loose belongings into 6 banker’s boxes, and then we had four boxes that certain appliances or Christmas decorations went into. My brother and SIL took one box, and my very generous aunt and uncle took the rest. What a blessing! Now we don’t have to worry about paying for a storage unit.

      Everything else either got packed into our four suitcases/two carry-ons/two backpacks, or was donated. It was a LOT of stuff! I don’t know if we’ll quite reach the point that we can use it for a tax write off, but we’ll see. Between all of that stuff and our other regular monetary donations to various charities and churches, we might baaaaarely make it. Guess we’ll find out come March. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Salvation Army finally came and picked up our furniture. I tried calling around to other charities after they didn’t show up that first day, but apparently it was furniture donation season, since most places were too full and couldn’t accept any more. So I rescheduled with SA and this time they came. They didn’t take as much furniture as I was hoping (not everything I asked for them to take was written on their ticket, and they’d only take what the phone person had written down), but at least they took the bulk of it.

      We had some friends and a relative come and help us clean, which was WONDERFUL. They finished our whole place in about three hours. We hadn’t been able to really clean for a few weeks, so it was gross. After they left, the place looked new.

      I think that’s everything. If I missed something, let me know.

      I’ll be back to update my progress on setting up my new place, don’t worry! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #168240
      SunshineR
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs. Mack: so good to hear from you! I loved the pics of your apartment. The living room looks so spacious compared to what I expected. And you even have a stacking washer and dryer. What a convenience.
      Just relax and rest up…the stress of hurrying to meet your moving day is past.
      Maybe sit and look at some Japanese art? Or go to a garden if you want to get out a bit?
      I’m curious to know: do most people in your city ride bikes, walk, or go by bus? That is so different from what I am used to here in my town. Most everyone has a car.

    • #168242
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs.Mack, I was so glad to come into the forum and see your thread up near the top! What a great post about you completing your move and arriving in Japan! Now you can get familiar with your neighborhood. How exciting! Eat lots of good Japanese food for me! Yum!

    • #168248
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      In Tokyo most people commute by walking, bicycle, or train. Some people will ride the bus, or drive mopeds or cars, but the majority of Japanese people do not have a driver’s license. It’s very expensive to get one, and with everything so close it’s really not necessary (I can easily walk to several different grocery stores, the main bus terminal, and the train station). Parking space is also a problem, so if you have a car it’s expensive to park it (most houses do not have driveways or a yard, and the majority of Japanese live in apartments or condos, which usually have no parking).

      Also, the train system is extremely efficient and is always on time to the second. If they are even one minute late they will make announcements and apologize profusely (and being tardy rarely happens). With trains like that, which arrive at the station every five minutes or less, you usually don’t need a car. On the rare occasion you do, a taxi will suffice.

    • #168291
      djk
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs. Mack, you made it! enjoy your “staycation” ๐Ÿ™‚

      when you can catch your breath let us know what your newly-acquired advice would be for someone else moving overseas!

    • #168345

      Moving Overseas

      I will be moving at the end of September and I have read this entire thread in a day! Thanks for the inspiration and guidance, and the trust that I will get through it and be in Europe before I know it! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • #168347
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      That is so exciting, MovingToLowlands! Maybe you could post occasionally and tell us about your progress like Mrs.Mack has. You could start a new thread specifically for your posts! I enjoy following along and knowing what you have accomplished.

    • #168923
      SunshineR
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I’ve really enjoyed this thread. Would enjoy hearing from anyone again.

    • #168970

      Moving Overseas

      https://unclutterer.com/discuss/topic/moving-overseas-european-edition#post-9380
      At Claycat’s suggestion, I have started my own thread about my move to the Netherlands. Thanks, Mrs Mack for your amazing thread, I hope you don’t mind if I start my own! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #168995
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      MovingToLowlands, of course not! I’ll enjoy following yours. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ve been meaning to do an update, but life has been busy. I’ll be back with a list of what did/didn’t work soon, promise! In the mean time, I’ve started a blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ Only a few entries so far, but there will be more: http://aprmack.blogspot.com

    • #169001
      SunshineR
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hi, Mrs.Mack: Glad to see you are “back”. I love your blog and the pictures. That was cute about finding the crayons in your apartment.

      One of my cousins spent a year or so as a teacher in South Korea (in the mid-80’s). She met her husband there (he was stationed in South Korea). They decided to come back to the US. I think it was because his tour of duty was finished and he did not want to sign up for more.

    • #169003
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Great blog, Mrs.Mack!

    • #169005

      Moving Overseas

      Hello Mrs. Mack. I just found this thread recently and checked out your new blog: LOVE IT! Post a lot of pictures please. I’ve always wanted to see what Japan was like and I look forward to seeing it through your eyes:)

    • #169912
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs.Mack! ???????

      LOL! I hope that says Where are you?

    • #181574
      SunshineR
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Mrs. Mack: I miss hearing from you…are you OK?

    • #181578
      Claycat
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      I checked her blog, and she hasn’t posted in a long time. I hope she is doing okay.

    • #181580
      Mrs.Mack
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      Hi, yes, I’m fine! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for asking. I’m a terrible blogger, apparently. But I’m doing well.

      I’m in Tokyo, over 200 miles from the worst of the damage. We felt the shakes pretty roughly here and continue to feel aftershocks even now, but the damage in my area is minimal to non-existant.

    • #181587
      lucy1965
      Member

      Moving Overseas

      @Mrs. Mack Stay safe! Ganbatte ne!

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