Lessons learned from unpacking

So here we are at home (when we did not expect to be returning to this house) and unpacking parts of two storage units.  Since we did not think we would be back and unpacking just parts of the storage for the basic things to live for six months or so (until we relist the house in the Spring), we did not pack with that in mind.  Now we have to sift through many boxes with just words like “kitchen” or “desk” written on the sides, not knowing if that rice cooker is in this one or not.2016-unpacking-boxes-small  This is leading to a lot of lifting and shifting at the hot and stuffy storage unit.

Plus I have my craft studio to unpack.  All those paint brushes, pens, paper, paper crafting tools and embellishments. 2016-craft-boxes-small So I am taking my time and reorganizing , labeling and purging everything that emerges from the boxes.  I have them stacked up in the empty living room while I sort everything. 2016-unpacking-craft-desk-small

I will be having another craft supply sale sometime this Fall when it is done.

So here are some lessons that we have learned the hard way for people who are packing up their house to sell before leaving on a senior gap year.

  1. Start packing early.  You need more time than  you think.
  2. Purge when you can while packing.  You will have to pay for storage and many things are not worth the storage fees.
  3. Label your boxes in a way that clearly shows what is in it.  Instead of “kitchen” label “kitchen utensils, knives, can opener”.  This makes it much easier to find important things like a can opener. Pack like things together.
  4. Pack important things that you might need in the front of the storage unit; just in case, like us, you have to do a partial unpack to live in a smaller place or your home again. This actually happens semi-automatically, as those things are likely to be stored last, and thus right inside the door.

A note from Dave: we actually started early with our packing, and the first 30 boxes or so had clever little computer-printed stickers with their contents, and I had a spreadsheet listing them all and their major contents. However, it turned out that these were the things we packed first, and that means they were things we most easily identified as “not too important” in the last three months before leaving. And of course, that meant they’re waaay in the back of the storage unit. As the packing rate quickened, there seemed not to be time to do this … but it would have helped, and had I imagined a “partial unpack” I would have found a way to do it.


Reentering our previous life

It is very strange to come home to an empty house after 6 months on the road in Europe.  We did have a bed to sleep in but that is all.  We moved some of my office furniture into the the family room. home-16-family-room-small We got my dining room table back from my sister and got an outdoor table with some patio chairs that we had in storage.  I got my long art table out of the storage unit and am in the process of setting up my studio again.home-16-studio-small

I have vacuumed and mopped the floor two times.  Cleaned and waxed the teak table and even put up a painting in the dining room.home-16-teak-table-small  We bought a new TV and are slowly finding things that we need from the storage unit. This is our dear son Brian and David working together . home-16-bri-and-david-smallWe swan in the pool the other day and it was heaven.  It is coming together.

We have a large house and have decided to only live in the downstairs. We are used to living in small spaces now and are trying to only add what we need.  It is refreshing.

We have also had time with our son, his fiance, our family, our dog and our friends.home-16-mac-in-box-small  This is the best part of being home.