19.5yrs in California is sufficient time to accumulate lot's of stuff... Things you need, things you thought you needed, things you once needed but not anymore, and just things... Packing and moving all your belonging to another country can be a daunting task, as we found out.
For several months we talked about moving back to Israel in Mid January 2011. But the actual packing process didn't start till after Christmas... We do not celebrate Christmas, but who would miss a chance for a Tahoe vacation? Especially when the kids happened to visit us during that time frame.
Once the kids were off, we looked at each other and at the stuff piled/stored in our 5BR/3BA house and started wondering how will it all fit into a container between now and mid January?
That's when the frenzy begun... We spent about 3 weeks sorting things, selling things, donating things, throwing things.... and buying new things.
Thank God for Craigslist! It has been a life saver and a major time sink too. Advertise on Craigslist and meet the world! At least via email. We got scammers, tire kickers, people who had advice, people who wanted to buy but couldn't afford the price, low-ballers who took a chance we might actually sell them something for half the asking price (we didn't). And yes, some real buyers. With dozens of postings at any give time, we turned ourselves into a "small shop on the web".
We sold the old kitchen table, chairs, vacuum cleaner, a few beds, two cars, a motorcycle, several PCs, and many more "things"... even a broken iPod! And then we did a 'garage sale' for two days and entertained a stream of visitors. Some paid what we asked, others tried to negotiate the ridiculously low prices down... Take the lady who wanted to negotiate the asking price of $8 for a pair of desk lamps to $6 so it becomes a really "good deal". Never mind that the desk lamps would have cost her $40 each in the store... A $2 savings is still a $2 savings!
And when we finished selling, we started donating - making numerous trips to the nearby Goodwill store and dropping everything else that couldn't or shouldn't go back to Israel. It is strange when the Goodwill workers start greeting you in person...
Finally the actual packing begun... We spent several days packing some important stuff ourselves. So that we know what went where. And then the movers arrived.. Six of them swarmed the house and packed everything that wasn't attached to a wall, a floor or a ceiling... And within a day and a half they were done... Our complete household was loaded into a container, and sealed by us. We took a final look at the container and left for the airport, hoping to see it again sometime in the not too distant future.
Good bye California... Israel here we come!