After six loooog months (also felt like six short months), we sold and gave away our stuff, prepped the house for the strenuous housing market, created a spreadsheet with a gazillion items (I'm a spreadsheet nerd - made one for you too!) Click Here, sold the house, it was finally the day before the big move to Puerto Vallarta Mexico.
Before the scoop on the Day Before Day 1, here's a few things about the journey.
If you decide to move overseas, be prepared to be overwhelmed by a mountain of STUFF! We had a modest three-bedroom bungalow on Chicago’s North Shore, so we thought, “Hey...it’s not like we have that much stuff.” HAHAHA! Moral of the story, you ALWAYS have more stuff than you think. And as soon as you get rid of some stuff, you’ll find more stuff...hiding in the garage, the closet, the attic, the basement, drawers, shelves, at work, your car...STUFF, STUFF,
I have friends that let go of all their stuff before they moved overseas...and I should have followed their lead (WOMP WOMP WOMP). The logistics for our STUFF WAS CRAY CRAY! First, we rid ourselves of items we knew we no longer wanted and kept belongings we needed while still in the states.
Then our house sold at the end of October - YAY!!! This was AWESOME, but now I had to figure out the logistics for our stuff based on leaving our house at the end of October. On top of that, we had to figure out where we would stay in the interim while we both would be working through November, plan the drive, and I was also an artist in an Art Show in December. We ended up moving into a temporary hotel for six weeks and stayed at my parents for two weeks. Some stuff logistics:
- sell it
- give it away
- take it to my parents to store for the Art Show (dog collars & display) . and keep in mind that I won't be able to take any of the display items with me to Mexico :(
- pack it to be shipped to PV- coordinate this day based on the house sale and when we'll arrive in PV
- ensure we have enough stuff to continue living in our house until it sells
- keep work clothes that we'll need after we sell our house while staying at a temporary hotel for six weeks
- keep clothes needed for the last two weeks in Chicago, while living at my parents house
- keep clothes needed for the Art Show, the drive to PV and possibly clothes we might need to live in PV should our stuff not arrive as planned (but not too many clothes because they all have to go on a pod on our roof since our two big pups will have the whole back of our SUV)
- dog stuff for staying at the hotel, at my parents, and for the drive to Vallarta - dog beds, cooler for raw food, water & food bowls, dog snacks . and remember to figure out where to get raw dog food on the drive
- get a pod for the car and make sure the suitcases we take will fit in it
See, dealing with STUFF is mind-boggling. Despite how crazy it was though, I'm happy and grateful we did it the way we did... so I revise my statement above about giving everything away IF you have things that you LOVE and can afford to take with you. I'm at peace surrounded by some familiar special items - a chandelier that I've dragged with me while living all around the states from coast to coast, paintings that Todd and I painted, some pretty rugs, and of course, all eight dog beds that are scattered around the house!
the first surreal day
Here we are in the sunroom the day we moved out of our house. This was the first big surreal day of the move - it was bittersweet, as it was our first house together. We had spent seven wonderful years of makin' memories in this house, including pouring our hearts out in renovating each room. When we first bought this Chicago bungalow, it took us two weeks just to get the wallpaper off! Our house sold at the end of October 2016, and we still had over a month left before driving to Mexico.
the OOAK show at chicago merchandise mart
This show was incredibly important because I designed and sewed collars all year (besides the full-time corporate job) before we even knew we'd be moving. So I definitely wanted to attend this show before we moved - over 65,000 people attend this show in four days! It was an exciting time. We knew the move was around the corner and were so ecstatic that we told all our customers we were MOVING TO MEXICO, and even offered for them to visit and stay with us!
one more day before starting the drive to pv
Holy crap, we're really going to move to PV!?
At this point, we'd been staying with my parents the last two weeks.
In the morning, we had an appointment with a special vet that was certified to give us the appropriate stamp of approval at the border to show that our dogs had all their required shots and were healthy to move to Mexico. Note: You
can’t get that approval too early because it';s only good for a few weeks or so (check the rules at the time you're leaving beacuse this can and will change).
We spent the afternoon prepping the car, attaching the pod, and other small last minute items on the checklist. All the while, I tried not to get too teary-eyed at the thought of leaving my parents behind. The evening was occupied with last minute checks on the best routes for the drive down to Laredo, and then to PV. I also checked the leather satchel, where I kept all the important documents we needed for the border. “Hmmm, I know the car title was here, it's gotta be here..... ummmm, what the... hey Todd, do you know where the car title is? We NEED THAT CAR TITLE TO GET OUR STICKER AT THE
Todd remembered he had taken the car title to the Mexican Consulate to get our car sticker for Mexico, but the lines were too long and they told him he could get the sticker at the border, so he decided not to wait and we'd get it at
the border. After that, he can't remember what he did with the title.
PANIC TIME! At this point it's around 9:30pm, and Todd called one of his old managers who had purchased one of our cars to search it - no luck. Then he drove over an hour to Chicago to search at places he'd been, at his old
Dunkin’ Donuts store, everywhere … nada. After six months of planning, it came to this. And we HAD to be in PV on a certain day because our STUFF was being delivered the day after we arrive.
My dad said we could pick up a new title in Joliet, which wasn't far, and was on the route of our trip. We'd have to try that in the morning. Everything would be alright, it'd be tough to sleep with that on our mind, but we figured it would work out.
DAY 1 of the DRIVE to PV will be in the next article - did we get our car title (drum roll)?
Larleen (me playin') has a tough goodbye before she leaves for Mexico. As exciting as this all was, the move was a little heartbreaking for me too, especially to leave my parents and other family and friends in Chicago.
Any questions or need more information about how to plan a move like this? Let me know in the comments below.
P.S. The logistics for moving overseas is overwhelming, fortunately I've been a project manager and this made our life easier. I've created a free project plan for you to capture items you'll need for your move, similar to what I created for us. Click Here