Moving Sale

It’s amazing how much “stuff” we collect in a lifetime…

We have lived in our house here in New Mexico for over 17 years (wow!).  Before I left for Bologna I went through all of our closets, starting the long process of sorting – this goes to Goodwill, this a gift to a friend, this other goes on Craig’s list (hesitantly – I get lots of weird/scam e-mails from Craig’s list)…  I was astonished at what was hiding in the nether-regions of our closets – things I had not seen in 17+ years and things I swear I had never seen before in my life (how does that happen?!).  Surprisingly, it was actually quite fun!  It was both a nostalgic walk down memory lane and, at the same time, a freeing semi-Buddhist ceremony of letting go.  More amazing than how much stuff we have is how little of it we really need.

Now that I am back I have picked up where I left off, but with an altered perspective as now I know that it is a HUGE pain to ship stuff to Italy and that our apartment has just about everything we need (and then some) (AND that this is an expensive enterprise, so the more we $ell, the better).  So now I weed things down even more –  the cookware, the chotchkies, the clothes (hey, it’s a good excuse to get rid of all the clothes I secretly hate but feel obliged to keep wearing!).  Some things present a dilemma – specifically gifts.  I remember who gave this to me/Steve/us and for what occasion – how can we possibly part with it?  Luckily, we can keep some of these sentimental objects here in the attic or the closet I claimed (we are keeping our house here).  We are shipping some of the sentimental things, as well as some clothes and other things that help a place feel “homey.”  (Steve gets a very small reimbursement for shipping, so we might as well use it).

So, this is really a post about letting go – a metaphorical/psychological “moving sale.”  However, to go along with the metaphysical, we will be having two actual moving sales – one now (for things we can manage without), one later for things we can’t (still have to sleep and drive till we leave!).  We’re having out first sale on Saturday, May 5 (Happy Cinco De Mayo!) – if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say hi!  (And by all means, if you know anyone looking for furniture, kitchen stuff, a pool table, small art, etc. – pass the message on – THANKS)!   A sample:

Photo Albums and other Forbidden Mail

Answer: Shoes, playing cards and photo albums

Question: What are just a few of the things you CANNOT mail to Italy!?

I would like to avoid any additional complications (and costs) with customs than I already learned to expect from my earlier box-mailing incident.  As I was informed by a very wealthy passenger on my  flight to here (who has a couple of homes in Italy), it is very difficult to get your stuff into Italy (I confess, I used my air miles to fly business class).  At the time I didn’t pay too much attention, because she was talking about the kind of “stuff” we really needn’t worry about – jewelery, expensive art, and other rich people things.  But after I had such trouble with my little box filled with books and green chile, I realized I needed to pay attention.   I have been carefully going through the list of things you are not allowed to send into Italy.  It is truly mind-boggling.  And while you may (as we did) laugh out loud,  this is not a joke….

This is a (partial) list from the United States Post Office’s website:

  • Albums of any kind (of photographs, postcards, postage stamps, etc.).
  • Articles of platinum or gold; jewelry; and other valuable articles unless sent as insured Priority Mail International parcels.
  • Artificial flowers and fruits and accessories for them.
  • Bells and other musical instruments and parts thereof.
  • Clocks and supplies for clocks.
  • Compound medicaments and medicines.
  • Coral mounted in any way.
  • Footwear of any kind.
  • Haberdashery and sewn articles of any kind, including trimmings and lace; handkerchiefs; scarves; shawls, needlework including stockings and gloves; bonnets, caps, and hats of any kind.
  • Hair and articles made of hair.
  • Leather goods.
  • Nutmeg, vanilla; sea salt, rock salt; saffron.
  • Perfumery goods of all kinds (except soap).
  • Playing cards of any kind.
  • Ribbons for typewriters.
  • Saccharin or products containing saccharin.
  • Toys not made wholly of wood.

SERIOUSLY!!!!!    As you can see, this technically means we can’t bring our photo albums (clearly restricted), our South Park characters (“toys” not made entirely of wood), our jackets (leather), our iHome (clock)… and our hair?!?!?   What I did learn from the woman on my flight is that you can bring many of these things as personal items  (think spare ibuprofen and my running shoes) in your luggage (she was right, they don’t check luggage), just don’t mail them.   While this list seems downright comical, there is (sort-of) an explanation…  Some of these things are just restricted products (saccharin?  [I can’t confirm this]), others are taxed (playing cards), and the majority are things that are or were traditionally manufactured in Italy and they basically use these restrictions to protect their economic interests in these manufactured goods (if you know more about these restrictions, PLEASE post a comment!).  From what I have learned, if you send over your own, personal, used items (pair of shoes), and clearly label every form, box, etc. as “effetti personali” (personal effects), you may be okay.  Then again, there are entire websites lamenting the loss of items (both restricted and not) somewhere in the Italian postal system… (They make this whole process look so much easier on “House Hunters International”).  Will let you know what we roll the dice and send, then what does or does not make it after we arrive!

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