Home sweet home

We came over 4 months ago with one backpack and one duffle bag each, and on New Year’s Eve we moved into our own apartment with a lease for 12 months.  We have a small two-bedroom place in the center of town where we can walk to everything, (bank, bakery, post office, grocery store, pizza parlor, movie theater, laundry, school, bar/cafe, doctor’s office) freeing up the car for Bryan to work, and surf.

My initial thought on furnishing was to go really bare bones, mattresses on the floor, clothes in bags and backpacks, 4 plates, bowls, sets of silverware.  We have gone minimalist, but not as minimal as that.  While I could certainly live that way, and Bryan too, I think it’s a bit much for the kids.  Through the process I considered necessity, luxury, comfort, and practicality.  I wanted to be mindful of our purchases, acquiring only what was necessary to sustain an average existence.  75% of the items purchased came from the local IKEA, found 15 minutes away.


  • fridge (we have found that we can easily live with a counter-top version)
  • oven/stove
  • counters (rentals in France come without equipped kitchens)
  • coffee maker
  • mattresses
  • bed frame
  • bunkbed
  • dresser/bookshelf combo for kids
  • dressers/nightstand combo for us
  • carpets (it’s currently in the 40s and our floor is tile)
  • couch that converts to a bed (for visitors)
  • table and stools
  • 6 small plates, 6 large plates, 6 glasses, set of 6 silverware, coffee cups, salad/fruit/vegetable bowl
  • Sheets, duvets, duvet covers, pillows (thanks Mom!)
  • Pots, pans, cooking utensils
  • towels, shower curtain

Not necessities but makes life easier:

  • TV (for language learning)
  • TV stand (bought used)
  • Wii U (X-mas present for the kids)
  • coat racks – the apartment is without closets
  • shelving for bathroom
  • mirror
  • chair (bought used)
  • broom, vacuum, garbage can
  • dishrack

Even having to invest in this amount of stuff, we are already living with 50% less than we were in SF, along with paying 80% less for rent, and 60% less for utilities (mobile phones, water, gas, internet).  Moving from our vacation rental into our own place saves us 800 Euro a month, which we will recoup starting in April.   I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, probably because it’s scary, and while we’re doing fine we’re now out of vacation-thinking and into the day-to-day.

Keep us in your thoughts, and please come visit.






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