Monday, September 5, 2011

Moving Abroad part 5: Packing vs. Storing

We've started packing.

Does it seem overly eager to start packing 10 days early? Maybe for a trip. But remember, this is a move. As in, yes, we're only living there for the first half of Mike's graduate program, but our place in Bologna will be the second longest stay we have had in any apartment. Ever. We're the move-every-four-months type. I sort of hate it.

But moving abroad calls for two big questions to be answered: What will you pack? and What will you store? We hardly own any furniture anyway, so we're going to rent a completely furnished place abroad. There's no sense in shipping a desk, a dresser, and a bed frame (basically all the furniture to our name) just to buy a whole bunch of furniture abroad to furnish a place with only to ship it back a year later, right? We're also not taking hardly any kitchen ware or appliances. I'm taking an immersion blender (for baby food and all that pasta sauce I'm going to learn to make) and my flat iron, but we're going to buy a new blow dryer and iron (to avoid the whole blowing-the-circuits thing).

So much of deciding what to pack and what to store depends on:
  1. The duration of your stay abroad
  2. What you already own
  3. If you have the time (and resources) to ship stuff over on the slow boat (it can take as long as 6 months!)
Wrapping your head around what to pack and store takes a long time. Start early. We started packing by not really limiting what we threw in the suitcases and then as real-estate in our bags (in both weight and space) became limited, we became more judicious about what we were taking and starting paring some things down.

We're trying to pack "light" (if you call 300+ pounds of luggage, plus two bikes "light").

We're checking:

  • 2 bikes - if they're boxed in standard bike shipping boxes, they count as a checked bag on international flights
  • 4 fifty pound bags - 1 is full of art supplies/my easel, 1 has Ada's bike seat, diapers, clothes and a few other odds and ends, 2 are primarily packed with clothes, but somewhere in these bags we'll be taking other things that will help us make our move feel less like a vacation and more like a move (i.e. a few picture frames, the bins that hold Ada's things, very few books, toys and blankets). 

We're carrying on:

  • Ada's stroller (this counts as her "carry on")
  • 1 bag full of 2 outfits, our toiletries (but nothing over 3 oz!!), other items that will makes us happy and comfortable if our luggage (heaven forbid!) gets lost
  • Ada's porta-crib (a.k.a.: The crib she'll sleep in until our return to The States.)
  • Two backpacks that contain our electronics, documents and stuff to keep us entertained/sane on the plane
  • Ada's diaper bag stocked with food, diapers, and entertainment. 

We haven't completely finished the job, but here's what we know for sure: we're going to want to buy stuff over there, so we're trying to pack as much as we can take for free, and use the money we would have paid in overweight baggage fees at H&M.

 Other moving abroad posts:
Part 1: Being Over-prepared
Part 2: Documentation
Part 3: Flight Arrangements 
Part 4: Housing and Transportation 

1 comment:

Sonia @ My Sweet Monkey said...

Sounds like you have everything under control. Once you get settled, send me a note and I'll add you to the IRG group. (it's a closed Facebook group of almost 500 expats living in Italy)

Also, if you have any questions re: baby items, I'll be more than happy to help.

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