You’ve seen the commercials, right? “Too much stuff? Not enough space?”
Well, this was an issue that I was up against. Why? Well, our deployment to Singapore is considered short-term by Trents employer, and so we don’t get a big container shipment that moves our things by, literally, a ship. We get two small crates that go by air.
How small? 4′ x 4′ x 4′ . Maybe a little bigger than a dog kennel. I take more than that to a swim meet! (You’ve all seen us at a meet … we bring a cooler or two, chairs, blankets, and sometimes a tent, not to mention those huge Speedo backpacks ).
For the last month or so I have been sorting through our things, and putting them into different staging areas, in order to make it easier for the movers. My three categories were:
1. Things we cannot live without and must ship. Like clothes, shoes, etc. Personal items. Swim gear, swim towels. More purses, more shoes.
2. Things we would really like to take with us, like blankets, some framed pictures, vitamins, silverware, bathroom items, cat food, kitty litter pan, a couple pot & pans (no bakeware because our oven is European size & an American size cookie sheet wouldn’t fit), two frying pans, some tupperware, some office items, extra clothing & that we stocked up on, and some cleaning supplies.
3. The things that I figure would make it easier to get settled with if I had them so can you please get creative and fit these items in the crates.
That final category included comforters for the kids rooms. Since the kids start school two days after we arrive, I figured it would be much easier to have them pick out their room things here in the States and bring it with us. We cannot paint the walls, which are made of concrete, and so we cannot hang much on the walls either. In order to personalize their rooms in a way to make them happy, they were able to choose the comforters they wanted.
Maria choose a fuzzy hot pink, Cale choose a turquoise/white comforter, and Shane wanted orange.
We all know how big comforters are … and so here is where the Space Saver Bags came in extremely useful. I found that these came in all different sizes, and I especially loved the jumbo size. In this one I was able to fit in 25 large bath towels, two blankets, and Shanes entire wardrobe, plus some of Cales. Wow! Needless to say, I invested a small fortune in these bags. Here is a picture of what they looked like stacked on a table, and then then stacked on the floor on a taped off area measured to the size of the crate.
As you can see, they took up a good portion of one of our crates. But without the bags, they probably would have taken up most of our entire shipping space.
Yesterday the movers came to pack up our crates, load them up on a truck, and ship them to Sing. It was a bit overwhelming, as you can see. ( I spy a black cat in the photo! Miss Jayda could care less as to why her momma was buried underneath the rubble. )
Because of the Space Saver Bags, I had room for everything I wanted to take, including two Christmas trees (much to Trents dismay, “why do you need two?” he kept saying ), Halloween decorations & costumes, wrapping paper, a stereo, desks & chairs for the kids, and thanks to Target, rugs that match the comforters! Even with all that, the truck was still empty when it was loaded.
And so now the things we use most in our every day lives we are without for a good month. We sent our things early because it will take a good 3 weeks to clear customs, and we prefer to “rough” it on this end where our lives are very comfortable versus in Singapore. We are hopeful that our crates will be delivered to us within a day or two of our arrival.
Keep in mind, that while all this was packing was happening, Trent was severely jet-lagged, as he had only just returned the day prior from a 3 month stint in Asia. He was a real trooper, but after the movers left, this is where I found him. He threw all the cushions on the deck out of the sun, and was out cold.