Packing for a Month Away


What do you pack when you’re leaving for over a month? Well, not only are we homeless and carless for one month and ten days, we’re staying in eight locations over that time frame. That is a lot of places. We’ve just arrived to location number 4 and I’m very thankful that the first afternoon of nap-fighting has the reward of some seriously quiet awesome nap time on day two. Fun. Fun. Fun. Sorry about the new digs, kids… again… You’re troopers.

For the record, I’ve only forgotten two items so far and that was because I unpacked into a side table drawer. I like organization to a fault, which means I enjoy unpacking into a new space upon arrival… But I also am more likely to forget something. (Thankfully those two items got back to me very easily–thanks to family.)


So, we have one big luggage, one small luggage, two back-packs and a messenger bag. These transponders have saved our lives. (We brought car seats so we can rent cars when needed and get around in each location.) (Maybe in 5 years our luggage could look like the above photo? That’d be fun. Also, our next luggage will definitely be the hard shell kind.)

So, here’s what we brought!

In our big luggage:

  • Clothing (I tried tried tried to pack about 5-7 outfits for each of us.)
  • Bathing suits
  • Belts, ties, socks, etc.

In our small luggage:

  • Sneakers
  • Sandals
  • Dress Shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Two Sound machines
  • Two extra pacifiers (can’t. run. out.)
  • Medicine–Baby Tylenol and Loratadine
  • Journal
  • Clutch for date nights (I switched out my purse for the backpack on this trip.)

In Brian’s Backpack (which is our diaper bag):

  • Diapers for the day (we’ve purchased diapers in the small pack in each location)
  • Extra set of clothes
  • A laptop
  • Two sippy cups
  • Two bibs
  • Two snack cups

In my Backpack:

  • DSLR camera and 4 lenses
  • A laptop
  • Wallet and similar “purse” items like ibuprofen, lipstick and gum

In our messenger bag:

  • Airport Time Capsule (This device has all my photos which are not backed up in another location. I simply couldn’t put it on a ship and send it away for 6 weeks. It makes me too nervous.)
  • Books
  • Baby doll and dog (R’s and G’s “comfort friends”)
  • Snacks for travel
  • Two safety harnesses for the kids. This one and this one. With five flights in one month and future travel this year, we decided it was worth it.
  • And funny enough… some paperwork with personal information because we didn’t have a safe way to shred and dispose of it. hah. Bonfire anyone?

Oh, I guess I cheated. We brought George’s backpack, too. It has books, coloring books (mess free!), and only a few small toys–like cars. George is responsible for carrying it.

We’ve now flown twice with our kids and the apple ear buds are insufficient for toddler ears. I purchased these and hopefully they’ll hold up. (Because I don’t want any more frustration outbursts when the huge ear bud falls out of the tiny ear… again.)

We’re doing great! Travel is exhausting, but the amazing treat is getting to spend quality time with family. We’re being careful not to accumulate much of anything in each location because we simply can’t fit it all in. I have prayed with much fervor each time I have painstakingly packed our two checked luggages and then again when it is being weighed. I have been within 1.5 lbs of the 50 lb limit each time. Let’s pray that continues.

Stay tuned for more stories on house hunting! So many adventures in an international move!


The Move

The moving company came and went. And yes, getting quotes and deciding what company we wanted was it’s own adventure. For example, if you can’t show up at all or on time to walk through our home for an estimate, we’re not going to contract with you for our international move. Logical, no? It certainly helped narrow down the choices!

We didn’t pack a thing. (Perks.) BUT, that doesn’t mean we didn’t do any work… I promise. We loaded up about 10 bags of donation items (kind of embarrassing, but real life, yo). And yes, this is version 2.0. Last year, we did the same thing as we prepared to move to Boston. And I couldn’t believe how much we got rid of. We successfully settled into 900 sq ft in Boston and we anticipate having about the same amount of space in Hamburg.

But, deciding what to ship across the ocean is a different decision process. 1 square foot costs $10 to ship. If its value is less than $10 and it’s 1 sq ft or bigger: it ain’t going. We got rid of lots of clothing, stuffed animals, extra linens, etc. We also got rid of tired and broken items like our dinning room chairs, changing table, crib, and a laundry basket. Those items were fun to pitch! I guess fun for me. George cried when we pitched his (broken!) laundry basket. I wasn’t prepared for the “It’s totally fine!” pep talk with a smile. I was mostly baffled why he was attached to it!)

Another difference is that we’ll have a different kind of electricity when we arrive. That means we parted with any “cheaper” appliances like our toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer, waffle iron, lamps and fans. I’m hoping to buy an amazing coffee maker. I might even vote for an espresso machine. And yes, we packed the ice cream maker. Priorities are priorities.

So, we’ve been moved. We survived the move morning with streaming shows for the toddlers:


But, eventually that wore off and the kids were squirrely. I also felt helpless as they packed us and I wasn’t doing… anything. So, we enjoyed the amazing benefit of going out to lunch while they packed us up.

I didn’t regret my quick search of the kitchen cabinets as I found a few extra items that they didn’t pack and sent them along with the company. But, despite my best efforts of eating our pantry down to nothing, my frugal self died a little inside as we thew away things that went unpacked accidentally, like our aprons, and sent all of the leftover eggs, beer, bread, yogurt, and balsamic vinegar to the dumpster. Ouch. And I worked hard to not waste anything! Oy. I didn’t totally succeed.

So, we’re done. Our stuff is on a boat in a cargo container and is on its way to Germany. It takes 4-6 weeks and in the meantime we’re soaking up the sun and quality time with family. We’ve already enjoyed South Bend and its many family members, and are currently enjoying spending time with my sisters in Michigan. Coming up next? Florida, a getaway sans kids to Miami, NY, NJ and Spain. Three cheers for a summer vacation after a year of grad school!

Hip, Hip! HOORAY!