Packing Part One

We are at about a three weeks away from moving out of our apartment before the big move! A week ago the front door only opened part way and there were boxes and luggage and Rubbermaid totes piled up everywhere. Thankfully our realtor had to give notice before any showings so that we can straighten up and make the space presentable.

After gleaning as much information as I could about packing from blogs and the information the school district sent us, I felt confident to begin the process of dividing up all our belongings. It feels strange to be having conversations about what furniture to get rid of, when just about a month ago I had been scouring thrift shops and the internet for specific pieces that would complete certain rooms. I never did find a hutch I liked for all my yarn… it’s probably for the best though.

I have packed up most of our winter clothes in space saver vacuum bags and put them into totes. At first we bought the wrong kind; I wanted to be thrifty so we went with cheap ones. We were promptly told that they would shatter and break during the trip to Alaska, so I returned those and bit the bullet buying the more expensive, but much more durable Rubbermaid Roughneck totes. I’m quickly learning that there is no cheap way to move all of your possessions 4,000 miles. I can only be thankful that it is just the two of us! Here is what I started out with:

(Wrong) Totes, Ziplock Space Saver Bags, Fabric Softener Sheets

(Wrong) Totes, Ziplock Space Saver Bags, Fabric Softener Sheets

Remember that these totes are not the ones I ended up actually using. I then washed and laid out all of our winter clothes, blankets, sheets, coats, and other items that I knew for sure we wouldn’t be wearing until it started to get cold. Our totes can take up to 4 weeks to get to our new apartment, so I didn’t want to ship anything I might want. I left out a few sweatshirts for myself, because I will want them when flying, and I tend to get cold.

 

Here is a look at all of our clothes and sheets, etc that I planned on fitting into two 27 gallon totes:

Our Winter Clothing laid out- BEFORE Space Bags

Our Winter Clothing laid out- BEFORE Space Bags

…and then I packed everything into the space bags layering fabric softener sheets inside to help stop anything from smelling of plastic or anything else. The clothes condensed down to this:

AFTER Space Bags- It cut the volume in nearly a third!

AFTER Space Bags- It cut the volume in nearly a third!

It was an amazing transformation! I was so excited to see all of the space I had saved. We had to undo a couple of the larger bags and reshape them before vacuuming the air out so that they would fit in the tote, but it was so worth it in the end. When they have no air in them, they are anything but malleable, so it took a couple tries, but between my husband and I, we figured out how to guide the shape as we vacuumed out the air.

Uhaul Dishsaver Kit. Box, and inserts.

Uhaul Dishsaver Kit. Box, and inserts.

Dishes being protected in their sleeves.

Dishes being protected in their sleeves.

I also decided to err on the side of safety with our dishes. I’m only packing half of them anyway. We received service for 8 for our wedding, but really I don’t plan on entertaining much in Alaska. And since I will be hand-washing (my kingdom for a dishwasher!) the fewer dishes, the better.

I also used dish towels as packing support instead of more disposable options like packing peanuts. I didn’t want to use any sort of non disposable or non useful packing materials, but in the end I caved just for the Uhaul dish kit. We will see if it was worth it when they arrive in Napaskiak. I keep hearing warnings that all of our boxes need to be really packed well because the journey is really rough on them and people will just throw our stuff around. I hope that isn’t true, but I am going to take all the precautions I can in the meantime. In the end, it is just stuff, and can always be replaced.

After everything was in the totes, we were told that to secure the tops, we should drill holes and put in zip ties so that the lids would stay in place. Thankfully, the 27 gallon totes look like they are all set for shipping, because they already have holes along the lid and top of the tote, so we didn’t have to drill any! I used some really cool colored zip ties I found at Lowes and marked the color on my running inventory packing list so that I will quickly know what tote contains what when we are unpacking. I love lists, and would recommend it to anyone moving a great distance, especially if you have to ship your stuff. There is no way that a month from now I am going to remember what box I packed the can opener in. I also lettered and/or numbered each box/tote. Overkill maybe, but I have the time to be organized!

The growing stack of boxes in the dining room!

The growing stack of boxes in the dining room!

Address labels were applied (Everything is being shipped out to the school specifically- we will get a PO box of our own after we arrive) and I piled the totes near the dining room table. It was a little too early in the game to actually ship anything just yet, but it is always good to get a head start!

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