Friday, August 05, 2011

The Packing Game

It's that time again - the time in our trip when I begin to strategize about how to get all that stuff back across the ocean. As always, I vacillate between, "We've got plenty of room" and "maybe we can't take that" and "we're doing great - let's go buy more!" and "good night! this is never going to fit."

After years of managing this, we have learned a few things. This is what it looks like:
1. As I buy things throughout the summer, I put them into a suitcase. This isn't how I take it back across the ocean, but it gives me an idea of how much I've been accumulating.
2. At least a week before we leave, I take all that out and start packing it for real. I gather things around the house that I know I won't use again and pack those too.
3. I know that there will be at least one bag's worth of last minute stuff I find around the house to pack, so I leave a bag open for that.
4. We bought a hand-held luggage scale so we don't have to do the "stand on the scale holding the luggage trick" anymore.
5. U-Haul has great boxes you can buy that are incredibly sturdy but slightly outside the luggage dimensions. For a few years we left them full size and were never questioned, but now we cut them down a few inches (from the bottom so you can keep the handle openings!) because otherwise they're too heavy. They're also good for carrying bulkier items. We have three of those this time.
6. We have one carry-on size suitcase that we fill entirely with books. Even completely full it's only about 40 pounds. If we're really over on luggage we could take this on the plane, but I'm hoping it doesn't come to that.
7. I pack about 80% of our stuff and then I usually hit a wall. Erik then swoops in and packs the other 20%. He sees it as a challenge to fit it all in. I love that about him!

So that's what it looks like to pack for an international flight. Let the games begin.

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