Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's time to pack...

I might post a picture or two of this process, but...who would really want to see this?

When a missionary family of six spends one year in the states, they accumulate stuff. A lot of stuff. A whole, great big lot of STUFF.

We can get pretty much everything we need in Poland, so, unlike missionaries who genuinely need to take things with them to remote locations in the African bush or Amazon basin, we just take things we "want" back to Poland. Of course, we do need to take homeschooling materials for the kids, and since we use the literature-based Ambleside Online curriculum, that means we take a lot of books. Piles of books. Heaps and heaps of books, actually.

Apart from the school books, we also take books for pleasure reading, since we don't have much access to books in English over there. So, aside from books, which really fall into the "need" category, and a minimal amount of necessary clothing, most of our luggage will contain the things we "want."

So, what do we want to take back to Poland?

Among other things, the piles contain stainless tableware that matches what we already have in Poland, so we can have more people and the table will look nicer. There are magazines on different topics--computers, legoes, model railroading, crochet, and Christmas ideas. There are 1,001 (give or take) mini stuffed animals, each and every one of which is precious, has a name and personality, and is necessary to the continued existence of some member of the family (but not me, in case that isn't obvious). There are knitting needles, crochet hooks, tatting shuttles, and thread. There are scrapbooks, stickers, craft paper and glue. I think there is a knife sharpener, a nebulizer, some model trains and track, and a home-made afghan. There are bookends, enough cables to stretch from here to Poland, and a small plastic dump truck. There're a couple bottles of Karo syrup, some peanut butter chips, and 112 packets (removed from the boxes) of sugar-free gelatin. There are stacking blocks, pipe-cleaners, legoes, air-soft guns, a latch-hook kit, and a round canopy to hang above a bed. There are baking sheets, bed sheets, and miscellaneous sheets of paper.

There is more than that, of course, but you get the idea. Since we are a family of six, we are entitled to take twelve pieces of luggage with us when we fly. Every other time we've flown, each piece of luggage could weigh 70 pounds, and ours always did. Rules have changed, and now the allowance has been reduced to 50 pounds. That means we can take 240 pounds less of our "stuff." Unless we pay a little extra for each piece of luggage that weighs 70 pounds, of course. We are already trying to figure out how many pieces are going to be overweight, because it's a certainty that some of them will be.

If you are flying overseas and the weight limit is a concern, take note! Thirty gallon Sterilite containers (got 'em at Walmart) are exactly the maximum dimensions allowed by the airline, and they only weigh about 6 pounds. Heavy trunks or suitcases eat up too much of the weight allowance just for the container. If you drill holes through the snap-down handles, you can thread little plastic zip-closures through them to hold the lids on firmly. We have a few trunks leftover from our last trip (to the US), and those weigh 13 pounds each, and slightly exceed the size limit, although they will be allowed. We figure those will be the ones that go over the weight allowance.

Well, I suppose I should go do some more actual packing, sorting, and discarding. If I post pictures, I'll add a warning, because this is not a sight for the faint of heart.


At 1:03 AM , Blogger athenainaminivan said...

Oh my, what a years worth of stuff would look like is just more than I can fathom.

This sounds almost like the work for a garage sale that never happens because you still need (want) the stuff.

At 5:44 AM , Blogger Phyllis said...

Again, so familiar! We haven't gone on a long furlough, but I can just imagine. How is it that you so often manage to write about my life?

At 6:09 AM , Blogger Calamity Jane said...

Thanks very much for the packing tip! We're relocating - slowly - to England, and my dear husband (is that what the dh that y'all are always writing stands for?) just got on a flight with two 25 gallon plastic bins with plastic zips. So far so good! You posted just as we were starting to think about how we were going to get things over there.


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