WARNING: While I hope these tips will be helpful, I have to admit I’m writing them BEFORE we’ve actually moved, maybe once we’re over there I’ll realize some better ways to do it (or more likely…how NOT to do it).
“Okay kids! Go over to our 5 packed up boxes for a picture!”
Ah yes…cute picture of the kiddos and the feeling of having 5 boxes already packed up and ready for Africa! Just 3 more tubs to go!
Oh wait….as we gather together in one spot all the miscellaneous and random things that still need to be packed and those few things we’re ordering off Amazon…..um guess those neatly stacked tubs are getting revamped and we’re starting all over again!!!!
The whole time I kept thinking back to a post by An Inviting Home. Before I go any further, I have to say this is one of my very favorite adoption blogs, after having 2 bio kids, they adopted a sibling group of 3 from foster care. Okay…back to the subject at hand…She was talking about some friends of hers that are missionaries as well, and when they moved their family, they had to just keep weeding things out. They’d go through everything and get ride of stuff, then six months later do it all over again. You can read more about it here.
Now I give you 5 tips for moving junk overseas!
Talk to people who live there.
It has been such a blessing for us to be able to talk to other missionaries already living in Senegal. In fact, we even have a list of things that people have recommended we bring. Of course, it all depends on the person, different things matter more to different people, but it at least gave us an idea of what’s hard to get there and what’s readily available.
Take versatile-multi-use things.
- Legos can become a toy space ship, house, airplane and pretty much anything your imagination can think up, and they can even be used as teaching tools.
- Clothes that match with a myriad of other things and can be dressed up or dressed down are good choices. You can find a lot out there about a minimalist wardrobe, but here’s one post with 4 tips from Money Saving Mom.
- One of the few kitchen items I’m taking is my pressure cooker, because it not only works to pressure cook food, but it’s a nice tall pot perfect for cooking big batches of things, it’s got a heavy durable bottom, and I can make one of my favorite snacks in it…popcorn!
Take advantage of modern technology!
I’m not all super gadgety, but I sure am thankful that nowadays we can take a nice slender laptop in place of a giant computer and box monitor! I also love how I can take buckets of books on my kindle! I’ve even been stocking up on free e-books from Amazon. Other modern space-saving marvels are things like having digital photos instead of a bunch of photo albums and negatives.
Small and light is superior. For example, one of our laptops is rather big and heavy, so we decided to purchase a new smaller and lighter one to replace it. The new laptop is giving us an extra 10 pounds in our luggage.
Other examples are:
- Paper back over hardcover books (if you don’t like the e-book option).
- Polly pockets instead of large barbie-sized dolls.
- Scrabble Apple instead of the regular Scrabble board game.
What you don’t take with you, can serve as an aid in helping you adapt to your new life.
I know that right now this is still just theory for us, but we’ve heard from others that if we go over with everything we need and more, we’ll have less reason to go out and be in the new culture and language. While we are taking quite a few clothes, we’re also hoping to have some made out of beautiful, colorful fabrics! I am taking some of my favorite kitchen items, but not too many because I want to learn to cook how they do.
Remember, people live and survive where you’re going.
This has comforted me when I’ve gotten ride of things. Not taking a certain item might make my life a little more inconvenient or I might miss something that is familiar to me, but millions of people live in Senegal just fine, so any basic human needs I’ll have I should be able to get there.
If you need more tips on packing light I get most of my ideas from Mr. Bean.