If you don’t know me, you’ll soon find out that I am a planner. Since we were asked to go to Africa (a year before we left) I started my ‘To Do List” and “Packing List”. Two months later, we found out I was pregnant and our leaving date got pushed back till after delivery, but I simply adjusted my lists.
So over the year, I slowly down sized our house and belongings. When we got our official ‘Green Light’ we were given all the last details. And one of those details was: 2 bags per person. That didn’t sound too bad, but when it came down to the airline and tickets, we were only allowed five check bags and four carry-ons total.
I’m a minimalist (at least I strive to be). So I was proud to take up the challenge. We could always buy things there. Family could always ship stuff over to us (is that cheating?). But the hardest challenge by far was the bottom-line WHAT to pack.
What do you pack for a 2-month-old for the next 18 months? Or for an 21-month-old for the next 18 months? What do you pack for two winters and a summer?
We finally decided we’d take the basics: 10 outfits and 4 pjs in every size for the kids. We would buy our big items in Africa: coats, boots, & blankets. Anything electronic (movies, music) we put on an external hard drive. We changed as many books as we could to Kindle versions. Minimized our toys to a Wal-Mart bag.
Every month I re-went through my closet and added to the box of “Not Going.” Most of my wardrobe went into that box because it didn’t meet the dress code of our new African culture or was a maternity idea I wouldn’t be wearing anymore. Everything we weren’t taking or giving away, went in a labeled tote in the basement of our house.
I got in trouble a bit from My Love because I started packing up the kitchen two weeks before and he couldn’t find the utensils he needed 🙂 Oops!!
The night before we left, I sat on our hardwood floors and re-packed every bag. My mom came by to help and ran some last minute errands for me. With a few adjustments and having to choose one thing over another, we were done. We had all we needed to live for a year and a half in—
5 check bags, 2 carry-ons, 1 diaper bag, 1 computer bag, & a stroller.