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{July 13, 2015}   Non-Command Sponsored Chronicles: Packing for the Move

My Non-Command Sponsored (NCS) move was a little different from other military spouses I’ve met, in that I didn’t live with my husband before his move to South Korea. Nor did we have the time or ability to combine our household items for a move because prior to our marriage he was stationed in another country. And once we were married and he got on a plane three days later.  What that means for a non-command sponsored move is that while they would move his stuff to South Korea they would not move mine. Because of location and time constraints I couldn’t add my stuff to his weight limit shipment like other spouses have done. Other NCS spouses typically send their stuff along with their sponsor (the service member) and pay for their own plane ticket and no one’s the wiser. Since the government was moving my husband from another country already, I couldn’t send my stuff along. Which means I had to get very creative with packing because I’m attempting to move using only the luggage included in my ticket. I am blessed that because I am moving as a military dependent I am allotted four – 70lb bags, and two carry-on bags through Delta. So while, it will be interesting to pack my life up into six bags, it could have been worse. As the original baggage allowance for an international flight is two 70lb bags and two carry on bags.

First, I packed my carry-on bags. I decided not to waste a bag with a purse or laptop bag. Instead, I used a roller carry-on bag and a very large shoulder bag.  Incarry-on bag one, I packed two weeks worth of clothing. Everything, I would need should something happen to my large luggage. Also everything I will need while I stay in hubby’s dorm and we look for an apartment. That way, I can put the large bags in his storage area and only use the small bags in an already cramped space. Any extra clothing I would need on the flight, etc. Then the second bag was anything I would need for the flight that I would normally carry in a shoulder bag, plus a change of clothing when I landed to change into before seeing my hubby. 🙂 The two large bags were everything I could possibly fit into them for my life in South Korea. I kept an inventory of each bag, which was very helpful considering my large box was opened and inspected while in transit.

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Bag 1: Carry-On Roller Bag 1 ( 2 Weeks of Clothing and Supplies)

  • 16 pairs of underwear (enough for two weeks and couple spares)
  • 4 Pairs of socks (I wear a lot of flats, heels, and sandals)
  • 4 Regular bras
  • 2 pajama sets (to look cute in) (I don’t need a lot of nightwear because I can always use hubby’s t-shirts)
  • Robe – One that is easily fold-able, I chose my sexy black robe 😉
  • 1 tee shirt and shorts night set (to lounge in)
  • 1 Glamorous, wrinkle-proof top
  • 3 dresses
    • 2 Glamorous sundresses
    • Casual dresses that can go from day to night
  • 1 Pair of your sexiest jeans (these can double as a night outfit with heels and a hot shirt)
  • 3 Tank Tops
    • 1 Basic tank top
    • 1 Nice but versatile tank top
    • 1 Dress tank top
  • 2 Basic fitted tees that can be dressed up or down
  • 2 Sports bras
  • 1 Jacket (chose a light cotton/ leather blend)
  • 1 Shrug for nights out
  • 2 Pairs of killer heels
  • 1 Pair of flat-supportive sandals
  • 1 Pairs of comfortable flip flops (for the shower)
  • Items I need but will wear rather than pack
    • 1 comfy jacket with a hood
    • 1 pair of versatile flats
    • 1 pair of comfy but versatile pants
    • 1 good comfortable bra
    • 1 pair of thick socks

Bag 2: Additional Clothes ( All the clothes that I am taking to Korea) This was a large roller suitcase which I packed in sections. Shirts, in one section; pants in another; work out clothes, etc. I rolled all of the clothes and placed additional undergarments on top. On top of the undergarments I laid all of my suits, dresses, and blazers by folding them in half to make them fit.

Bag 3: All Shoes, extra clothing, land linen This is also a large roller suitcase, slightly larger than the first. First, I laid my shoes in the bottom of the suitcase, so that heal of one shoe was touching the toe of its pair. Then on top of that I laid winter clothing, and then any extra business suits and dresses. On top of that I put two queen sized sheet sets and a blanket. Belts and scarf accessories I put in the pockets of the suit case.

Bag 4: Cosmetics:  There’s this idea that just because South Korea has a lower cost of living that one can just repurchase everything they may need once they arrive. I happen to find that line of thought to be very wasteful. As the old saying goes, “waste not, want not.” So rather than buy perfectly good containers of expensive perfumes, lotions, and makeup, I packed a checked bag that would allow for the larger sizes. *This has proven to be invaluable in hindsight. My hubby, God love him, went ahead of me to South Korea and was there for a month. That’s a month of living like a bachelor. So when I arrived there was a lot of things that I find necessary that he did not have or even think to bring. Not to mention, while South Korea may be inexpensive, the base here is not. Simple things are significantly more expensive and while, yes, I can purchase them off base, in the first couple of weeks when you are getting acclimated that is not always a possibility.

Bag 5: Large Box of Household Goods: Thank goodness that most airlines worth their salt have a military baggage policy. When one is permanently changing stations (PCSing), airlines like Delta will allow for a large number of bags and for larger bags in general. This meant that I was allowed a total of 6 bags (4 checked and 2 carry on) and my checked bags could be larger than normal bags. Thus, I used a box slightly larger than a flat screen tv box to store a few items from my wedding and some art that I want to travel with us on our adventures to make our temporary quarters feel more like home. There is no way I would have been able to bring these items without significant cost if it hadn’t been for the military baggage allowance.

Bag 6: Carry on Shoulder Bag:  This bag is relatively unimportant for packing purposes, but I had snacks, reading material, makeup, a large pashima-type scarf to keep warm, hair supplies, warm socks, pressure socks, my journal and my Bible.

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Here is a crude picture of all of my bags and boxes for my move.

Shipped Item 1: Valuables: My final bag was actually a box and it was not checked. Rather it was mailed to me by my parents after I left. I packed it prior to leaving. The United States Postal Services has designated specific zip codes for overseas locations on military bases. When one ships a package or letter to those addresses the postage is the same as mailing something to the continental United States. This helps you save tremendously on postage. All of the blogs advised that I carry my expensive jewelry. Well I am a collector of jewelry, particularly pearls and I never wear the costume version. So for me that would have been an entire bag of nothing but jewelry. Rather than put the jewelry, and some expensive electronics, in a checked bag that could be inspected (and from personal experience possibly stolen) I decided that to mail it in a flat rate box with insurance. For one thing, the priority boxes insure timely delivery and for another the insurance gives me some peace of mind as to the safety of my items. For this box I did take pictures of each item in the box and made an inventory list.

Shipped Item 2: Gift Registry Items: I was very blessed during my wedding, people actually bought items off of the gift registry! However, no one shopped them to my hubby’s military address like I requested, LOL. What this meant for me was that I was going to have to spend more in shipping than some of the items cost, even with an APO address. Instead, my registry was with Macy’s so I returned everything and bought them again and then just shipped them to my new mailing address. It was a much more cost effective way of doing things because Macy’s prides itself on shipping to the military and in general everything over $150 ships free. As one shipment my items were well over the minimum purchase amount. My only caveat is that I shipped my stuff well in advance to make sure they arrived in a timely manner. However after nearly 3 weeks, upon my arrival, no package had arrived. Luckily I keep great records and contacted a manager (after dealing with a tone of people who didn’t know what they were doing). Apparently, the sales woman who did my transaction had never shipped to a military address before and they had no idea where my items were at, but they just reordered them all and shipped them again. All-in-all I still think this was the best way to go, just keep your receipts and records should something go wrong.

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jewels says:

Good luck!I will be doing something similar myself next year…!

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Thanks. I’m over here now and its not as scary as everyone makes it out to be.

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