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So you have decided to ship it all! Woohoo! Now let the fun begin…. 

Whether you are researching the what/how/all of it or are in the stages of doing this I really would encourage you to make sure you understand all aspects of the process clearly (the what you have to do and when it must be done by), and before you start have done some real internal thinking about what you want your life to be like once you get where you are going. 

A clear self understanding will go a looooong way toward making this easier for you and wont leave you at the other end wanting to bang your head against the wall because you left behind what’s important and brought along a bunch of crap that really doesn’t matter to you.  

Read here about my decision making process:

Deciding On A Shipping Container or A Couple Of Suitcases Once You Decide You Are Moving Abroad Can Be A Tough Choice – Practical Advice To Help You Make That Decision

That seems obvious. But it’s not in practice. When we move house to house in the same city or close by its habit to just put everything in a box and take it along. You could do that when you come here. I don’t advise doing it that way because I think you would be sorry when you got here. 

Let me tell you about my process of what it took to get my stuff here, and hopefully some of my experience will be a help to you in deciding or getting it done. 

First let’s look at the sequence of importing a shipping container with a moving abroad shipping company so we understand where these things fit in: 

  • Decide to import your belongings with a shipping container
  • Contact moving abroad shipping companies
  • Pack, inventory, get rid of etc 
  • Load shipping container or take to container loading company
  • Shipping container is shipped via ocean cargo
  • Shipping container arrives in Ecuador, Customs (Port of Guayaquil)
  • Custom’s Inspection which includes unloading, opening boxes and then reloading the container 
  • Shipping container sits in Port until Custom’s is complete 
  • Transport company picks up container in Port, then drives it to your home 
  • Unloading company comes and unloads your container 

Once I had made the decision to pack it up and take it all with me it was time to roll up my sleeves and get it done. 

For those of you who don’t know me, this was no small task and not something anyone could really help me with. Because I needed to sort the stuff before packing and no one could do that for or with me without it actually taking twice as long. 

I have many hobbies/interests all with their own set of tools, supplies and paraphernalia. I love Holidays and had in excess of 60 plastic tubs full of decorations. I love to deco the house and had a few sets of themes so I could swap out.

A HUGE amount of clothes.  Yes I am that person who takes a full room for a closet and fills it to the breaking point.  

Plus a full house of furniture, tools, sporting equipment, more kitchen stuff than any three families needed, several sets of china and…..

You get the picture. I could have filled a couple of 40 foot shipping containers, and I only had one to work with. 

I also knew that there were things I wanted to acquire once I got to Cuenca so I also needed to take into account what I knew would be replaced there. 

I ended up getting rid of more than I brought. It was terrifying, cathartic and freeing. 

Yes, there are things I didn’t bring that I am wondering what happened to, and there are things I was sure I would need that so far are just sitting and I haven’t. It’s just part of the process.

I can tell you that life will be different here in small ways and you won’t know how or what until you get here and start living. Some of your stuff to take or to leave is just a best guess. 

If you are going to ship then I encourage you to bring whatever you think you will actively USE before you bring the ‘stuff’ of your life. It’s easy to replace stuff and you will organically do that once you get here anyway. 

There are things I used every single day when I was working, etc that I have not even looked at here. Did I envision that before I left? No. I assumed I would use it here because I used it there daily.

So it will get donated or sold at consignment here and it will get replaced with whatever I end up using here. No big deal. 

And, I think this is important for you to think about – I knew where I was going to be living and how much space I would have, what type of architecture the house was, that I had a lot of light, etc.

If you know where you are moving to before you pack take that into consideration.  Will that figurine, lamp, curtains or comforter set work in that space? Or are you just packing it because you own it? 

If you don’t know yet where you are moving to and are going to do the put in storage then ship later then its different. You may need to consider are you renting a furnished, semi furnished or not furnished place? Are you going to live in an ultra modern or Spanish traditional type home, or? 

Either way know this – in the end it’s just stuff and really truly there is a LOT of stuff you can buy here too. If you forget it, change your mind or it just magically didn’t get here, don’t worry you will either replace it, get something different or decide in the end you really don’t miss it.

For the stuff you are going to get rid of you will need to decide if you are going to give it away, donate it or sell it, or some combination of that. For me I gave away and donated. It wasn’t worth the time and effort to sell (I also thought I was coming in less than two months and had to work for 6 weeks of that time). 

I calculated based on the Goodwill donation chart that what I would donate had enough value on my year end taxes that it made no sense to me to try and garage sale, Craigslist or anything else like that. Now if I was getting rid of all of my belongings and I had more time I might have chosen to sell v give.

Before you dive into the packing and sorting, be in contact with the company who will be doing the import for you. 

 

Let me say that again.  BEFORE you start packing be in touch with the company who will be doing the import for you.

 

And this may be obvious but I think it needs to be said – use a moving abroad shipping company NOT a regular local moving company who claims they can “get it done”

I chose to work with a moving abroad shipping company that was based in Cuenca vs an American company because the getting it out of a US port is the easy part. The potential complications come in Custom’s in Ecuador. 

My thought was that in using an established company in Ecuador, they would have a better understanding of, contacts within, and would know the ins and outs of dealing with this end of things much better than someone sitting at a desk in the US. 

I am VERY glad I did this.

Read about the moving abroad shipping company I used, and the day in Customs here:

 

A Day In Customs With My Importer Getting My Shipping Container Inspected:  I Wish I Knew Then What I Do Now About The Customs Inspection Process

My Shipping Container Arrives Today in Cuenca.   After Almost a Month Of Waiting It’s Time To Unpack And I am Excited!

 

Things you will need to know to plan your move, get your shipping container filled, sent and to work with your moving abroad shipping company:

  • When will your stuff be picked up for the shipping container to be loaded (at the house you are moving FROM)? 
  • Will that be at your house or do you need to take it somewhere? I had to load UHaul moving trucks and transport my stuff to a container loading company because the 40’ container/semi wouldn’t fit down my street
  • In either case, is there a ramp or lift gate or do you need to provide this, or request it? Furniture and appliance dollies?
  • How long will you have to get the shipping container loaded? 4 hours before being charged an hourly rate is normal.  Think about that for a moment – 4 hours isn’t much time when you don’t know what you are doing and or you are working with a bunch of people who don’t know what they are doing (it’s well worth it to at least talk to some container loading companies – what’s your sanity worth?)
  • Do you load the container or does the container company?  Most likely you will be responsible for this which means you have to be quick, and you need to understand how to load an ocean going container which is different than loading a truck to drive on solid roads – or you need to hire a commercial cargo loader, in which case again will that be where you are or do you need to take your stuff to them?
  • You need to know where the shipping container will be loaded and leave from because the address is needed for the shipping quote, time for delivery to port, coordination of scheduling etc
  • What is required for box labeling and inventory? At the time when I did this it was required that each packing box and or item shipped had a sequential and numeric only tag on it. 1, 2, 3 etc not 1, 1a, 1b, 2 – and each box had to be included with a detailed written inventory that would be given to the shipper, and needed to be provided to the importer a few days BEFORE the container was loaded to be included in the shipping manifest paperwork.  

The inventory was required to be detailed: 2 sheets, 4 pillowcases, 12 forks, etc. If I used sheets or fabric etc as packing padding then those had to included within the inventory.  You can’t just fill the packing box and slap a number on it. 

  • Also I recommend you print labels that are no smaller than 2×4” w BIG numbers in a clear and easy to read font rather than writing the numbers by hand. You are less apt to miss or reuse a number, and there will be no issue with it being legible. Put all labels in the same general place on each item, like the top right corner. 

Your boxes and items will be handled several times before you get them back at your new home and you want to make it as easy as you can on the people handling your stuff so they are not topsy turvying everything, and potentially breaking it all trying to find your numbers. 

  • You will need to have an electronic (editable) spreadsheet for this because your importer will translate to Spanish and it will get emailed back and forth to Custom’s during the scheduling and pre-inspection. 

It should be in Excel, not GoogleDocs or Numbers etc. You need to do what is easiest for the people in Custom’s – remember they hold the ability to make your life hell, and they use Office. 

Be very clear and use simple terms for the items on your spreadsheet. If the Custom’s agent cannot figure out what the item is on the spreadsheet it is a guarantee they will tear that box apart to figure it out, and or if they think it is something that it is not it may just hold up the processing and it will cost more and take longer to get done. 

Or if in the paperwork, pre inspection an item gets questioned it could push your container out of the inspection queue until the matter is resolved, and again add time to your time in port. Whatever you write needs to translate clearly. 

  • What is forbidden to be imported? (Guns, flammables, ammunition, certain other chemicals, etc)
  • What items have a limit on how many you bring? If you bring more what is the additional cost, or is it an item that just isn’t allowed? (Electronics, clothing, food items) and note on food, chemical, cosmetic etc the expiration date must be AFTER it clears customs. So when you are packing and the item has an expiration date of less that 3 months from the date it will leave port, not from when you are packing, don’t pack it. 

It isn’t worth the entire container being returned for the one item

  • Which items do you have to segregate on Inventory like MENS shirt or WOMENS shirt? ( read here about what happens if your inventory is wrong)
  • Are there any items you should or are not allowed to pack with other items? When I came, food, cosmetics, cleaning products and clothes all had to packed with only like items.  These types of items could not be commingled in boxes with other items
  • How long will your stuff be in packing boxes, and what is the weather like at the time you are shipping? You may want to get some indicating silica (like the little packets that come in the new shoe boxes) to put in the boxes, etc to keep moisture away from your stuff so you don’t have discoloration, things sticking to other things, mildew, mold, or photos ruined etc. 

I highly recommend this!  You can buy them in small to mid size packets, or you can call a commercial shipping supply and buy large (like a foot long) ones to hang in various places throughout the container. 

Make sure to include these in your inventory if you use the big ones. If you pack in plastic crates you will need them IN the boxes, the big ones in the containers won’t help inside the plastic tote. I used the little packets in each box, appliance etc, just use according to size, 1-6 in each box depending on size of container and contents, this was less expensive than the big commercial things – although they would have been much easier

  • Are there any types of packing materials you are not allowed to use? When I shipped packing peanuts of any material were not allowed, wood has to be of a specific type
  • If you are using a container packing service – ask them if they will provide support, tie down and dunnage for the container or if you need to – if they do is there an additional charge? If you are packing the container this will be your responsibility
  • Do you need to provide the lock for the container or do they? You don’t want your stuff to go without a lock
  • Once your shipping container arrives and is being processed at Custom’s will you be going to Custom’s for the Inspection with your importer or will they go without you? I went. I was not required to go but it was good I did. 

With items where the Custom’s agent wasn’t sure what it was, or why I had so many of something etc I was able to answer the question right there vs having everything stop and have to be redone once they answered those questions. And there was no wait in having to negotiate the bribe, errr ummm I mean Soda Money tip for the agent or the workers  Read about the day at Custom’s here 

  • Once Custom’s releases the shipping container, when will it be delivered to your home?
  • Will they unload or do you need to? Read about my unloading day here 
  • Do you need to provide anything for this?

A few things you can get to make your packing easier:

  • Silica indicator packs – those little packets that come in new shoe boxes
  • Good, strong packing tape – don’t get the cheap crappy thin stuff – it doesn’t hold up (ask me how I know)
  • Good, solid packing boxes or crates   I used a combination of new and recycled cardboard boxes and wish I had listened to Aunt B who told me to buy all new. She was right and I didn’t. 

Many of the recycled boxes arrived bent, fallen over, collapsed or torn. The exception to this was the thicker liquor boxes I got from the liquor store. These held up well. However the thinner walled liquor boxes were destroyed by the time they got here.  Packing boxes are NOT the place to be frugal – get good quality boxes

Plastic crates were 50/50. All that had anything of weight put on them collapsed or the lids broke. If I did plastic boxes again I would maybe do the heavier duty commercial type boxes.  The standard plastic boxes that you can get at HomeDepot, Target etc I wouldn’t bother with

That being said my shipping container was so full you needed a shoe horn to get the last few items in and so there was very little shift and I only had 3 items actually break. 

If the container hadn’t been overstuffed like this I would have lost a lot to breakage. The issue for my load was in the unpacking. As things were removed the stacks started to tumble and this is where my table was broken, a roundel on my bed frame broke etc.

Had I used better packing boxes I probably would have had zero breakage.

  • A notebook – Decide how you will do the Inventory as you go along. I hand wrote in a notebook (so I could have someone else sit and transcribe into computer spreadsheet while I continued to pack) v typing and packing as I went along.
  • Colored Markers – Highlighters – I color coded with a stripe on my labels so when the boxes got to the new house I could by color know what room each box should go in. The stripe cannot go through or over the number 
  • Colored paper to match the stripe colors so you can tape this to the wall to make it easier for the unloading crew (who probably won’t speak any English). This way purple stripe gets stacked by the piece of purple paper and you don’t end up with the kitchen boxes in your bathroom upstairs.
  • Rolls of clear plastic wrap film like they use for wrapping pallets. This comes in 6” through 3’ plus in width – it wraps around your odd shaped stuff, keeps doors closed, keeps packing blankets in place when wrapped around your furniture, etc. 
  • Masking or painters tape to use on wood surfaces so it wont pull the finish, and it’s a good idea to put this on glass doors, mirrors, the glass in frames etc so if they break they don’t shatter everywhere
  • Bubble Wrap, packing blankets and whatever other type of materials you need to wrap your stuff. I used my linens as much as I could to save weight and space, and then used bought supplies when I ran out of linens. 

It sucked that you cannot use clothes as padding, they were required to be packed separately. 

Tip: I watched Craigslist for used moving supplies and was able to get all of the packing blankets I needed free and I purchased news print roll ends from my local newspaper so I could wrap things without ink getting on anything – MUCH easier unpacking and cleaning without ink! 

  • You may want to get some vacuum bags – they suck the air out of fabric items and condense the size. Great for comforters, sleeping bags, pillows, clothes, stuffed animals etc. 

Tip:  If you have a soft fluffy thing and you have something like a candlestick or lamp that you want protected, put the fluffy thing down with the thing you want to protect on top of it and then vacuum the fluffy thing while compressing the thing to protect and the fluffy thing will form to the shape as it compresses. 

Tip: Linens make good stuffing for your big appliances too so you don’t have empty space in your container, and the linens will not break the shelving etc inside your appliances.

Tip:  If you use vac bags or plastic containers , putting a dryer sheet in will help keep your stuff from smelling like plastic when you take it out. Just choose a fresh, light scent, not a heavy floral etc. And don’t forget to put in the indicating silica packs !

  • Make yourself a ‘go to customs box’ and load it in the very back of the container – and include it on the inventory – include a printed copy of the itemized inventory, box cutter, a pair of scissors, and a few rolls of packing tape, if you have the plastic rolls left over put those in too so you can rewrap anything they unwrap at the Custom’s Inspection – your boxes are going to get opened and then they leave it to you to repack them before your container is reloaded (read about this here ) – highlight this box on your inventory so it is clear to your agent what it is and easy to find on Custom’s Inspection day
  • Dunnage – you may not know if you need this or not til you are done packing. Dunnage is essentially a place holder/filler so you don’t have open space in the container. Like thick blocks of foam or styrofoam, or tubes of foam, possibly some pieces of plywood to hold things in place, etc. Empty space means things will shift. 

There is no maybe shift, they will shift and you will have broken stuff

 

A note to think about while you are sorting and packing – the things you want to take but are not as important to you, or if something happened and you could leave behind but want if there is room – you need to pack these together and have them be in the last numbered boxes on your inventory.

On the day of packing the shipping container, if you can’t fit something in, then you will not have the ability to sort a box and repack to take something out. Try to leave all of these items as your last box numbers also so if things have to come off it does not leave a gap in your number sequence which can foul up the Custom’s process. 

Okay, so now on to the process of actually doing it 

For me, the first step of the weeding out was already done through the process of thinking about what I needed, wanted and didn’t care about. A few phone calls and people showed up and took the big stuff away. 

Bye bye extra couch, extra barbecue, etc. I left fridge, washer and dryer, stove etc with the house when it sold. I also knew I wanted to take major appliances with me so I immediately went out and bought/ordered what I wanted so I could make sure it would be delivered to me in plenty of time to get it unpacked, repacked, Inventoried and labelled before shipping deadline. 

Make note of this – if you are going to buy anything new to bring with you try to do that first and then get into the packing. The last thing you want is to order a fridge and have it not be delivered to you until it’s too late to take. Or wait to buy new linens and then be short of room in the container when you could have used them as packing materials earlier on. 

When I came, it was okay to bring new appliances but they had to be “used” which means they had to be removed from original packaging, all tags and stickers removed and then plugged in. I wanted to plug in anyway to make sure they worked because the warranties will mean diddly squat in Ecuador unless there is a service center here – no manufacturer is going to pay to ship it back and forth. 

The good thing in unpacking big appliances and then having to repack them is they hold a large amount of stuff inside them. 

Let me say this here so I don’t forget – It is imperative that there are NO Invoices, Statements or Packing Slips in or on anything you take. As in the new fridge has the sale invoice/statement/packing slip on or in the package. 

Also – make sure NO package or box has any name, address or other identifying information on it. If it has YOUR name only that is okay, but not the address. If at Custom’s any person’s info is on the package or box they have the right to declare your load as fraudulent, or trying to import for the purpose of sale or other business and they can fine you, jail you or return the entire container back to place of origin at your fault and expense. 

If the name on the package or box happens to be someone else who is in Ecuador they may also be fined or jailed as an accomplice. MAKE SURE THERE IS NO IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON ANY BOX OR ITEM. And this includes barcodes. Apparently a barcode on the box indicates the box is intended for commercial use. If you use boxes that have a barcode, either black it out entirely don’t just line through it, or cut it off. Its easiest to buy plain packing boxes with no writing on them.  

Okay so back to your stuff. 

The first thing I did and I would recommend you do is decide what you are going to take with you on the plane in your suitcase. Pull those things out, put them in a designated closet and wear only those clothes, use those kitchen things etc and pack everything else. 

This way you aren’t shuffling with the stuff you need to pack vs. having things to use while you pack etc. And/or keep a few items that you intend to donate to use while you pack and donate those items just before you go. 

Tip: it’s a good idea to check with the airline you will be traveling with to see what sizes of suitcases, how many you can check and what the weight restrictions are.  International flights generally have different suitcase size allowances and there are seasonal luggage restrictions to consider.

I knew I would be in Ecuador for about three weeks before my stuff arrived. (This ended up being almost 8 weeks.) I had arranged with my landlord to ‘borrow’ a bed, and the washing machine and dryer until my stuff came. 

I rented my house semi furnished which was to include the stove and refrigerator only. He was agreeable and I figured it may be like camping in a big empty house, but with a bed I could manage with bringing just a few things in the suitcase. 

So I packed an 8” frying pan, a small sauce pan w lid, a coffee thermos, a cone with reusable filter, a fork, knife, spoon, a chef knife, spatula, wood spoon, pillow, set of sheets, blanket, the dog’s water trough, two feeding bowls, two of their smaller balls, two leashes, a bag of dog food, their supplements, a few spices, a kombucha mother and a small amount of kefir grains in milk (and yes I checked both and yes PSA made a mess in my suitcase), my clothes, toiletries, iPad, cameras/lenses, a file of documents and a few books. 

When thinking about what you take in your suitcase – take any vital documents, or photos/memorabilia that you would be absolutely sick if you lost or it would cause a LOT of effort to replace. Use common sense, don’t pack your expensive collectibles or jewelry in the container especially if they will fit in someone’s pocket. 

Most crimes are of opportunity.  

I can tell you it would be close to impossible for anyone to take anything of size at Custom’s. The workers are patted down and no one, even you the customer is allowed a purse, tote or anything else to be carried in that has even the remotest possibility of something being carried out in. 

And with the seals, double custody in opening containers etc, there is really negligible risk to you. But a gold chain or diamond ring? Potentially they could pocket something like that and hide it. 

With the remaining everything you have after pulling out what you will travel with and getting rid of the obvious stuff – sort it, get rid of, and start to pack. 

When you are packing use common sense. Your shipping container is going to go over road to port, then be put on a ship. While at sea your container may be subjected to rough weather. 30 foot waves are not uncommon. And your stuff is going to be handled multiple times. 

Pack accordingly. 

Wrap everything well, secure the wrapping, and pack each box tight. Don’t leave empty space in your boxes. Gaps of space will create boxes that collapse, break and shift. If you have a space, and nothing that will fit in it, use extra bubble wrap or a piece of styrofoam, crumpled paper – anything is better than empty space. 

Know this – empty space in a box or the container will mean breakage. No ifs ands or buts about it – you will have breakage. 

With this in mind it’s a good idea to take a good look around your house and give some thought to what you have to pack. There are many methods to effective packing. I like to keep like rooms or areas together. But there are those empty spaces in the boxes that need something from a different area. Something that I found helpful was in having a packing area vs trying to pack in each room. 

I put an empty shelving unit by the packing area and went through the house and grabbed all of the little items, and put boxes of all the linens, my craft fabric, yarns etc under the tables so I used those to pack with and had little items that could fill space on hand as I was packing. 

Having a packing area was also very useful when people came to help me. It was easier and stayed more organized to have a designated space to put someone who was there to help me rather than trying to have them balance on the end of a bed or couch or worse on the floor. 

Make it as easy as you can for the people who are helping you. You will get more done and they will appreciate it. 

Think about packing your dishes and breakables in many boxes so they don’t end up being the heavy boxes at the bottom with everything piled on top of them. 

And understand that every single box may get opened at Customs. It is their choice how many and which get opened. They have to open at least half. So when packing think about someone else pawing through your stuff with no regard to the careful and artful way you fit those funky items together in just-so a way that they won’t get broken. 

That goes out the window when the box is cut open and stuff is randomly pulled out and left hanging out of the box til the end of the day where it is quickly stuffed back in the box to repack into the container, etc. 

Let’s take a fast break here – it’s not a bad process to go through – if you know and understand what to do, what to expect and you follow the directions exactly as your importer tells you to do. I realize this all seems like a lot, maybe overwhelming, etc. Sorting and packing is something most of us do not like or look forward to, but it’s really not that bad! 

How you pack etc is really up to you, your personality, your space confines etc. For me I set up a packing station with a folding table and tapped off an area on the floor of the garage that was the same size as the shipping container dimensions. Then as I filled a box, I put it “in” the container.  

At least I tried to do this. In reality I was packing in two storage facilities and the house and trying to figure out in my head how much space each location was going to take up in the shipping container. Best laid plans of supreme organization….. 

Once I had chunks of stuff sorted, I did have help, lots and good help. THANK YOU Aunt B and C !!! And a bunch of other people both paid and volunteered. Believe me I was not an island! 

Give yourself a lot more time than you think it will take. It takes a lot of time to sort, pack, and then to type the inventory. 

So the day before everything was due to be delivered to the container packer, I and 3 other people went and picked up 4 UHauls. 2/20’ and 2/16’. Others joined us and we split up and went to the two storage facilities, then back to the house to fill in. 

Somewhere during the day we realized it wasn’t all going to fit, and another UHaul was ordered. Went and got that and we were packing these trucks and repacking until 4am. 

If at all possible, I really recommend you have all the items you are going to take in one location. Because we were loading 5 trucks from 3 locations there was no real way of loading the trucks efficiently. 

It wasn’t a complete cluster but it was nowhere near time or space efficient. We ended up also loading my Tahoe, and my friend’s work van and then off to the loader’s we all went. We were supposed to be there no later than 7am and we were leaving my house an hour late. 

Murphy’s Law, there was a public power outage that day which took down all traffic lights in the metro area and holy crap was traffic a mess. 

Bad enough we were now smack dab in the middle of rush hour going into traffic and needed to get through downtown and on to the other side of town. Not going to happen. 

I called and they said they understood and would just do the best they could. Worst that could happen is I would have to pay a waiting fee for the trucking company. Hmmm. Great. But, it’s just money right? At this point there is nothing else I can do unless I bag it all. 

We got there at 9:45. Almost three hours late and close to 5 hours after we left my house. In normal, not rush hour with lights working this is a 60 minute drive. 

The truck hasn’t arrived yet, apparently it’s also stuck in traffic. That’s a good thing. 

So we drive all five UHauls and the 2 vehicles into the warehouse and it all gets unloaded. I thought the loader was going to have a coronary and I was in awe myself. 

It was the first time I had seen all of my stuff packed in one place. He laughed out loud when he saw all the stuff. Once unloaded he pulled me aside and said – there’s a chance this all wont fit – do you know what you are willing to leave behind? 

Luckily I had given this some thought and had made a list of box numbers. The only issue was finding them in this huge pile of stuff. I had 700 boxes and furniture items. 

No easy task to quickly identify and pull these boxes out to set aside. 

Aunt B and I started on a pile and just started moving, pulling and going through it. Once the truck arrived and they started loading she continued on the piles, and I stood at the front of the container and we checked each box number against the list. 

The stuff we were setting aside got reloaded into a UHaul. 

At this point the container is half packed, its still iffy on if the rest is going to fit. We all break for lunch. Aunt B and I go and have a sandwich then return. The crew is back at it, loading. 

It’s going quickly, these guys are amazing at the puzzle fitting, and teamwork. Clearly it was worth the cost to hire the loaders vs trying to do this with well meaning friends. 

Everything in the warehouse is now loaded and there is some room left, so we start on the stuff set aside in the UHaul – and I can’t believe it but they got everything in. Just. Barely. 

The door was closed, the seal put on, the lock put on, manifest noted with the seal number, photos of the seal and container number taken, the loaders paid and Aunt B and I drove home. 

Again in rush hour, we’ve been there all day. And then at home there were UHauls to be returned. The end of the day never felt so good I can tell you. 

The cleaning company who were also going to remove whatever was left in the house were coming the next day. And I had to move the next morning into my neighbor’s guest house so the new owners could take possession of the house the day after. 

In the end it all worked out. It was stressful with dates changing, not really knowing if things would fit, or not, etc but it all worked out. 

At the time going through it, it was alot, very stressful and I wondered a few times (a day) if it wouldn’t have been wiser to bag it all and show up with dogs and a backpack. 

Now that I am here, and my stuff has arrived and been unpacked and I am ‘living’ in a fully furnished and appointed house I am VERY glad I brought it and really looking back at it all, although there were a few isolated incidents of WTF!? the overall of it was not bad at all. 

Some of what I brought I already know in time I will replace. And there are things I know I packed that somehow didn’t make it here. Not much, and were maybe all in the same box or in all likelihood didn’t get packed although I had intended for them to be. 

It’s just stuff. My garden figure didn’t get here. Guess what? My garden is okay without it and at some point I will be somewhere and I will get a new one that will be perfect for the place and time I am in now. 

People I know here who came with just a few suitcases think what I did is insane. I think what they did wouldn’t have worked for me. In the end it’s only about what is right for you. You will get through it. There is light at the end of the tunnel and its bright!  

Have you done a long distance move ? Share your story in the comments below 🙂 

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