pack out in 10 days!

Note: Our interent was not working this weekend so I wasn’t able to post this. I wrote it when we had only 10 days until pack out but as I’m posting it we are down to 3 days… wow.

Those of you who have had a pack out know how intense this process can be and those of you who haven’t, then let me try to stress you out…

All our household effects will leave Yaounde and go to one of four places:

  1. HHE (House Hold Effects) Yes, I know household is one word, it’s just States funny way of being cool. Most of our stuff will travel this way. It will get packed up by some smelly guys here into boxes, then put into a huge crate, then put into a container that is then put on a boat that is then shipped up to Europe then transferred to a boat that goes to Asia then transferred to a boat that will go down to the Philippines, then finally taken off the boat and delivered to our house/condo/duplex/townhouse where ever it is that the enlightened housing board of Manila decides to place our family for the next two years.
  2. Storage When we came here we were told there’d be nothing to do. This is true. So we brought with us lots and lots and lots of books. Since we are restricted to 7,300 lbs every move we want to put some stuff into storage so that we can collect a few things while in Manila. Mostly books will  be heading to our storage unit in Europe. Which means we’ll have stuff in storage in Washington DC and in Europe.  Once we are posted back to Washington State will drop all our storage off to us and it will be like Christmas with all the presents being books.
  3. UAB (Unaccompanied Baggage ) Again, they’ve added an extra letter there… This is a small shipment that will go by air to Washington DC. This is nice for us because we have some gifts in there and some stuff we need to return to friends there that we borrowed for Drake. Also, some prego clothes for a friend in DC. : ) So, we can off load this weight in DC then fill it back up for Manila.
  4. Suitcases Lastly, our smallest “shipment,” our suitcases. This is tricky too. We need 4 different suitcases for our time in the states and France. We like to nest them when we leave so that we have less to tote around and so that we can fill them up while home. Here are our different suitcase options:
    • One suitcase just for France. This eliminates the need to dig through all our suitcases while we are there.
    • Stuff we will want/need while in Washington state but not while we are in France.
    • Stuff, like shorts and t-shirts, we will want while we are in Washington DC in the spring that we won’t want or need in Washington state or France.
    • Stuff, like suits for Patrick, that we won’t need our entire time in the states but will want them once we are in Manila. (This will probably just get taken out and put away while we are in DC but it’s good to keep things organized.)

Now that you understand what we are dealing with as far as organizing goes you can follow along with the rest of my crazy preparing. I will now show you pictures to walk you through what I am dealing with:

Step One: Yard Sale

Go through the whole house and decide what needs to be sold.  Make a catalogue and yard sale flyer to send out to the entire embassy and expats in the country. Make a new email account so they email this account and do not have your private account. Send out catalogue and flyer. Answer emails for the next four days and sell everything in the catalogue. Have the actual yard sale. Become a CFA millionaire.

Step Two: Figure out what to do with left over stuff

Give most of it away. Keep consumables to take to Manila.

Step Three: Separate the Whole House

Now comes the hard part. I called the moving company and they brought us boxes so we could pack some stuff ourselves. This makes me happy on so many levels. Our first move, the guys used the packing paper like it was going out of style. Seriously, we found a pen wrapped up in 5 sheets of packing paper! That stuff is heavy!! So I’ve decided to do most of the packing myself. We have boxes for store, UAB, HHE and I have two suitcases out (well four bc they are nested), one labeled “Paris” the other labeled “Tacoma.” We have most of the living room packed up and most of the kid’s books and toys. We have a few things left out for them. Mostly, books and the dollhouse and a few of Drake’s favorite toys. We also have our entire basement separated into storage boxes and HHE boxes.

We still have a long ways to go before I will feel ready for the movers to come next Friday, but we have a good start. Here are some pictures.


We’ve laid out all four of our suitcases with the two smaller ones nested inside the bigger ones. We’ve labeled and are packing them as we go through the house.


Here are some of our boxes. They are labeled, UAB, HHE, Storage, and Give Away. Once the box is filled we tape it up and send it to the basement.



This is what the basement looks like right now. Half the space is Storage and the other half is HHE. I’m sure we’ll have to move stuff around a bit more before Friday.


This is the other half of our basement. It’s where we had the yard sale. There is still lots of stuff I’d like to sell but I’m not sure we’ll be able to. I think we’ll keep some of it and give the rest away.

7 responses to “pack out in 10 days!

  1. I am nodding in agreement with all your clever preparations for the packout, but then got super side tracked by your last photo — basement shelving??!!! I am super duper jealous. Keeping fingers crossed for you that all your planning and pre-packing works perfectly. Safe travels and enjoy Paris! It is really an amazing and lovely city!

  2. I agree with you regarding “packing yourself” because when I too experienced “5 rolls of papers with a pen” but mine was a marker. Currently in DC/VA area, our pack out isn’t until June but I’ve already started “boxing” stuff up. Enjoy Paris and hopefully we will meet each other in Manila (it is our next post too!).

  3. I’m also headed to Manila! My husband is an FSO & we’re set to arrive June 11th. Our pack out from Colorado to Virginia was a disaster! They told us they lost our UAB so we had to make a claim for everything only for them to find it all the next day with our HHE.

  4. Gosh you are so organized! Does state pay for your storage? I am so jealous!

    We just finished day 3 of our packing (it’s been extended to 4 days) and we leave in exactly a week from now. It’s really cool to see how you are packing. Wish I had been as organized!

  5. By the way, I’ve always been intrigued about storage. We are going home to the Philippines with all this teak furniture in 2 years and I am not sure what to do with our existing furniture. Storage is an option but I am perpetually afraid of things getting moldy in storage. Would you know if this happens?

    • I do not know. We put stuff in storage when we moved to Cameroon over two years ago and haven’t seen it since… I think it’s in a temperature controlled storage unit though…

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