We started packing slowly; We decided to take it in stages. This helped us to remember bits and bobs, as we went, and to think about what we did not need to take with us.
Packing Stage 1:
The first stage was to sort through our belongings. Throw out anything that we didn’t need or want to take with us and we used ‘Ahmed’s Law’ – If we haven’t seen or used it in the past 6 months, it’s gone. This allowed us to take stock of what we actually had and how many boxes we were going to take with us. Our aim was to take no more than 15 boxes in total (we ended up taking 16 boxes). We had loosely allocated 2 boxes for each child’s stuff and the remaining boxes for the rest of our belongings.
We are not “pack rats” or hoarders, so we didn’t have a huge amount to sort through. Or so we thought!! Bin bag, after bin bag, after bin bag later, we realised that we were more pack rats than we initially thought! We had over 30 bin bags to get rid of; just general bits we had kept over the years – art work from nursery, books, report cards, candle holders, shoes, coats, clothes, picture frames, shoes, food, linen, cutlery and more shoes (Ahmed had a lot of trainers).
The most rubbish, surprisingly, was generated from our daughter’s bedroom. She probably had more things in her bedroom than we did in the whole house. Apparently ‘that’s how artists are’. However, we believe she’s a closet hoarder.
We also donated some plants and wine, which we had collected over the past 10 years, which we thought would be useful to our friends.
Packing Stage 2:
The second stage was to pack up the things that we were taking, but would not be needing whilst we were still in the UK, or when we arrive in Brissy, such as books; some board games; all the summer clothes (oops… we’re going to need those because it’s Australia’s summer… so we unpack) and things we weren’t going to use daily. These filled a couple of boxes. We had to be mindful of the shipping companies weight limit of 30kg per box, so we were careful with what we put together.
Packing Stage 3:
Probably the most time-consuming part was deciding we were not going to take furniture with us and would instead sell it on eBay and other selling platforms before we departed. We created a new account; we added the main items to eBay and Gumtree. Most of the items were bought really quickly – I must say, for less money than I had planned for but needs must. I thought I was cheap but boy; some of the haggling on these sites puts me to shame. Some items also went quicker than we had planned. Someone bought the brown corner group sofa and also wanted to buy our bed two weeks before we left but we had to push him back a few weeks otherwise we would be sitting on the floor and sleeping in the bathtub.
During the sales, we found out our eBay account hadn’t linked properly with our Paypal account so people didn’t have the option of Buy Now so when we had someone who wanted the item, we unlisted it and arranged for collection and payment outside of the usual methods. eBay, became upset with us! They sent us an email. We tried to resolve the payment issue but no such luck so we carried on listing and un-listing. Three items later the account was blocked for seven days! ARGH, how will we contact the guy to sell the bed if the account is suspended? We just had to wait and hope he is still interested when the ban was lifted. We didn’t end up selling the bed to him, because once the ban was lifted, we couldn’t make contact… oh well!
What was surprising was the interest shown to these items we would’ve otherwise called junk and discarded. Truly, One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Packing Stage 4:
This was the actual packing of the boxes. I had initially thought that we could allocate a specific number of boxes to each person or each room in the flat; this was not possible due to the items we each had and the weight limit of the shipping company. Our son, 9, had next to nothing. Our daughter had lots of awkwardly shaped things so needed to be packed in different boxes. So, that theory needed revising. We looked at my husband’s stuff! Yeah, we had to rethink this. The number of consoles he owns, which he actually doesn’t play but wants to keep, meant we became very strategic with our packing and based on the advice of a friend, we used our clothing and bedding to fill some of the gaps and pad out heavier boxes. Seriously, Ahmed seems to own every computer console since the 16 bit Atari.
We weighed and ‘post-it noted’ each box. We found more stuff. We weighed again… A few boxes were slightly over the 30kg weight limit. We took out some stuff (hoodies, slippers, shoes) and the cycle continued until we had filled 16 boxes, which included one purpose built crate for some for the fragile items.
Packing Stage 5
As we were dismantling our bedroom, we found Ahmed’s London 2012 Olympic Torch. Oh dear! Where are we going to put this? Do we ship it? Can we bring it on the plane as carry on? What if they don’t let us through with it because it’s seen as a weapon? It means we’d have to throw it away? In the end, we decided to ship it which raised the shipping cost because of the value placed on the torch (AAARGH – more cost).
The process of finding new things and weighing again continued until it was finally the day for all the boxes to be collected. The currier came early and we then sealed everything; he explained that we may have saved ourselves a lot of money by packing the boxes and weighing them. Ahmed helped and drag the boxes to the door and the currier asked if there was anything else we wanted to add to the crate. because there was more room… errrrrm, I guess the printer is coming too.
If you want something, go get it!
Peace, Love and Happiness
The Jalloh Family