Our Stuff

WAY back in January 2013 Tex and I spent a few days sorting every single thing in our apartment into various piles in preparation for the packers/movers:

1.)    Throw away immediately (ex: dust bunnies, broken CD’s).

2.)    Save it for a week before we decide to throw it away (ex: ‘Do you know what this metal thing goes to?’).

3.)    Donate to Salvation Army (‘Uhh…no, you’re never allowed to wear that again’).

4.)    Give away to friends/family (‘You, uh, want this thing that I don’t want?’).

More significantly…

5.)    UAB (Unaccompanied Air Baggage)

For two people the weight is 450 lbs. These are items we selected from our mountains of stuff for living at Oakwood Falls Church in a furnished apartment for an indeterminate amount of time.  All we knew at the time was that we would be at Oakwood for longer than 3 months but less than 2 years.  We wound up living there for 6 months.

We purchased a scale to make sure we were underweight.  Two things we didn’t know: the weight limit also includes the packaging they use for your items so you don’t really get a full 450lbs and we were limited to 3 large boxes.  Even though we were underweight we still had to move items out of UAB because they didn’t fit in the boxes.

We packed a few decorative items in our UAB including our wedding photos and a few trinkets.  The rest included kitchen stuff, clothing, and electronics.  Oakwood provides a pretty decent kitchen package with just about everything you need to prepare basic meals. Here is a helpful post from a fellow Foreign Service blogger (http://diplolife.blogspot.com). Larger families may have some difficulty with what is provided, we were just happy to have a dishwasher and a walk-in closet.

6.)    HHE  (Household Effects)


This is the hardest one.  The weight and size limits on UAB and suitcases force you to be very discriminatory about what you are packing.  However, HHE is another story all together.  You can put anything in there, with few exceptions.*

We’ve collected a lot of furniture, lamps, bedding, clothing, knick knacks, completely weirdo gifts, sentimental crap, and books to last a lifetime.  It’s all in HHE.  Unfortunately, unless you can watch 4-5 packers/movers like a hawk…

We got the hookah supplies with no hookah.  We got a lamp shade with no lamp.  We got baby clothes, car wax, etc.

HHE is a magical shipment that turns this:

6 kitchen


Into this:


 How HHE works:

After you’ve separated your UAB and whatever you’re packing in suitcases EVERYTHING else goes in your HHE.  The movers did a fairly good job keeping an inventory but it can be a bit vague and a bit illegible.  Seemingly a million years after you’ve moved out of your home, and forgotten about everything you own, you open up that inventory and put check boxes next to the items you want.  A box might be labeled “bottles.”  If you have home brewing equipment like ourselves “bottles” is a little vague. We have a LOT of bottles.

I wish that we had taken 10 minutes after everything was in boxes to look over the inventory that the movers created.   If we had taken this time perhaps we would have clarified “gold mirror” and wound up with the one we wanted instead of a beat up old yellow one.

We still have one more small shipment to go.

Please stay tuned for my next post, “holy crap, I’d rather move again than find a place for all of our stuff.”


*“It’s Your Move” is a helpful publication published by the State Department to explain how best to prepare for a move.

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