Packing for Winter

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car trunk

Things we would like to take with us for our winter in Arizona

How much stuff does one need to pack for four months away from home? Several weeks ago, we loaded the trunk of the car with unpacked suitcases, assorted bags and containers to determine the packing parameters for our winter in Arizona. Which bags would we take? How much would fit? It turned out to be not as much as I had hoped.

Of course we will take our laptops, tablets, iPods and a careful selection of clothing. Then there are the things we need for the dogs – their beds, dishes, etc. In addition to these “essentials”, there are some other things we are considering taking. We’ve kept a list over the past few months and added items as they occurred to us.

Very little of it is absolutely essential. Most could be purchased in Arizona if we felt we really needed it. But still, if we can fit them into the car, we’ll take them.

What’s on the list?

    • A stoneware baking pan
    • A couple of sharp kitchen knives (we’ve yet to find good knives in a rental)
    • Flax heating pad
    • Portable iPod speaker
    • Jars of my homemade dill pickles
    • Cold air vaporizer (air is very dry in Arizona)
    • Games, such as cribbage and dominoes
    • Knitting needles
      (I tried to take up knitting years ago with little success. I gave it up because of a combination of ineptitude and carpal tunnel in my hands. I recently tried again. So far I’ve knit the same 6 rows about twenty times. Why I think I’ll have any more success in Arizona I don’t know, but I’m not ready to give up just yet./li>
    • My “portable” binder with mini stapler, pens, scissors, eraser, calculator, paper clips
    • Our favorite beer wraps
    • Our Christmas stockings (I expect Santa will find us in Arizona)
    • A small sewing kit
    • Plastic food containers
    • Some spices
      (For the most part we will buy any spices we need in Arizona. But if we have room, we will pack a couple of the rarer ones we use from time to time and the few we have overstocked for reasons I don’t know.)
    • My tea maker for brewing loose leaf tea
    • Norwex microfiber dust mitt and window cloth
    • Yoga mat
    • An apron
    • Large barbecue tongs

    When it comes to final packing and loading of the car, we’ll see how much of this actually makes it and what priority decisions we have to make.

    Update December 11, 2012:

    The yoga mat didn’t make the priority list. And the only plastic food containers we took were ones carrying food to eat along the way. We crammed everything else, and a few additional things not on this list, into the car. Over the next few months we’ll learn whether or not we were wise to pack these items and what things we should have packed but didn’t.

    Retrospective (May 2013)

    My car was carefully packed and fully loaded to fit everything in. We used just about everything we took with us. However in future winters I will try to pack less. Fortunately we never discovered anything we had not packed but wished we had.

    • I did not find out if I would have more success with knitting in Arizona. I never picked up the knitting needles. And we did not use the selection of games much. In spite of that, I would likely pack both knitting and games in future winters. Unless I completely give up on the knitting.
    • We and our guests certainly enjoyed the home-made pickles, but next time they stay home.
    • I used my stoneware pan a few times, but next time it stays home too.
    • Our rental was extremely well equipped and had basic stationery supplies. I cannot guarantee this would be the case at a different place. I left my portable desk binder at my brother-in-law’s house for use in future years. We also left the cold air vaporizer with them.
    • The piano books stay home if I decide not to rent a piano in future winters.
    • I will try to pack less clothing in the future. This, however, requires careful selection. Clothing is needed for a variety of temperatures. By the end of four months, one can get tired of wearing the same things, although that doesn’t seem to bother my husband. The option of reaching into the back of the closet for something you haven’t worn in a while doesn’t exist.

    Over the next few months we have decisions to make about my car – hang onto to it, put money into repairs and drive it into the ground, or replace it. If we replace it, space for packing for snowbird winters will be a consideration for the new vehicle.

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