MKissa Creations

Life, Crafts and Kids in Vacation Land

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Preparing for Life on the Road

If you are interested in a abbreviated story of how decided to move across the country with a one-and-a-half and a three-year-old check out my last post.xcountry

When we packed up our house in California we were packing our lives away for approximately six weeks. We would spend two weeks in Arizona on the lake, 17 days on the road, and about two weeks at our new rental with only the items we would have with us in the car. In addition to that, we were moving into a furnished rental for 6 months, so when we arrived we would set up a storage unit for most of our stuff to be delivered to and only some of our items would be delivered to the rental house. This meant a lot of careful planning in California trying to figure out what would come to the rental and what would go to the storage unit. My family has never been a family of movers and we had been living at our house for 13 years. 13 years worth of stuff is a lot to go through. This also meant looking at each item that we were packing and weighing out if we were willing to pay by the pound to move it across the country as well as if we were willing to pay by the square footage to store it for a month in California and approximately 6 months in Maine.

I would like to say that we peeled it down to the bare bones, but we still ended spending about $9,000 moving stuff and things across the country. All in all, we made some pretty good choices about it and there are only a few things that we brought that I would have left behind. Our coffee maker is the one that stands out the most as it was bulky and had been stored away for so long even before the move that it was rusty (it has already been delivered to our local Goodwill).

Evaluating what we would need for this trip (and when we arrived in Maine) was no small task, but the items that we packed fit into our 2014 Ford Edge. We did not travel with anything on the roof or tow a trailer behind us.

I bought a set of six 15-quart plastic bins and organized a lot of our supplies this way. Purchasing a matching set of plastic containers was great because they stacked perfectly with each other. They also conveniently fit right in between the two car seats.  The plastic bins held:

  1. E’s Toys
  2. Z’s Toys
  3. First Aid Items and Medicines – Any prescription Meds you need, Kids/Infants Tylenol, Dayquil, Nyquil, Imodium, Pepto Bismal, Tums, Instant Ice Pack, Bandaids, Tweezers, Gauze, Tape, and Neosporin (this is by no meals a comprehensive list of what should be in a first aid kit, but it worked for us). We also brought kids Dramamine because we had no idea if the girls would get carsick or not.
  4. Bath Items – Normal sizes of our regular brands of shampoo, conditioner and soap (I did not want to live on hotel soaps for a month), Burt’s Bee’s shampoo and body wash for the babes, a hair washing cup and a few small foam bath toys. If we did it again (which we won’t) I would have brought along our own suction cup bathmat (for the girl’s safety) as many hotels did not have them.
  5. Snacks – Our snacks of choice were applesauce pouches, organic baby food veggie squeezes, BelVita Breakfast Biscuits and Cliff Bars.
  6. I packed an empty bin. I packed this knowing that we would want to collect a few souvenirs along the way and I wanted to make sure that we had space for them. This also ensured that we didn’t buy anything too big.

The other items packed into our car included:

A Pack and Play with an extra mattress and extra sheets for Z, as she was only one and a half at the time, and she needed a place to sleep at our family’s house in Lake Havasu as well as at the house we were moving into in Maine. We got this mattress before our move and it worked out well and had its own carrying case.

A small firesafe– This contained all of our important documents. Social Security cards, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate, immunization records, and our passports. This was absolutely the most nerve-wracking thing to be carrying with us.

A small humidifier- Traveling with little ones it was needed and Michael got hit with a head cold part of the way through our trip and it was a lifesaver. We used this one.

An ice chest- this fit conveniently under E’s legs as both girls were in car seats. Our ice chest regularly contained Milk, string cheese, peanut butter, bread, an occasional soda, and anything else that might melt in the car.

3 suitcases – one large and two carry on size which held clothes for the four.

2 kids life jackets – we would be spending time on boats during our two weeks at the lake and would need them in Maine.

Diapers, Pull Ups and wipes – I got 2 Costco size boxes of each. I also made up a small basket that had the necessary changing items easily at hand (Diapers, Pull Ups, wipes, changing pad and diaper cream) and the rest of the packages were stuffed in whichever nooks and crannies we could find for them.

Book Bag- This contained our maps, atlas, and AAA travel books for all of the states we would be driving through.

Backpack & L.L.Bean Large Zippered Boat Bag- What was packed in these varied from day to day depending on where we were, but they usually contained, at the very least, diapers/Pull Ups for the day diaper wipes and hand sanitizing wipes.

A Box of Cross Stitch Patterns and Projects in Process- This was the only thing that we schlepped across the country that I feel like I should have just whittled down to one item and put the rest on the moving truck.

Almost all of these items came up to the hotel rooms with us every night. Michael became an expert at loading bell carts (Thanks, 6 years of hotel experience!) and I became an expert at packing the car back up each day (Thanks, Tetris!)

Up next… How and why we planned the actual route we wanted to take.