Chasing Summer - Part 3! My Adventures As A Snowbird!
We're in the final stretch! After months of planning, I'll officially be a snowbird in just three days.
It feels like such a long time ago that we decided to take the plunge and move down to South Carolina for the winter. But the time has finally arrived.
Over the last few months, I've shared some of the things we've done to prepare for being snowbirds. Now, the daunting task of packing for four months is upon me. I'm actually 90% there, so I figured it was time to write up my last post before we leave, and share my packing tips.
I've struggled in the past with packing for a two week vacation. So how in the world do I pack for four months? Keep reading to find out!
You Can't (And Should Not) Take It All!
If you are like me, as you start looking around your house, you realize how much stuff you have. What I've also realized during this process, is how little of that stuff we actually use.
When preparing to be a snowbird and live somewhere else for an extended period of time, the question you have to keep asking yourself is, what do I really use and need? If you're honest with yourself, you'll probably be surprised at the answer!
Tip #1: I asked a friend of mine who is a traveling nurse and moves around a lot how she packs. She gave me a great piece of advice. What she suggested was walk into each room of your house, look around, and ask yourself what you actually use from that room. If you use it, then ask yourself if you really need it. If so, you should pack it.
Get An Itemized List From Your Landlord
If you are renting a place that is regularly rented out, it's likely that a lot of things will already be there and you don't have to take them. For example, our place has a pretty well equipped kitchen, so we don't need to take pots and pans or dishes.
On the flip side, I wouldn't expect a vacation rental to have things like a crock pot or a rice maker, both of which we use a lot. So we are taking those things with us.
Most landlords can give you a fairly detailed list of things that are already inside their place, so don't be afraid to ask them for it.
Tip #2: Remember that even if you show up and realize the place you are renting is missing something, you can always go out and buy it. Of course, you want to limit that to small things. It's not a big deal to buy some plastic storage containers for example. But it is a big deal to buy a new Keurig machine (we are taking ours with us).
Tip #3: If you are renting a unit that is typically a vacation rental, keep in mind that it likely won't have much in the way of cleaning supplies. There is usually a cleaning service that comes in to clean the unit in between renters, so there is no need to keep cleaning supplies in the unit. Ask your landlord specifically about what supplies they have and whether you need things like a vacuum, mop, etc.
I Have Too Many Clothes That I Never Wear!
If you are like me, your wardrobe has changed quite a bit during the pandemic. The office that I work in is casual - jeans and a nice shirt are acceptable - but I also had to dress up from time to time for client meetings.
Now, I'm lucky if I put a pair of jeans on over the weekend. My new "work wardrobe" consists of leggings, t-shirts and slippers.
When I started going through my closet and packing clothes, I quickly realized that before the pandemic, I only wore about 50% of the clothes I own on a regular basis. Since the pandemic, I only wear about 10% of the clothes I own on a regular basis.
Tip #4: One of the things I insisted on for our rental unit, was that it had to have a washer and dryer in the unit. So, I don't need to pack 16 week's worth of clothes. I only need to pack 1 week's worth of clothes and I'll do laundry regularly just like I do at home. If your rental does not have a washer/dryer in the unit, just keep in mind that you'll have to go out somewhere to do the laundry, so you might want to plan on taking a bit more with you.
Tip #5: Be sure to consider the weather. While I know it will be warmer in South Carolina, it still gets chilly there. Layers are the name of the game. I made sure to pack t-shirts, shorts and flip flops. However, I also packed sweatshirts, hats and gloves in case we need them.
The Comforts Of Home!
As excited as we are to go on this snowbird adventure, I'm sure we will miss our house. I'll miss my bed and my newly remodeled bathroom and lots of other things that make it our home.
So while it doesn't make sense to move everything, I plan on taking a few things that will give us those little feelings of home. Things like our favorite coffee mugs and my favorite blanket. And since we are going to be there over Christmas, I'm even taking my small Christmas tree and ornaments to make it feel homey over Christmas.
Tip #6: Be sure to make a list or take pictures of things you are taking with you, so that when your snowbird adventure is over, you pack everything back up and take them home!
Don't Forget The Important Stuff!
One last thing you should think about when packing is any important paperwork you need to have with you. Things like home insurance documents, wills, passports, etc. While you might not need them, it's best to take them with you. I have a small plastic bin that I've filled up with important paperwork to have on hand if needed.
Load It Up!
If feel pretty good that we have the right balance of things that we'll need and things that can easily fit in our cars. I'm sure we'll forget something, and we'll either live without it for four months or buy it. And worse case scenario, since we have a friend living at our house while we're gone, we can always ask him to ship something to us.
Now the adventure officially begins! We hit the road on Friday, so stay tuned for the next part in my series that will cover moving in and getting situated! for now, I have to get back to packing! Talk to you soon!
Are you a snowbird? I'd love to hear about your experiences! Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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