Packing for Nome, Alaska

My 10 foot metal container for shipping to Nome!

My 10 foot metal container for shipping to Nome!

Packing for Nome, Alaska was difficult because:
1. I had to think waaay ahead (compared to renting a Penske truck),
2. It is logistically more challenging–there are no roads to Nome, only barge and airplane. It’s a two-part journey for cargo coming from the lower 48.
3. it’s way colder than any place I’ve ever lived,
4. I had no idea what kind of housing I would be moving to…
5. Everything is so expensive in Nome, so if a company is paying for the move, I recommend buying as much bulk in advance as possible, so I could buy it for cheaper and then have the shipping paid for.

1. I had to think months ahead since cargo has to be on a barge between July and September. The Bering Strait unfreezes in June (typically) and freezes again in October (typically). That means 9 months of frozen sea!!! It also means if you don’t get your cargo on the barge in this narrow window, you might not have your stuff for almost 1 year! The barge takes 1 to 1.5 month to go from Seattle to Nome, so in order to get my stuff by September, I had to get it to Seattle by the beginning of August. It’s especially difficult if you don’t have time to figure out what all you need. So even though I tried really hard to think ahead, I still didn’t get everything in the container that I need, and I ended up with 3 check-in bags on my flight.

2. Everything ships from Seattle on a barge, so you have to have everything packed in your home state and moved, but then also it must be properly packed and ready for the shipyard to put it on a barge to go to Nome. Most of the lower 48 moving services, like PODS are not available to go to Alaska. So in order to arrange it all, you have to have a container (palettes with your shrink-wrapped boxes, crates, liftvan, metal container) that you can pack and have it sent on a land carrier to a ship yard to jump on the barge to Alaska. It is very time sensitive. I had to work backwards–from the time I needed my goods in AK, to when they needed to be in Seattle, and figure how long they would need to get to Seattle. I also didn’t know how long stuff would be sitting outside, so I wanted it to be not in palettes. Simultaneously I had to call a lot of places to find a container. I considered building a crate with my Dad, because it would be a LOT cheaper. But realistically, who has time for that?
my packing list:

Household goods:
Living room: couch, chair, bookshelves, curtains (although in hindsight, I didn’t really need all these)
Books (heavy! Need to invest in a kindle!)

Dishes, towels, paper towels,extra storage shelves (collapsable from target)
TP, towels, washcloths, cleaning supplies, personal bath items, lots of soap, shampoo, conditioner, razors, electric toothbrush (enough to last one person for 2 years!)

Bed and dresser (again, didn’t need to bring these!), bookshelves, nightstands, sheets, blankets, comforter/bedding

Bogs, lots of wool long underwear, jacket. I still need a 800-fill, long, down puffy coat with a hood :), sweaters, wool socks

camera, computer, extra extension cords and power strips, 3 S.A.D lamps and one regular lamp, fan-heaters

To be continued…