My husband’s first few deployments were spent on a ship. His accommodations were the aptly named “coffin locker” with just enough room to lay out flat and roll over. While he has moved up a bit in the deployment world since then, his room overseas is definitely not something you’d call roomy. For the most part, the same goes for other military personnel who are deployed.
When planning care packages, it’s important to keep the lack of space in mind. You don’t want to add useless clutter to your loved one’s room, especially if they’re tight on room to begin with. So what do you send when space is limited, but that still lets someone know you’re thinking about them?
This actually came up in a care package group on Facebook. Someone’s husband was in a tiny space and needed help organizing his belongings via items shipped in care packages. I took it as a personal challenge to try and help.
Items like foldable storage cubes or a hanging shoe storage system will provide a lot of use to your loved one, but still fit in a flat rate box. The shoe storage system can be used for a variety of different things beyond shoes: clothing, toiletries, smaller pieces of equipment, extra linens and even snacks. Plus, these items aren’t terribly expensive so if they don’t come back home, you aren’t out a ton of money.
I have mentioned before that I only send my husband items if I’m ok with never seeing them again. Sometimes it’s because he can’t (or forgets to) bring them home, but more often than not, it’s because he uses them up! Sending items that can be used and then thrown away keeps them from cluttering up an already tight space. For example, don’t send baked goods in tupperware you want returned to you!
Photos take up almost zero space (especially if you send them unframed) and make a cold space seem instantly more welcoming. Just don’t send a huge number of them at once if you know your loved one is limited on display space. You could create a small booklet with photos from home or even save a bunch on a thumb drive.
Yes this applies to food and toiletries, because who doesn’t love mini things? But it also applies to things like music or movies. Instead of sending CDs and DVDs, send iTunes cards so your loved one can download the item and not have to store the case. Skip books and magazines and use things like eReaders or books on tape through apps like Audible to save space.
What items do you send (or avoid sending) when your loved one is low on space?