In with the New...
I titled this "In with the New” because, amid getting rid of just about everything you own, your list of essential, everyday items will change. Obviously, you will have different needs living out of a car than you have living out of a home.
What did we “need” for deputation? Let me start by telling you what we didn’t need. We didn’t need a monstrosity of a cooler, camping gear or sleeping bags, a single burner stove, a large suitcase for each of us, random books to read, sewing projects for road trips, or a bunch of extra things.
Honestly, the first trip out on full-time deputation, you will overpack. I’m so thankful that we were able to go back at the four-month marker and drop a bunch of useless stuff off at our storage unit.
In this article, I’ll skim through some of our “essentials” for packing and keeping the car comfy. More details on things like suitcases and clothing items to bring will be listed in different articles.
What we actually needed…
In the front of the car:
· Phone mount - To use the phone as a GPS.
· Hands-free kit
· Phone Chargers
· DC Power Inverter – This converts the DC power from the car to a standard AC house plug. With it, we can do computer work in the car. We inherited the one my dad used on deputation. Every time I hear it squeal when the car turns off, it reminds me of deputation as a kid.
· Floor mats
· Steering wheel cover
· Middle console organizer/ basket in between front seats
· Something pretty - Whether it’s a small succulent in a cup holder or a photo in the window, it helps to feel at home. I had a succulent in the summertime and a mini tree in the winter. It really does help, especially if you’re a hopeless romantic like myself.
· Vent Freshener
In the Middle and Back Seats:
· Trash Can
· Snack box
· Small cooler
· Something Pretty – It’s needed in the back of the car as well.
· Throw Pillow – Great to sleep with on road trips instead have a bulky, regular pillow using space up front. Plus, it's cute.
· Two Blankets - because inevitably, my toddler will always need one as well.
· Coat rack
· Two garment bags
· Extra hangers - For hanging up outfits for Missions conferences, coats, etc.
· Bathtub toy organizers with suction cups - You can use this to suction to the window and they can hold books, electronics, winter gloves, and scarves, etc.
If You Have Small Children:
Obviously, a car seat but in addition to that:
· Car seat strap covers - makes long drives more comfortable.
· Seat Protector - for under the car seat
· Car seat, waterproof protector - for inside the car seat
· Cup holder – If the child is a bit older. Our car seat didn’t have one so, we bought an attachable one from Walmart.
· Magazine basket strapped to the car seat for child's books
· Window Visor
· Small Toy bag
· DVD/Tablet combo player
· Carry-on suitcase for him
· Carry-on suitcase for her
· Carry-on suitcase/box for shoes - his, hers, and toddler’s
· Mini child carry-on suitcase for toddler
· Compact roller bag for all toiletries
· Kitchen box
· Box for projector/display items
· Display board
· Toddler’s Diaper bag
· 2 Pillows - We tried to go without these, but they add a sense of home, comfort, and cleanliness to sleeping in different places all the time. I also get really bad nack aches if I don’t have my pillow.
· Collapsible Laundry basket - We use to throw all the dirty laundry in a trash bag, but I found it difficult to stay on top of laundry not knowing if we needed lights or darks done. I have a mesh laundry basket that divides into two sections, so the laundry stays organized.
· Vacuum seal bags - They hold all our out of season clothes/shoes
· Set of Queen sheets - I have used these at least 10 times in 6 months of deputation. Sometimes you get to a prophet’s chamber and they didn’t have time to clean, no fault of theirs, so having your own sheets helps.
· Towels - Same reason as above, plus car spills, rainy days, etc. Both the sheets and the towels are stored in vacuum-sealed bags in the rooftop.
· A compact table for display - In case a church doesn’t have one
· Toddler’s stroller
· Toddler’s Cot and foam mattress roll
In conclusion I will say that throughout the course of deputation what we needed and brought with us changed a lot. When we first started we had one child that was 2 years old. She was at an age where her clothes didn’t take up much space and her toys were minimal. Then, in the home stretch of deputation, our daughter was 4 years old and we had a new addition to our family. Her clothes took up more space since, sadly, they weren't as small as they once were and we added baby items that we didn’t have before. It's all trial and error and even then things change. The important thing is to make sure everything has a place. If you don't have a specific spot or storage location for each item you will end up with a bunch of bags full of miscellaneous items covering your back seat.