My youngest sister, Becky, is headed abroad for a year of service. I am so proud of her– even though I’ll miss her a ton! I promised her that I would send her care packages, so I’ve begun to ramp up for another year of sending packages across the globe!
I’ve received a lot of emails over the past year and change (can you believe that the blog will be turning 2 in September? Ahhh!) with care package questions, so as I prepare to send Becky a bunch of boxes, I’m also going to be blogging again about care packages. (Yay!)
We’ll start out easy– here’s how to create care packages without losing your mind.
Create a Stockpile.
It’s tough to buy everything for a care package at once– on your wallet, your watch, and your creative juices. I pick up items as I see them and have a designated tote for care package stuff. (The only thing I don’t stockpile in my tote is food products. I buy those closer to sending the box.) Stockpiling gives you the added bonus of being able to buy on sales (gotta love after-holiday ones!) and when you have coupons available.
Set a (Reasonable) Budget.
The costs of care packages can quickly spiral out of control. Give yourself a budget and stick to it. Make sure you figure in “hidden costs” like shipping and crafting supplies or decorations for beautifying the box, too.
It’s pretty easy to get inspired when it comes to care packages– especially if you’ve decided to theme your box. Usually, I just walk around Target or Michaels to see what kinds of items are available and popular. Search Pinterest— you find thousands and thousands of ideas and boards dedicated to them– or type “care package” into Google. And of course, think about the person you’re sending to– use their likes and dislikes (and obsessions) to create a box just for them.
When John deployed, I sent him a lot of cute (but virtually useless) stuff at first. I am NEVER doing that again. Not only is it financially wasteful, but it also is environmentally wasteful as John threw away much of that stuff before he came back to the States. It sounds sill, but really– ask your recipient what they want and need. Becky is going to give me a list of her health and beauty products so that I make sure to send Garnier instead of Suave. (And if you’re not feeling very inspired, this is a great way of still being able to send care packages that are useful and meaningful.)
If I had $5 for every email or message I’ve gotten that starts out, “I’m not very creative…” Yes, yes you are! Everyone can create a care package full of fun and meaning (if that’s what you’re going for). You just might need a little nudge to get those creative juices flowing. But don’t doubt yourself– that’s the perfect way to have a perfectly miserable time making a care package.
For my fellow care-package veterans out there, what suggestions and tips do you have?
PS. If you’re looking for more care package ideas, check these out.