Packing for off-base Yongsan PCS


Korea--what to pack moving
Moving sucks. And by moving, I don’t mean the goodbyes, making new friends, finding a new life.  Also a pain, but not what I’ve got on my mind right now.  What I’m talking about is the PACKING.  Ugh. I can’t tell you how happy I am I don’t have to deal with that this year…. The tossing, sorting, cleaning.  The giving of crap to Goodwill, to friends, to the guy walking down the street who could use half a bottle of shampoo and a three year old box of stuffing. You wonder, how did I accumulate so much junk in two years?  At the end of the day, you just want to throw it all in the garbage.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Knowing what to bring with you to a country you’ve never been to on the other side of the world into housing unknown, just compounds the headache.  I remember this.  I remember this headache like it was yesterday.  I even kept some of my sorting lists thinking I’d one day eventually write a post about it. A mere eight months later, here it is.  “Kelly’s Non-Definitive What to Store, What to Pack in the Regular Household Goods, What to Pack in the Express Shipment, and What to Bring on the Plane with You…Guide”.

*Note #1:  Some of you readers may have packing and moving down to a science.  If you are one of these fortunate souls, please share your wisdom with us and I will totally scrap this post!

*Note # 2:  My family (3 grown-ups and two kids under 5) are off-post with no access to the government furniture/temporary stuff from the lending closet/Housing office.  If you are living on-base or have access to that kind of stuff, you may want to refer to Trish’s excellent What to Bring (on-base) post!  If you wanna know more about off-base living, check out this one.

You got questions?  Let me know!  (Or ask ’em on our Facebook page).  Alright, here we go:


  • Living room:  couch, loveseat, glider-type chair, two large-ish accent tables, tall cabinet, tv console (step tanzu), tv, area rug. Kids Ikea table.
  • Kitchen:  Kitchen table that seats six.  Large (awkwardly placed) trash can, almost all kitchen gear.  It almost all fits just not all in the kitchen…and we had a lot of it.  My cookie sheets, cupcake pans DO NOT fit in the oven however.  Ovens here are super-small 0ff-base.  Pizza stone will fit though.
  • Master:  King sized bed, two end tables, one dresser, one standing mirror. Small area rug.
  • Kids room:  Bunk bed, dresser, small bookshelf, area rug.
  • Grandma’s room:  Twin bed, large dresser, small chair, rug.
  • Playroom:  Large bookshelf, easel, hamper, small Target toy shelf, area rug.
  • Office:  Office table, chair, three wire shelves.
  • Storage Areas:  Kids bikes, some tools, holiday decorations, fishing stuff, wagon.

WHAT I WISH WE’D BROUGHT:  I really wish we’d brought our bikes.  There are lots of nice trails here…silly me.  And also our camping stuff.  I wish I’d brought my daughter’s play kitchen.  A sled.  And my son’s t-ball tee.

WHAT WE DON’T NEED:  Shower curtains, curtains, grill (we live in a tower/no balcony), lots of lamps (Everything needs to go in a transformer.  I currently use three lamps in the house.)  Lots of pictures (most places you will need to hang them from a wire that hangs from a rail from the ceiling–you can still hang pictures, just not eclectically…also towers have walls of windows and most apts have built in closets lessening wall space.)


We stored almost everything in the garage, storage shed and patio.  (Tools, fishing/hunting stuff, more tools, bikes, grill, patio furniture, outdoor toys, toys the kids outgrew but have sentimental value.)  All of our guest room furnishings.  An extra couch. A small fridge. Some bookshelves.

WHAT WE PUT IN OUR EXPRESS SHIPMENT: (It took us two months to get this.)

Korea--What to pack

  • One towel for each of us plus a handful more.
  • Sheets, blankets, pillows, air mattresses.  One for each, plus a couple extra.  Make sure your sheets fit your air mattress!
  • Bath mats (I threw one in.  My husband griped that I should have put in more.)
  • Coffee Maker
  • Two coffee mugs and one tumbler
  • Cutting board
  • Colander
  • Favorite kitchen knife
  • Peeler
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Bottle opener
  • Plates for each of us.
  • Pasta-type bowls for each of us.
  • Mixing bowl.
  • Utensils for each of us plus a couple extra.
  • Egg pan, regular frying pan, large pot, saucepan
  • Several dishtowels
  • Dish rack
  • Wastebaskets
  • Laundry basket
  • Three grown-up folding chairs.  Two kids ones.
  • Fall clothing & hangers. (We got here in August) and Halloween costume.  (Shipment got here a day after Halloween.)  😦
  • Toys
  • Basic tools
  • Cleaning supplies and bucket.
  • Fold-up wagon.
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Plastic table cloth to put over cardboard moving boxes (ie. our temporary tables)

*The movers wouldn’t let us bring a small folding table even though it was within our weight limit.  Not sure why. There are lots of little Korean style tables you can buy here though if you are tired of living off cardboard boxes.  We didn’t bring a TV since we wanted to buy a small one anyway.


  • Two wine glasses (I immediately regretted this oversight!)
  • Tongs for cooking
  • An area rug (Gonna blame my hubs here. It was in the pile, but he told the movers not to pack it. Urgh.)
  • Shelf liners
  • An iron


Cleaning supplies (The shipment took 2 months to get here. We’d already bought them.)  Dish rack.  Vacuum cleaner.  (We have a central vacuum system.)

WHAT TO PACK IN YOUR SUITCASES/IN THE PLANE:  I mean, this one’s really up to you.  Like I mentioned before, it took us two months to get our Express Shipment, so all the essential really need to go in your suitcases or ship them over Priority Mail.  (Actually it was two month after we got to Korea that the Express shipment arrived.  Three months total that we were without it.)

Korea--What to pack

  • Your clothes…remember to project for seasonal changes.  Monsoon season starts in August.
  • Swim stuff (I had the swim stuff packed in a tote bag in the suitcase…ready at a moments notice for hotel pools and family visits!)
  • Towels
  • Toys (I think we had a whole suitcase of books/toys) and I’m glad we did since it rained for three straight weeks after we got here!)
  • Toiletries
  • Comfy shoes (You’re gonna do a lot of walking without a car!)
  • Computers and electronic paraphernalia
  • Stroller/ Diapers
  • Car Seats (The only time we needed the car seats were on the ride from the airport to the Dragon Hill Lodge, since we didn’t have a car yet.  The real estate agent couldn’t fit them in her car and kind of thought we were crazy to suggest it.  You don’t use them in taxi cabs.  Maybe your sponsor can lend you some if you don’t want to lug them around the airports?)
  • Scale–My husband always packs this hanging scale thing on big trips.  I have no idea where he got it.  Weighs the bags with them to make sure they are within weight allowance.

That’s all I can think of right now.  For ON the plane for kids my thought is less it more.  We brought a ton of stuff but the kids were so happy with the video in the back of the seats, they ignored all the special toys I got them. So cartoons and snacks.  A little coloring.  And a couple video games.  Remember your headphones.


What do you wish you’d brought or left behind?  Chime in!

One thought on “Packing for off-base Yongsan PCS

  1. Carol says:

    Kelly – thank you for your post. I’m expecting orders soon and it’s been a long time since I PCS’d. Thank you for the list, it’s giving me a place to start.


Tell us your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s