Treasure Hunting

The State Department maintains a massive storage facility for all the furniture and possessions that employees do not ship to overseas posts. The housing at most posts is furnished and leased by the government. Guatemala City is one of a few posts, however, where officers have to find their own housing, which will typically be unfurnished, and the rental costs are then covered by a determined living quarters allowance (LQA).

We recently had the opportunity to travel out to the facility to review what we are selecting to ship to Guatemala and what will stay behind, based on the inventory we received from the moving companies that boxed and handled all of our furniture out of Houston.

When we arrived, six huge crates had been pulled out and arranged for us to review.


It was comforting to actually see all of our stuff again, since the last time was when the 18-wheeler headed out from our house and this whole adventure kicked off. As much as we never really worried much about all the items we didn’t have with us in the apartment, this gave us an improved sense of confidence that our stuff is actually going to make it to post.


It isn’t absolutely necessary to travel out to the facility since we have an inventory of our items and can simply tell them what to ship, but we were able to resolve a few questions that we had over how the movers had identified several boxes and items. And we were able to reconfirm that the boxes we had always planned to leave behind should still stay in storage. This also isn’t a time that we can go around opening boxes and searching for the random book or other item that we wished we wouldn’t have packed away.

We can ask that certain inventory items can be pulled for us to take, which was the main reason that we traveled out to the facility. Since I drove our Yukon up to Virginia, I needed all the space possible, so I had to pull the third row seats and have them packed up with all of our other household effects. We always figured we would need to get these when we decided to sell our car to a place like CarMax, but we didn’t really know if it would make that much of a difference in what we could sell the car for to justify having to go through the process of getting to the storage facility.

Well, the difference between the quote without the third row and with the third row was a not so paltry sum $1,000, so it was most decidedly in our interest to get the seats pulled from storage!


The seats are back and now I am set to sell the car at CarMax on Saturday. The staff at the storage facility were so friendly and helpful, which made the whole process so much less stressful.



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