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How to Pack a FULL OCC Go Box for a 10-14 Year Old Girl

One problem I run into when packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, is how to fit in everything I want to send.  A shoebox just doesn't seem to hold everything I want to give to the child.  Over the years I've learned some things to help me fit more things in, and love testing to figure out new ways to make things fit.  So I thought I'd share some things I've learned in case it could help someone else!  You can see in the photo at left everything I got in this one box.  Here's a list of what fit in (in no particular order):
  1. Pencils-14
  2. Puzzle
  3. Cotton gloves
  4. Socks
  5. Wistle
  6. Ball
  7. Plain pads of paper-2
  8. Toothbrushes-2
  9. Toothbrush case
  10. Soap
  11. Washcloth
  12. Stuffed animal
  13. Decorative box
  14. 1 Subject notebook
  15. Set of Lego type blocks
  16. Set of jacks
  17. Recorder
  18. Loom bracelet kit
  19. Extra loops
  20. Extra hooks
  21. Sample finished bracelets
  22. Bag for loom
  23. Necklace
  24. Hair clip
  25. Hair rubberbands
  26. Crocheted hat
  27. Comb
  28. Handkerchief
  29. Top
  30. Mini Apples-to-Apples game
  31. Slapper game
  32. BB maze
  33. Noisemaker
  34. 12 pack colored pencils
  35. Pens-2
  36. Pencil sharpener
  37. Eraser
  38. Self inking stamp
  39. Stencils-2
  40. Ruler/stencil/protractor combo
First thing I did was remove all unneeded packaging, that alone freed up a lot of space!!

And here's how I fit it all in (I actually took these photos as I took the box apart after packing it, so some of the small things were actually packed at a later step, but will only show if photographed earlier):

First I put in the paper flat on the bottom, and some small things against the sides (fell down a little in this photo).  This photo also shows how to fit more in the easy way-find mini versions of things...like this Apples-to-Apples game!  Not to take away from WOW items, but finding mini of some things helps you fit more in.

Then I took the little box, put the lid on the bottom to make it open (it fit just right beside the plain paper) and put some small things in the corners (actually squeezed them in around larger items later)  . I took apart the recorder so it'd fit.  I put double bagged soap right against the, laid the pencils along the back, squeezed a hair clip between them and the soap, and handmade hat next to it.  I was trying to make a flat base beside the box for the next item.

I even put a pencil inside the recorder to save more space!!

The puzzle box I needed the flat base for, it JUST fit next to the small box.  Into the small box I put a ball, stuffed animal, gloves, and another small item.  Along the back of the boxes I put the colored pencils (I like to put flat/square items right next to each other, seems to fit best that way...no air! :) ).  I put the toothbrush case behind that, and a par of socks rolled up beside them.  Along the back I slide the spiral notebook, it will fold over, when the box is closed.   ...now the puzzle box seems large...but there's a surprise in it...more about that later...

I took apart the Fun Loom kit- I put the lomb in a bagged in the space on the bottom of it (top in picture) I put some extra bands and hooks I'd bought as well as a marble maze.  Behind it I put the loops, hooks, and tool that came with the loom and a folded up washcloth.

Here's what the other side of it looked like.  I put pens between the studs and hooked on some finished bracelets as an example.  The loom itself was pretty thick, but most of that on one side I filled in as you can see in the photo of it in the box, and while I put some things on the other side, I mainly saved room by putting it in just right so the edge of the little red box fit between the nobs, so it could fit in the box.

And now for a little on the puzzle box:

First we built the puzzle...
 (this has a few advantages: 1-it takes less room.  2-it helps explain to the child what a puzzle is if it's new to them.  3-they can put it all together in a few pieces first)

Then I took it apart in pieces, put them in a bag.

then put it in the puzzle box

Then I added in jacks-carefully put in next to each other to take up as little space as possible, and a pencil sharpener.

Then, remember that Lego type kit whose box was bigger than the GO box?  Well, when I put all pieces together just so, so as to take up as little room as possible, this is how little room it took.  (I put it in a re-sealable bag with the instructions.

I put that and the jacks balls in (the barely fit height wise-had to break the puzzle apart just right to leave room) and the building kit fits beside it.

Finally, I put in a few flat things.  A couple stencils, a ruler/protractor/stencil combo, and a handkerchief.

And finally, this is the whole box closed...took two rubber bands, but it all fits!!!!

Remember, you don't have to use an official GO box -- check out this post for details on what kind of box to use to pack an OCC shoebox.

What's your favorite hint to fit more in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox?


Anonymous said...

I include a lot of flat things like coloring pages, mazes and printed puzzles, half-size coloring books, stickers, post cards, a letter and photo, magnifiers (flat sheets, rather than magnifying glasses), handkerchiefs, scarves, lenticular valentines (the kind that look like holograms), half-size rulers or protractors, etc. They take up hardly any room and stack neatly at the bottom of the box.

When I'm looking for items to include, I consider the size, and try to pick things that are more compact. Other compact items I like to pack are metal whistles, small spinning tops, combs, nail clippers, shoe laces, solid lip balm (in a plastic bag), bouncy balls, and mini toy cars.

Nancy said...

Thanks for all the great ideas you give on packing shoeboxes. The question that crossed my mind when reading this post was I wonder if the people who check your boxes at the processing center get everything back in?! It's my understanding that the boxes do get checked to make sure there are no prohibited items. I try to pack as much as I can in my boxes, too, but also keep this in mind. I wonder what you think about this? Thank you.

dls said...

My most important idea is reaching MORE CHILDREN with nicely filled (not stuffed,as I used to pack,boxes). What if a nicely filled box vould actually fit 3 more items? How many nicely filled boxes would it take to nicely fill another box with the extras? I hope to meet lots of children in heaven and think of reaching more with the amazing resources He gives.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the comments on this...sorry for the delay in responding, I and my family have had a crazy health year!

Anonymous: I like the flat items idea!!

Nancy: I worry about that a little, too, although those who've recently worked at processing say it should be okay. One thing I like about putting things in say the puzzle box and other box in this example shoebox, is that then the checker can just lift out the boxes and check what's in them, then just put the boxes back...kind of like how one might pack one's clothes in ziplock bags when flying incase the TSA had to check it...makes it easier to get back in if it's in sets.

dls: That's an interesting perspective, I'll have to consider that. One thing reason I like to include small things in the holes is so the child has something to share if they wish...if they have friends, cousins, siblings who didn't get to go to the distributions, or just give gifts to family...in a way the items may reach more.

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