I pulled everything out of the back of the pick-up and wondered, “Where do I even begin?” Lucky for me, everyone there had already shipped totes to Alaskan villages before. They had lots of great tips for me. Their first pointer was that I should unpack all of the things that could be shoved into cracks or awkward spaces. Not only does this save room, it provides padding for the rough journey the totes will have from Anchorage to The Bush. All of the totes being shipped needed to weight 70 pounds or less. After a little struggle, I managed to get all four of my 18-gallon totes packed nice and snug. Toilet paper makes great padding!
The next great pointer that the village veterans gave was to secure the lids of the totes with a drill and zip-locks. We drilled 6 holes in each tote, 2 on each end and 1 on each side. On top of that, we secured the lids with duct tape. Apparently, totes usually arrive at villages pretty battered and banged up. This is the reason for the locked lids and all of the padding. Better safe than sorry!
After everything was secured and fastened, I needed to write my address in permanent marker on the lid of every tote. You can see that there’s a “4” in the top right hand corner in photo below. Since I’ll be using the tote again, it was suggested that I number the lids and the tubs of the totes so that I can match them up when I need to use them again. Great idea! By the way, the picture below also shows my mailing address if you want to send me love letters!
Finally, we were able to head to the post office with our totes in tow. We had to use some brute strength to stack the totes and get them onto the counter, but we were victorious! Each tote costed about $25 to ship. Expensive, yes, but it’ll be worth it to have food for the winter!
Although I had to jump a few hurdles, I’m pretty proud of my first endeavor shopping and shipping to an Alaskan village. I definitely know what to do and what not to do next time around. Hopefully this post will help future Bush Alaska teachers with their first venture shopping and shipping in bulk. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have!
I should be receiving my totes within the next couple of days. I’ll report back with information regarding how they made out. I’m just hoping that my liquids stayed intact!