Stockpiling – how much is too much?

No matter where we’ve lived, I’ve always craved things from home that I just can’t find easily overseas, if at all. Nothing major, just a few familiar items that help stave off the homesickness a little. Marmite won’t do, it has to be Vegemite. The only sunscreen my kids don’t react to is found in just a few pharmacies in Australia. And let’s not get started on chocolate treats…

Even bra shopping goes on the back burner until I manage a trip home. The fitting, the style – the fact that the lady I go to knows exactly what I need just by looking at me – makes it difficult to go elsewhere. As a result, I think I’m one of her best customers, despite the fact I only shop there once a year.

So like a squirrel stockpiling for winter, I’ve been hoarding stuff for years, because I know that when my stash runs out, that’s it. My long-suffering husband – my regular link to all-things-familiar – became my mule, along with relatives and close friends to keep the stocks up. Business trip, honey? Great, the kids need their eczema lotion. And lots of it please, it’s not that heavy! Sure Mum, come for a holiday – got time to shop before you fly? My list is short, truly it is.

I’ve been trying since May to reduce my stocks but still, we have an abundance of lotions and potions to get through, although the gin has dwindled rapidly in recent times.

So now our skin is extremely well-moisturised and sun-protected, I’ve pickled myself with duty-free and the kids turn green at the thought of yet another Vegemite sandwich. So I’m left with a slight sense of dread – what will I do with all the stuff left over? Can I take it into Australia?

Fortunately, body creams, shower gels and medications seem OK to put into our sea freight. Food-stuffs, I’m not sure about. I know that Customs in Australia is very strict (and rightfully so), so much so that in the past I’ve always ticked the box stating “food to declare”. I figure at least one of the kids will have shoved an apple or some other contraband into my handbag just as we’re about to clear Customs so I’d rather err on the side of caution, just in case.

But what about items that were purchased in Australia, brought over here and are still in a sealed container or packet? As I’m typing this, I’m eying off my collection of T2 teas which I’ve been drinking by the gallon and am loathe to dispose of. That stuff is expensive!

What I think I’ll do is take anything unopened and fairly innocuous in my hand luggage and declare it when we land. With a bit of luck it’ll all get through, particularly as I haven’t opened any of it and it’s returning to its country of origin.

And if not, then cheers guys, enjoy the tea and biscuits. There’ll be plenty more where that came from in the container!

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