Packing Shells in Your Suitcase

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Shell alert!  After a week’s vacation on The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, you might encounter two very big problems. 

The first will be how to get your shells back home safely.  Perhaps you’ve found  perfect sand dollars or white delicate angel wings, and you had so much luck finding them, you don’t want to break those treasures in your suitcase. 

The second challenge will be trying to explain to your friends and family why you decided you aren’t ever going back home. From the moment you pick up your first shell, you’ll keep asking yourself over and over again, “How can I quit my job to become a professional beach comber so I can stay here forever?” It becomes an addiction that gets stronger and stronger with each species of shell you find. 

The second issue will be resolved fairly quickly after much convincing from your family that you were thinking ‘shellogically’ instead of logically. Once you concede to keeping your job and family home, you can then start resolving your first problem of getting your treasures home safely.  

Look for plastic containers with snug lids everywhere you go. If you have trouble choosing which chicken salad to buy while at the grocery store, don’t even think about which one has the freshly cut grapes or not. Choose the one with the best container! Keep all plastic shopping bags as stuffing for your containers to keep your shells from rattling around inside. Don’t fuss over potato chips, just get the Pringles. After you’ve enjoyed every last delicious Pringle, insert a plastic grocery bag inside the can, add shells, stuff the rest of the bag into the can, then secure it with the lid. It’s the perfect way to travel with hollow sea urchins. Also, don’t throw that water bottle into the recycling bin so quickly- it can be a perfect container for your mini shells.  

The best way to pack your shells is to sort through them first. You always want to make sure you aren’t taking any live creatures home with you. Once you know you are only taking your best specimens, which are clean, dry and empty shells, pack them in containers stuffed with bags or paper towels, seal the lids (shake it gently to test for rattles), then wrap those full containers in your tee shirts or into a water shoe. After that, put them in the center of your suitcase with the rest of your clothes surrounding them.  

…And abrashelldabra, all your problems are solved! 

For more information on safely packing seashells, check out my blog here: http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/category/beachy-shell-stuff/packing-fragile-seashells/