When we move from one post to another we get a couple of different shipments each with it's own acronym. One is our HHE or house hold effects, this is our big shipment up to 7200 pounds. We also get a UAB which is a much smaller shipment, just a hundred pounds or so per person. It goes by air and should arrive at post very quickly. I say "should" because it has arrived the same day or after our HHE at the last two posts.
Most people try to pack those things they can't live without in the UAB shipment: kitchen essentials, towels, sheets, if you have kids a few toys and things to make their new bedroom feel like their own. Just the bare minimum needed to run a household.
After the last two moves I now have a different strategy than most people for dealing with UAB. No more trying to decide what we need right away and putting that in a separate shipment. Instead I am going to go shopping in the states and then ship that to post using my UAB allowance instead of trying to stuff everything I buy into suitcases and drag it through every airport between San Antonio and where ever we are heading. I guess if I was already in DC I would take the time to separate out those things I would want right away and put together a proper UAB but going from one overseas post to another I just want to go to Target, Kohl's, Bath and Bodyworks, William Sonoma, plus a few dozen other stores and stock up on all those things I miss the most overseas.
Of course now that I have changed my strategy my UAB will probably show up ages before my HHE and I will wish I had packed the basics for running a house. I am not sure there is a right answer for what to pack in UAB. Each family seems to have a different attack plan, it all comes down to what is important to you.