Relocation involves lots of preparation and affects many areas of your life. One area that requires a lot of thought and careful planning is handling the contents of your home.
Whether you’re a young couple or young family, you’ll suddenly realize how much stuff you’ve managed to accumulate. We’re not talking about a regular move here, but the transfer of all your belongings to a different continent and the beginning of a new life in a distant foreign country. You have to decide what to do with everything: Appliances, furniture, photographs, clothes, kitchen utensils, children’s toys and more.
So what should you take?
If you’re lucky and your relocation is for work purposes, your employer will be footing the bill for any expenses related to the shipment of your possessions. In this case, when you have to decide what to take with, you don’t have to factor in the cost of shipping, but do have other practical considerations: How much space will you have in your new house? Will these items be useful or is this the perfect opportunity to do some spring cleaning? If there are clothes, utensils or objects you haven’t touched in years, use your relocation as an excuse to give away, sell or throw them out. Regarding appliances, check whether yours are compatible with the voltage in your new location.
It’s also a good idea to decide if you can manage for a few weeks without certain clothing or other items. Are you or your children emotionally attached to some object or toy and shouldn’t be separated from it, even for only a few weeks? This issue is especially sensitive for children, because the period leading up to your departure is already tense and out of routine. Familiar items, such as a beloved stuffed animal, a favorite toy car or a security blanket, take on greater meaning at this time and should be kept close at hand.
What to Take and What to Leave Behind
Whether someone else is swallowing the shipping costs and you’ve been able to be quite generous with the list of items to take, or whether you’ve tossed out loads of stuff, eventually you’ll find yourself with a pile of various types of essential items that you’ll need during the final weeks before your departure and the few weeks that follow your arrival:
- Essential clothing for the critical weeks without all your other belongings (take into account the differences in season between continents)
- At least one set of bed linen
- Sets of towels
- Some essential kitchen utensils to whip up some simple meals
- Toiletries and personal hygiene products for each member of the family
- Your children’s favorite books and toys
If you are relocating with young children, there are a few other items that should be on your essentials list, and should be taken with you on your flight rather than packed for shipping:
- Infant/child car seat
- Bottles, baby foods and formula
- All infant and toddler gear
- Numerous changes of clothing, including suitable clothing for weather at your destination
- Changes of children’s bed linen, including infant blanket
If you’re relocating for study purposes or to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in some faraway land, you’re probably not one of the lucky ones we mentioned above, and all your relocation expenses are on you. In this case, you might have no other choice but to sell, lend or put in storage all the contents of your home until your return. But even this scenario requires you to have a list of items which you can’t and don’t want to live without.
Even if the shipping of your household contents is funded by your employer, they might not agree to pay for separate shipping of these essential items. So how can you transport all these items abroad, when you have to pay for it all?