(Closed) Moving to a new country…what do you pack?

posted 4 years ago in Married Life
Post # 2
794 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

SKyAlex:  I took 2 giant suitcases, 2 carry-ons, and paid for my dog to travel with me. Everything that didn’t fit, didn’t go. I took my most beloved photos and things I couldn’t bare to part with. I took my favorite clothing and shoes, jewelry, my laptop and ipad, etc. Everything else was sold or donated. When I got to the airport, the weight of my bags was too much, so I had to decide what I could live without and throw it away before checking in.

Honestly, it’s a little traumatic for a person who is very sentimental. Yes, you can always get new things, but still…it’s not fun. I advise you to really sit down and go through your belongings. Figure out what you feel you truly cannot live without or replace. Also find out for sure what your limitations are for luggage on your flight. Good luck!!!

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by  soontobebe. Reason: grammar edit!
Post # 3
2957 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas

My husband brought two huge bags, and a carry on. He basically just packed up his favorite clothes, and a few small sentimental things from his house. Everytime we go back to visit his parents we bring a few more things back home with us.

Post # 4
1224 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

SKyAlex:  Congrats on your upcoming wedding. Hope your planning is going well.

For the move thing, I did exactly that in Feb – I left Paris to come and live in DH’s home country, Mauritius. It was slightly different as we met in France and he’s been away from here for several years but we wanted to start our married life here. We brought (summer) clothes, some favourite pictures and personal stuff and essential kitchenware. We didn’t know where we would be living when we packed so we decided on stuff we couldn’t live without and what we needed to make it homely. As it turns out, we have found a fully furnished and equipped house but it’s still nice to have our stuff. TBH after having my own flat in Paris, I do feel like I’m on a long holiday but that starts to go away after a while and isn’t really dictated by what stuff you pack.

Post # 5
2692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I shipped a lot of stuff I couldn’t or wouldn’t part with (but ended up losing a ton of important stuff too.  I packed/shipped all the clothes I wore and wanted to wear and din’t want to give a way photo albums, pictures, our computer, my son’s toys and lovies, movies, etc.  I didnt bring any furniture or appliances (we bought brnad new everything in those departments).

Post # 6
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I moved from the US to Australia with 2 suitcases of clothes and a few personal items.  I had no idea how long I was going to stay in Oz for.  1 year turned into 6! 🙂  My childhood items and some clothes are still at my parents house.  We’re going back there to get married.  While we’re there, I’ll have to go through everything and get rid of the things that I don’t want and have dad ship the things I do want to keep to me. 

Can you keep a lot of your stuff with your family, and have them ship it to you at a later time?  Or take things back to Canada each time you go back to visit?

Post # 7
37 posts

I’m going to break this into two posts I think.

I’ll be facing this in about 6 months as well, from US to UK and am concerned since it will be the most drastic move of my life. Where to start is overwhelming, I have basically had to organize it into sections because I plan on selling many things, because I don’t need them, can’t take them, or can live without them. Making the decisions is difficult but at the end of the day I can live without “stuff” I can’t live without him and I won’t force him to be crowded by my things because that is selfish and also because housing there tends to be much smaller than here.

I am…”lucky” in that I will travel to the UK twice in short succession so will be able to bring things over both times.

I say “lucky” because the reason I have to go twice sucks. The UK has extremely rigid immigration laws, which include me having to show my ability to support myself while there prior to marriage and him meeting a minimum salary requirement, yes really. Currently he does not meet it, the requirement is £18,600 ($31,700) I don’t know what part of the Caribbean you are from precisely so I don’t know what other denomination to convert that into. He is actively seeking a career that brings him to that point, the problem is not a lack of education but rather a lack of experience, but he also has to show he has had that job for 6 months. They don’t take into account the spouses income which I guess would only come into play if you had a work visa there prior to marriage, as is I can’t work there until we’re married but I can’t stay unless he meets the requirement. If he doesn’t meet the requirement and I stay they will deport me.

Ugh sorry getting OT, just the volume of hoops we have to jump through just to be together is mind boggling and it’s hard to contain it sometimes.

As others have stated, make sure to take the items of sentimental value, it does not matter if they have no actual value, you know in your gut what things you can’t bear to part with. Pictures in particular can make it feel more like home in your new place. You may want to consider mailing some lighter weight clothing and small items ahead of time. You can probably ditch some things even clothes if they can be easily replaced at little cost. I can ditch most of my generic socks, but not my nice bras for example.

I can look around and I know what I can’t part with, some are obvious, my cat, which luckily my partner adores and she likes him as well, the handmade doll my Great-Grandmother made for me when I was 5, the book my now deceased favorite Uncle gave me, my favorite pair of sneakers, my Alexander McQueen heels, a knick-knack that belonged to my Great-Great Grandmother. Other things took me by surprise, like realizing just how much attachment I have to my designer handbag collection. I’m a collector by nature so many of them are unique and were not just bought at a store, but hunted down, some taking years to procure.

Hopefully you will not run into the most difficult category, which is something you have to part with because it is not legal in the country you are moving to. For me it is my firearms, yes, I’m one of those people, I’m all about self-defense, it is very difficult for me to face giving up everything from pepper spray to my revolver. I am still not sure yet what to do with them because I am too sentimentally attached to one handgun to sell it.

I have an organization system I’ve been working on which I will list in a separate post.

Post # 8
37 posts

I organized things I will probably get rid of by room, later I will have more sub-categories within each one of them: Sell, Donate, Throw Away

I think that knowing what you can do without helps narrow down what you definitely want to take even more.

Maybe this might help you, I don’t know, but here it is. 😀


 – Furniture, Large

 – Furniture, Small

 – Decor

 – Organizers

 – Bedding, except my pillow it was expensive and I have issues with my neck so it goes.

Living Room:

 – Decor

 – Pictures 

 – Furniture

 – Electronics


 – Anything that plugs in.

 – Cookware

 – Fine China

 – Fancy Flatware

 – Everyday Dinnerware

 – Everyday Flatware

 – Glasses

 – Misc

Clothing Room: (I have a small spare bedroom converted into a closet.)

 – Standing Wardrobes & Other Large furniture

 – Clothing and Shoe Racks and Clothing and Cosmetic Organizers 

 – Clothing, designer

 – Clothing, non-designer

 – Clothing, does not fit, too small or too big

 – Clothing, love but don’t wear

 – Clothing, Formal

 – Shoes, non-designer

 – Handbags, non-designer

 – Jewelry, Fine

 – Jewelry, Fashion


 – Scrapbooking, enough said for anyone that has ever scrapbooked you know all of what it entails.

 – Comic Book Collection 

 – Foreign Fashion Magazines, high end, there is a market for these.

 – Antique Nancy Drew Novel Collection (Except ones of sentimental value.)

 – Plushies

 – Hello Kitty,  moving right along…


 – Drapes

 – Vacuums, Washer & Dryer, and other things that plug in.

 – DVD’s, CD’s, Blu Rays

 – Books (Except the very, very favorite ones.)

Post # 9
119 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

BerlinPorcelain:  I’ve just gone through this process and I totally feel your frustration. It does seem that they care most about 1) proving the income of the primary resident in the uk and 2) showing a real, sustained relationship. I base that off of the additional documents they asked us for- more financial records, more pics… But what they really seemed to focus on were the finances and, while I understand that they have strict rules about access to public funds, it’s a bit miguided if the incoming spouse is going to work and won’t be eligible for those benefits anyway.  

I know how stressful and absurd this can be. And the process itself is expensive to begin with. I’m sorry and I wish your Fiance success in reaching the career bench marks that will bring you closer to your goal. In the meantime, could you find an employer who would offer you a visa? I know, not ideal for a number of reasons, but it’s an option to consider. 

So, for my big move this spring I had to make tough decisions. Because I intend to be where he is for the rest of my life, I kept thinking my move had to to feel/ be permanent and- with the exception of a very few things that have been at my parents house since I left university- it was important that everything I care about be in my home. 

I did a triage- pack and take on the plane, set aside to be moved professionally and sell or donate. 

Despite my best laid plans, I rocked up to the airport with 90 minutes to board my flight with 5 bags to check. Yep- 5 to check and 2 to carry on. 

I packed all the clothes, toiletries, shoes, bags and books I knew I’d want to have around me immediately to help the transition. I packed enough business and professional clothing to get me through a month and a half and all the really expensive bags and shoes I didn’t want to risk losing and wear most often. 

When it came to what to send with the movers, well, I absolutely love to cook and my first priority there was getting the cookwear and other effects packed to be shipped. All electrical appliance- kitchenaide mixer, Cuisinart, all the stuff with plugs- were sold. I was sad about it, but it just doesn’t make sense to try to run them with converters in the UK. I also had the movers take the dishes as I’m quite sentimental about them, numeorus boxes of clothes and shoes and lots of books and sentimental effects. There was so much stuff that didn’t fall into a category you’d think of as xxxx but were still things I felt I needed! It was an exhausting process that would make a shy, poor Buddhist reflect and plan a mass murder. 

Then I sold or donated all the furniture I had. I also gave away all the delicious, lovely booze I had on hand- well, I brought a few sentiemnal bottles of wine with me in my checked luggage- because you’re not supposed to ship it with the other stuff (duty and tax reasons). Let’s be honest, I also drank a lot of it, too. With friends and- ahem- without. (What?! It was an exhausting, emotional process!)

As excited as I was to move, the whole thing was really emotional. Have I mentioned that already? And it took a lot longer and cost more than I expected. But it was worth it. However, if you can move in multiple trips or get by with less overall, you can make the process a little easier and a slight bit less expensive.  It also would have been easier if I’d had family near me to store things with. Oh, and of course what would be easiest is if you have less stuff you feel you “need” to take with you. 

At this point in my life, I’ve moved to new cities and countries with just two suites (3 times), I’ve moved small apartments from one coast to another, I’ve moved a three bedroom house from one coast and back again, and now I’ve just moved to a new country permanently. And it is my belief that it all sucks. There are degrees of suckage, but it all sticks. But I digress…

To sum up this essay, I think the most important thing is to really be frank with yourself about what you need now (take those on the plane), what you ‘ll need but not until later (either bring over later or ship with a moving company/ fedex), and what you can do without. 

 OP, I hope this, and the rest of the great advice from other posters, helps. Good luck!


Post # 10
4047 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I also made the journey from the US to the UK back in February. I stayed very practical. An entire wardrobe would obviously be costly to replace, so it makes more sense to ship clothes. My bags/purses also didn’t have much resale, so it made more sense to bring. I had a couple bowls and mugs made for me by an aunt, so those are sentimental items I couldn’t part with. I have quite a DVD collection, so I brought those over (but not the cases – just the discs in a carrier). A few pieces of art with sentimental value made its way over, as well as a small wooden chest and a stuffed animal. I also packed tons of books I use for teaching. They would be difficult and expensive to replace.

But my desk organiser? Gone. Furniture? First thing to sell. Anything that gets plugged in (with the exception of my laptop) was given away or sold. I also got rid of my kitchen equipment or gave it to my mother because it’s heavy or delicate, so shipping would be a challenge. Plus, it’s a good excuse to upgrade and buy a new set of pots and pans!

To get everything over, I used suitcases or an excellent service call Send My Bag (https://www.sendmybag.com/). When my husband last visited me, I sent him back with a duffle bag full of summer clothes I didn’t need until the next season, as well as professional clothes, which weren’t needed in my unemployed state. A few days before I moved, I sent a suitcase and three large boxes via Send My Bag – mostly full of clothes, shoes, and bags, as well as a few of the sentimental items. I packed lighter with the boxes because the shipping cost was done by weight. Then when it came time for me to hop on the plane, I brought along two medium sized heavy suitcases full of my teacher books and a few clothes. With a 50lb limit for much less than it would cost to ship, I took advantage of it and put all my heavy items in there. I also brought a small carry on with mostly clothes just in case nothing else made it in reasonable time.

I relly recommend Send My Bag if it works for you – it was WAY cheaper than using the post office, UPS, or FedEx. Plus, it arrived in 3 days! But from the Caribbean I am not sure what options you may have. Definitely shop around though. It saved me hundreds.

Post # 11
5951 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

SKyAlex:  I’m about to do this too!  Canada to the USA, so a lot easier for me as there are no bodies of water to cross.

If I were you I’d liquidate as much of my stuff as possible (sell/give away) and then look into shipping options.  If you have a good deal of stuff to move I’d pack it up in boxes and send it via courrier on their slowest (aka cheapest) option.  Then use your luggage allowance on the airplane to take suitcases with all the things you’ll need in the first several weeks.

If you aren’t bringing much with you that’s ok.  You are unencumbered by stuff!  That’s a great thing!  In my case I don’t feel like I have a lot of stuff, but we are moving my furniture (just enough for a small 1 bedroom appt, nothing crazy) as my Darling Husband has none.  I’m probably going to be doing a pod to move it down there.

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