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Moving Abroad – What to Take, What to Toss, What to Store?

When moving abroad, it's vital that you understand what you need to keep and transport, store or get rid of. This guide will help you decide

Written by Katie Cullen on 16 October 2017

Moving abroad is sure to be the greatest adventure of your life. It is sometimes far too easy to be bogged down by the endless ‘to do’ lists but the process needn’t be all stress and hairpulling. This is an exciting time and something you should be looking forward to. The trick when it comes to packing up your home for an overseas move is to be as prepared as possible and to travel light.

Now, we are not suggesting that you go with nothing but the clothes on your back, but it just isn’t logical, feasible or necessary to take every single thing you own with you. You will have to consider whether it is more cost effective and practical to take each item with you or get rid of it and buy new. You can use our pointers below to help you decide what to take, what to toss and what to store when you are moving to a different country.

Items to take with you when moving abroad

When deciding what to take with you, you are going to need to consider whether shipping the items will be more expensive than simply replacing them when you get to your new home country. Lots of people choose to travel as light as possible which does make the process much simpler and quicker. Some find that it’s much better to just pack as though you are going on holiday and get rid of everything else for a complete fresh start.


OK, you are going to need to take your clothes but now is as good a time as any to start routing through that wardrobe to truly assess what you need and what you just plain don’t. It is also the time to think about what clothes are suitable for your new country. If you are moving to a predominantly warm country then, are you really going to need those snow boots?

A good idea is to only take the clothes you are going to need for the first few months then, once you are settled into the new home and, presumably, the job, you can shop for new clothes.

TIP! Vacuum pack your clothes to save valuable space.

Gadgets and Electronics

Can you imagine life without your gadgets? Probably not. It is likely that your phone, tablet and laptop will be going with you.

TIP! Remember to back up your computer before you travel with it so that if it is lost or damaged, you won’t have lost any important or sentimental content. Also, be sure to check that your electronics are compatible with the voltage output where you are moving because it would be a mighty waste if you took these items with you to not be able to use them.

Sentimental Items

Art, sentimental belongings and family heirlooms may be very difficult to leave behind. You can ship these few select items. These items are irreplaceable and if you are moving very long term or even permanently then you are going to want to take them with you. A professional international removal company will be able to safely and securely pack up your items for overseas transport.

Items of Interest

If you are an avid cyclist then you are going to want to take your bike. If you play the guitar then you are going to want to take it with you. If you sew, then what would you be without your sewing machine? Again, it is perfectly practical to take these with you when you move abroad.

Important Documents

It goes without saying that you need to take these items with you. Things such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, legal paperwork and insurance documents. It is advisable that you travel with these items in your possession.

TIP! Take them in your hand luggage rather than pack them so you don’t run the risk of losing them.

Home Comforts

Many opt to take some home comforts with them. Although moving abroad is exciting and wonderful, it can also take its toll and you can quickly become home sick. Having some familiar items with you from home may help you in the transition. You might want to take your bedding for example. You can vacuum pack these to save space. If you have an item in your home, an ornament, a blanket, a poster, then you might want to take this with you so that your new home instantly has something recognisable in it. This small thing can make a huge difference.

Some Furniture

If you are moving into furnished accommodation then you won’t need to take furniture with you. Even if you are moving into an unfurnished place, it will almost certainly be more cost-effective to sell your furniture and buy new when you move than to ship a household full to another country. If, however, you have a favourite chair or beautiful antique piece of furniture that you don’t wish to part with, then you can speak to the international removals company about takin this abroad with you.

Items to toss when moving abroad

The requirement to travel as light as possible means it is time for ‘Operation Declutter’. You need to think about what you need to get rid of. This might mean you are giving things away to friends or family, selling items or simply throwing them out.

Use the ‘6-month rule’. If you haven’t used it in the last 6 months, then toss it… You don’t need it.

Here are some suggestions on what to give away, sell or throw out.

Items worth selling:

  • Kitchen Appliances (Toaster, Microwave, Fridge)
  • Television, Blu-Ray Player. Entertainment Systems

Things to give away to friends or charity:

  • Books
  • DVD/Blu-Rays
  • Clothes
  • Shoes

Throw these things away:

  • Items you are hoarding
  • Broken items

Items to consider putting into long term storage

You might not want to get rid of all of your furniture when you move abroad. You may be going long-term but not permanently and therefore storage may be the better option. Self-storage facilities are very cost-effective and convenient or you can ask friends or family to store a few items for you with a view to sending them across to you when you are settled or on their first visit.

  • Wardrobe
  • Bed
  • Sofas
  • Other heavy and bulky furniture
  • Photo albums/personal keepsakes

Most international removal companies will offer storage solutions or will be able to recommend storage solutions.

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