moving overseas poster Moving Tips

What to pack and what to leave when moving overseas

Packing to move? Where to start…

Deciding what to take and what to leave behind when you’re moving overseas can be a challenge. The space and weight adds up fast. You have to carefully choose what you’ll need in your new home, and you have to prioritise items that might have been part of your daily life for years.

But that can be a great opportunity. Moving is a perfect time declutter and take only the things that really have meaning. Taking less isn’t just about making your move easier – remember the old saying: Tidy room, tidy mind.

What to take when packing to move

Top tip: only take what adds value

Only take what has true value to you.

This is the ultimate of all moving packing tips and tricks. Be ruthless and break it into two categories:

  • Favourites. Things you use often already or that have strong personal or sentimental value.
  • Practical. Something you actually need as part of your life, and that you’re unlikely to be able to buy (or afford to buy) where you’re going. Do some research if necessary.

Try to take as many items as you can that fit into both categories. If it doesn’t fit in either, it’s probably time to get rid of it.


It’s easy enough to empty your whole wardrobe into cardboard boxes, but this will just make life more complicated. Be brutal and practical. Ask yourself questions to determine what you need. What do you wear often already, and what do you hardly ever wear? What’s the climate like where you’re going? Are there any special clothes or outfits you’ll definitely need? What clothing items might you be able to buy there?

where you’re going? Are there any special clothes or outfits you’ll definitely need? What clothing items might you be able to buy there?

Personal items

Limit yourself! Choose favourite things that have the most personal meaning, and leave behind the generic items you’ll can buy there. A lot of electronics can be purchased overseas, which also has the benefit of the right adaptor – or you may realise they’re not even necessary. If you’re not sure, check what kinds of things you can buy in your destination country.


You’ll need to keep personal records and paperwork, but you don’t need to take all of it with you. Paper is surprisingly heavy when it starts stacking up. Work out what you need hard copies of and what you can simply keep in storage/in the cloud (or throw out). A good moving tip is to make electronic copies of as much as you can.

Toiletries and medication

Many of these things are heavy and can be bought when you arrive in your new home. If there is something you need to take with you – such as prescription medication – make sure nothing is past its expiry date and that you can take it into the country with you. Also check the name of the medication in the country you’re moving to. Already open liquid/bottles is suggested not to be shipped.

Big and bulky items

Old furniture, TVs, unused computers, bedding, books, DVDs… They all take up space and can be heavy. This is a good time to scrutinise what you have and decide what it is you really need.

Difficult to replace

Some things will be one-of-a-kind, like a discontinued item or artwork or furniture that might be tricky to auction and replace. Just make sure if you’re taking it it’s going to arrive at its destination safely – ask about specially made wooden crates Many relocation consultants provide a special service to deal with more expensive, precious items, like fine art moves.

Bag for the first night

Luggage does get lost, and it’s always good to make sure your check in baggage has key items in it, just in case. You’ll probably also arrive exhausted and won’t want to rummage around for your toothbrush in your moving boxes.

What to do with what you’re not keeping

  • Gift any antiques or family heirlooms to family members
  • Put items up for sale online (Facebook, eBay, and Craigslist can all be great avenues)
  • Plan a yard sale to get rid of the extras – especially the little knick knacks that people love to find
  • Donate items that you don’t want to sell. Everything from clothes, blankets, furniture, and appliances will be welcomed by many charitable organisations or stores