Moving Tips&Tricks April 5, 2023

What to Get Rid of When Moving Abroad

Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

Moving overseas can be an exciting adventure, full of new experiences and opportunities. However, before you can start your new life in a foreign country, there’s one crucial step you need to take – decluttering and downsizing your belongings. Deciding what to get rid of when moving will make the packing process more manageable and save you money on international shipping – and we will show you how it’s done correctly.

If you plan to live in another country, it’s important to know how to decide what to get rid of when moving. Large furniture and heavy appliances can be expensive and impractical to transport, so it may be best to sell or donate them. Additionally, decluttering excess clothing, electronics, and supplies can help lighten the cargo as well. It’s essential to prioritize items based on their usefulness, value, and sentimental significance and to use the “Four Box” method to sort through your possessions. By doing so, you can simplify your move, reduce costs, and start fresh in your new home.

What to Get Rid of When Moving Abroad – The Excitement and Challenges

Relocating to a new city abroad can be both exciting and challenging. On the one hand, you have the opportunity to enjoy some amazing relocation benefits and explore new cultures, customs, and ways of life. On the other hand, you’re faced with the daunting task of downsizing your belongings and packing up your whole life. Choosing things to get rid of when moving can be overwhelming, but it’s one of the most important tasks on your to-do list.

It can be difficult to let go of possessions that hold sentimental value or that we are accustomed to having in our everyday life. However, it’s important to remember that transporting too much of your belongings can be expensive and impractical. Deciding what to bring with you to this new adventure requires careful consideration and planning, but it can also be an empowering and liberating experience that sets the tone for a new chapter in your life.

Shipping all of your belongings can be costly and challenging, which is why decluttering is essential

The Emotional Process of Letting Go of Belongings

Letting go of belongings can be an emotional process that involves a range of feelings, from nostalgia and sadness to relief and excitement. For many people, possessions are not just things, but they hold memories and sentimental value. Letting go of these items can feel like letting go of a piece of oneself or one’s past. This can be especially true when it comes to items that have been passed down through generations or that represent significant life events.

A survey conducted by the National Association of Professional Organizers found that 54% of Americans feel overwhelmed by clutter and disorganization

However, as we grow and evolve, our belongings may no longer serve us in the same way they once did, and holding onto them can actually hinder our personal growth and progress. The process of letting go involves acknowledging the emotions that come up and allowing oneself to feel them without judgment or shame. It can also involve identifying what possessions truly hold value and which ones can be let go of before relocation without regret.

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Tackling Your Belongings: Room by Room

By focusing on one room at a time, you can reduce the feeling of overwhelm. In the following text, we will provide relocation hacks for dealing with your belongings so you can declutter your home with ease.

Bedroom - Clothing, Bedding, and Furniture

Begin by decluttering clothing, bedding, and furniture. Sort through each item in your closet and dresser, and only keep what you wear regularly. When it comes to bedding, only keep what you use and store them in vacuum-sealed bags to make more space. As for furniture, measure each piece and decide if it is worth taking with you to your new home. Keep in mind that furniture, as well as appliances, can get pretty heavy, so the more furniture you have, the more the move will cost – and vice versa.

Living Room - Electronics, Decor, and Furniture

The living room is typically one of the most cluttered rooms in a home. Start by decluttering electronics, especially outdated ones, such as DVDs or CDs. Next, focus on furniture by deciding which pieces will work in your new space and are worth relocating. Finally, declutter decor by packing and organizing only those items you truly like.

Kitchen: Appliances, Cookware, and Tableware

Before packing dishes and other kitchen items, clear out your kitchen by decluttering appliances, cookware, and tableware. Begin by sorting through your appliances and only keep items that are in good condition and that you use regularly. Do the same with your cookware and tableware. If some item comes in several pairs, decide which one you like the most, and leave the rest behind.

Bathroom: Toiletries, Linens, and Accessories

Ensure that all toiletries you wish to keep have not expired, and only take what you will use frequently. Donate or sell any extra linens or towels, throw away the old and ragged ones, and organize the ones you plan to take with you. Finally, sort through your bathroom accessories and only pack the relocation essentials.

Home Office: Paperwork, Electronics, and Supplies

Begin by sorting through your paperwork and organizing important documents – shred or recycle any documents that are no longer needed and set aside all the documents needed to travel abroad. Next, sort through the electronics that you plan to take with you and ensure all have been unplugged and safely stored. Finally, declutter office supplies and only keep those you will need for work or school.

Sorting and Organizing Your Possessions

Taking the time to sort and organize can help you make more informed decisions before getting international moving services and ensure that you only bring the items that truly matter to your new home.

When organizing your possessions, it’s important to prioritize items based on their usefulness and value. Start by making a list of essential items that you cannot live without, such as important documents, necessary clothing, and essential personal items. These items should be packed and kept with you during your move.

When deciding what to keep, consider the size and weight of items, as well as the cost of transporting them to your new home. Large, heavy items, such as furniture and appliances, can be costly to transport and may not be compatible with the electrical systems of your new location. Consider selling or donating these items and purchasing new ones once you arrive.

The “Four Box” Method: Keep, Sell, Donate, and Trash

Using the “Four Box” method can help you stay organized and focused while decluttering your possessions. The first box, “Keep,” is for items that you want to keep and use while living abroad. These are items that you use regularly, or that hold sentimental value, such as family heirlooms or photographs.

The second box, “Sell,” is for items that are in good condition but that you no longer need or want. These items can include furniture, electronics, and clothing that can be sold to others who may have a use for them. The third box, “Donate,” is for items that are still in good condition but that you do not want to sell. These items can include clothing, household items, and toys that can be donated to charities such as the Salvation Army, shelters, or other organizations.

The fourth box, “Trash,” is for items that are broken, damaged, or no longer useful. These items can include old magazines, broken appliances, and outdated technology.

Many of those planning a move to another city are not certain which items they should sell and which ones they should donate. If you stumble upon the same dilemma, take a look at the video below:

YouTube video

Tips for Selling and Donating Unwanted Items

Just because these items no longer serve a purpose for you doesn’t mean that they can’t be useful to someone else. Selling or donating unwanted items is a great way to give back to your community, reduce waste, and even make a little extra money in the process. Luckily, we have some relocation tips for selling and donating unwanted items already prepared, so you can make the most of your decluttering efforts and feel good about where your belongings end up.

Selling Online: Platforms and Best Practices

Selling items or furniture online is an effective way to get rid of unwanted things while earning money – it’s especially appealing when you’re relocating on a low budget. The most popular platforms for online selling are Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay. To ensure your items sell successfully, keep the following practices in mind:

  • Take clear photos of your items, and post them on a neutral background. Avoid using filters or editing techniques that can misrepresent the item’s true condition.
  • Write a detailed description of your item, including the measurements, brand, and any damage or wear and tear.
  • Price your items fairly. Do some research on similar items on the market and consider how much you originally paid for them.
  • Respond promptly to interested buyers, and arrange for pickup or delivery options.

Local Donation Centers and Charities

Make sure to research the organizations or charities you plan to donate to. Some charities have specific items that they need, while others have restrictions on the types of items they can accept. If you’re not sure how to get rid of furniture when moving, donating can be a good solution, but you need to find an organization that would accept it. When donating, consider getting a receipt or a valuation for your donations. This may come in handy when it comes to filing taxes at the end of the year.

Organizing a Garage Sale or Swap Party

Having a garage sale or swap party with friends and family is not only a fun way to socialize before relocating away from friends, but it’s also a great way to make a little extra cash. It’s a good idea to advertise your sale on social media, local bulletin boards, and even in your local newspaper. When the time comes, display your items neatly and organized. Consider grouping items into categories, such as clothing, kitchenware, and toys. Don’t be afraid to haggle with buyers, but also know your bottom line.

Organizing a garage sale can be a fun way to declutter while also making a profit

Dealing With Sentimental Items

Getting rid of sentimental items can be one of the most challenging aspects of decluttering before getting packing services and relocating. These items may hold significant memories, and it can be difficult to let go of them, even if they are no longer useful to you. However, when organizing an international move, it’s important to consider the practicality of transporting sentimental items, as they may not be worth the cost and effort.

One way to approach sentimental items is to set them aside in a separate pile and take some time to reflect on their significance. Consider which items hold the most meaning to you and why. You may find that some sentimental items can be digitized, such as old photos or letters, allowing you to keep a digital copy while still letting go of the physical item.

Another option is to gift sentimental items to friends or family members who will appreciate and cherish them. This can provide a sense of comfort, knowing that the item will remain within your social circle and be treasured by someone else. Ultimately, in order to move efficiently, dealing with sentimental items requires a balance between practicality and emotion – so make sure it is there when the time to move comes.

A girl happy after successfully moving abroad
Focus on the positive impact decluttering your belongings can have on you and those in need

Packing With a Professional International Moving Company

After sorting through your belongings and getting rid of items you no longer want or need, the next step is to pack and prepare for your international move. Working with a professional and trustworthy international moving company, such as Schmidt International Relocations, can provide you with peace of mind and ensure that your belongings arrive safely and damage-free at your new destination overseas. Therefore, if you want to maximize the safety of your belongings during the move, feel free to contact us – and book our relocation and packing services on time!


How Do I Decide What to Keep and What to Get Rid of When Moving Abroad?

When deciding what to keep, it’s important to take an inventory of your belongings and categorize them as things you need, things you love, and things you can do without. It involves more research than deciding what to get rid of when moving across the country since you need to think about local customs, as well.

What Are Some Effective Methods for Decluttering and Downsizing My Belongings?

Effective methods for decluttering and downsizing when moving abroad include taking inventory of your belongings, considering the cost of shipping internationally, thinking about the climate and local customs, and deciding what items are essential and what are not. As for the answer on how to get rid of stuff before moving, note that popular methods for decluttering include the KonMari method, the 90/90 rule, the four-box method, and the one-year rule.

How Should I Handle Sentimental Items When Moving Abroad?

Sentimental items can be challenging to let go of, but it’s important to be practical when relocating abroad alone or with family. Some options for handling sentimental items include taking photos, prioritizing, and storing items with a trusted friend or family member or in a storage unit.

Are There Any Specific Items That Are Commonly Prohibited or Restricted in Other Countries?

Many items are commonly prohibited or restricted in other countries, such as firearms and ammunition, certain medications, plants and animals, pornographic material, alcohol, and tobacco products. It’s important to research the specific laws and regulations before relocating to another country to avoid any issues.

What Are the Best Ways to Sell or Donate My Unwanted Belongings Before Moving Abroad?

Some effective ways to sell or donate unwanted belongings before relocating across the world include online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace, consignment shops, and charities that accept donations of gently used items.

How Can I Determine the Space Limitations of My New Home Abroad?

Determining the space limitations of your new home abroad can be done by measuring the rooms and doorways, asking for photos or videos, or looking for floor plans. Knowing the space limitations can help determine what to keep when relocating and what to leave behind.

How Should I Pack My Remaining Belongings for an International Move?

When packing for an international move, it’s essential to use sturdy boxes and quality packing materials and label them appropriately. It’s also important to research prohibited objects and items movers won’t move.

What Are Some Tips for Adapting to Local Customs and Product Availability in My New Country?

Researching the culture, language, and customs can help you understand and respect the local traditions. Trying new things, such as food and activities, can help you immerse yourself in the local culture. It’s also essential to be open-minded and respectful of differences. To adapt to product availability, consider shopping locally for essentials and familiarizing yourself with the brands and products available in your new country.

How Can I Stay Organized During the Packing and Decluttering Process?

Creating a relocation inventory (packing checklist) and setting deadlines can help you stay on track. Labeling boxes appropriately and using sturdy packing materials can also help ensure your belongings arrive safely. It’s also helpful to sort items into categories, such as keep, donate, sell, or trash, and tackle one category at a time. Don’t forget to take breaks and prioritize self-care to avoid burnout.

What Are the Benefits of Downsizing My Belongings Before Moving Abroad?

Downsizing belongings can provide several benefits, including reducing the cost of moving internationally, simplifying the packing process, and starting fresh in a new country without a cluttered home.

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