How to Pack for an Overseas Move

Yes, it's true! We are moving BACK to Australia, and this time I have my long-term Visa in hand!

But what to do with all this stuff? Right? Is it worth shipping it all? Do we donate or sell it all and start over? And when I started researching an overseas move, those were the two options that I found over and over. Ship it all for many thousands of dollars OR take what fits in the suitcases and get rid of the rest. But those options didn't fit for me. I needed, wanted, a middle ground. And that's what I've found.

We are taking four suitcases (three large to be checked, and one carry-on) plus one back pack each for daughter and I, and we are shipping a mini-container full of our stuff. How did I decide on what stuff? That is a really good questions, which I agonized over for about a month.

For that first month, I kept walking through the house trying to decide on what to get rid of. What had value that I could (hopefully) sell? What could I box up and donate? And it was OVERWHELMING!! Not that we have that much stuff, because we really don't, but when you have to make a decision about each and every single item in your home. It's just SO MUCH!

However, one morning I woke up and saw my dilemma from a different perspective - it didn't really matter what I was not taking. What was really important was setting up house once we arrive. Since some stuff was being shipped, I didn't want to get caught buying pots and pans when we HAVE pots and pans but they're coming 8 weeks later in the container. So first, I had to focus on setting up a basic home - a basic kitchen, clothing, a few toys for daughter, a few board games for all of us. I had to cover the basics so we weren't running out to the store on the 2nd day for stuff we NEED. And it all had to fit in the four suitcases.

Once I got that list written (I LOVE lists.), I was able to focus on what to send in the container. I could choose from furniture, artwork, boardgames, toys, store-bought stuff, hand-crafted stuff, again so MUCH STUFF. I needed a different question and came up with "What defines our family?" When people think about the Leach family, what do they associate with us? What defines our family time? That's easy - we read. We play board games. We love being outdoors. With these answers in mind, I was able to go through our home and choose what to take with us - some (not all) books, all our board games, a few small pieces of unique and functional furniture, a box of hand-crafted ( by family member) quilts, afghans, and pillow cases, pieces of framed art and photographs, bicycles, and the small kitchen appliances.

Now, I know you're thinking - kitchen appliances? but the electricity in Australia is different. And yes, I know that, but here's my thinking - For $50 I can buy a transformer to convert the voltage down to 110 which saves me from having to go out on day 3 and buying a new mixer, food processor, toaster, etc. Long term, they will probably have to be replaced, but they're not adding a huge amount to the cost of the shipping and they are used regularly.

When the shipping container arrives and we start unpacking these items, our house will instantly start to feel more like HOME. And that's my job as homemaker... to make a home for my family.

Everything that didn't make the two lists, gets sold, donated or just given away. And I didn't have to make a list! It's just what is left.

So now I have to run because the movers will be here tomorrow to load up the shipping container, and I'm not ready! Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?!



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