Deciding What to Pack When Relocating

How to decide what goes with you and what is sold or stored. That is one of the great challenges in relocation and moving. When I moved from California over two years ago, I created three criteria to consider for an item to stay in my life:

1) In good/working condition with no breakage in the foreseeable future.
2) Something I use regularly that cannot substitute with another already packed item or easily replaced for less than $5.
3) It makes me smile to use it because it has special memories or was given to me by a loved one.

Having said that, somehow we ended up moving with two mechanical can openers so a few things did slip through the cracks.

UPDATE: Seems like the KonMari Method for decluttering is aligned with my own philosophy. GOOP just wrote about it HERE.

When you do pack, prepare one bag or footlocker with the essentials. If you are a couple moving separately, the first person to fly over should have this footlocker with them. These are the things that will keep life going until you get to a home store. Some things like soap, sponges, shampoo, a teapot or coffee press, and basic house linens can easily be bought at Tesco or Dunnes, but for this particular bag pack those things that will help you survive for the first few days until you have time to choose dishes together or buy nice stuff. This is especially important if you will be starting a new job immediately after your arrival in your new city. Pack the bag with things like: dishtowels, a few melamine plates/bowls/cups, potholders, one pan for cooking, a few kitchen utensils or flatware, one set of sheets and a bath towel, a laundry bag, an umbrella and flashlight, and the things that you use on a daily basis. Some of the domestic items are unnecessary if you will be staying in a hotel or furnished corporate housing, so consider your own situation. This is just my experience moving into a fairly empty apartment and not being able to immediately get out to the shops to get all we needed.

Now, not all the things I packed were for the apartment, some were for me and my hobbies. I didn’t know what would be available here and for what price, so I overpacked in some ways. Some of the random things I packed?

4 books – one cookbook, my recipe journal, and two non-fiction reference books

1 recipe box – couldn’t be anywhere without my family recipes and some cherished cards from my friend Molly

2 pairs of jeans – amazing, I know

8 five-piece place settings of our flatware – the handles are shaped like fish and it makes me so happy to use them

1 Cuisinart hand mixer – a compromise since my KitchenAid stand mixer was too heavy to bring

1 pair of Bean Boots – perfect footwear for Irish weather and I’d had them since my university days so they’re classics

1 tin of cranberry sauce – yeah, just read the CPQ blog post about why I packed it

3 pairs of knee-high leather boots – so very practical and the style is versatile and classic without being stodgy (also brought a dozen pairs of argyle knee socks to wear with them)

No matter what you pack, consider yourself in your new home using it and be honest about how necessary it is. We moved with four suitcases each and that was IT. No shipped boxes or comforts from home that were not absolutely necessary. Well, except for that third pair of leather boots.

My Recipe Box


2 thoughts on “Deciding What to Pack When Relocating

Add yours

  1. Excellent post! I especially appreciate the brilliant suggestion of the essentials footlocker. Too many a time I have found myself moving into a new place then being forced to purchase food, frying pan, and plates on day one. No fun. I have learned to scale back considerably, however; minimalism is the international traveler’s best friend. 🙂

    One tip I’d like to share when making a move (or just getting rid of clutter in general) is in regards to #3: Items with special memories.

    In the past, I’ve had boxes of little things of this nature, mostly in storage; stuffed animals, lamps, baby blanket, handmade pottery etc. It all remained in storage because I could neither justify throwing it out due to it’s sentimental value nor could I justify shipping it because the day-to-day items were more vital. In my experience, when you find yourself in this predicament, take a photograph of the item(s) then give it to a friend, post it on your local, or give it away to charity. Always better for the item to be used than sit in storage indefinitely. This technique is especially handy for intended scrapbook items, papers, notes, etc. that you just can bring yourself to throw away, but they otherwise simply take up space.

    Of course none of the above applies to flatware with fish shaped handles. Those go in the essentials footlocker for sure. 🙂


  2. Just now got a chance to read this post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on what to pack as I am in the thick of it here in the states. Adam and I will be shipping a few boxes ahead because we will be in Dublin in a hotel room for the first 2 weeks before making our way to Cork. I just can’t stand the thought of lugging around 10 suitcases upon our arrival.
    Did you already have housing accommodations when you first arrived in Cork? Knowing other people go through this is so helpful! If you can do it, so can I.

Enough about me. What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: