5 Tips for packing & moving your life abroad

5 Tips For Moving Abroad

The idea of having a capsule wardrobe, minimalist furnishings and a well-loved and considered collection of possessions has been integral to the founding of this website. I know we have too much of everything – too many pairs of socks, too many bottles of perfume and unnatural amount of bath products. And so, part of my quest is to really let go of the excess and embrace moments and not things.

Sounds simple right?


Try packing your entire life into three suitcases that can each weigh a maximum of 23kg each and then see what’s really important to you. This was such a lesson for me and much harder than I thought – really letting go of the excess.

We managed – two suitcases of clothes (summer only – no coats), some of our special linens from our wedding, our Aeropress (obviously) and a few good Victorinox knives. We have items left behind and set aside (warmer knits and coats) to be brought over at a later stage, but what we have on us is everything that’s important. So far, its working out (sort of) well.

On arrival at the airport, whilst checking in each bag (and as we held our breath when each was weighed) we managed to make the 23kg mark on each suitcase. High fives and G&T’s were our treat past border control.

Here are some tips if you’re planning to pack up with limited weight allowances.

1. Toss all the packaging

That’s right, all of it – the boxes around the Panado you’re taking, any kind of hanger, plastic, cardboard – all of it. Even though the perfume box is pretty, just think of it as added grams that could be delegated to an extra pair of shoes or a much-needed jumper! 

2. Leave behind those extra socks and underwear

It’s the easiest and cheapest thing to replace or buy more of. Besides, socks have a very limited lifespan in fact, so why not choose now to update your drawer? Take what you need for right now, so a few to last until the next wash.

3. The same goes for shampoo, shower gel, body wash..

Or any other toiletry that’s not super specialist or specific (earbuds: waste of space). They are a pain to pack and come in giant volumes. Don’t even bother with travel variants for arrival. I’m usually the girl with perfectly measured toiletries for my trips but in this case, with an actual move, I decided to just buy new on arrival.  Why not use it as a time to savour the foreign aisles and delicacies of Boots?

4. Take something warm

When we left I was told – don’t bring jerseys or jumpers – we’re going into summer – it’s going to be warm. Oh how Mother Nature lolled.. My skin is used to approximate 27 degree weather and acclimatization is a thing. It’s been on average 15 degrees – usually a ripe winter’s day in Jozi or an average summer’s day in the UK – don’t underestimate the time it will take you to get used to cooler (or hotter) temperatures.

5. And, DO take something that you adore to ease the stress of the move 

This for us is our Mungo, hand-woven throw that we received as a wedding gift. The week of our move was the most stressed and anxious I’ve ever been – even more so than before our wedding. This was of course because of the compounded stress of packing and having to say goodbye to our families and friends.

We do have a few  boxes waiting in SA for us to settle properly but this blanket, and some special 1000 thread count linen made it on the flight in the third suitcase. We can buy linen here quite easily (and obviously the options are endless), but for some reason, I wanted to carry these few special items with us to make our new home feel a little more familiar and personal – straight from the get-go.

x Tess

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