Packing your life up

Now I know everyone’s situations are very different and where you are leaving and where you are going to are all going to be very different. So here is my experience and things I wish I had thought of before I left.

We had (still have – were renting to a friend) a modest 3-bedroom home with a lovely garden, big driveway and fabulous kitchen in south Cambridgeshire. We have always loved our home and Henry & I have lived there since 2012. But as you can imagine 8 years of living in a home can accumulate A LOT of stuff that really you just don’t need.

A big part of this move that was important to me was simplifying my life. Attempting to become less materialistic, filtering out the junk and buying and owning things that are for a lifetime not just disposable & fast.

Anyone that knows us will agree that that is not the way we had been living our lives up until then and enjoyed changing our cars regularly, Getting the latest gadgets and even installing a hot tub in our garden (by the way we do not regret this at all – hot tubs are amazing!) We had a lot of years’ worth of things to sift through to decide what we would keep, put in to storage and get rid of.

I started this process well in advance of the move. Well in advance of the initial move date of 2019. This gave me so much time to really think about what I owned and why I owned it. I think this is really important to do. You don’t want to rush and panic and end up keeping a load of crap you don’t really want.

I tackled the house one room at a time and it was AMAZING the amount of stuff you just don’t need. We are very fortunate in that we are renting our home to a friend and he has kindly let us store lots of items in the loft until we are ready to ship it out.

Henry & I are in Canada on 2-year work visas with the intention of applying for PR as soon as we have one year’s work experience under our belt. Once we have PR we will sell the house and hopefully buy our dream home here… more on this as time goes on.

When going through our positions I was utterly brutal. If I didn’t see a purpose for the item in our new life then it went. Everything that I felt was just disposable or unimportant, I sold. Everything went on Facebook market place and I drove Henry mad with random strangers constantly turning up to buy our random “stuff”. But it was a huge success. We made about 10k out of “stuff” we just didn’t need. It is very therapeutic to watch your home become less and less cluttered and really analyzing why you own things and what they do to benefit your life.

I did however keep a lot as well. Nick-knacks from our travels around the world, sentimental pieces that could never be replaced, and Rockets tiny baby stuff just in-case one day we are blessed with another one. I have a few beautiful pieces of furniture that were up-cycled for me by my mum and hand made furniture from my brother in law, they got carefully wrapped and up in the loft they went. Henry is a HUGE collector. Total opposite to me. He’s a real boy and his “toy” collection would be quite enviable to any little boy. (I say that to tease him – they are actually expensive models that I dare say Rocket will never be allowed to touch) There was no way he was letting me put them on Facebook, so in the loft they went.

We often talk about now how exciting the day will be when we get all our stored away treasures sent out to Canada and we can open all the boxes together with Rocket and reminisce about where they all came from. It’s going to be like Christmas for little Rocket with all “Daddy’s Toys”

My best advice to anyone doing this would be:

  • Give yourself LOADS of time. This is not something you want to rush, and you will never forgive yourself if you sell that antique clock your great great gran left you for the sake of some wall space
  • However, be brutal. – You do not need to keep those thigh high boots you wore once for fancy dress that made their way in to your regular wardrobe in the hope that “one-day” you will wear those bad boys out again.
  • Be realistic – If your emigrating from a 10-bedroom mansion to live in a cabin in the woods you will not have much space to show off that antique armoire.


Next was the decision on what the HELL do I pack to take for the first move?

We planned to move to an Airbnb for 3 months while we got settled and then planned to move to a small place while we ran out our work visas to save money for when we finally bought a house. The Airbnb was fully furnished so all we really needed was the essentials.

Some how that accumulated to being 8 suitcases!!! When I look back now I could not even tell you what was in those bags. The final days in the run up to the move were such a whirl wind. What I do know is in my wardrobe is a host of outfits that I still have not worn and doubt I ever will.

Moving to Alberta is a completely different kind of lifestyle to Cambridgeshire. The winters are VERY cold, and the summers are hot and full of activity. I have gone from needing a little jacket to stay warm to wearing thermals pretty much every day in the winter and from kitten heels and midi dresses in pub gardens to hiking books and sports bras! – This is what I wanted, and part of the reason we made the move, to be more active and enjoy the outside more.

Think about this when your packing. (if you can)

Things I wish I hadn’t bothered wasting case space on:

  • Anything electrical – this is a big learning curve. Products here have different voltage. You waste money on adapters which can sometimes be as expensive as just buying a new pair of hair straighteners.
  • Products & Medicines – Believe it or not, these exist in other countries. Unless you have some special medical reason then I wouldn’t bother with any of it and just replace it all when you get there. Donate it to friends! Use it all up! Just don’t bother putting it in your case

I think my main note that I want to leave you with is…

Material possessions can all be replaced. What’s Important is that you have enough to get by the first week or so and the rest will follow. If your moving when it’s cold – pack a warm coat & thermals. If your moving when it’’s hot – pack for exploring and getting outside. You don’t need to pack for 12 months of the year. Everything can be replaced as long as you are happy.

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