Packing for any sort of move is difficult. There are things to be organized and thrown out, or placed into boxes wrapped carefully with newspaper. A transatlantic move is no different really. We're organizing our tiny apartment into boxes, with one caveat: We're only taking two large suitcases to Scotland (we may bring a third but that isn't set in stone yet.)
No, we're not sending over a box of furniture, mostly because it's expensive and we don't have a ton of furniture. Nor are we sending over a box of kitchen supplies, although I still mull that one over because cast iron frying pans are the best and I'm more then a little hesitant to pack that in my suitcase. Overall though, we're packing as minimally as we can.
Here's how we decided what we're going to bring:
1. Research. I feel this is a common sense, but then again, I've read blogs posts from people who traveled to a different country and didn't know the weather was going to be a certain way. So much stuff about traveling to the UK is available online and no matter where you move to, researching is necessary. It's much better to be over prepared then not prepared at all.
2. We're not bringing food. There's food there. I've contemplated bringing Kraft Mac and Cheese but then I searched online and there is an American foods section at one of the grocery stores there so if I *really* have to have mac and cheese from a box, I can spring for that. I'm not willing to give up suitcase space for an item that won't last very long. (We are bringing some spices that we don't know if we can get there and they're small and lightweight so that is our exception to the rule.)
3. We are bringing only clothes suitable for the climate. Sweaters, jackets, appropriate shoes, scarves, and the like are all ready to be place in a suitcase to go. I want a pair of rain boots (because I'm far more inclined to get out of the house in inclement weather if my feet, ankles, and calves won't get soaked, but since those will take up a lot of space, I'll be getting those in Scotland. I'll also splurge on a raincoat there since they know exactly how to dress for the weather.) I'll be leaving my shorts and hot weather clothing here. If we have the opportunity to go somewhere warm, I'll just plan on buying the necessary items then. I'd rather have room in my suitcase for clothing that I will wear on a daily basis then bring what I "may" need.
4. We are not bringing electrical items. I'm using this as an opportunity to get a new hairdryer and curling iron! Apple products can be easily accommodated to using different plugs (they sell a universal adapter kit that can be used all over the world). I'm still looking for a battery charger for my camera that I can use in Scotland, but other then that, we're ready on that front!
5. We are bringing medicine and toiletries to hold us over for several months. Stuff like tylenol, contacts, solution, face wash, shampoo, and like just so we can make a gradual change in products. I've already checked, and my makeup and face wash can be purchased over there (hooray!) so no need to make a change there.
6. We're not going to bring towels, sheets, or a comforter. The bedding sizes over there are different enough that we will purchase sheets over there. We'll also purchase towels there because ours are a bit ratty and they will get a new life being used as packing materials here. I will bring my favorite throw blankets in my carry-on on the plane, because I'm always cold. ;)
7. I am going to bring some (small) kitchen items. I'm just not quite sure what yet besides spoons, measuring cups (because the metric system and my non-mathematical brain just don't get along), and maybe a cast iron frying pan or two. And sharp knives because I was informed the kitchen knives over there are quite expensive and it's just cheaper to have them in your luggage. Glasses, china, cooking bowls, and other various cooking items will just have to be obtained in time. I've already scoped out the Ikea in Glasgow and I'm looking forward to possibly picking up some necessary items.
8. We're going to bring items that make us feel at home. For me, pictures are a comforting reminder of home. Artwork from a favorite art teacher, pictures of our wedding day and anniversary, and a family calendar my sister-in-law made are all items that will be carefully wrapped up and brought along. This is a big move, and space is at a premium, but we'll need these items to help us adjust to a different country.
In the case of a move overseas, the less you pack the better. We're using this as an opportunity to purge what really isn't necessary and pare down to what we need and love. Fortunately, we don't have a lot of stuff in our apartment now and we're discovering the less stuff we have, the less we have to drag around the world with us.
Wish us luck!