Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moving Overseas: A How To Guide!

Just a quick warning... this is a long one!
Back in November when I found out I was going to be moving across the ocean to live in The Netherlands for a year, my first though (after sheer excitement) was how am I going to bring all my clothes. After some serious consideration, I donated and got ride of many items I no longer loved, and tried to work down the total number of things to bring. I can't say I got ride of everything I should have, but I think I managed okay.

To make this some what useful to anyone who's trying to figure out how the heck they are going to pack for their year abroad, I'm going to break this post into 3 sections. The bags I used (and what worked/didn't work about them), what I packed (and how much much of each), and what I would have changed about my packing. 

I knew right away I was going to have to pay for an extra bag to send underneath the plane, so this gave me 4 bags to work with. Two under the plane, and 2 carry on's. For the bags under the plan I had a rolling duffle, with a compartment underneath for shoes (seen to the left in the picture above and in the picture below), and I had my 60L travelling back pack (seen in the center of the picture above). For my carry on bags I had a small rolling suit case, and a normal sized backpack. 

The best thing about my rolling duffel was definitely the shoe section. I had no idea I would want to bring so many shoes, but it made it so easy to get them all in. If you don't intend on doing a lot of back packing where you are moving you can get even more space by bringing two normal suitcases (but be mindful of the weight limits because most air lines have become very strict on these). All in all, I am happy with the bags I decided to bring, and I would recommend a similar bag plan to anyone planning a big move! 

What I Packed:
A lot. I packed a lot! But, I made it work!

When I look at it all above though, I think I did pretty good! So let's break down what is in all those dang piles. (I was hoping I could format this into looking a bit nicer, but unfortunately it's just a looooong list)

Clothing & Shoes:
12 pairs of shoes
- the different kinds can be seen below!

21 Tops (short-sleeved)
   -6 going out(ish) tops
   -2 going out/casual tops
   -6 any day tops
   -6 undershirts/black basic tank tops
   -1 t-shirt
5 Shirts (long-sleeved)
   -3 plaid
   -1 silk
   -1 denim 

10 sweaters
   -2 zip-ups
   -2 cardigens
   -2 pull overs
   -4 light sweaters
14 bottoms
   -3 shorts
   -3 jeans
   -2 pants
   -5 tights
   -1 onesie

9 Dresses & 1 Skirt
   -6 day and/or going out 
   -2 semi-formal
   -1 business
   -2 long pants
   -1 sweat pants
   -2 boxer shorts
   -1 tshirt


2 Blazers
   - 1 black classic
   - 1 red casual
Other Clothes
   -5 bras
   -25 undies
   -2 sports bras
   -2 sport shirts
   -1 sport shorts
   -1 sport pants

Other Stuff:
- 3 small 'fashion' belts 
- 1 normal belt
- 2 pairs of nylons
-1 one-piece bathing suit
- 2 bikinis and 1 extra bikini top
- 1 rain coat
- 1 small umbrella
- 1 small water proof bag

- 4 Cameras
   -1 DSLR
   -1 Point and Shoot
   -1 instax (instant camera)
   -1 Olympus film
- 1 ipod + ear buds
- 1 mouse
- 1 computer
* Plus all chargers for electronics
- 1 day back pack (small-ish)
- 1 small over the shoulder roots purse
- 1 medium over the sholder purse
- 2 wristlets
- 1 laundry bag for travel
- 1 sleep mask
- 2 winter hats and 1 summer hat
- 1 ear warmer
- 1 pair of mittens
- 6 scarfs (winter and summer)

Toiletries, Jewelry & Travel:
- toiletries (you can decide what you want to bring in this category, everyone is different!)
* just make sure you put these in your main luggage, not carry on's
- travel accessories (neck pillow, head lamp, lock, backpack rain cover, sun glasses, etc)
-15 bracelets
-10 earings
-1 watch
-1 mini straightener
-1 hair blow dryer
- 8 books ( 3 travel, 2 language, and 3 novels)

Wow, was that enough lists for you!? Hopefully someone out there will find this even slightly helpful!! Okay, so that is what I brought. But is there anything I would change?

What I would have Changed:
Thankfully there isn't much I would have changed. I thought a lot about what I packed a head of time, and I had lots of help from friends as well! There are still however a few items I wish I had left behind and a few I wish I had brought. 

What I wish I had left behind? Unfortunately I think this will be different for everyone. There is always that 1 piece of clothing that you're convinced you will start to wear, but you never do, and I have a few of those sitting in my closet that I now think I could have left at home. I also wish I had skipped on the mini-straightener and brought a real 1'' sized one instead. It's just annoying trying to use that little thing. 

What am I super glad I did bring? I am so so happy with the amount of shoes and bags I brought. When I was packing I was nervous that I was bringing too many of both and that they were taking up too much space, but I have used all my shoes (other then the sandals) already, and same goes for the bags. The lesson here is that if you are an accessories type person where you live now, you're still going to be that way when you move. So plan ahead and bring the items that you do use often, even if it feels a little silly. 

What I wish I had brought? I haven't run into too many things that I forgot. Thankfully I can get almost anything I need here. But I forgot my external hard-drive, and that has been a pain. I am pretty diligent with backing things up (especially my pictures), and I was pretty upset when I realized I forgot it. I have two 8GB USB keys that I am using for now until my Mom visits and brings it along, but I really just wish I had it right now. 

So there you have it. All  my thoughts on how I managed to pack into 4 little bags and move for 1 year. If you are reading this and you have any other questions about how to plan a big move, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below or shoot me an email me (asewciallife@gmail.com)!

Good luck packing!


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  2. Excellent! This speaks to me, a traveling-challenged soul. We have relatives in the UK and Germany, and might be moving over there at some time. In the meantime, I am upheaveled by packing for just two weeks. Thank you very much for sharing, and I hope you're having an exciting life in Amsterdam!

  3. Replies
    1. way too heavy! I can't remember how much, but I had to pay extra at the airport.

  4. OMG, you are a girly girl right? Didn't you have a washing machine? Cause I went for 6 months to Greece and packed only 3 jeans, 3 tops, two sweaters, sneakers and slippers (in the clothes deparment, I brought some electronics too. I had a washing machine). I only forgot a coat and bikini (which I didn't thought I needed, until it was -1 Celsius for a day and my job was near the beach :P So maybe I would dubble it for a year trip, but I still would have been fine with just two bags.
    Okay, on my way back I had loads of stuff more because my boyfriend came to see me during my time away and each time brought me gifts. But we still could fit his and my stuff in 3 bags :P Hihi

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