So you’ve found a job far from home or are going to study abroad for a couple of years. How to pack your whole life into one suitcase? The task seems depressingly complicated. Our editors, who have relocated more than once in their lives, are here to help!
Realistically Estimate Your Packing Space
Do you have just one suitcase or can you take one checked-in and one hand luggage? It’s really inadvisable to take more than two, as you won’t be able to move them around and will have to pay airport fees. Now that you see how much (or rather little) space you have, don’t panic! It’s actually more than you need! I know a family with three kids that moved across the globe with just 2 suitcases and never looked back. So breath out and continue.
Put the Most Indisposable Things In
By indisposable here we mean something without which you won’t be able to function. Like your laptop, phone, medications and documents. Maybe a camera. Look how little space they take! Meditate on the fact that you can easily buy everything else at your destination, should you forget it – unless you’re moving to a prehistoric jungle, which I hope you aren’t. That takes some of the stress out of the packing, right?
Dispose of What You Don’t Need
Leaving stuff in wait for you will cost money for storage space. Of course, if your parents live nearby, you can drop them a box or two, but letting them deal with all your stuff is purely unkind. Use your moving as an opportunity to de-clutter your life. If there’s no space for a thing in your suitcase, is there space for it in your life? Think if you love and need it and how long ago have you last used it. Donate, sell or recycle all the stuff you don’t need – that will make the packing much easier.
Think of a Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a minimalist concept which is designed to deal with the problem of overflowing wardrobe with nothing to wear. The idea is to have just a small number of clothes (about 30) of good quality that you really like and that go together with each other. You don’t have to go as far as Jobs or Zuckerberg and wear the same-looking jeans and t-shirt every day, but cutting down your wardrobe will simplify your life no end. After you choose your set of clothes, try them out in different combinations to make sure they all go well together and only then pack.
Think Only of the First Week
What you don’t need on your first week you can obtain later. This goes for cooking stuff (I like to always have a cup with me though), iron and other domestic items. If you can buy it for a couple of bucks on a weekend trip to IKEA – you don’t need it in your suitcase. If you absolutely can’t survive a day without something that takes too much space, think of smaller travel-sized options. There are tiny hair straighteners, travel mokas, and even foldable irons. Although the latter a so useless that you’re better off buying a used one at your destination.
Take only the clothes for the current season and send clothes you will need in half a year to your new address by post. Do the same with things you love but don’t need every day, e.g. favorite books or a postcard collection. If you don’t know your new address yet, pack a box and leave it with a friend, asking them to post it to you when you settle. Don’t forget that this friend deserves a beer for the trouble.
Use a 100 Things List
If your suitcase is still overflowing, check yourself using a 100 things technique. Make a list of all the stuff you’re taking (you can count all your socks as one item) and try to cull it down to 100 things by leaving out the least important ones. This list will also help you check if you’ve packed everything just before heading to the airport – just put ticks opposite the items that are already safely stored in your suitcase.
Hopefully, these tips have taken at least some of the stress from your packing. The important thing to remember is that you won’t feel unhappy without your things, the new ones will accumulate with lightening speed. Keep a minimalist mindset and don’t panic!Written by Kate