Depending on your personality, this can be one of the easiest or most difficult aspects of moving. If you are a hoarder (oops, collector), sorting through years of acquisitions can be painful, time consuming and a distraction. Depending on how much you want to spend on shipping costs, take as much as you want or nothing at all.
We have an obsession with paper. Books, music scores, one-sided used paper that we couldn’t bear to throw out because of ‘green’ issues, files, years of bills that we were not sure if we needed to keep (when in doubt, keep)…
Before we started, I took an inventory of the books we wanted to take home. A mere 500 or so. Plus there were two bookshelves full of files – writing related, medicine related, home related. Plus the shelves of art work, canvases, stationery.
A few books made the cut and were given away through Freecycle. Some went to the charity shop. The rest are going abroad (Sorry, M-I-L!)
That was the difficult part.
Giving away clothes is easier. Winter wear is a no-brainer. No chance of using those lovely woollens and fleece in Goa, at least. We’ve kept a few items back for those future trips to Europe (we’re optimists). The rest went to a homeless shelter where they will be much needed, especially the warm clothes.
Emptying your cupboards also allows you to buy new stuff, so that’s always an advantage.
Again, everything depends on your budget for shipping and the availability of things in India. If you’re taking kitchen utensils or bed linen back, ask yourself if these are special items or if you’d rather buy new ones back home. We’ve left most of the kitchen behind, including spices, pulses, crockery and utensils. Food stuff is generally not permitted in the shipping, so start finishing all those leftovers. Take your good crockery – a Wedgewood bowl and Ken Hom wok went home as did all the crystal that we got as wedding presents here.
If you don’t want to give things away for free, make a list of things you want to sell. Free places to advertise are the Loot, your local paper (usually free for items under £100), your church or children’s school, the supermarket. Email all your friends and announce the sale on Facebook. Tell your friends to tell their friends. Pester them till you get rid of everything.
If you have cash to spare, put your list on ebay or some similar site. Remember, with the credit crunch, buyers are few and far between. Expect less than you would have liked.
Make lists, lots of them. I recommend having one dedicated notebook or corner in your house where you keep everything related to the move. That will keep you organised and save you from tearing out your hair as the days go by.