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William and I are in a unique situation when it comes to moving abroad and coming up with our expat packing list.
Many students studying abroad are only there for a semester or two. It is a lot easier to leave things behind if you are only going for 6 months. And if you can find furnished housing through the university, even better. No need to squeeze in kitchen tools!
William is going to school for a much longer term, and there is no on campus housing. In fact we receive very little help from the school. Which is to be expected from a school that has a student population of about 100. My Intro to Psychology course had more people in it.
And those who are moving abroad for work have it really good, as all the guidebooks we read never fail to remind us. They have their companies setting up their apartments and paying to ship everything. We’re talking people bringing beds, couches, and pianos from America to Europe.
It must be nice to work for a wealthy company. We have none of that support and it would cost us $500 to ship a 50 pound box of stuff. No pianos coming with.
Instead, we can only take what we can carry with on the plane. For $170, we are getting an extra checked bag each, giving us a total of 4 50-pound bags, 2 12-pound carry-ons, 2 personal items, a computer bag, and possibly an umbrella.
It has been difficult whittling down all our possessions. Who knew that two 20-somethings could have already accumulated so much stuff!
Our Expat Packing List
Our goal here was to only bring clothes in good shape that we felt good in. We will likely be buying more clothing there, but this will get us started. We donated soooo much clothing in preparation for this move!
5 Long Sleeve Shirt
3 Layering Sweaters
3 Layering Tanks
6 Bottoms (shorts, skirts, pants)
1 Pair Leggings
1 Pair Pajama Pants
13 Pair Underwear
7 Pair Everyday Socks
2 Pair Winter Socks
Workout Tank and Yoga Pants
5 Fashion Scarves/Shawls
1 Fall Coat
Winter Scarf, Hat, Gloves, Mittens, and Coat
6 Pairs Shoes (Boots, Sandles, Heels, Walking Shoes)
(I don’t know why I am bringing so many shoes…it just happened)
Climbing Shoes and Harness
Jewelry – 3 necklaces, 4 bracelets, 1 pair earrings
8 Long Sleeve Shirts
1 Sweater Vest
4 Pair Pants (Shorts and Long pants)
1 Set Pajamas
7 Boxer Briefs
1 Pair Long Underwear
5 Pair Everyday Socks
3 Pair Winter Socks
1 Swim Suit
1 Rain Coat
Winter Scarf, Hat, Mittens, Coat
3 Pairs Shoes (Sandals, Dress Shoes, Workout Shoes)
Climbing Shoes, Harness, and Belay Tool
Books and Games:
Books are really heavy, but we couldn’t just leave our favorites behind. We tried to narrow it down to just the stuff we would need. We are also having William’s mom bring over a suitcase of stuff in November, and that is mostly books.
9 German Language Books (Dictionaries, Grammar Books, etc.)
5 Rick Steves’ and Other Guides (Europe and Germany)
4 Religious Books (Bibles, Missals, Theology, etc.)
6 Hobby Books (Motorcyling and Rock Climbing)
10 Health Books (related both to my work and to my health)
3 Jewelry Books
1 Relationship Book
4 Games (including a deck of cards)
A to Z Essential Oil Guides
We mostly just packed a few necessities, focusing on lighter stuff. We will have to repopulate most of the kitchen when we get there, but it will be nice to have a start with things we already own.
2 Table Knives
5 Knives and Knife Hone
Measuring Cup and Spoon Set
4 Cup Measure
Cast Iron Pan (If you have one you like and have the weight…)
2 Place Mats
2 Dish Towels
1 Dish Cloth
Nut milk bag
Salt and Pepper Grinders
Salt and Kelp Shaker
Home, Office, and Memorabilia:
One of the most important parts for coping with a move is making your new place feel like home.
2 Bath Towels
2 Wash Cloth
1 Hand Towel
Laptop and Charger
The Guts of Will’s Computer
(to be built into a whole computer again when we get there)
Europe Electric Converter
UK Electric Converter
Pens, Pencils, and Highlighters
Weekly Whiteboard and Marker
Staples and Stapler
Padlock and Extra Key
Christmas items: 5 Christmas Ornaments, 2 Christmas Stocking, Nativity Scene
Religious items: 4 Rosaries, Crucifix, Prayer Cards and Mary Icon, Protective Symbol
Yoga for Fertility DVD
7 Married People Things
3 Relationship Trinkets
3 Pictures and Frames, plus a few loose photos
2 Other Trinkets
Mr. Happy Puppet
I make a lot of my own personal care products and I use a lot of cloth products in lieu of disposables. I made up batches of everything before we left. One less thing to worry about when we get there.
Travel Toiletry Kit
5 Supplement and OTC Medication Bottles
3 Bars Soap
Skin Healing Serum
Make Up and Bag
Razor, Blades, Shaving Soap, Brush, and Cup
2 Jars Coconut Oil
Correct X (an essential oil healing ointment)
Deep Blue Rub (an essential oil pain relieving lotion
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Essential Oils, Sample Bottles, and Cap Stickers
Zinc Oxide (to make sunscreen)
2 Bottles Sunscreen
3 Cotton Rounds
4 Cloth Pads
Pregnancy test (Just in case…so I don’t have to find one in Germany if I need one)
Fertility Charts (aka family planning method of choice)
Passports and extra photos
Marriage and birth certificates
3 Tins Sardines, Cookies, and Other Plane Food
More books and the photo albums from our wedding on honeymoon are being brought over in November. We will be purchasing a lot more once we get there, primarily more clothing, kitchen equipment, and bedding on top of furniture. But we want to maintain a generally minimalist lifestyle. We don’t need very many things and we don’t have a lot of money, so we will do our best to make do with what we have. That is certainly one benefit to moving long term with no support: it helps you determine what of your ridiculous quantity of possessions you actually need.