When you are looking at what to bring, don’t only consider the price of the item when you purchased it, or even what it would cost you in Australia to replace. Think about what it will cost you to replace in the UK.
What to send to the UK
Buying electronics is not cheap. Shoes are more expensive than I imagined. And simple things like protein powder drink shakers are about £5 each. That’s about $7.50 AUD each. I could pick them up for $1 at Priceline in Australia. I knew I should have thrown them in the boxes coming by sea.
We got a 3 cubic metre move cube with Seven Seas. It was actually quite huge. We initially were only going to get a 2 cubic metre move cube and for that reason, we tossed a lot of things that we could’ve, should’ve brought with us. Like protein shakers. It was only at the last minute we were fortunate enough to upsize our move cube but by then we had sold, donated or thrown things away.
Our experience with Seven Seas was pretty good. We’ve written a separate article about it here (link coming soon).
$100 AUD might not seem like much in Australia but in the UK, £50 is a lot of money. In Australia, we used to spend about $350 a week for food and groceries for a family of four (including two hungry, growing teenage boys). Here in Glasgow now, if we’re on a super-tight budget for the week, we can get away with only spending £40 a week for food. But then we need to spend £80 to £150 the next week to get meat, cleaning products, toiletries, etc.
Considerations: what to bring
When you’re thinking about keeping something to send over or flipping it and replacing it in the UK (or doing without it completely), you might want to ask yourself the following questions:
Will it cost £50 or more to replace in the UK? If so, pack it in a box or bag and send it over. Electric toothbrushes, Nutri-bullets, coffee machines. Consider bringing them all.
Will it work in the UK? Electrical items will need to be plugged into electrical adaptors or have their plugs changed. Salt lamps won’t do too well with the humid, low air circulating homes in the colder parts. TVs and computers may be destroyed after travelling by sea. That said, we had to buy a European electrical adaptor because an Oral B electric toothbrush bought on Amazon.co.uk only has a European plus. Luckily a dodgy one that works was only £1 from Poundland.
Will it last the trip by sea? TVs and computers may be destroyed after travelling by sea for 2-4 months. It’s likely that the container your goods are in will be moved from ship to ship, be knocked about, and possibly unpacked and repacked during Customs searches.
Do you really need it? You might love your 850 books but do you want to pay for their weight and bulk? Will you really be reading them again? Will they be cheaper to replace as eBooks. Same with DVDs. Netflix is only £8.99 a month, no contract, for a ridiculous amount of movies and TV shows. I honestly think the Netflix service in the UK is superior to what they offer Aussies.
Will it be confiscated by Customs or result in extra charges? If you send brand new electrical items to the UK, you might be up for duties and taxes. Foodstuffs should not be sent across. Certain pharmaceuticals and other drugs should never be sent. Same goes with prohibited items like batteries and other explosive substances and materials. Seven Seas will give you a list of what you can’t send by sea.
Will it be warm enough? Don’t waste your time bring clothing that is not warm. Don’t waste your time sending too much in the way of summer clothing unless you plan on travelling to warm European countries. If you’re moving to Scotland I would simply say, bring t-shirts, socks, warms jumpers, jackets and trousers. You might want to throw in a single pair of shorts and your favourite baseball cap/hat for the few summer months.
Is it your favourite? Bring your favourite kitchen (and bathroom) items. Even if you’re going to be renting a furnished property, chances are they won’t have your favourite kitchen utensils. We didn’t have a bottle opener and bought a few bottles of apple cider and had to jemmy them open with something dodgy. If you have to buy things like tongs, bottle openers, whisks, vegetable peelers, colanders or even measuring cups and spoons – you will be forking out money that you don’t want to part with as soon as you move in. Have a favourite pair of tweezers or an awesome shaving mirror? Bring it! Pack them all in a box and bring them.
Is it sentimental? If it makes the kids, or yourself, feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside, bring it. Remember, nothing will be familiar initially. If you bring some things that are familiar, your new home will feel like your home a lot sooner. We couldn’t wait for our blankets to arrive. We had to buy new doonas (called duvets in the UK) but we needed an extra layer of warmth. We dressed warmly for bed and waited it out until our blankets arrived. And when they did, we felt complete. Same goes for fur kids (plush toys). If you want to hand anything down or keep them for your grandchildren to play with when they visit (one day in the future), you will need to keep them, won’t you?
Is it irreplaceable? Custom drawings, paintings and prints. Family photo books. Out of print books. Collector’s items. Unique crystals and gemstones. That orthopaedic, perfect fit pillow. Shoes for big feet. Tailored suits and outfits. That hair straightening iron that doesn’t burn your hair that you saved up for, for 3 months.
There are many more considerations and I’m sure I’ll add to this post with time.
Any suggestions? Questions?