Things to leave behind when moving abroad

A shirt hanging in a closet

Whenever you decide to move, you are inevitably letting go of things, people, and places you have grown accustomed to. People always fear change, but this is a hurdle you’ll need to tackle as it is an integral part of moving. You might think that most of the hard decisions have been dealt with when you’ve decided where you’re going and how to get yourself and all of your possessions there. Then the realization hits you – there’s just too much stuff that you can’t take with you, and there are some things to leave behind when moving abroad.


One of the most common problems people run into when moving is that they have more things than they can take with them. The epiphany usually occurs when you get to packing and figure out that it’s just not going to fit. Certain things are going to be left out when you move; there are no two ways about it. This is especially true when you are moving internationally. Finding a cost-efficient way to transport your belongings, like having them moved in a container, shouldn’t be an excuse for hoarding. Okay, you know you need to let go of some things, but how to decide what makes the cut?

1. Clothes

This sounds like an obvious one that you might have already considered but go through your closet once again. There are bound to be some items you haven’t worn in a few years. Be honest and strict with yourself, and you could end up saving a lot of precious space. Check out what the climate is like where you plan to move and get rid of clothes that aren’t appropriate; for example, the South of France has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters, so your heavy winter coats will be of little use. The clothes you plan to leave behind can be given to charity or friends and family who will surely be grateful. That way, you did someone a service and got rid of something you don’t need.

A toothbrush on a sink

2. Toiletries

Bath oils, shampoos, shaving creams, and soaps weigh a ton and take up a lot of space, especially when compared to their price. There are also luggage restrictions that you need to consider when traveling to Europe, as well as country-specific customs. The global market has grown quite a bit, and you are probably likely to find your favorite brands on store shelves, or if you are looking for something specific – order it online instead of dragging it with you. Just take the essentials needed for the first few days; everything else you can leave behind when moving abroad. After all, France is known for its abundance of cosmetic brands, so you won’t lack options when you go shopping.

3. Car

Many folks get emotionally tied to their car, but it can be a huge hassle to import a vehicle, not to mention the costs and paperwork you’ll need to go through to have your car imported. Perhaps you should sell it before moving and save yourself the headache. Once you arrive and get settled into your new home, you can check out what the public transportation is like or start shopping for a new car.

If you choose to import, make sure you have all the documentation and certificates needed. When traveling to France from outside the EU, you will need customs clearance. Getting a coordinator to help with the administrative formalities is a sure way not to make any mistakes that could cost you a lot of time and money

Rustic furniture in a living room.

4. Bedding and furniture

Getting used to sleeping in a new bed always takes time. Once you have your bedroom set up just how you like, it can be tempting not to let go of it and take it with you when you move. But what if your perfect setup doesn’t fit the measurements of your new home? Or perhaps you will be renting a place that is already furnished. Save yourself the trouble of worrying if and how it will fit; just leave the furniture when you move. Getting a new bed or couch will go a long way towards giving your new home a fresh and personalized look. What about the furniture you just can’t live without, things that have been in your family for what seems to be forever? You need to make sure they are adequately packed and stored before you are ready to move.

Many outlets in a wall

5. Old routines and bad habits

Are you feeling stuck in a rut? Use your move to enact significant change in your life and leave old routines behind. Moving abroad is exciting; embrace it. Instead of just slumping on the couch after work – go out exploring your new neighborhood. France has a strong culture of using bikes for transportation. Perhaps you could go green and save on fuel while doing exercise. Try fresh produce from the local community instead of reaching for junk food. When moving to a new country, your main priorities should be to relocate and stay healthy, especially now during the current pandemic. However, you can also try to kick some bad habits while you are at it.

6. Gadgets and Tech

Most people are happy with just their laptop and their phone. Moving to a new country can be a great excuse to get rid of tech clutter. Gadgets seem like lovely gifts, but most of them turn out to be novelty toys that are seldom used. To be honest, how many chargers from old phones do you have just lying around on shelves, in drawers, and behind desks? When was the last time you got on the treadmill or exercise bike that is just collecting dust in the garage or living room? Did some New Year’s resolution to stick to a healthy diet lead to the purchase of appliances that you never use? Why take all of those things with you when you have an excellent opportunity to get rid of them? These are some of the things you should leave behind when moving abroad, so throw a garage sale, or sell them online. Not only have you reduced your shipping expenses by getting rid of stuff you don’t need, but you’ve also made a bit of spare cash.