What Should I Do with My Furniture When I Move Overseas? 

New country, new life, right? Finding the balance between old and new is something that anyone undergoing an overseas move seeks to achieve. Figuring out what furniture to bring with you, and what to do with the items you plan on leaving behind is key to balancing your moving budget. There are a few items that will impact your decision making process surrounding your furniture. 

Here are some things to consider when deciding what to do with your furniture prior to an overseas move

Know when to Store Your Items

If your move is only for a shorter set amount of time (one to a few years), it may be most cost effective to keep your furniture in storage so it’s ready for you upon your return to your home country. Alternatively, renting out or subletting your home with furniture included, is a workable option to ensure your furniture will be there when you return. If you are renting out your space for long or short-term Airbnb type rentals, you’ll want to ensure you hire someone or rely on a close friend or family member to manage your rental, checking in routinely on your home and tenants. 

Know when to Sell 

A cathartic part of a big move is clearing out old items, that Marie Kondo would say no longer spark joy. Bulky items or ones you’ve grown tired of but are in good shape can be sold online before your other items go into storage or shipment. This will give you more cash to purchase new items (or help offset the cost of your storage needs).

A Woman Holding a Cardboard with Inscription

Know when to Donate 

Items that are older and a little rough around the edges or ones you don’t have the time to sell may be best suited for a charitable donation. Many charities have donation drop off centres or will come to your home to let you know what they can take off your hands.  

Know when to Trash  

Don’t make your “donation” a burden to a not-for-profit in need. If an item is beyond use it needs to go to the dump. If your area has large furniture garbage pick ups, plan around it. Not sure if your trash is another person’s treasure? Consider putting a “curb alert” notice on your neighbourhood’s social media boards so locals, and need can decide whether your couch is fit to furnish their child’s student apartment.

Brown Wooden Armchair

Deciding on Shipping 

North America in particular has larger homes, with larger furniture. There would be nothing more frustrating than shipping your furniture to Dubai only to find out it won’t fit into the layout of your new home. If there are a select number of items that will make your space “feel like home”, such as antiques or family treasures, these may be the ones you want to ship to your new home so you can be surrounded by a few favourite items. Before you pack up your furniture, make sure it’s high quality, in good shape, and will fit in well, in your new surroundings. 

Forbidden Items 

While furniture doesn’t often make the forbidden customs items list, wooden or outdoor furniture might be flagged as a risk in some countries. For example, if you are moving from Canada to Australia or New Zealand where there are significant restrictions on the import of foreign flora and fauna which could pose a threat to their ecosystems, these items would be flagged because wood pieces could be infested with insects or mould spores.

Cozy sofa and table with chairs in contemporary living room

Furnished Apartments 

An expat from Canada living in Belgium said that opting for renting a fully furnished apartment costs more money, since these housing listings are catered towards newcomers, but well worth the investment, particularly for shorter-term relocations. 

Pricing the cost of Furniture Abroad 

Before you finalize your decision on shipping, check on the cost of specific items you’ll need in your new home. This will help you make an educated decision on the costs of shipping compared with the costs of replacing items you’ve left behind. 

Orbit International Moving Logistics Ltd.: Your International Moving Expert

We have over a decade of experience moving customers around the world. Some of our customers like us so much, they’ve used us more than once. Why did they come back to Orbit? Our customer service is what sets us apart – customer service representatives answer every question, no matter how small, and our moving crew shows up on time with all the materials they need to get the job done correctly the first time.

To learn more about Orbit, contact at 416-661-4228.