Moving Furniture Abroad: What You Should And Shouldn’t Take With You

By : europeanproperty

Credit: Flickr


It’s estimated that around 50 million people in Europe choose to live outside of their home country. Moving abroad brings excitement and fear, without any real guarantee of how things will pan out when you make the big leap.

One thing’s for sure, though – when you leave your home country you have to decide what you’re taking with you and what you’re leaving behind (including your furniture).

Below, I’ll explain what furniture you should and shouldn’t take abroad with you – and it all boils down to two simple things…



Should Take: Sentimental Items

Whether it’s the country of your birth, or a region you’ve worked in for a while, leaving the place you’ve called home is an emotional wrench. You leave behind personal memories and anchors, including the very furniture you’ve used to make your house your own.

Not all your furniture needs to be left behind — you should pick some sentimental items to take with you when you move.

Your sentimental items might include things like a beloved chair, or a desk at which you’ve worked and built up your business – perhaps even, family heirlooms passed through seven separate generations. The point is that what these things mean to you makes them irreplaceable.

But not all the things you take to be sentimental items truly are that. You might just be holding onto some stuff for the sake of it…

So, make a list of the furniture you think you can’t live without and picture your life without them in it.

If you can see a future that doesn’t involve them, then they’re not sentimental, so don’t take them abroad.

If you simply cannot see a future without them in it, then you should take them to your new home.


Shouldn’t Take: Generic Furniture

No matter how much practical value something might have right now, compounded with the potential hassle of replacing it, if it’s just a generic piece of furniture — you don’t need it.

When you’re starting a new life in a new land, you don’t want to be lumbered with the baggage of your previous one.

Anything can be classed as generic furniture and most of what you have (sorry, but it’s true) will probably fall into this generic ‘leave behind’ category. (Unless you’re a furniture or antiques collector, and even then you might want to auction some of your stuff off).

That bed you bought on a whim from a home store, or an IKEA bookcase — do you really need to haul them across Europe? These are things you can easily replace in your new country of residence (everywhere has them).

When you arrive at your new home all you need to do is find a furniture store, or use an online furniture shop to get the non-sentimental items you need to make your new place into a home.

And, honestly, this part of the fun of upping sticks and going abroad, because you get to press reset and start life again with the knowledge and experience that you’ve gained – including getting new and better furniture.

Exception: When Abroad Isn’t So Far

This is when we pause and throw a curveball into the mix.

Moving abroad means travelling thousands of miles, taking flights, moving into new time zones, perhaps even having to get a boat to your new home.

But, of course, this isn’t necessarily the case. Moving abroad simply means going to a foreign country – not your own – and that could be closer than moving from state to state in America. For example, if I moved from Antwerp to Eindhoven it would take just an hours drive to be in my new home.

So everything I’ve said earlier about generic furniture depends on how far you’re moving. My advice to you is that if you need to take a plane or a boat to your new land of residence, then everything I’ve said applies. However, if you can drive there, then take whatever you like!

Going abroad is exciting and scary. It means you have to leave a lot of stuff behind. However, it also means that you get to replace things you’ve maybe grown bored of — getting new items and making memories that you would never have had if you stayed put.

Your furniture is often the biggest group of physical items you have to move abroad, but it also contains some of the most replaceable goods. All you need to do is ask yourself these two questions:  can you easily transport your goods by car? And are they really irreplaceable?

The answer to these questions will tell you if you should or shouldn’t take your items of furniture with you.