I have hardly blogged lately because we have been crazy busy with Christmas festivities. Also with finish writing my book and also preparing for moving to another country things have just been crazy. We have moved so many times it is not that daunting anymore BUT there is still lots to do and the energy that it takes to do it all is ridiculous! With this move we have decided to cull as much as possible. Our last international move we brought my much loved appliances like our Westinghouse fridge, Bosch washing machine, sewing machine, and even our car to our new place. This time we are going to try to do the less is more approach. The reality is often cheaper to buy new on the other side of your international move than to pay transport costs. I have been enjoying emptying closets and getting rid of stuff. I ask myself a few questions as I go like;

Do we use it regularly?
Is it too old or worn?
Is it useful?
Is it beautiful?
Is it sentimental or important?
Do we love it?

If the answer is no then it has to go!!

We have moved internationally and also locally. We have moved to be closer to family, for work, and also for Christian Ministry reasons. No matter what the reason for moving it takes a huge amount of energy and planning. Whether moving locally or internationally moving needs to get done.

Moving house can be one of the most stressful times in your life. So is losing your job, divorce, end of a relationship or the death of a family member or close friend. So we have had a number of those things happen recently. I am so thankful that I can put my hope and trust in the Lord. Moving can be stressful but I really feel that God is carrying me atm. Psalms 130:5 says: “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope”. AND Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” These scriptures give me comfort and strength as we wait on God and trust him for the next season in our lives.

In the end moving house and countries was one way to declutter our lives. Albeit a drastic way to declutter!

Tips for a less stressful move:

1. Get organised in advance. If you leave everything until the last-minute it will be stressful. In New Zealand we sold our house and then rented it back from the new owner. This gave us time to sort and organise the house and all our stuff before moving day. When living in the USA we were able to give our stuff away to some International students at CCU. The stuff we wanted to keep we flew it to Australia and it was quite cheap from Ohio. Which was awesome. In Australia we were able to give away and sell lots by using a local Facebook page where people came and collected bits and pieces before we moved to New Zealand. NOW we have another international move and we are sorting and organizing everything. Here is how we are doing it…

I have four categories.
First category is stuff to keep. The keeping stuff is the stuff you will box up last or move to your new home. This first category has your clothes and all the things you use on a day to day basis. The furniture that you will keep.
Second category is to give away and recycle.
Third category is sell in a garage sale or online.
Fourth category is to throw away.

Part of organizing is getting quotes for your move and then confirming all your plans at least three weeks before your big move.

REMEMBER your pets. This is more involved for an international move. You will need to make sure they have had all the shots and they have the correct carriers that your airline will accept. Some of their shots will need to be done three months in advance so visit your veterinary clinic to know what you need.

2. Start selling or giving away non-essential items as soon as you can. Don’t wait! Leaving things to the last-minute will add stress to an already potentially stressful time. I have some health issues so I need to take things slowly or I will end up very ill which won’t help with our move.

3. Organise your important papers and personal information. Get a folder for essential documents like passports, medical information, birth certificates. Make sure you photo copy passports (if moving overseas) of all the members of the family. Give the children copies of your passport as well. Sort out your personal photos. We scanned all our photo’s so we could take them overseas with us on a hard drive and know they wouldn’t get damaged in storage. We gave small album of photo’s to each of the kids special friends. I also made up a tiny album for each of the kids to take with them of important friends and family to pop into their bags and to show new friends.

4. Be kind to yourself and your family. Make things easy. Take time to catch up with friends and family. Visit all those places you will miss when you leave. Have dinner out or buy dinner in. Make up a new family saying. Don’t forget to encourage the kids. Ours was/is “every last step on a journey is a new step in an adventure.” They loved this and while traveling we would often say this family quote.

5. Take this opportunity to simplify. There’s no point in keeping stuff you haven’t used or probably will never use. Storing, moving or sending it to another state or overseas may cost more than replacing it. If you haven’t used it in 6 months then it is time to let it go. Don’t get rid of anything you feel is personal or sentimental and that you may regret not having in the future. In saying that you can’t keep every tiny little scrap of paper your child ever drew on either. We took photo’s of some items the kids had made or pictures and kept those on a hard drive. Easy to store a hard drive than a million bits of papers and sock dolls etc.

6. Have a garage sale or eBay your stuff. Any money you make can help towards the cost of move. AND the less you have the easier and cheaper your move will be!

7. Packing. Start packing up things early. Especially books you are not reading and any non-essentials. Buy a huge roll of bubble wrap, tape, cardboard corners for pictures, marker pens. Try local shops and ask if they want to get rid of their boxes. They often are happy to reduce their rubbish pile. BUT with an international you will need proper boxes.

If you can afford it, seriously consider having the professional packers do your packing for you. Then you won’t need to bother with packing apart from personal items and you will save your back. We have packed ourselves BUT the times we have had the professionals pack for us it was much less stressful and our backs were thankful too. With international moves you will need professional packers check boxes.

Give the kids a limit to how many boxes they can fill with toys. Let them pack some of their boxes themselves. Get rid of worn clothing or things that they will grow out of. If you don’t limit the boxes you will have everything from a scrap of paper to soft toy’s coming out your ears.

My best advice I can give you while packing is to listen to happy music. I listen to Christian and or jazz music on the stereo or computer while I pack. And if you are packing on your own why not listen on your iPod. You can’t be stressed and grumpy if you a listening to Godly or perky music. You know what they say in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” You need all your strength while in the process of moving.

8. Friends and Family. Don’t forget to put aside time to visit and say goodbye to friends and family. I know I said this earlier but there will be someone you forgot. Now is the time to remember them! Go out for dinner or have coffee and enjoy spending time with your friends. Some friends or family may not be able to understand your leap of faith and may get upset. Listen and encourage them. Often they are more upset because they themselves can’t do what you are doing and feel uncomfortable. Sometimes it is because they feel you are leaving them behind. Reassure them that we all have seasons in our lives where change occurs. Make sure you have Skype and/or e-mail to keep up the contact. Now is the time to let unhealthy relationships go.

Let the kids have their friends stay over and let them stay up as long as they can. You could have a movie marathon and let them sleep in the lounge or put the TV in their room and watch movies all night. You will find that those kids who can’t stay awake will happily sleep while the others chat all night long. Especially teenage girls!!!

9. Moving day. Don’t pack up your kettle or coffee machine up until the last-minute. OR if you do be sure to make time to run to the cafe’ for takeaway coffee. I guarantee you will be needing a tea or coffee on your moving day. Finally have a good clean up or hire a cleaner. At the end of a stressful day you will be thankful to see the cleaners come and magically clean your house up.

10. Enjoy your new adventure and new home.

Here is a LINK to Overseas Packers and Movers. We used them and they were excellent for us. On their website they have lots of helpful hints and tips for your move whether your move is a local one or an international move.