Yes it’s really important to reduce your stuff before your move. It can be really overwhelming to decide on what to bring and not to bring. Especially when you have limited space.
Some embassies have a weight allowance, while others provide containers, and most multi-nationals actually pay to ship everything. This is dangerous because you don’t end up decluttering before a move and you end up with lots of unopened boxes when you arrived that you might not even bother to open.
1. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT, BUT FIRST RESEARCH
Recently a decluttering client got in touch with me because she felt overwhelmed by the crafting stuff that she had.
It’s good to listen to your feelings because this is usually a sign that you have too much stuff. But before letting go I suggest researching on the country you are going to first.
Let’s use “CRAFTING MATERIALS” as the category that you want to declutter:
- Google to look for crafting shops in the country or city that you are going to. For example search for “crafting supplies in Kenya.” See if the results that come up are something that interest you. If not then it’s better to keep supplies that you might not find.
- Look for expat groups on Facebook in your destination city and join even before you arrive. Get in touch with the admins or ask for advice from group members on what you are planning to bring. They can give you an insight as to what you should and shouldn’t bring because they have lived there for some time.
- Look for expat/diplo bloggers based in the destination country. Their blogs can be a resource of what you can find in the country give you an idea if you want to bring something there. You can also introduce yourself to them via email or on their social media. I am sure they will be happy to help.
2. KNOW WHAT YOUR NEXT HOST COUNTRY IS KNOWN FOR
Another thing I like to do is research what beautiful products your new host country has to offer. Then decide if it’s something that you would like to acquire during your stay.
Before moving to Jakarta, I found out that they were known for their teak furniture so I didn’t bother bringing anything. In fact, we rented an aparment that was only furnished with appliances and a bed. Because I knew that I would want to invest in quality teak furniture that could last a lifetime.
For example when I was in Jakarta it was very hard to find minimalist porcelain for a decent price so it took me a while to collect a set for 14 in more affordable stoneware. They were heavy AF, but complete because TD refused to entertain with disposable cups and plates.
I also had some glassware that was just glass. But I already had a few German Lead-free glasses from German brands Schott Zwiesel and Zwilling stainless steel cutlery. I loved them and I knew that they are best in the world.
After researching I also found out that Germany was the first to produce porcelain outside of China and they were quite known for it. Because of this, I decided to let go of all the hard-won but heavy stoneware plates and serving plates and all the glass glasses. I knew I wanted to collect a full set of fine bone plates, a few hard porcelain accent pieces, and Schott Zwiesel crystal in Germany.
From Jakarta we moved with our solid teak furniture and from Germany we came back with a complete set of crockery, cutlery, serving spoons and knives. So knowing what a country has to offer, can help you decide on what to bring. It’s pointless to bring cheap, bad quality stuff when you know that it’s the host country’s specialty.
DIPLOTIP: Do not bring MDF/Compressed wood furniture. They might break under the furniture stress of shipping or they will be reassembled loose and unsafe to use. You can however buy new, flat-packed MDF/Compressed wood furniture and then have it assembled when you arrive.
3. MAKE A LIST
Once you have more information it’s time to make a list of things that you are not bringing. It’s important to know
- Where and what year you bought it
- How much you originally purchased it
- How much similar items cost now
- Product hightlights (why you love it, etc)
- Flaws and signs of wear
Here is the template that I personally use:
FREE PRINTABLE PRE-MOVE DECLUTTERING LIST
You can open it on Google Sheets, make a copy that you can edit according to your needs. Don’t be afraid to add extra rows and columns if you need them.
4. WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO SELL?
Always find out the best way to dispose of items wherever you are. In Jakarta it was off an expat mailing list. In Berlin it was eBay Kleinanzeigen. In Manila it’s definitely the different Facebook Buy and Sell groups or certain specialty groups i.e. there are groups specifically for watches, for crafts, and for toys.
Once you are in the groups, make sure to know the rules for posting. Don’t get too excited and post before thoroughly going over the rules for posting. Because this can get you kicked out or blocked from the group. The rules there exist to protect both the seller and the buyer.
Make sure when you post, you are not spamming the group, as spammy sellers are usually dubious ones that try to take as much money before getting reported to group admins. We never want to be mistaken for a dubious seller.
If you are in a hurry, it’s best to post your items in bundles to sell faster. Bundles should be in the same family or category. Make sure to sell low – half the retail price is a good initial asking price. Then be willing to negotiate just to declutter fast.
5. ALWAYS POST COMPLETE INFORMATION
The mistake I see many expats or sellers make is that they post very little information and just ask people to “DM for more information” or even worst, they place their mobile number.
I highly discourage this because this is what scammers do to draw in more than one buyer for an item that they probably will not deliver. This is why it is not allowed in the good Facebook Buy & Sell Groups. Also placing your mobile phone publicly will get you a lot of realtors trying to sell you stuff, or worse it can attract scammers.
This is the reason we fill up the PRE-MOVE DECLUTTERING SHEET above. Always indicate the ff:
- Description (color, size, style) *avoid brands = not allowed on FB
- Condition of the item
- Pick up location (general area only, not specific address)
- Shipping options
- Mode of Payment
6. SET UP A SYSTEM TO GET PAID
Not everyone has a driver that can come with the money to pay you for your stuff. Make sure buyers have a way of paying you if they opt to have the items delivered to them.
These are the options:
- Set up bank account temporarily to receive payments. BPI and BDO are what most people have in Manila. Place the minimum amount and then before you leave, just zero it out.
- Gcash is also becoming common
- Paypal. This is common overseas, but many people do not have this.
- IBAN. In Germany we could transfer to any bank account immediately using the IBAN number. No need to be in the same bank, unlike here.
7. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH COURIER APPS
As I mentioned above, not everyone has a driver to pick up the items so downloading and familiarizing yourself with apps that can get the item from your home to the buyers home is important. My favorite ones are #1 & 2:
- Transportify – For cars up to trucks, I find Transportify to be convenient (you can book ahead of time) and cheaper than Lalamove usually, except for the L300 size.
- Lalamove – For smaller items that can fit into the insulated box in the back of the motorcycle. Always tick INSULATED BOX because this keeps the item secure and protect it from bumps and possible rain.
- GrabExpress – Again for smaller motorcycle delivery. I personally do not use this because it’s slightly more expensive than Lalamove and not as professional. But these days during quarantine, I hear they are more plentiful than Lalamove.
DIPLOTIP: Make sure to get enough manpower and equipment to lift the item that is being picked up or else the pick up will not be successful.
Normally sellers want buyers to arrange for the transport. Personally, when I sell something, I always arrange for the courier because many times buyers forget and then change their minds last minute.
Of course it’s not always easy to do these things yourself, so if you need help in Manila, you can get in touch with me. You can see more decluttering inspo on Minimaluxe.com
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