Ralph and I both suffer from an affliction called “CRS” – can’t remember stuff. (Yes, it’s contagious and I caught it from him).
A few years back, we started using AnyList to keep a shared grocery list for the family. It’s awesome because we all have the app and before shopping trips we each add what we want and it updates in real time.
This came in handy with our latest move. We made lists upon lists, including the following:
- Unaccompanied Baggage
- Long-Term Storage
- To Do Before the Move
- To Buy in Germany
- European Travel Bucket List
We even have a separate list for our collection of Starbucks mugs! That transpired after we couldn’t remember which ones we had while traveling. We’re up to 61 right now, with more to come from our adventures. Knowing that German kitchens are smaller, we stored all of them and only brought 4 random mugs in our pack out.
As I planned for the move, I started reading up in different forums on what to expect. Facebook groups like Moving to Stuttgart were really helpful, especially for topics like where to stay and what to bring. Everyone’s situations are unique, so I incorporated what made sense for us and left out the rest. I appreciated the fresh perspectives and learning from others who’d gone before us. In the end, doing research in advance made me feel prepared and informed for the most complicated move of our lives.
What did we decide to put on these lists? Here’s what we ended up with:
- Unaccompanied Baggage: These are the things that travel by air and typically get there faster than the boat (but not always, haha). My approach was to include those things that would make our lives more comfortable and have us feeling settled faster. Once we move into our permanent residence, we’ll have this shipment delivered and along with some loaner furniture, it will feel like glamping indoors until the rest of things get there. At least that’s the hope!
- A printer and a ream of paper
- My iMac
- Weights and a kettle bell (gotta keep those Heather Robertson workouts going!)
- Bedding and pillows for everyone
- Knives, cutting boards, pots and pans
- A selection of spices, tea, and some pantry items
- Mugs, cups, and melamine dishes (that’s our summer set for the outdoors!)
- Other kitchen tools to include measuring cups, a corkscrew, and can opener
- Some paper products, ziploc bags, and tupperware
- Pet bowls, toys, and medicine
- A few cool weather clothes (in case it takes awhile to get settled)
- Long-term storage: These are the things that either won’t work in Germany or we won’t need access to for the next 3-5 years. At first, I was hesitant to store things. Why not just get rid of them? But upon reflection, I realized that a) we actually had a lot of stuff to store and b) this was an easier way to temporarily part with things that we weren’t ready to sell or give away. Let’s be real: the goal was to avoid the inevitable fights that ensue when you try to get rid of each other’s things. And now, I’m super excited to be temporarily liberated from these things that have been following us around from move to move. Will our new place feel light and airy? Stay tuned!
- Photographs and memorabilia
- Baby items
- Small 110v appliances that won’t work in Germany (crockpot, blender, etc)
- Lamps (yes, you can switch out lightbulbs and use an adapter but sometimes that’s a pain)
- Furniture that won’t fit in a smaller house
- Our massive collection of Starbucks mugs
- To Do Before the Move: The more we researched, the more this list just kept growing and growing, and this isn’t even the full list! If ever there’s a time to divide and conquer according to your strengths, this is it. For example, Ralph took care of all the paperwork and account-based things while I did the majority of the house-related tasks.
- Declutter house
- Sell house
- Monitor real estate rentals in Germany (I primarily used immobilienscout24.de)
- Sell second car (I didn’t want to pay out of pocket to ship mine and I wasn’t driving it thanks to the pandemic anyway)
- Get insurance that will cover us abroad for household goods and the car (we switched to USAA)
- Cancel home security service
- Cancel U.S.-based services that wouldn’t work in Germany (American Home Shield, pet insurance, etc)
- Switch phone numbers to Google Voice (so that we can keep US numbers while we’re abroad for two-factor authentication of accounts)
- Cancel lawn service
- Cancel internet and return modem
- Sell furniture and other things (basketball hoop, snow thrower, etc)
- Cancel coffee and wine subscriptions (well now, that just sounds bougie but hey, I guess we’re bougie?)
- Close safe deposit box
- Hold yard sale and donate leftover items
- Research pet shipping and make plans (including vet visits, USDA certs, etc – it’s complicated!)
- Cancel utilities like water, electricity, trash, etc
- Give away plants
- Get international driver’s licenses
- Drop off car at the port
- Change address
- To Buy in Germany: Yup – these are all the things that can’t get shipped so you have to start fresh on the other side. Re-buying stuff really adds up, so I am planning a few Ikea trips and will scout around to see what others are selling on their way back to to the States. 😉
- Lamps and lightbulbs
- New kitchen towels (always feels so fresh!)
- Houseplants, herbs, and terra cotta pots
- Cleaning supplies (we had the most embarrassingly large collection this move – gonna be super intentional this time!)
- Fans and portable AC (rarely needed, but you want one when there’s a heat wave and they sell out like crazy)
- Liquor (the movers won’t ship booze, so we had a party with the neighbors before we left)
- Small kitchen appliances (yeah, like my rice cooker and blender that I just put in storage)
I’ll spare you the details of the European Travel Bucket List. I think that will just shake out as we keep an eye on deals and whatnot. But, you can see what I mean about needing to get crack-a-lackin’ to make a move like this a cinch-by-the-inch!