Packing for Moving Overseas

For many years of my adult life I have experienced nightmares in which the house is on fire, and I had to get things out of the house before the fire caught up with me…or that I was moving, and only had one day to get my things out of a full house– always making choices about what is most important. I realize now these dreams were just preparing me to handle an overseas move in real life. HA!

As we prepare for our move to the Caribbean, we have to purge most of our belongings. Only the most essential and important things can come along. We cannot take our furniture or decor. The things we spent the last five years as a couple accumulating to operate our household, all have to be sold or stored now. We’ve had a long runway for this move, but it is still overwhelming to think we have six suitcases to pack everything important!

So what goes into the suitcases?

Suitcase 1-3

Clothing. We obviously need some clothes, and growing kids need a lot. Baby needs the next size up too! Now, they do have some of our favorite clothing stores where we are going, so I won’t buy a bunch of extra items just for the move, but I am not about to throw out anything they can still wear. All the fall and winter clothes go though…we won’t be needing boots or jackets in the Carribbean. My kids each have about two large dresser drawers to fit into one suitcase. I think that is doable…

What will Mama bring? I have even less clothes due to the postpartum changes lately, so I only need about one suitcase for my own clothing to include shorts, tanks, breezy tops, a few sundresses, and maybe one super nice outfit for a rare event we might attend. I will take 2 pair of sandals (one gold, one silver or black), 1 pair of cheap basic flip flops for the beach, and maybe a pair of hiking/ river shoes.

My husband will probably pack one suitcase for his clothes and shoes.
That brings us to three suitcases just for clothing.

Suitcase 4

a. Daily Ops

This will be all the things we use every day as part of our routine, excluding disposables like diapers and wipes that are easily replaced.

Toiletries (just enough to get by for the first few weeks), two sippy cups, two bottles, a few kid forks/spoons, perhaps a travel high chair (the kind that is made of fabric and straps to a chair), baby monitors, small electronics like backup phones/ipads for app use, charging cables for said electronics, and basic first aid (a few bandaids, Neosporin, epipen, and emergency nebulizer with a few asthma med vials).

b. Education

Our pre-schooler’s curriculum workbooks, scissors, glue, etc., a few books we read regularly, some smaller musical instruments, and maybe our easel if it will fit once disassembled!

Suitcase 5


A few smaller kitchen appliances that might be hard to find, the Nespresso machine, coveted blender, and some kitchen utensils we really like.

Suitcase 6

Allll the stuff I just forgot about.


One thing we plan to pack up, but not take yet is our keepsakes. With so much uncertainty about where we are going to live and how much we will move around in the first year, we will put those special items in storage for now. I am planning to reserve two medium moving boxes for that.

Now what do we do with the rest?!

My heart is a little heavy thinking about getting rid of our wedding gifts or nicer kids toys, so I am hoping to find new or temporary homes for a lot of that stuff… like grandparents who will keep them nice for our kids when we visit, or if they want them when they’re older, or worst case scenario we return with our tails between our legs in total desperation…it might be nice to have something left to our names. (I kid)

Stay tuned for comedic releif in the form of pictures and video on how this actually works out in a month or so!