Sell or store? Tips for moving overseas 

November 19, 2019
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the task, often the best advice is to just get started. Why? Because once we start a task, we build momentum. When it comes to storing your furniture for a move abroad there are a few things you can do to work out what is best for your situation.

If you are moving away for a relatively short period, a year or less, with a fixed return date then storage seems the obvious choice. Keep reading though because storage is a relatively costly outlay on a monthly basis so you may not want to store everything you currently own.

If your assignment abroad is not fixed and may last a considerable amount of time, then you may need to consider selling some of your possessions and only storing those that are very precious or irreplaceable.

When trying to figure out what you might sell rather than pay to store, ask yourself the following questions:

On your return is it something that you will need irrespective of where you live? Think twice about that oversized sofa if there is a chance you may move back to a smaller property or different city.
We all have items that we don’t really use, wear or get much happiness from. You may have used it lots at one point in your life but if you don't now, do you need to hold on to it?
Even though you might need and use it, if it is something you have had for a long time and isn’t valuable, is it worth storing? Furniture like beds, couches and chairs get worn over time, imagine how you will feel looking at it in a year or two’s time when you are taking it out of storage?
We can become attached to all kinds of things but if something is of real sentimental value it is worth keeping. So, family photo albums, letters your grandmother wrote or a piece of furniture passed from one generation to the them.

Another question to ask is do you have too many of an item? If you are a family of five but have place settings for 20, do you need to keep all of them? It’s good to keep a few extra for dinner parties, holidays and guests but figure out the maximum you would use regularly.

Sell or donate the items you no longer need. If you are selling them, try to be realistic with the price, many of us over value our own possessions!

Once you have decided what you want to keep, ensure they are stored in the best condition possible, ready for use on your return by:
Medium or long-term storage is going to be a monthly cost that you will not be able to avoid for the duration of your time away. Shop around to ensure you are getting the best value for money while also storing your items in the right conditions. 

This goes without saying but pack items, particularly table and glassware, carefully. Allow space at the top and bottom of every box for extra packaging and wrap individual items so they don’t chip or break by hitting off each other.

Top tip: number boxes and keep a log of what is in each one electronically so you can let family or friends know where to find an item if it is needed while you are away.

You are likely to be paying for storage by square meter. Get the most for your money by taking furniture apart, where possible. This will allow you to make the best use of your storage space and the item is less likely to be damaged or scratched as it is moved. It goes without saying, this will not be an option for some pieces. Do not attempt to disassemble your grandmother’s antique sideboard!
If you are storing wooden or fabric furniture, have it stored in climate-controlled conditions so it is not damaged by damp or cold. It will cost more but it will be worth it when your furniture is in perfect condition when you get back.

If you are storing valuable items or a significant amount, consider taking out insurance, in case it is impacted by events beyond the control of the storage providers i.e. fire, theft or natural disasters.


Don’t forget your health and wellbeing while you are working abroad. As an expat you may need international health insurance so you receive any medical care you might need. Contact us today for an expat health insurance quote.