How to plan a move abroad? Most people would associate moving with stress, especially when it is a big move overseas. But it doesn’t have to be!
Inés has lived abroad for over 15 years, and most recently, she moved from Barcelona to Gothenburg. A big step for herself and her family, but one that she tackled with professionalism and focus. Inés is an expert when it comes to planning a move abroad. And her passion for organizing and simplifying her life has resulted in some very helpful strategies that she shares on her website. Today she will share some of her insightful tips and tricks with us. If you want to plan your move abroad like a pro, keep on reading :-).
Hey Inés! Before we dive into your moving & packing tips, can you tell us a little bit about your living abroad journey?
I have lived in different countries, but the last move was probably the most significant one in terms of having to decide for the whole family and move more things from one country to another.
I’m Argentinian, and I met my husband-to-be in Barcelona. He is Swedish, and his family lives in Sweden. He knew he wanted to move back one day, but it was tough for him to take that step. Same for me, it was hard to decide to leave Barcelona. We love that city, and we had made good friends, we had our own apartment there, and our children were in very good public schools.
But, in the summer of 2019, we were visiting family in Gothenburg, and we decided that it was time.
So when we were back from our vacation in September, we put our flat on sale and started looking for job opportunities in Sweden. It took a few months to solve those two things, but finally, by February, we were taking a one-way flight to Gothenburg.
How did you plan your move to Sweden? What are the essential things that you would highly recommend to anyone who is thinking of moving abroad?
Start packing early! That took a lot of the stress away for me. I also visualized a lot. It may sound silly, but dreaming about the life I wanted here helped me stay focused and optimistic.
For everyone thinking of moving to Sweden, what are your tips and considerations for moving to this country?
- Accommodation can be super difficult here. I suggest joining Facebook groups in the city, you will be moving to as soon as you know the arrival dates and start applying for a flat/ home to arrive.
- You can apply for free Swedish classes here once all paperwork is settled. But I suggest downloading an app such as Duolingo and start learning the basics. That will help you enter a more advanced group when joining the school.
- Unless you’re coming from a country with similar weather, I recommend not buying any additional clothes. Clothing for winter is quite specific here, especially for children. The school will let you know what you need, to dress them appropriately and you can easily get second-hand clothes in good condition.
Once you decided to move to Sweden, how did you plan the overseas move of all your belongings? What were lessons you learned that you implemented in the strategies you share via the Minimalista Moving?
I took care of the most challenging things first, such as; putting our flat for sale and securing jobs for our arrival in Sweden. Then, it was all about allowing enough time to pack. In our case, it took two months (as we don’t have that many things). I reviewed the whole house per category and not room by room, and that was a game-changer. While I was doing that, I started packing at the same time.
I´m actually putting together a Digital program where I will be sharing the exact process and coaching my clients for their moves. It will be ready in May 2021.
What is your advice for people who will move abroad and bring their belongings with them? Any tips on how to make that process easier?
- Contact a moving company from the country where you will be moving too. They know the rules for their country better. For us, they informed us that we could deduct 50% of the costs, and they even helped with the forms!
- Make sure to do an inventory. Things could “get lost” during long trips, and if you don’t have a list, it’s very difficult to make a claim. Do not just trust the list that the moving company provides – make your own.
- Make sure to mark the boxes that contain things you will need upon arrival. Perhaps the rest will need to stay in storage for some time.
I have more tips on www.minimalistamoving.com/9things.
You have been living in Sweden for over a year now; how has it affected your life? Did it take a long time to settle in, or did you feel at home quite quickly?
I´ve been living abroad (out of Argentina) for many years now, so I have already processed what living abroad means, I think. It has not been difficult for me this time, even with the pandemic situation.
I know things take their time; I remained open to meeting new people, learning the local way, enjoying discovering new places, etc.
I didn’t need to rush to feel “at home” within society, but I think it was essential to ensure feeling “at home” in my home, with my family.
As a mother of two. How did you manage the move with your kids? Any special tips for parents out there who are thinking of moving abroad with their kids?
I think it’s very important to involve them in the moving process:
- Explain the changes that are coming
- Have them pack their own things (even if it’s just a symbolic box with their favorite toys)
- Acknowledge their feelings
- Be present to them and explain why we are nervous when things get “messy”… and that it’s not them.
How has living abroad changed you on a personal level?
I have definitely grown! I see more possibilities in my life, personally and professionally. I feel like a citizen of the world, and I´m not afraid of starting over in a new place.
I know myself more since I´ve been exposed to many different situations and people, and I feel more independent. Finally, I have a broader understanding of people in terms of similarities and differences no matter where they come from.
” More experiences, more challenges. More life. I can’t see myself regretting it at all.”
How do you think you will look back on this experience 5 or 10 years from now?
I will be grateful for it, for sure. I may be far from my parents, but I’ve gained a bigger family and probably made more friends than I would have if I stayed in my home country. More experiences, more challenges. More life. I can’t see myself regretting it at all.
Any last advice for people out there who are thinking of moving abroad?
You will always have your home to go back to if you want to, but living abroad will make you feel like you belong to a much bigger place. You are really part of the world and not only your town. You belong anywhere you want to. Enjoy the process!
Make sure to follow Inés on insta: @minimalistamoving and keep an eye out for her Digital Program with lots of tips for planning your move abroad.
If you want even more tips on how to plan a move abroad, you’re in luck! Check out our 6 steps to prepare for an overseas move and our article with 3 things you should know about shipping your items overseas. While you’re at it, subscribe to our newsletter and receive our Moving Abroad Packing List for FREE. Planning your move abroad has never been easier.