New arrivals Blog #3: Why you should take your 'stuff and things' to a new place

My blog series focusing on some of the challenges of arriving somewhere new continues with this week’s post, which explores the importance of taking particular possessions with you when you move.

Why your stuff matters

The research around possessions tends to show that our things connect us to our identity, as well as connecting us to our past and our memories. Both of these things are important, particularly for children who move regularly. Their context changes so regularly that anything that helps to ground them in their past experiences is helpful. Developing a sense of identity is regularly cited as an issue for children growing up as global nomads, so considering that possessions play a role in identity formation may help them to maintain their identity when moving to a new place.

Anyone who has watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix will understand that our emotions and memories are inextricably bound up in many of the things we own. For many people, decluttering for a move and deciding which possessions to take and which to leave behind isn’t a simple, logistical process, otherwise it would be easy to do!

My experience

Singapore was my first experience of an international move. I moved to Singapore just with a few suitcases with clothes and other essentials from my apartment at home. However, I remember very clearly being invited to someone’s else home for dinner. As a seasoned expat, they had shipped their belongings with them, including furniture they had picked up on their travels. It felt much more homely than where I was living, which felt a little impersonal without my stuff around me. A couple of months later, I went home for my first Christmas and shipped most of my things over to Singapore. I’ve never regretted doing that, as it made my apartment feel like a home.

Tips for taking or leaving your stuff

  1. Start sorting through things as soon as you can - deciding what to take or leave always takes longer than you think

  2. Make sure the whole family is involved in deciding what stays and what goes wherever possible. You might not be aware of other family members’ sentimental attachments to particular objects

  3. Keep children’s treasured objects with you throughout your relocation (provided they fit in your luggage allowance for the plane, of course!)

Need some help?

In my work with families, I help support in every stage of the relocation process through my hello/goodbye programme and coaching for adults and children. I’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in knowing more.