If you’re searching for London flats, you might already have a specific idea what sort of space you’re moving into. Or perhaps you’re as clueless as I was before relocating here… Either way, I blogged before about what you probably don’t need for London flats in view of the furnishings many already come with—as well as the storage many do not—so today I’ll elaborate on how to systematically approach what you should pack.

MORE OF WHAT NOT TO PACK FOR LONDON FLATS

As mentioned last time, moving into London flats will be a harder transition if you’re moving from a larger apartment or house. Straight away, adopt the mentality: Pack Light. But because this reduction in possessions could be substantial, don’t overwhelm yourself with it all at the last-minute.

Every day, look into your closets and cabinets and start thinning them out. Take it in stride and do it in waves—you’ll be able to part with a little more each time you revisit it. This first step is simply about purging, so just grab a big ol’ box and dump into it as you go along. You can worry about sorting it when you’re done.

Then donate, sell, or store offsite what you never or rarely use. This is easiest for clothing, knick-knacks, books, and other smaller items, as furnishings will be handy to keep around until moving day.

Chipping away at your home bit-by-bit like this will:

  • Make it a series of small tasks vs. one mountainous chore
  • Clarify what you do need to pack for London
  • Make important progress without disrupting your day-to-day comfort and convenience

That last bit is probably the toughest aspect of moving anywhere, isn’t it? Those weeks leading up to the move during which you need to carry on a continuous, everyday life in a fluctuating environment that gets ever more disorderly. It’s difficult to keep a stable mind in unstable surroundings, so be methodical about it.

WHAT TO PACK FOR LONDON FLATS FIRST

In keeping with the above, your next logical step is starting to pack what you’ll ship to one of those lovely London flats you’re viewing—but pack in the order of what you don’t use regularly to what you use every day.

For example:

– Clothes? Already pack up what’s out of season.

– Homewares? Leave at least enough place settings for each member of the household, but pack up the rest—especially servingware, cocktail glasses, table linens, etc. that are more for special occasions than every day. You can probably start packing any décor (e.g., pictures, rugs) that’s coming with you, too, unless you psychologically need it around you for aesthetics and home comfort (hey, I’m not going to underestimate the importance of that).

– Electronics? Most TVs and computers are UK-voltage compatible, and low-wattage equipment like DVD players and stereos can be easily converted using a transformer. So, you can bring them—just pack first what you use least.

– Documents? Unless it’s important documentation for getting UK visas, bank accounts, clearing customs on entering the country, and signing on London flats, a good amount of home office files can already be packed or stored somewhere else for safe-keeping.

– Books? Movies? Music? Etc.? Pack up what you can live without until it arrives in the UK. Consider downloading music to a computer/iPod/external hard drive rather than packing physical CDs. Leave out a few options, though, to enjoy until you actually move.

Again, it’s all in the interest of minimizing disruption to your household—you do still need to live there for the time being!

AND, FINALLY, WHAT TO PACK LAST

*sigh* This is the saddest part, isn’t it…looking at your home filled with boxes and having to pack the last bit of it. This is when your home officially becomes just a house again and you enter into temporary survival mode until one of those London flats you’ve viewed becomes your next home. Those furnishings and appliances that aren’t making the move with you get taken away, and the last of your necessities and comforts goes into boxes or luggage.

Your cargo will probably start its voyage before you do, so your final sorting task is this: what goes with the movers and what goes on the plane with you?

The biggest benefit of London Relocation’s one-day service is that you obtain your UK address quickly, which allows you set up your bank account and utilities as well as tell the movers where to ship your stuff! In contrast, there’s my sob story: my visa processing was delayed and I foolishly looked for London flats on my own, so I wasn’t reunited with my possessions in the UK until three months after they’d shipped. What I’d packed in my luggage, therefore, was critical for that time.

Recommendations for carry-on and check-in baggage:

  • Seasonal clothing – bear in mind London might be cooler in spring/summer/fall and milder in winter than where you’re coming from
  • London-appropriate clothing – London weather can be temperamental, so pack lots of layers and raingear
  • Valuable items – both of the monetary (e.g., expensive jewelry) and sentimental variety (e.g., photos, keepsakes)
  • Professional attire – for work or interviewing
  • Computer/laptop – even a desktop computer is worth checking on to plane as these can get damaged in transit, not to mention be of immediate necessity
  • Important documents / means of ID

And remember, you can always pick up toiletries and other items you need once here. This is a civilized country with plenty of stores!

It’s all about thinking ahead, visualizing yourself at each stage of the relocation process and anticipating what it takes to make London flats welcoming homes.