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A lifestyle blog by a London gal who loves plants, metal, bleaching my hair and Osaka

Friday 19 August 2016

Taking stuff home at the end of your year abroad

Taking stuff home after your year abroad
One of the hardest parts of moving back home from my year abroad in Japan was figuring out what to do with all the stuff I'd bought while I was there. While I managed to pack fairly minimally for the year, ( check out my year abroad packing list) I bought so much stuff while I was in Japan! Packing to go to Japan was waaay easier than coming home. I started off being so good and minimal, but by the end of the year, I got sucked in by Japan's glorious consumerism. It's been so hard balancing getting unique special things, but also not going overboard. Anyway, here's some pointers about taking stuff home at the end of the year abroad. I think this could also come in handy for taking stuff home at the end of uni, too.

Figuring out what to keep, packing and posting stuff:

If you can, try and keep in mind the whole year that you have to send stuff home at the end- this helps you focus on only buying stuff you actually want, and not useless clutter.

Give yourself enough time to sort through your stuff and pack- try and declutter throughout the year, and maybe try and send parcels home a month or two in advance of actually leaving- you'll thank yourself for it, because leaving is stressful enough anyway without trying to lug heavy parcels to the post office. (I may or may not know this from experience... ahem) You could even send seasonal clothes home as soon as the season is over- you're not going to be using that thick winter jacket in summer, after all.

Don't take home damaged things: go through and throw away things like socks with holes in. Also don't take home ill fitting things or stuff you never wear

Slim down your class notes. Shipping home is so expensive, and paper is heavy. Go through it again, note down important points and discard the rest.

Resell things like electronics.

Donate things: Your uni might also have a donation scheme for things like kitchen utensils, but if not, give them to a charity shop. H&M conscious gives you a H&M voucher if you donate clothes, so be sure to check that out :)

Take pictures of stuff you can't send home like cards (somehow I ended up with like 3kg(!) of cards that my family sent me.

You could also consider just buying another suitcase, which is what some of my friends did.

When packing, pack smart and roll clothes etc. to save space.

You can post stuff home too: make sure you post it to yourself and label it as your personal belongings to avoid customs fees. Surface mail is the cheapest way of sending stuff and EMS is the most expensive. I used SAL- economy airmail, which was the second cheapest but promised a two week delivery time instead of two months for surface mail. Also make sure you check how much you are allowed to send to each country- the UK's weight limit was lower for some reason, at 20kgs.

What I did: moving from Japan to the UK:

  • Sold my electric guitar at Hard off
  • donated all my kitchen utensils, unwanted but still useable clothes, magaziines etc. to Osaka Uni's recycling scheme.
  • Chucked out two thirds of my uni notes (the non useful stuff) and donated textbooks I'm not likely to read again
  • Posted two boxes of books, clothes and shoes home using SAL (economy airmail shipping- it was actually way faster than expected). 
  • Carried the rest home in one suitcase, a carry on and a laptop case 

Hope this was helpful! These posts might also be useful:
 uni packing list// year abroad packing list// Weekend away packing list// 14 things to do before you travel: My pre travel checklist// Post travel checklist
-Amy xoxo


  1. I've not done a year abroad before but now that I think about it, I can imagine how difficult the taking stuff home process is! I'll definitely bear these tips in mind if I ever follow in your footsteps <3

    1. Packing to go there was pretty easy, but packing at the end was a nightmare ^^;I tend to accumulate waaay too much stuff throughout the year in Leeds too though xD


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