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Chances are you have accumulated a lot of stuff during your time here in the UK – whether you are going back home or off on more adventures, ‘they’ say that you need to start planning three months before your leaving date – so, what to do with all that stuff…?

De-clutter

This is a tough one – you have to stay strong and be brutal - go through all your stuff and if you haven’t worn it/listened to it/watched it or used it in the last year then get rid of it.

Sounds harsh but it’s a pretty good rule.

For clothes - if you didn’t wear it last summer are you likely to wear it this summer? Probably not – if it’s in good nick sell it - there are plenty of ways to buy and sell clothes from the big boys online like ebay and Gumtree to ‘exchange’ shops and sites like The Dresser – a second hand designer clothes agency in London. Another alternative is to arrange a ‘swap party’ with your mates but don’t forget – you are supposed to be de-cluttering not replacing your stuff with other stuff – stay strong! If the above is too much hassle, drop it in at your local charity shop – someone will make a few pennies and it’s all for a good cause.

credit: ArminStautBerlin

For old tech, music and DVDs there is most definitely money to be made. Again, there are the online sites like musicMagpie and Zapper but do your research – you may not necessarily get the best price on sites like this so do shop around first. On the high street (as well as online) are places like Cash Converters but again, you may not get the best price. When it comes to selling items like these you may be better off selling them individually and privately whether online or to a second-hand shop.

For bulky items like furniture, use sites like Preloved or Gumtree so you can specify ‘collection only’ to make it easy on yourself. Failing that, charities like the Red Cross and British Heart Foundation will come and collect or your local council will, but usually for a small fee.

Ship it or store it

Once you've organised exactly what to keep, you'll need to find a shipping company to ship your possessions. Shipping your goods halfway across the world really isn't complicated, and doesn't have to cost.

Airlines charge big premiums on excess luggage so, it may be slower (six to twelve weeks) but shipping provides a cheaper means for getting your worldly possessions home. Here are some things to consider:

- Get plenty of quotes, checking sizes and whether customs and tax charges are covered 

- You'll pay a set rate for your first tea carton, (actual sizes vary between companies, so check carefully), then a lower rate for any additional boxes 

- Ask around to see if friends are interested in shipping gear together, though it all has to go to the same address

- You may have to pay a customs or tax charge when your gear arrives at its destination. Some shipping companies will look after some charges, but not others, so check this carefully too, as extra costs can add up

- Check carefully on charges when choosing between door-to-door or door-to-port options

- Most shipping companies will provide boxes, packing materials and so on. If they don't, you'll need to factor these costs in too. Check whether they'll deliver boxes to your door or whether you'll need to fetch them

- Most shipping companies now offer online services to help you track the progress of your luggage home

- Check what protection your shipper provides should your baggage fail to turn up

TNT works with many trusted shipping companies – see here for our recommended shippers.

Of course, not everyone goes straight home, many carriers offer stop-offs en-route so your plans may not be set in stone or, if you are heading straight home but your accommodation may not be finalised then storage could be your answer.

credit: Boxman Self Storage

There are many self-storage companies out there offering a variety of long and short-term packages. Boxman Self Storage make it simple – no struggling down to the storage unit with armfuls of your worldly goods or picking your way through boxes to find that one particular item you’ve realised you can’t manage without, with Boxman they do all the hard graft for you. Simply order your waterproof boxes online and they will be delivered to your door when you choose. Pack your items, then book your collection and they’ll come and get your stuff. Plus – if you decide you’ve made a mistake and want something back to take with you, use your account with Boxman to upload and tag your items and if/when that time comes, you can simply search for it online and Boxman will bring it back to you!

Three months planning may seem a little extreme, but give yourself plenty of time to sort out what to do with your belongings so you’re not rushed in to making decisions – whether that’s what to keep and what to get rid of or how to ship or store it – it’s amazing how quickly your last three months will go…!


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Moving on but got more than a backpack of stuff?
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