What to Do with My Stuff

Here are some thoughts about what I might do with my stuff while I’m gone. The larger the secure space I can build in my basement, though, the more stuff I’ll be willing to store. I’ll need a small rented space, though, so that I can be sure some of my stuff will be in a reliably climate controlled area.


  • Clothes (as much as I can fit; may even ship some)
  • Shoes
  • Books (ones I think I’ll need — mainly UX books; it’s probably cheaper to ship them than to buy replacements)
  • Camera (may want to replace it with a newer model just before I leave)
  • Contact lenses; might want to buy an extra pair of glasses too


  • Computers and peripherals (and buy a new laptop and external HD to take with me; they’re MUCH less expensive in the US!)
  • Stereo (some of it)
  • Car


  • Furniture (most of it)
  • Stereo (some of it)
  • Dishes, glassware, cookware (what I will use after I return)
  • Books (ones I may want after I return but won’t need while I’m gone)
  • CDs and LPs
  • Clothes (some of them)
  • Towels and bed linens (to the extent that they will fit in the storage space I can build in my basement)
  • Framed artwork (mostly prints of my photos, but I’m fond of them)


  • Fabrics
  • Books (ones I think I won’t need any more at all)
  • Dishes, glassware, cookware that I can do without


  • Contents of pantry and freezer

To be decided

  • TBD

If you have any experience with moving overseas for a few years without taking everything with you, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  1. Elizabeth, I’ve only lived overseas for a few months at a time, but I did have the experience of putting most of our Maryland household’s contents in storage for a year while we lived in California. Upon our return, we looked at many of the boxes and asked ourselves: Why did we even bother to store this?? I wished I’d taken much more time to thoughtfully sort and get rid of things. Not seeing them for a year really put them into perspective.

  2. MMm – just found this now. Elizabeth, I have moved around many times (Denmark -> Sweden -> Germany -> Switzerland -> Australia -> Canada -> hopefully back to Australia in 2012). When I moved to Australia (young, single, first time moving country by myself) I only brought clothes, a pair of skis, a backpack, a guitar. I gave away/auctioned everything else. When we moved from Australia to Canada with the intention of staying here 5 years, EVERYTHING came along (Poul is a hoarder. Seeing a 40-foot container parked in the driveway was nothing short of shocking. I fear it’ll be the same in reverse when we finally do go back downunder.

    Depending on how long you are going to stay away, on how much stuff you own, how much of it has significant sentimental value, and on the cost of storing, you might want to rid yourself of most of your belongings.

    If you are going to be at a University, they might already have the necessary books for you in their library. If you are going to be working with a group of HCI folks, they might also have most of what you need – find out ahead of time, as sending stuff in snail mail is expensive and slow.

    Hope this helps – contact me if you want more

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