Moving Time! Starting From Scratch

April 30, 2008

Okay the news is out there… Have any tips for me because I could sure use some!


  • Reply Kelly April 30, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Congrats, that’s exciting news and I’m super jealous. When I did my cross country move I took very little, but had the luxury of a car to cram favorites. I planned out my essential purchases with internet research in advance, and did a lot of buying the first week. My advice would be to not rush to buy everything as soon as you get there, stick to bare essentials. It takes time to start a new home from scratch… it’s a process. A year later I’m still acquiring pieces of furniture and refining my home’s style…gradually. Look at it as a way to make your perfect home without all the baggage of previous stuff cluttering your vision. As you need something, whether it be a pot or a pillow, find the best and fill your home with only that you love.

  • Reply nice-etc April 30, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    holly, this is so exciting and inspiring! i don’t have any tips but am thankful for the ones you’ll be able to give us- i’m just at the dream stage. ;)

  • Reply red thread April 30, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    congrats, holly!!! sorry i don’t have any tips for you. just writing to say i’m so happy for you; you’re totally living my dream.

  • Reply Christine April 30, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Congratulations! Very exciting and inspiring. I can pass on advice from my mom, who is an expert mover. I think she would echo Kelly’s comment above that it takes time, and to focus on being comfortable first. She advised me on our recent move to make sure to have ready anything you need to spend the first night in your new place – so you might take a set of sheets and towels with you and arrange for a bed/air mattress/sleeper sofa and pillows to be delivered upon your arrival. I used to do a lot of traveling for work, and I always brought along my favorite pj’s and slippers, a few books, a bunch of old New Yorker magazines, and a small photo album to feel more at home on the road. Good luck and I look forward to reading about how the new place shapes up!

  • Reply RWest April 30, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    you mentioned taking CD’s and DVD’s…just make sure you have a cd/dvd player there that will read the disc’s you already have. my bro-in-law lived in finland for a while and brought back dvd’s when he moved back to the states, and they wouldn’t play on his dvd player here. you might try looking into a universal one…or something like that. best of luck, and it sounds so exciting.

  • Reply Kendra April 30, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Congratulations on this next big step in your life plan! I can’t wait to follow along as you build a new home in Germany, and see what choices you make! Glad to hear you’re not giving up your local home, though. Ever since I found your blog 2 years ago, I’ve been pleased to see a Boston/New England writer making such terrific contributions to the design world!

  • Reply jkartgirl April 30, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Congrats! How exciting! Start with the essentials like a bed and appliances. Then build from there. Create when you get there. I think you’ll be provoked by the culture, your new lifestyle and surroundings which will gradually translate into your design choices. Best wishes! P.S. I’m a long time stalker :) – reader! I read Decor8 every day!! It is my bible. Thank you for putting yourself out there!

  • Reply Beatrice April 30, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Congratulations Holly, you are about to start a wonderful adventure!

    I live in London (at the moment) and have lived in 9+ countries (Dad was in the Navy so we moved a lot and my parents are Italian and Swedish so we have relatives everywhere!) my best advice is take your pillow and some personal momentos and enjoy the ‘building’ process. It will take a while but the fun is in the hunting. I know the impatience of just wanting it ‘done’ and feeling under pressure to do so but slow is better.

    Take advantage of the wonderful long distance trains we have in Europe and create a home with cherished items from many different countries and cultures. Popping across a border is easy and fun here!

    Good luck to you both!

  • Reply mudrick May 1, 2008 at 1:18 am

    How exciting! Maybe it’s time to experiment with some mood boards? They were some of my favorite past posts.

  • Reply Shona May 1, 2008 at 4:00 am

    How exciting, such a fun adventure. I backpacked to Canada from Australia and moved into an empty apartment with my fianc? a few years ago with no money and no stuff.

    We managed to furnish the whole thing from one trip to a high end auction house. You see, when they acquire pieces for their store (usually from houses of the deceased), they are left with a lot of ‘junk’ – all perfectly good items but may have something minor broken, scratched or a piece missing. They were more than happy for us to take these pieces they could not sell off their hands for next to nothing (1BR apartment for < $200). And it was awesome stuff - I was really sad to leave it behind after a year.My advice also is that the most important piece of furniture you need immediately is something to sit on because although you can sleep on the floor, after a couple of days sitting on the floor is torture.Thank you for all the effort you put into this site – I absolutely love and appreciate it.

  • Reply Joanne Elizabeth Stocker May 1, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Hello from Germany!

    Start when you are here, step by step, let it develop and grow on you. Be prepared for culture shock and walk through it. Enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves. Be aware that Germany is well ahead with anything concerning environment and recycle! Get your energy from “Greenpeace energy” in Hamburg. The best and one hundred percent sustainable! Don’t let “Telekom” (national phone company) rip you off! Visit Berlin, visit Munich, visit Hamburg. Fly Lufthansa.
    Feel free to contact when you are here. jo (at) joannestocker (dot) de

    Love, Joanne

  • Reply sweetjessie May 1, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Wow, Holly – that’s awesome. Congratulations!

  • Reply juliette May 1, 2008 at 11:20 am

    oh we just did this last year, i empathize! (Boston to Germany) I’ll email a few links that were useful for us!

  • Reply Barb McMahon May 1, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Would it be possible to rent some furniture to start with?

    That way, you’d be comfortable while still allowing yourself the time to find pieces you truly love.

    And congratulations! You’ve worked really hard for this. Enjoy!

  • Reply Shauna May 1, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Make sure to be careful about DVDs as they are coded by region. You will have to bring a DVD player with you if you want to play your US DVDs. When I moved to for a few monnths Greece I bought a huge bag and jammed as much as I could in there. I also mailed a box of things I couldn’t fit in the bag with me (which was expensive and somewhat risky considering the postal service tends to lose things there). Also, things tend to be more expensive over there so try to bring as much with you as possible. The best advice I can give is to do research as much as possible before you go.

  • Reply christina May 1, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Hi Holly
    I’m moving as well-on May 11. I’m a freelance prop stylist in NY and used to live in Aspen,CO 13 years ago and have decided to move back and will still freelance. I went through about 200 decorating magazines and tore out stories and put them in folders; I sold all of my props to a prop house; I gave a ton of clothes to friends that I haven’t worn in 2 years. Purging, planning, considering…it’s been well worth it. I know now that I don’t need anything that I thought I NEEDED-I just WANTED and was bogged down with stuff. Now I’m clear and a huge weight has been lifted. Best of luck!!

  • Reply Ele May 1, 2008 at 8:51 pm


    I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time and will have a blank canvas (design-wise) to decorate slowly, starting with essentials. I’ve moved 3000 km from home (and then back again), but did take what little furniture I did own (tip: freight forwarders are way cheaper than movers). The hardest thing was arriving to an empty house without even beds. Make sure you have something (air mattress and sleeping bag are much better than nothing).

    I am in awe of a colleague who moved from China to Germany with one truck. On top was a box with her first meal so she wouldn’t have to speak German instantly to get fed. You wouldn’t have that fear, but you might like her approach to backing with most needed on top.

    Have fun.

  • Reply Marcia V. of Precious Style Blog May 2, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Hi Holly, congratulations on your new home. I moved into a new apartment about 2 months ago. While I did have a bit of furniture, my previous home was so small that all of my old items fit into one room in the new place.

    My advice, take your time. We all want our homes to be instanly fabulous, but putting your heart and personality into something takes thought and careful choosing. Enjoy the process! You’ve got a whole new canvas to paint.

  • Reply tatwans May 2, 2008 at 3:13 am

    I know exactly what you’re going through. I moved to Sydney from NY, site unseen 18 months ago. I would really recommend shopping in the states for the basics like: bed linen, bath/tea towels, silverware, kitchen utensils (a pot and pan), and other basic needs…air matress(a necessity for your first weeks).
    Then investigate shipping costs through a international freighting company like Seven Sea’s(sea freight=3mths air=2wks) or asking your airline the details of bringing extra luggage/boxes.

    Starting a new life is expensive.I almost dropped dead when got some estimates (8 large boxes, no furniture, US$4000..no way)…Thank goodness Qantas charged us $100 a box. We booked a van to get us from the airport and had our stuff instantaneously.

    The truth is the US has better bargains and variety for home basics, then most other countries…That’s why tourist are always shopping while there.(We have Target here and the prices/stock/quality don’t compare with the US. Most of the time, after factoring in the shipping cost it’s still cheaper buy things there.

    For furniture there is always Salvation army, garage sales, and Ikea. Go slow, once you get to know the area better you’ll find heaps of bargains. We look back at the time when we were siting on lawn furniture for a living room and laugh…I’m glad those days are over.

    PS. Ikea doesn’t always =cheap in countries outside the States.

  • Reply zoe May 7, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Congratulations!!! That’s really great. I moved from the US to Israel for my fiance’s job last summer. It was really tough because I like my ‘stuff’. I wanted to move in and just be settled, to have my apt look perfect, like it did in my head. But if I”ve learned anything, it’s that it takes time to make it your own. Slowly my own style is coming out (time, a budget and lots of blog browsing have achieved this). As written in the comment above, I REALLY miss Target, and US priced Ikea. But here, I can buy local pieces that I would never find anywhere else. I guess my advice is, don’t get frustrated when it’s not coming together at first. For a long time I was living in a Work-in-Progress that made me cranky every morning. But as time goes by, and a lot of work goes in, it will really feel like *your* home.

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up