As a child, my family moved to a new country every two years. Collecting exotic home décor in each location, Mum managed to keep our belongings pared well down. Her secrets saved us thousands on frequent international removals and her organisation tricks streamlined what most consider a logistical nightmare.

Keep your treasured belongings when you move to Spain with my Mum’s secrets for packing light.  Find out what to bring with you and how to make moving ever so much easier and affordable.

Your dream of moving abroad begins with opening one wardrobe. Keep it simple, so you don’t overwhelm yourself: Use a pair of boxes labelled “give” and “sell” if you’d like to make a bit of money on unneeded items. If you’ve no interest in selling on eBay, Preloved or other UK sites or car boots-fabulous! Donating is simpler. 

Put every item through a 4-question test, asking yourself:

1. Do you love it? 

2. Does it hold any present meaning? 

3. Do you honestly need it? 

4. Have you used it in the past year? 

It’ll become easier to dismiss clothes and objects as you delve into areas of your home where you’ve stored items “just in case they’re needed”. Use online motivation, enlisting family and friends in your quest to purge yourself of everything you can do without. 

Just a few benefits to having that proper clear out:

If you’re selling your home, you’ll get a better price when it’s clear of clutter.

Every item chucked saves you on removals costs.

Keeping only clothes and objects you actually use saves you time.

You’re less stressed (our things make us more anxious!) and more organized, too.

Trying to lose weight? Expert organisers insist clearing out helps us slim.

Sell furniture that won’t suit your Spanish home, using profits for a shopping spree. 

If you’re not taking furniture, just pay extra baggage fees when you fly and save loads. 

Removals to Spain 

When you contact a removals company, they’ll give you an estimate of the total volume of the contents of your house. An average 3 seater sofa or double bed is about 60 cubic feet. 

Most removals from the UK to Spain are transported by road, taking just over 2 days to get from London to Valencia. Barcelona and the Balearic Islands travel by road and ferry, costing slightly more. Removals to The Canary Islands go by sea, taking longer. 

Standard Size Loads and Prices

Removals companies charge more if both residences don’t have good access for a large removal vehicle to park 25 metres from the front doors. Taking items up and down stairs and moving pianos or snooker tables costs more. 

Rates for collecting and delivering, without packing or unpacking, from London to Valencia:

½ of a single garage stacked to the ceiling is 500 cubic feet, costing about £2,200.

A full-sized garage stacked is 1,000 cu ft., a 20’ shipping container at around £3,800. 

¾ of a double garage, stacked/ 1,500 cu ft. costs around £6,000.

Insurance for a value of £5,000 is about £90; a value of £10,000 is around £170. 

You’d need to pack your own things, providing a full inventory to the company. Adding packing costs about £10 a box. Removals rates vary by company, so compare quotes. Don’t be shy of negotiating because competition makes this a buyer’s market. 

Save by taking a smaller volume with a groupage service. You’re sharing a vehicle with other loads that’ll be delivered once the vehicle is filled, so it takes longer, and costs less.

What’s Essential to Bring to Spain?

Removals companies can bring your pets, using a professional pet transport firm, adding their fees. Each of your dogs, cats or ferrets needs a PETS passport. Apply at least 22 days before they can travel.

Spanish furniture is slightly smaller than UK sizes. Beds are shorter, as are chairs, settees and loos. You can’t do much about the loos, but if you’re tall or full-sized, or your knees are tricky, bring your beds, linens and favourite comfy chair. 

10 DIY Packing tips:

1. Label each box’s contents and which room it goes in. Make a welcome home box to open first with tea, coffee, kettle, biscuits and anything else you’ll be glad to have.

2. If bringing your fridge-stop shopping 2 weeks ahead, using all food. Turn off 24 hours before move and fully dry condensation.

3. Prevent leaking liquids by removing tops, putting cling film over opening, replacing tops and knotting cling film.

4. Photograph the backs of electronics so you know where those wires go later.

5. Use towels and linens, not bubble wrap to pack fragile items.

6. Tuck socks into wineglasses to protect them, pop into winebox nesting with cloth.

7. Put plates on their sides, not stacked, to minimise breakage.

8. Use vacuum storage bags for out-of-season clothing.

9. Leave clothing on hangars, fitting a large bag under them, tied to keep them together.

10. Use clear plastic bags to organize medicines and other like items. Tape bags of screws to the furniture they go to.