Best Material Possessions in the Past 1.5 Years

Before I start, I want to say that it’s not a sponsored post. This is just what I have found to be extremely useful to me for my first year in Canada. When you move to a new country, you figure out what material possessions need to help you through your first year. In some ways, I regard these things as more of an investment than just buying things. Here’s my list of what has been invaluable to me and why.

Hardshell Suitcase:

Hardshell Suitcases are LIFE!

I just happened to buy this the day before I moved to Canada. I was at Target trying to look for a luggage carrier. Things were getting desperate, especially since the amount of travel stuff was unpopular and overpriced because of COVID-19. I bought the largest hardshell suitcase I could find for a decent price. I was able to fit ALL my check-in luggage in there, plus some extra stuff that I wasn’t originally planning on taking with me.

When I got to the airport, I realized how maneuverable it was. The spinner wheels are sturdy and able to turn a full 360 when necessary. I didn’t have to worry at all if my things were going to be safe. I sometimes wish the suitcase I bought wasn’t exclusively for my check-in baggage. At the end of a long moving day, I looked at the suitcase and said, “Where have you been all my life?! I would sure like to shake hands with the genius that invented you!”

These suitcases come in a set of various sizes. You can get ones small enough to put in your overhead or possibly under the seat (depends on the brand). Hardshell suitcases are also available at Walmart so before I move to the Netherlands, I’m going to buy the smaller sizes! The brand I got was American Tourister. I love the colour and the product! It’s clean, protects your stuff, has an inside pocket within the inside pocket, and is efficient when you’re at the airport! As a TCK who loves travel, I’m positively drooling over hardshell suitcases! When I was waiting for my Dad at the airport last October, I ran into someone else with a hardshell suitcase and said, “That suitcase is amazing, isn’t it!” She agreed with me!

Handwarmers:

Cozy Handwarmers

These are the simplest and yet most effective things I have found to keep my hands warm when it’s below -10 C. They are little bags of what feels like sand and something else that turns warm when you shake them. Just shake them ten minutes before you step outside, put them in your parka pockets and you’re ready to go! I also put my cell phone in the same pocket as these warmers because extreme temperatures are not good for cell phone electrics.

I’m wondering if I can take a bag of them with me… remains to be seen.

Incandescent Lightbulbs:

Another moment where I said, “Where have you been all my life?” Or at least during my time in London. I talked said in my Winter: London vs Calgary post that discovering incandescent lightbulbs was like

It has significantly helped with SAD during winter! I can’t live without them now. It also helps that Calgary is super sunny, even in the winter. I know in the Netherlands it’s going to be cloudy a lot. I have already resolved that if I can’t find incandescent light bulbs there, I am going to find some in Sweden or Norway!

PROPER Winter Clothes:

As the saying goes, “There’s no bad winter, only bad clothes.” Okay, I made a mistake with getting boots. Overall, though, I listened to all the advice about layering and when to do so. I ended up with some quality pieces like proper pants when it’s below -10 C and a wonderful parka! Not to mention Canadian toques (beanies in the US) are amazingly warm! I’m definitely going to be taking these items with me because the Netherlands is humid which makes things feel colder. Plus, I’m planning to travel to the Alps and to the Scandinavian countries.

Memory Foam Mattresses:

After some trial and error with past memory foam mattresses, we finally found ones that are wonderful for people who have musculoskeletal issues. It took some research to find them. Now there is no way I am letting mine go. I swear to wear it out! I don’t have too much to say because this speaks for itself!

Reading Socks:

Reading Socks

I ran into these accidentally. I went to an Indigo bookstore for Christmas shopping and I stumbled upon these reading socks! A realization hit me when I saw them. These work so well in cold weather climates! So, I bought matching pairs for myself and my Mum for Christmas. You know that trend of families getting matching pyjamas at Christmas? Well, we did matching reading socks. In order to stop people with a foot fetish coming onto my site, I am not posting a photo of me wearing the socks, but here’s a photo of them.

I noticed when I put them on how soft they are on the inside! Mum and I describe it as “bunny soft”. Anyone who has had a rabbit as a pet knows what I am talking about. I refuse to walk around in those socks because I don’t want to interfere with that softness. The best thing ever is to lie in bed with a good book and my bunny soft socks.

Triangular Leg Pillow:

Triangular Leg Pillow

I love propping my legs up while lying down, but I left my triangular leg pillow behind in California. Eventually, I caved and bought another one at Bed, Bath and Beyond. This one has four different ways you can set it up depending on what you need.

We made an interesting discovery about the leg pillow too. If you are having digestive discomfort while lying down, use the pillow to prop yourself up! It ended up being an invaluable life hack when my Mum had appendicitis and the hernia complication afterwards. Now, Mum uses the pillow full-time, but as long as it works for her, I don’t mind at all. Now, a leg pillow is a priority item for moving to another country!

Footbath:

My birthday came around a few months after moving to Canada and I asked for a footbath. Little did I know how valuable it would be! I was already in the middle of my first winter but hadn’t reached the point I was dealing with Winter Foot. Anyone who has lived in sub-Arctic climates knows what I am talking about. Once a week during the winter, I use my footbath for an hour and then take a pumice stone to my feet. Winter can mean too much dead skin, so this treatment isn’t optional.

I’m also going to get a pedicure when I am finally out of my winter boots (around May after Victoria Day Weekend). There comes a point where I CAN NOT wear my winter boots anymore! Fortunately, the footbath helps delay that time.

Additionally, I find the footbath helpful in the summer because my feet get hot and blistered, even when wearing sandals. So, it’s been a good year-round thing to have!

Proper Chairs:

Proper Chairs Are Everything!

After years of struggling with chairs in our own ways, we FINALLY found some great chairs to meet our needs! Guess where they came from? A physiotherapist’s office was closing, so we bought their waiting room chairs for a significant discount. We looked them up online. We got them for 1/6 of the retail price and they are generally very dear, as we say in England! There’s only so much pain and musculoskeletal problems you can take until you buy proper chairs. They aren’t going anywhere!

Computer:

After 6 months of living in Canada, I needed a new computer. My laptop was dying and it was cheaper for me to get a desktop thanks to the demand for desktops being high. Plus, my circumstances had changed which made a desktop more suitable. My general rule for moving to a new country is to take whatever technology I need with me and if I need to replace it, do it! Additionally, I tend to wait until a store has a holiday sale. I waited until the Victoria Day sale to get my desktop, and it wasn’t a brand new computer, so I got a discount on top of a slashed price! Boom!

Sometimes, it’s not just about getting a great product that you genuinely need, it’s about being strategic to get a good deal! This isn’t about encouraging materialism either. There are material possessions that are essential while in transition.

Have you found with moving either domestically or internationally that there are certain things you need and consider them an investment? Let’s chat about it!