When you’re moving it’s tempting just to pack everything, send it, and call it a day. However, for a long-distance move to Hawaii, it’s important to think it through more thoroughly. Taking the time to decide what you want to take with you can:

  • Help you save money on your move. (More on that in a minute!)
  • Put some money back in your pocket.
  • Streamline your possessions so you can make a fresh start in your new home.
  • Free you up to thoughtfully pick the pieces that feel right for your new life in paradise.

In this article, we’ll give you our expert opinion on what to take, what to trash, and what to turn into cash before you move to Hawaii.

Downsizing Before Your Hawaii Move: A Simple Way to Save Money

It’s easy to accumulate possessions, especially if you haven’t moved in a while. However, when it comes to a Hawaii move, downsizing your belongings will immediately save you money. Your move to Hawaii will ultimately be priced by weight. So, the less you ship, the less expensive your move will be.

Here’s how it works: When you work with a legitimate moving company, you’ll get an in-home or video survey of your items (required by federal law). A guaranteed price per pound for your move, so there are no surprises on moving day.

The per-pound quote will come in handy as you decide what to move and what to sell. With this quote, you can easily calculate the cost to move anything, using the formula below:

Weight in pounds x Quoted rate per pound = Your cost to move

Pretty simple, right? In addition to saving money, downsizing has other benefits too. First, it will save you the time and effort of packing items you no longer want. Additionally, downsizing will clear the slate for you to design the home of your dreams in Hawaii: one that’s free of clutter and one that fits the island lifestyle you’re moving to enjoy.

Now that you’ve discovered the benefits of downsizing, we’ll run you through our list of 19 items to sell, donate, or even trash before the move. Let this be your starting point for your downsizing journey! We’ll begin in one of the most personal rooms in your house.

We’ll begin in one of the most personal rooms in your house.

Browsing Your Bedroom Before Your Move

Your bedroom is a prime place to start when you’re looking for items to sell before your move for two reasons. First, your bedroom is usually home to several pieces of heavy furniture. (Remember, heavier items are more expensive to move!) Second, bedroom furniture can be easy to sell on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. As you’re deciding what goes with you to Hawaii, we suggest you check out three specific areas: 

bed with pillows and nightstands


There are no two ways about it;
Mattresses are heavy. Consider these average weights, for example:

  • King-size innerspring mattress: 107 lbs.
  • King-size memory foam mattress: 106 lbs.

As a result, you’ll want to be thoughtful about shipping your mattress. If you just invested in a brand-new mattress, it might make sense to bring it with you. If there’s any doubt that your mattress has many years ahead of it, leave it behind.

Headboards and Platform Beds

Like your mattress, wooden bed accessories can add significant weight to your move:

  • King-size wooden platform bed: 75 lbs.
  • Wooden headboard: 40 lbs.

If you’re in love with your bedroom set, sure, it can make sense to ship it.

However, you’ll want to consider whether your bedroom accessories will be right for your island destination. For example, some people prefer the look of light-colored woods that mimic the palette of Hawaii’s white sand beaches. If you have a heavy, dark-wood bedroom set, it might feel out of place in your island home.

Our verdict? Unless you can’t do without your bedroom set, sell it and use the proceeds to redecorate your bedroom, island-style.

Your Clothes

Compared to your heavy bedroom furniture, your clothes may seem like an afterthought. However, even clothes can get heavy quickly, and we’d hate to see you pay to move items that you’re never going to wear again.

Before we leave the bedroom, we encourage you to take a good look through all of your clothes.

Focus specifically on clearing out items for 1) colder weather and 2) fancy occasions. You’ll find a little of both in Hawaii—but not nearly as much as on the mainland.

Next, let’s head for the heart of many households. 

Careful Considerations in Your Kitchen

Many kitchens are ripe for downsizing, especially if your kitchen has a ton of nooks and crannies to store plates, dishes, utensils, small appliances, and gadgets, etc. You’ll get the most bang for your buck if you center your attention in the following three areas:

organized kitchen counter with pans,

Wedding China

If you’re of a certain generation, you may have a formal set of china that only comes out for special occasions. First and foremost, if you’re considering moving it to Hawaii, these delicate objects can get broken easily during transit if they’re not packed properly. Additionally, if you have a set lying around, it may weigh as much as 48 lbs.

If you’re not using your formal china on a regular basis, it might be time to see if your kids want it—or it might be time to say goodbye.

Tip: Depending on your china pattern, you may be able to sell pieces on eBay, where collectors look for one-offs to replace broken pieces or complete a set.

Kitchen Gadgets

Ah, that pasta maker you used once. That juicer that sat on your counter for a month. The waffle iron that was so popular with your kids 10 years ago. The mandolin slicer that’s gathering dust in the bottom drawer. We’ve all got unused kitchen gadgets sitting around. Rule of thumb: If you haven’t used it in at least a year, it’s probably time to say goodbye.

Large Appliances

Believe it or not, a number of our clients ask about taking their kitchen appliances with them to Hawaii, especially if they just bought a new Sub-Zero refrigerator or a fancy wine cooler.
Yes, it is absolutely possible to ship your appliances. However, in our opinion, it’s rarely worth it. You’re usually better off selling your appliances with your house and doing any upgrades once you get to Hawaii.

Tip: If you do decide to take a large appliance with you, make sure you know for sure that it will fit through the door and make it into the kitchen. We’ve personally witnessed what happens when the appliance doesn’t clear the front door.

Next, let’s move into an area that’s common in mainland homes and less common in Hawaii. 

Making Decisions in Your Dining Room

Since you’re moving to Hawaii, you may want to sell all of it.  Why? Because many people who move to Hawaii choose not to set up a formal dining room at all. Instead, a casual kitchen table might be a better fit for your island abode. Or, you may choose to set up an outdoor dining area on your lanai (patio) to enjoy that gorgeous Hawaii weather every night. 

dining table with chairs

Table and Accessories

Like your bedroom, you’ll find a good amount of heavy wooden furniture in many formal dining rooms. Consider these three examples:

  • Wooden dining room table: 110 lbs.
  • Wooden sideboard: 110 lbs.
  • Solid wood china cabinet: 320 lbs.

Bottom line: Unless you have your heart set on a formal dining room, it’s time to ditch your dining room furniture.

Now, one thing’s for sure: You’ll still want a casual lounging area where you can relax. 

Looking at Your Living Room and Family Room

If there’s one thing you’ll want to make room for, it’s a warm and welcoming place where you can unwind with friends, family, and neighbors. As you select your seating, there’s one type of furniture that you’ll want to give a hard look before you green-light it for the move:
couch and living room furniture

Your couch

Like mattresses, couches are heavy, especially when you’re looking at convertibles and large sectionals:

  • Three-seat couch: 148 lbs.
  • Sleeper sofa: 348 lbs.
  • Sectional sofa: 425 lbs.

And here’s the thing about sofas: They’re pretty easy to sell on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Unless your couch is brand new, we’d suggest selling it and using the proceeds to get a new one in Hawaii.

Exercise Equipment

If you’ve got a nice big TV in your living room or family room, chances are that you might also have a substantial DVD collection or even a bunch of CDs sitting around. While the individual disks are neither heavy nor bulky, those boxes and jewel cases can really add up. Plus, depending on whether you subscribe to movie and music streaming services, you may not have much use for your DVDs or CDs.

Before you move, take a hard look at your movie and music collection. It’s probably time to pare down or, at the very least, invest in a few CD/DVD wallets and toss the jewel cases.

Tip: While we’re on the topic of outdated electronics, if you have any old cell phones or tablets sitting around, now would be a great time to either recycle them in or trade them in for cash!

Exercise Equipment

Finally, some people transform their family rooms into home gyms. If you’re one of those people, you probably already know that treadmills, stair climbers, rowers, and indoor bikes are bulky and heavy. (Not to mention free weights, which are just plain heavy!)

If you’re not using this equipment regularly, don’t bother to ship it. There are plenty of gyms and outdoor activities in Hawaii to keep you fit.

One exception: If you’ve got a Peloton Tread that you love, take it with you because the company doesn’t currently ship this item to Hawaii.

Next, let’s move into a room with a surprising and sneaky source of weight.  

All About Your Home Office or Den

 So often, the room you designate as an office or a den can turn into a collection point for all types of things, especially paper, which gets surprisingly heavy, surprisingly quickly. While you’re in your office or den, focus on downsizing two areas: 

home office with computer, desk and plants


A significant book collection can amp up the price of your move—fast. In fact, one single small box of books can weigh between 30 and 40 pounds. If you can lighten your library’s load, you’ll save a bundle on your move.


Some people have drawers and drawers of paperwork—some of it necessary and some of it old and outdated. Like boxes of books, file boxes also get heavy quickly. If you’ve got a ton of paperwork stored in your office, it’s time to get out the scanner and the shredder and get to work.

Finally, let’s head out of the main part of your house, into one final area that’s fertile ground for downsizing. 

Go Through Your Garage

 The garage is an infamous dumping ground for things that people no longer want or need but can’t bear to get rid of. Spend some extra time in your garage. Get ruthless, especially with things you haven’t touched in years. As you sift through the items in your garage, pay special attention to the two types below: 

garage shelves with lots of things stored on shelves

Cold-Weather Gear

We’ve seen plenty of families move their skis to Hawaii with the best intention of taking them to Taos next winter for vacation. However, those skis often get moved from one garage to another—and never see the snow again. Take it from us. (We made this mistake, too!) Sell your winter gear where you are, make a clean breast of it in Hawaii. Then, rent at your vacation destination. You’ll enjoy that feeling of freedom you get from hauling less gear.


If you’re considering taking your lawn mower with you—or any other gardening supplies like soil or pesticides—you’re better off leaving them behind. Your lawn mower will likely be classified in the hazardous category, since it contains traces of gasoline residue, even if you empty the tank. The same is true for any serious chemicals and fertilizers, all of which will make your move a little more complex.

Your mover can answer all your specific questions of what you can move and what you can’t. However, as a rule of thumb, it’s a lot easier to leave these items behind.


Additionally, the state of Hawaii is very strict about importing plants, soil, and other agricultural products into the state. All plants, plant parts, animals, microorganism cultures, soil, and related containers are subject to inspection and must be declared. Some are prohibited entirely. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the Department of Agriculture’s rules and regulations before you decide to move anything.

Your best bet? Find your plants a new home before you leave.

Next, let’s move into a room with a surprising and sneaky source of weight.  

Take a Load off Before You Move to Hawaii

For many people, moving to Hawaii means a big change in lifestyle. Hawaii is unlike any other place in the world. Your move will be the start of a great adventure for you and anyone else you’re moving with. By taking the time to downsize before you relocate, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to start with a clean(er) slate—and to establish yourself anew in the Aloha State. 

Looking for some help making your move to Hawaii? We’ve assisted tens of thousands of families, individuals, and military service members in their relocations to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. We’d love to assist you! Just reach out to us to get a free quote. 


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