Buying Home Essentials Guide for Expats Moving to UK

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Moving to a new home requires a lot of research effort, what more if you’re relocating to a new home in another country as an expat? Last April 2019, my husband was sent for a temporary work assignment in Malmesbury, UK. I followed him four months after. Since he left first, he had to decide buying home essentials by himself. We were lucky that Filipinos were already living there before us. Because of that, they were able to provide advice on where to buy everything we need for our new home. In this post, I’ve rounded up a list on where to buy your new home essentials.

Buying furniture

We got our bed frame, mattress, and sofa bed from the very reliable IKEA. However, my husband had to request help from a colleague who has a car so that he can buy from the store directly. Living in the rural town of Malmesbury means riding a 45 minute bus ride to get to another town. As mentioned earlier, we were lucky colleagues are there to help.

Buying kitchen / dinnerware

Husband’s favorite store is Wilko. We usually drop by at the Swindon store. We got this pan set from them which was later on replaced by a griddle pan and a sauce pan. He was able to buy this dinner set there too which I really think is a good buy. For storage, we picked up a plastic drawer unit.

My baking tools were bought from pound stores. I got a brownie pan, measuring spoons, and rolling pin. I think this is the place to buy stuff if you’re just trying out things for the first time. In my case, I tried my had at baking when we moved to UK and I wasn’t willing to splurge on equipment. We usually buy in store but you can also checkout Poundshop for online shopping.

Buying bedroom essentials

Our pillows, pillow cases, duvet, and fitted sheets were all bought from Wilko. The pillows are a bit flat even if you’ve chosen the firm one so I recommend to check out the other variations. We also got a fleece blanket from Amazon Basics. It’s my husband’s favorite. Perfect for autumn nights, not too warm and super soft.

Buying groceries and cleaning supplies

There are a lot of online stores to choose from in UK. In Malmesbury, there are two big grocery stores you can choose from. We alternate between Coop and Waitrose. Moving to a new house means you need all your cleaning stuff and the best place to buy are the supermarkets.

Here’s an additional local town information for Malmesbury. Apart from the big groceries, its High Street also has The Wild Food Company which houses organic, eco-friendly, sustainable, and some Asian products. If you’re Asian like us, we also go to Cash & Carry Swindon for Asian related goodies, ingredients, and produce and buy online at Kuya’s Tindahan.

Buying second hand

Best place to look? Facebook Marketplace. I found a listing that says FREE for a 32 inch TV but sent a PM way too late. If you’re lucky, you might be able to score great items like dining tables or kitchen appliances. Apart from scouting on Facebook Marketplace, we’ve found my husband’s colleagues selling their used stuff too. And since we were there for a temporary assignment, we didn’t have problems getting second hand stuff. We were able to get dining tables and chairs set, a plastic storage drawer, and a clothing rack.

As expat renters, our goal was to buy only the essentials so that leaving the apartment will be easy. That goal helped us to buy only within our means and always ask the question “Can we ship this back to the Philippines?” I hope this post jumps starts your moving preparation. help you setup your new home away from home!

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