What Can You Get Rid of Before Moving to Hawaii?

If you are moving to the Hawaiian Islands from the mainland, it’s important to take stock of what you really need to bring. Some bring nothing but the clothes on their backs due to costs associated with shipping.

Hawaii Kai home furnished in warm wood tones

While you might not be that extreme, relocating all of your items and personal belongings to Hawaii can be extremely expensive. Some of the homes do come furnished in Hawaii. One option for people looking to live in Hawaii full time is to sell their mainland homes completely furnished, then find a furnished home in Hawaii. However, most of the homes don't come furnished so you'll either need to bring your furniture with you or buy everything new when you get here.

The majority of people, however, choose to take along some items when they move. Whether the items are nostalgic, important, or valuable - there are some things that you just can't leave behind. So - what should you get rid of before moving to Hawaii?


If you’re moving from a cold environment to Hawaii, you probably won’t need that array of 32 sweatshirts. Keeping one or two can't hurt - we do get chilly from time to time - but you probably won’t need hats, gloves, and snow gear unless you’re planning on living on Haleakala or Mauna Kea.

If you’re moving to Oahu, there is no need to bring any snow gear. Stock up on shorts, dresses, light clothes, and sun hats. You probably won’t need much professional or formal wear either. It’s such a laid-back environment that even if you go out to a nice dinner, a Hawaiian shirt and nice khakis or even cargo shorts will definitely suffice. 

Planning a move to Hawaii? Check out our Moving To Hawaii page!

A sunset taken at Tantalus, with a person in a hat and t-shirt in the foreground

More: What to know about moving to Hawaii with Pets

Garage Items

A lot of Hawaiian homes don’t have garages and if you’re planning on moving into a condominium, you probably won’t have the storage that you had with a single detached house on the mainland.

If you're planning on living in a condo, outdoors maintenance is often included in the price. This means you can say goodbye to your lawnmower, hefty and bulky garden equipment, and of course, any items that you know you’re not going to use on the Hawaiian islands such as snowmobiles, snowboards, skis, and other winter seasonal items.

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Books and other heavy items.

Now is the time to really simplify your collection. Go through every book and determine if the book really sparks joy and if you are going to read it again.

If they are nostalgic or hold value but you know you’re not going to read them again, consider renting storage space on the mainland - it can be much less expensive than shipping heavy books to the islands. One option is to consider converting your books to e-books. That way you have the information should you want it, without the weight of an actual book.

What Can You Get Rid of Before Moving to Hawaii?


Furniture can be a tricky one. We all have items in our homes that we've fallen in love with or have some nostalgic attachment to. That doesn't change the reality that moving furniture to Hawaii is extremely expensive. Homes in Hawaii are smaller compared to the mainland. Since the rooms are smaller here, it's likely that your current furniture may simply be too big for your new home. Storage space will also be limited so it's best to minimize items.

Don't forget about the tropical climate here as well. While that beautiful leather couch might work in your area, you'll stick to it here in the warm and humid weather. Additionally, most furnishings in Hawaii are completely different styles than you might find on the mainland. In Hawaii, you're likely to find more lightweight and wicker furniture, with designs that fit the tropical landscape. If there are one or two pieces that you simply cannot part with, consider either sharing a shipping container or storing it back on the mainland for future shipping or use.


While people do ship their cars over, there are plenty of vehicles on the island to go around. If your vehicle needs in Hawaii are light, you might be able to get away with using public transportation or renting a car on rare occasion.

Depending on the age and vehicle type, it may be more cost-effective to buy a car on the island rather than shipping the car to Hawaii. This is definitely something to weigh out.

Related: Transportation & Commuting Costs On Oahu

Unreplaceable Items

If you have items that you simply cannot replace, it’s okay to ship them. However, you only have a few options when it comes to shipping belongings to the islands. Heavier items such as large, bulky furnishings will need a shipping container, crate, or large pod. Smaller items can simply be mailed the traditional way to FedEx, UPS, or USPS.

You might want to consider sharing a shipping container. This is a great way to save money, especially if you’re not going to fill the entire container. If you know someone that happens to be moving to Hawaii around the same time, sharing a container could work perfectly.

Another option is to find someone online that is also moving to Hawaii and is looking to share shipping costs. Depending on the shipping and moving company, it can take as little as a week to get your items or upwards of a month or more. Something to keep in mind - it’s getting even harder to get items shipped in a convenient manner, so definitely take that under advisement.

What Can You Get Rid of Before Moving to Hawaii?

How much does it cost to move items to Hawaii?

The average cost of moving a three-bedroom home to Hawaii is between $5000 and $10,000. You will typically be charged based on the weight of the shipment and the dimensions. However, the more you move, the more expensive it will be. Cars cost between $2000 in $5000 per vehicle.

When moving to Hawaii, the less is more motto is definitely the key. You will be surprised how much you actually don’t need once you move - so take inventory now, de-clutter, donate, sell, and find out what you really want to take with you to Hawaii. Remember, you can always put items in a storage container and have items shipped later on.

More Tips for Folks Considering a Move to Hawaii:

We have over two decades of experience helping people relocate to Hawaii. From finding you the perfect home to helping you move to Hawaii from the mainland, we'll be with you every step of the way to make this transition as effortless as possible. Request a consultation below or give us a call at 1-(808) 427-0867!

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