Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Packing a Lift - Aliyah Tips

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Some of you may have decided to bring a lift with your belongings to Israel when you make Aliyah. So I sat down to write up my list - a mix of items we actually brought, and items I would have brought in hindsight. If you've decided that you do not want to bring a lift, this post is not meant to discourage you from your decision. Everyone's Aliyah is unique!
Note: Some items I brought or would bring are because they may be very difficult to find here, and others I brought or would bring because the cost is just SO much less in the USA, and once you're packing a lift, you may as well use it wisely.

We brought beds (but in hindsight I'm not sure we should have), sofas (definitely a good choice. the ones we have are built to last and were inexpensive compared to prices here), cheap closets from IKEA (bought on sale for crazy cheap and shipped flat in their boxes - they are A LOT less expensive in IKEA in America when there is a sale than any you will find here!). We did not bring our dining room set, but I wished we had. We also brought filing cabinets - more than one. These are VERY hard to find in Israel. Israelis file things in labeled binders on shelves, so if you are partial to your old filing system, bring the cabinet and all the hanging file folders and manilla folders you can fill it with!


Standalone Freezer - we have one that is larger than any sold in this country, and is specifically made for a desert climate.

A self cleaning, Shabbat mode oven - assuming you have space in your kitchen for an American size oven, this is worth buying in the 220V version and bringing. If you don't have the space in your kitchen, do not bring it!!

A large capacity 220V food processor - but only if you can get a reliable brand for a good price. Otherwise, just buy something here.

Household goods:
Here are things I think are worth bringing, with some explanations:

TERRO ant bait - I cannot find anything similar sold here, and Boric Acid is not easy to buy in order to make your own.

Pantry Moth pheromone traps - I now buy them on ebay, but if you want to stock up before you come, you won't regret it.

Borax - if this is something you use regularly, bring a supply on your lift. There are occasional reports of being able to buy it locally, but it seems like a huge hassle to me.

Diatomaceous Earth - if you are so inclined to use it for keeping bugs away.

Books of course - We brought about 3000 books with us. But we're crazy bookworms.

Very warm blankets (something like this wool blanket, or down comforters are great!) - these save us a ton of money, as we don't have to run the heat at night ever!

Towels and comforter covers, sheets if you are bringing beds from abroad (I got some good deals at TJMaxx and HomeGoods)

Clothing, including stuff for the kids to grow into (I shopped all the thrift stores on discount days for months). It made my life much easier knowing I wouldn't have to shop at first, when I was still learning my way around and figuring out what stores are worth shopping in and what's not (now we shop at the local second hand shop a LOT!).

Rain boots and shoes, including stuff for the kids to grow into (I found great deals at Marshall's, TJMaxx, and Famous Footwear - I did not want used shoes.)

Kitchen Items - like good stainless steel baking pans, pots, mixing bowls. I brought a KitchenAid stand mixer, but since then the local price has come down, making it a toss-up whether or not you should bring one or buy it locally. I now know where to get deals for other kitchen items locally, as well, but it was certainly easiest for me to not have to shop right when we moved!

Thermal Carafe - these are really great energy savers for those of us who drink a lot of coffee, tea, and the like. All winter long, we boil a pot of water in the morning and then fill a carafe to use throughout the day, saving on our energy costs!

Good sponges (cheap sponges are abundantly available here, but "good" ones are hard to find, in my opinion.)

Insulated bags like tote bags, picnic bags, and lunch bags (reusable) - I'm always walking around with my insulated tote bag! So helpful when running errands on a warm (or hot) day!

Good thermos items like travel coffee cups and thermos bottles, and good 24 hr ones for keeping water hot on shabbat - a good one will keep your water hot from before candle lighting thru Shabbat morning for coffee, and you won't need to run an electrical appliance for hours and hours!)

Specialty items specific to my needs like these bandages - I'm allergic to most...

Legos, bought on sale, or at garage sales, thrift shops, etc

Wooden toys, bought on sale, or at garage sales, thrift shops, etc

Fisher Price toys, bought on sale, or at garage sales, thrift shops, etc

Playmobil toys, bought on sale, or at garage sales, thrift shops, etc

Anything your kids will play with that is well made

Storage containers to store your things - fill them when you pack the lift!

Dollar store items that are decent deals: toothbrushes, dental floss, hairbrushes, nail clippers, nail files, etc are also good to stock up on if you have extra space

Fabric Tablecloths and cloth napkins are good deals in the USA when you can find a sale, so if you see some for a great price, those are good stock up items, and make great gifts here, too.

I brought other items like coffee, laundry detergent, and shampoos as well, but I no longer feel that is essential, with Vitacost, eChemist and iHerb shipping the natural products I can't find here!

Obviously, we brought our personal belongings as well. We knew we were "starting over", but we didn't want to have to forget who we are or where we came from!

Other pre-aliyah items I highly recommend, but that came with us on the plane, not in the lift:

Very lightweight Duffle Bags that meet airline regulations (I found these awesome duffle bags that weigh just one pound and are EXACTLY the right size!)

Wheeled Cooler (preferably one that keeps food cold for several days) for at least one of your pieces of luggage (you will be so happy to have it, whether it's while you are waiting for a fridge to be delivered or when you are going on a tiyul, or just for getting ice cream home from the supermarket in summer!)

Kindle or a Tablet (I have found both very useful)

In addition, I recommend you stock up on OTC meds in America. If you use ANY, they are almost always cheaper there (especially at Costco or similar)! Also, be aware that certain products are simply not available here without a prescription, and some are not available at all. Those items will make a post of their own, I hope to get to that!

I'm sure there is more to add to this list, so please let me know in the comments!


  1. You make it sound like you can't buy thermoses or toys (or whatever) in Israel...

    1. Of course you can - BUT the price differential for quality items is astounding. I buy good thermoses in America for less than I pay for really low quality thermoses here. Same for toys. and other items.


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