Packing for an overseas move is very different from packing for a holiday.  Basically it involves a very different level of organization.  With that in mind, here is some guidance as to the dos and don’ts of a successful packing exercise.

Do go through your stuff and remove any prohibited items

If you’re using a professional moving company they will usually give you a list of prohibited items, which may vary according to your destination.  If you’re doing everything yourself, then make sure to research this thoroughly.  The rule of thumb is that anything which can be considered hazardous is unlikely to be permitted in standard transit, which means that if you’re determined to bring it you will need to make special arrangements.

Don’t wait to the last minute to deal with items which need special treatment

The term “special treatment” can cover all kinds of possibilities, but essentially it’s shorthand for “anything you need to do to keep the item safe in transit other than just put it in appropriate packaging”.  For example, freezers will need to be defrosted.  Furniture may need to have corners protected not just against scratching but against them doing damage.  Musical instruments may need to have parts removed (e.g. strings).

Do remember that your goods will need to go through customs

If you’re using an exporting company, they will advise you on anything you, personally, need to do and handle the rest themselves.  If you’re moving by yourself, then, again, you will need to work this one out.  You’ll also need to take a decision on whether to keep any physical paperwork with the item to which it is associated or whether you want to have a specific area in which to corral your paperwork.  In either case, make sure that you do get all your paperwork together.

Don’t forget to sort out your insurance properly

Shipping insurance is a bit like home insurance in the sense that you usually decide what level of cover you need and then inform your insurance company of any high-risk items you plan to carry, for example, cash and jewellery.  Again, if you’re using a professional moving company, they can usually give guidance on insurance.  They may even have a preferred provider.  If you’re moving yourself do your research thoroughly and err on the side of having excess cover.  It may cost a bit more but being underinsured could work out even more expensive.

Do spend money on plenty of decent packaging material

Even if you’re using a professional moving company, you may prefer to save yourself a bit of money by packing some or all of your luggage yourself.  If you’re moving yourself then you’ll definitely be responsible for your own packing.  In either case, it’s strongly recommended to invest some money in good packaging material and use it generously.  Here are some specific tips.

Buy wardrobe boxes (boxes with internal hanging rails) and then just move your clothes hangers from your wardrobe to the box (and back again).

Remember that it’s much more important to keep boxes at a manageable weight than it is to keep like items together so, for example, spread heavy items such as books across several boxes and mix them in with lighter items such as textiles.

Fill boxes completely to stop their contents moving around.  If you don’t have enough items to fill a box, use cheap filler such as newspaper.

Wrap fragile items individually.  If they need to be bubble wrapped, you can now buy paper bubble wrap as an environmentally-friendly alternative to the plastic sort.

Invest in top-quality packing tape, preferably with a dispenser.  It’s so much less hassle to use than the cheap stuff.

Of course, if you’re not sure of what you need to do, you can always speak to a professional packing company such as ourselves. We will advise you on how best to care for and pack your belongings prior to moving.

Contact us for more information.