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Packing for an international move..

(24 Posts)
podmumlet Wed 27-Mar-13 21:22:46

My DH, DS and I are currently living in a 2 bed flat but have a lot of things in storage (and more piling up!!).

A lot if it will come in useful when we decide to have a second child and move into a home once we move overseas, so we plan to take our things with us.

My question is; do the packers open the boxes I have already packed and repackage them to their own standards?

Just need to know whether I am packing things for temporary storage, or to withstand the bumps and thumps of an international move.


Ponders Wed 27-Mar-13 21:25:59

well, the only time we did this was 30 years ago, but then, what we packed went as we'd packed

eg we had a folding changing table with large drawers in it, I filled that with lots of crap useful items, & they arrived untouched at the other end

but prob best to speak to your potential shippers & ask what they do smile

butterfliesinmytummy Thu 28-Mar-13 00:19:05

It depends really. We've packed stuff like books and labeled them, which has been fine for an air shipment to singapore. However, if you are moving to the US (and probably other places, not sure), you have to have a detailed inventory and our shippers have just told us that US customs won't accept PBO (packed by owner) boxes, everything must be packed by a third party registered shipper.

It's probably up to you if you want the shippers to repack but they might not insure the contents of anything breakable that they haven't packed themselves....

MercedesKing Thu 28-Mar-13 02:13:27

Sometimes the packers open the boxes for safety's sake when passing through the security checks, well, different country have different rules, you can firstly get your information about the workflow of the security check sector. And I suggest to pack things to withstand the bumps and thump, for it would be more secure even if a opening checking would be conducted...

HollyMadison Thu 28-Mar-13 06:25:54

When we moved to Asia last year we packed some boxes and movers packed others. I recall that the stuff in the boxes we'd packed wasn't insured for breakage by the moving company if they hadn't packed them. I had kept a detailed inventory. You should probably speak to your moving company (destination may be relevant) and check their T&Cs before deciding what to do. I also recall that the moving company required that things like TVs and pictures go in special wooden pallet boxes.

BTW, the packers are super super efficient. Three big burly blokes turned up and packed up our whole house within a matter of hours. So don't bother packing stuff to speed the process up. Unless you happen to be massively strong and efficient!!

Barbie1 Thu 28-Mar-13 06:59:11

Have done a few international moves I have to say I've never had to pack a box!

I did however go through my wardrobe and fold clothes into piles and placed them in the spare room, I boxed up some of my personal stuff into plastic containers which them could be packed into bigger boxes.

Generally I make sure everything is organised into 'rooms' so once we get to the other side it's just a case of unpacking.

They do such a detailed inventory that they prefer to pack it all themselves, and they use twice as much packing as a normal move!

scottswede Thu 28-Mar-13 07:41:19

I found if you pack yourself it's cheaper but companies are hesitant to insure self packed items. Letting the company pack everything will probably be more expensive, but a lot less stressful. If you are not paying for the movers then make a pot of coffee and let them get on with it. Trust them, they're professionals!!!!!

WallyBantersJunkBox Thu 28-Mar-13 09:03:07

You don't have to pack anything if you don't want to, but most shippers will leave some "personal item" boxes for you to pack things you might not want the mto see, when they come round to assess the cubic space required and do the final paperwork.

For me I did a combination. As I was sorting and sifting I found it easier to put things I was keeping into boxes as I went along and the rest into IKEA bags for the charity shop!

Didn't hear any complaint at all from the removers on this.

Clueless2727 Thu 28-Mar-13 21:40:03

We are going to start investigating removal companies to singapore nextnweek. What a revelation. I didn,t know that i didnt have to pack boxes. Wow that will make life easier. Wll need to sort out our junk room(sorry playroom) as still got baby toys in there and ds now coming up 4 and definitely won't need tonnes of jumpers and jeans

timetosmile Sun 31-Mar-13 23:26:02

I am in awe of professional packers. We moved to SA (and back) and may be going to Ethiopia next year. I think that they (Pickfords) would only move stuff they had packed themselves (and thus could vouch for the inventory)
Where are you going? Think about what you really 'need' when you get there and what you can beg/borrow/buy until your stuff arrives.
And be really ruthless in getting your freight and aeroplane stuff sorted in really good time. We ended up paying a massive excess baggage on the plane when we relocated because we hadn't sorted through in good time.

notfarmingatthemo Mon 01-Apr-13 05:26:13

we have just moved overseas. We had to use their boxes so the fitted in the container probably. We packed a few boxes and I think we got more stuff in the boxes than they did. We stuff gaps with soft toys. It going to take some sorting when it all gets here. We had to leave the boxes open so they could see inside. It saves problems with customs if they 'pack'

Lavenderhoney Mon 01-Apr-13 05:44:30

I'm in the middle if this. I spoke to the shippers and asked them to repack boxes of breakables etc. not books! They charge about £5 a box or £200 the lot depending on what you have. You won't be covered by insurance if its packed by you and your crockery smashessmile

You could pack it for storage, mark the boxes with a giant stickers as repack, list how many there are plus mirrors and big pictures etc. then they can quote. They will collect, repack at pick up and either take to their storage facility to await a full load, or if you have paid for just you, get goingsmile

nooka Mon 01-Apr-13 05:44:40

We moved to the States and the packers did everything. We had a few boxes from a previous move and the packers went through them to check that there was nothing iffy (like liquids) and then repacked in their boxes. Mainly because US customs are incredibly particular. The packers were fantastic! Very fast, very polite and zero breakages (completely unlike the US packers who were expensive, off hand, broke a number of items and disappeared with most of the bolts from the kids beds).

Astelia Mon 01-Apr-13 05:54:57

Clueless you might want to bring a few sweaters and jackets as if you do any trips to Australia or NZ they will come in handy.

nicewatch Mon 01-Apr-13 06:00:43

Depends where you are going. If you are going to Aus, I think professionally packed boxes clear customs quicker. If you packed yourself, they will go through them looking for things like Christmas decorations (pinecones = big fat no, and you will end up with a fumigation bill).

Honestly, having done six or seven international moves, I would say sell it all if it doesn't have sentimental value, and buy again once you get to your destination. There is no point at all in transporting anything but exquisite furniture round the world when you can buy it locally secondhand for pennies. I would never dream of taking anything utilitarian (changing table etc). It could be up to two months until you get your stuff delivered to your new place, so you might as well have got off the plane and furnished your place within a few days.

podmumlet Mon 08-Apr-13 14:57:45


Thanks for all the amazing tips and suggestions ladies!

To answer the questions, we are planning on moving to Australia. We are just soooo short of space at the moment in our poky London flat, that I have just HAD to pack boxes myself and put into storage to make space for life with a toddler (who knew they needed so much space?!)

Seems a general consensus that its best that all breakables are repackaged by the movers, but it seems that my many boxes of books can just be checked?

nicewatch - you sure have a large number of international moves under your belt! smile I completely understand your point about utilitarian items - there are only so many brooms and mopping buckets one could need!
However, I have read that things are so pricy in Australia that its really far better to take your own over.

See here for example:

I'd be really interested in hearing if you still think you should only ship sentimental items to Australia smile

yetanotherworry Mon 08-Apr-13 20:37:09

I agree that things move through customs quicker when packed professionally. Some things can be picked up cheaper e.g. large plastic baby bath can be picked up cheaply in Target or K-Mart (look online). Children's clothes are worth taking though as the Ozzie stuff takes a bit of getting used to (poor quality but expensive) and they don't seem to have the same range of sizes that we're used to here i.e. no 12-16m and 18-24m.

lljkk Tue 16-Apr-13 16:41:26

How do you choose what to take & what to leave? I don't want to spend ages pricing up costs of replacement there vs. cost of shipping what I already have, but is there any other way to figure it out?

Is there a shipment firm anyone can recommend for getting items UK to USA? Especially want some rough online quotes.

And then those of you with great packers in the UK, can you recommend firms you used?

Clueless2727 Tue 16-Apr-13 16:57:17

I"m taking everything that we use regularly and we will use there. Don't need 10baking trays but need 3. Not taking things that kids almost grown out of. Ie won't take toddler bed but will buy single bed for 3 yr old ds when there, but we arent paying for shipping so guess not too worried about cost. We're leaving photo albums, kids memory boxes with inlaws and some books i want to keep in thie loft on the basis that tenants really
Won't be interesterpd.

lljkk Wed 17-Apr-13 07:32:03

Ah, we would be paying for shipping, not a company move, so need to be choosy. I think the simplest thing is to get rid of almost all furniture ,but will be a hassle to have to replace it at other end, too. And expensive if we have to replace quickly.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 17-Apr-13 07:42:35

I take a view on what is cheap to replace (book cases) and what isn't (sofas, good quality mattresses). However, I think you can save a LOT of weight by having a massive clear out before you go. When DH and I left London, I got 10 massive bin bags of stuff (clothes, books, other random stuff) to charity shop out of a 2 bed flat. You will be amazed by how much stuff you've accumulated (i had 3 shoeboxes of pens!!!)

Clueless2727 Wed 17-Apr-13 08:05:25

I agree with that richman. My kitchen table is currently covered in the contents of one cupboard with items we never use, george foreman grill, food processor, fondue. Bagged up 2 sacks of my clothes yesterday and not done yet and that's before I start on kids

lljkk Wed 17-Apr-13 08:21:50

Little of my stuff was good quality. But some of it would cost a lot to buy new in a hurry as opposed to slow canny Ebay purchases which is how I got it originally. Argh.

Thinking of beds, especially. Coz we need beds. Can live without sofas for a long spell but not happy to sleep on mattress on floor.

I paid £50 for a cheap chipboard thin book case the other day, couldn't believe that was best price. Whereas I would prefer real wood even if only simple style pine. At least the bookcases we could dismantle down...

stitchinline Wed 17-Apr-13 11:19:11

the what to take dilemma is doing my head in confused and we don't leave until June.
We are paying ourselves so trying to minimise what we ship but also don't want to have to pay a ridiculous amount to replace things .....
We won't be coming back to the UK so for us its either ship or chuck and that's hard! Plan is to take a few special items of furniture and get rid of the rest. It's just all the other 'stuff' that adds up i.e. i do a bit of sewing and have about 10 plastic tubs of fabric and bits blush
. Need to have a massive sort out but with a 13 month dd and working full time i think i'll still be doinmg it when the packers are here.

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