Peter Piper picked a pack of professional packers. But, did Peter Piper pick a pack of perfect packers?!
A move like this relies heavily on planning ahead and in the early days I was excited to finally have a reason to whip up a cheeky spreadsheet. As a self-confessed listographer, listophile, listaholic, whatever you want to call it, I listed everything I THOUGHT we needed to do. I then distributed the activities over the remaining months, colour-coded each group of items and basked in the glory of a rather sexy-looking plan.
Now that we are just a few weeks away from BMM-Day (British Maple Move Day) I’m so pleased my inner nerd hasn’t deserted me because I still feel in control of everything (no quivering mess, hyperventilating in the corner here, not yet anyway!).
So let me share with you a few helpful tips:
How to pick a packer
- Recommendations are a great resource. Check with people who’ve moved, what did they like, how professional they were, etc
- Get several quotes. We had three quotes and all of them were different! Two of the companies came to the house and did a full evaluation of what volume we would require. The last company asked me to list everything I wanted to take and provided a quote over the phone (needless to say they were so far off the mark, it was laughable)
- Sense check the quotes. Calculating volume can be tricky but we measured up a box and used that as a ‘unit’ so we could work out how many boxes we’d need.
- Ask pertinent questions – what type of container will they use, who do they use to ship your items in the destination country, how long do they estimate it will take, are there any hidden charges (the list goes on!)
- Insurance. We aren’t shipping anything with sentimental or high value but the total combined worth is pretty substantial. You need to decide the cost vs. likelihood balance – would you be more pissed off that you wasted $$$ on insurance or kick yourself if the ship sank with all your worldly belongings on board (we sat on the fence and insured a portion of our stuff)
Don’t pack crap
The process of evaluating the volume of stuff you want to ship is the perfect opportunity to go through your items to see what you actually want to take (the cost of shipping is also a good motivator to have a clear out!)
Here’s what not to take:
- Clothes: We are all guilty of holding on to certain items of clothing for feeble or no reasons at all. If it doesn’t fit, donate it. If it’s damaged or stained, bin it. If it’s expensive but you don’t wear it, sell it. Same goes for shoes and accessories.
- Toys: Kids grow up. Their toys don’t. Donate or sell anything that the miniature peeps don’t play with or have outgrown. If you’re on the fence about something, hide it and see if they ask for it – your shipping will likely take six or more weeks so they may forget about things! We’re taking more than I’d like to because the Lord has an extraterrestrial memory and very random attachments to very random things!
- Food: Not only may it cause an issue with customs, things such as spices, etc lose their flavour after a few months so take it as an opportunity to re-stock. I will, however, be smuggling a shitload of Goldfish crackers in my checked luggage.
- Electricals: Seems obvious but I certainly need the reminder! Some portable devices will be dual voltage but most small appliances aren’t. I looked into converting my TV and by the time I’d added up the converter and transformer, it wasn’t worth it.
- Sentimental detritus: This is a tricky one. When we moved here, I shipped over a box of possibly the most random items imaginable and for no other reason that I was sentimentally attached to them. Half of them I won’t be bringing back with me! On the other hand, both my teacup humans were born here, so I don’t want to be a completely heartless cowbag. It’s a long process but review your sentimental items every few weeks and see how you feel about them (the number of baby items I am saving is a tenth of what I initially put aside!)
Make a to do list
If, like us, you are moving away from a place you love, make a list of things you would like to do before you go. It’s easy to sit and wallow about what we’ll miss so instead it’s great to enjoy our last few weeks.
Have a party!
Goodbyes are painful and time-consuming. I’d love to have lunch, a playdate, wine, etc with each and every one of the people we’re leaving behind but I can’t do it. Throw a party, a potluck picnic, a group playdate, whatever you fancy. It’ll group people together, you can make a quick speech and (hopefully) reduce the number of times you burst into tears.
RIght, I have shit to Kijiji and coats to vaccuum-pack…cheerio!