3 Furniture Preparation Tips for When You're Moving Overseas

Moving is hard enough when you're going across town, but international relocation presents a unique set of challenges. You have to consider removal costs, shipping, storage, customs and the time lag when shipping that means it could be weeks before you are reunited with your stuff. This makes the pack-up process infinitely more complicated, which is why we offer these tips to help you make things easier.

1. Deciding: ship, store or sell

When going across town, you hardly ever ask yourself whether to keep or leave things, unless you're downsizing houses. Because of the cost and complexity of overseas moving, you may need to take a long hard look at your stuff and decide what goes, what stays and what you don't need.

At this point, sentiment should be given a back burner in favour of cold, hard facts. Start with things that you can willingly let go of, and put them up for sale or give them to family, friends or charity (It goes without saying, therefore, that packing should start way before your actual relocation date).

Once these are gone, you have things you need or want to keep. If you're moving permanently, you may have little choice but to organize shipping for all of them. If you'll return at some point, however, there is a third option: leaving things you want to keep but don't need in storage. This can be with friends and family or in self-storage.

2. Making the list

How you pack depends on the type of furniture you're carrying: upholstered furniture has different needs from antiques or leather or metallic furniture. From the stuff above, create categories as follows:

  • Heavy/bulky – sofas, beds, wardrobes, large bookshelves, etc.

  • Fragile – antiques, art, furniture with glass components, etc.

  • Light – rugs, coffee tables, small closets/chests, etc.

3. Packing

Sea travel can be tumultuous, therefore it's vital to ensure all your things are wrapped properly and buffered to prevent movement even when they are in storage boxes. After wrapping and packing in boxes, use leftover wrapping materials to fill up the spaces between items, especially when packing your fragile things.

Dismantle what can be dismantled, but ensure that all parts go to the same storage box. You can tape small accessories like nuts, screws, and bolts to larger pieces, so they don't get lost. Upholstered furniture should be covered with a waterproof material such as plastic film to prevent dust and water from reaching the fabric and causing mould, mildew or rot.

Finally, getting a trusted moving company can take away most of the hard work from an overseas move: all you need to do is hand over the house, and they'll deal with packing, shipping, and unpacking. This way, you don't worry about getting storage materials and what you'll do with them after moving (they end up cluttering your house).

For more information, contact a furniture removals company.