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Top Tips to Pack Efficiently for an International Relocation

Updated: Jul 5

So many emotions come with moving abroad. From excitement and anticipation for a thrilling adventure, to worry, stress and apprehension that comes with an international relocation.

One of the most stressful and exhausting parts of the process that comes with moving is no other than packing. What do I pack? How do I pack? What's the cost of packing? How do I keep my belongings safe? All these are normal questions that EVERYONE asks.

Learning how to pack efficiently is a skill that can be acquired over time. So, instead of waiting to become an expert after moving several times, why not gain insights from the experts in packing and moving themselves?

We've put together the best tips and tricks to pack efficiently, packing hacks to help you maximize space and a whole lot of practical overseas moving tips. From packing essentials to how to pack fragile items, we've got you covered!

Whether it's your first time moving, or you're somewhat of an expert, we're sure you'll find tips to make your move a great deal smoother! Let's dive in and help you pack like a pro!

Understanding the Basics of International Relocation

Relocating is a lot more than dumping your belongings into a box and shipping them away. It's a hefty process that involves a whole lot of planning and organization. Once you're familiar with the basics of moving abroad, everything starts falling into place.

Before you dive in, be sure to check out our detailed guide on moving abroad for helpful tips. Here are a few things that will get you started:

  • Start planning your move as soon as possible

  • Research your destination country to help you make informed decisions

  • Check customs or regulations

  • Be prepared for your arrival with temporary accommodation

  • Think about the weather in your new area

  • Tropical country move: leave heavy winter clothes behind

Lastly, remember that relocating internationally is not just about things you need to do. It's also an emotional journey. Remember to stay positive, keep an open mind, embrace new opportunities and be prepared for an exciting new chapter.

Once you embrace a positive mindset, you can turn the entire moving process into a thrilling new adventure.

Creating Your Moving Checklist

A moving checklist is key to making your relocation as smooth as possible. It helps you visualize the entire moving process, keep track of your tasks, and ensure that you don't overlook anything.

Keep in mind that each moving checklist should be personalized to your circumstances, so feel free to take the moving essentials and make it your own! You can also check out our Moving Day Survival Kit to ensure your moving day is smooth and easy.

Here are some key tasks to include in your moving checklist:

Moving checklist for an international relocation

Remember to regularly update and revise your moving checklist. Once you have this checklist in hand, you'll be ready to foresee the challenges that come with moving internationally.

Decluttering: The First Step to Efficient Packing

The first step to efficient packing is no other than decluttering! Be prepared for this process, as it can be quite emotional and exhausting. Start by sorting your belongings into piles of what you'd like to keep, donate, sell or throw away. Do this for each room separately, so the place doesn't get messy all at once.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you declutter your home:

  • Is this item essential?

  • Will I need it in my new home?

  • Is the cost of shipping cheaper than buying it there?

  • Is it an item that will provide comfort when moving overseas?

  • Is it weather-friendly for the new climate?

Packing Essentials: What You Need to Know

After the decluttering process is finalized, you'll be left with a huge mess! That's when the packing essentials come in! Your packing essentials will keep your belongings safe and protect them from any damage while shipping. Not only that but with the right packing tools, you'll be able to stay organized and make the packing process smooth.

Here are the main items you should include in your packing essentials checklist:

Packing checklist

How to Pack Fragile Items for a Move Abroad

Packing fragile items for a relocation requires specific care and attention. Delicate items like glassware, electronics, ceramics, and artwork can get damaged or broken if not packed properly. The key is to provide soft cushioning, considering object proportions to each other as well as avoiding overpacking.

  • Start by adding a layer of bubble wrap around all sides of the box for cushioning.

  • Use bubble wrap for each item individually.

  • Pack glassware and ceramics vertically in boxes to protect them from breaking

  • Use socks, linens, clothes, or packing paper to fill any gaps to prevent moving or clashing of items.

  • Use original boxes for electronics or choose slightly bigger boxes and fill it up with cushioning.

Pro tip: Take photos of electronics before disassembling for easy setup later.

Packing Hacks to Maximize Space and Protect Your Belongings

When packing for an overseas move, space is a huge factor to consider. You want to minimize the boxes used and make as much room as possible for your belongings.

Tips for maximizing space for clothes:

  • Use a vacuum for clothes to compress them.

  • Roll clothes instead of folding.

  • Pack socks and underwear inside shoes to save space.

Here are some more packing hacks you can use:

  • Place heavier items at the bottom and work your way up.

  • Use sealed bags to prevent liquids from leaking.

  • Use large suitcases for books and heavy items.

  • Hire professionals to help you pack valuable items.

Labeling and Organizing Your Boxes Like a Pro

woman labeling box for packing
image by Freepik

This step is super important not just to help your movers know how to handle and protect boxes, but also to ease the unpacking process once your international shipment arrives. You can use color-coded labels or markers to clearly highlight what's inside each box.

The best tactic is to create categories as well as subcategories to help you easily find your items once you arrive. For example, you can use the label clothes as your main category, but t-shirts as a sub-category.

Or kitchen items as your main category and pots as your sub-category. A successful and efficient packing system will make sure your unpacking is a piece of cake!

The Final Countdown: Last Week Before the Move

As you approach the one-week mark before the big moving day, it's time to finalize your preparations. Here's a checklist for your last week:

  • Revisit your inventory checklist to see if anything is missing.

  • Make sure all boxes are sealed and labeled correctly.

  • Pack necessary items for your temporary stay. This should be enough items to last a month.

  • Notify banks and phone companies of your move.

  • Set up a mail forwarding system.

  • Have a going away party and spend time with loved ones!

Conclusion: You can now call yourself a packing expert

The process of packing is daunting to say the least. But when you reach your destination country and find how easy the unpacking process is all thanks to your excellent labeling system, your delicate items are intact and it is easy to settle in, you'll be able to let out a sigh of relief.

Congratulations! You are now a packing pro!

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