How to pack for an international move

Are you going to move abroad soon? Exciting! You get the chance to experience a whole new place and its culture. However, moving your stuff is, of course, a lot more difficult than if you were to move to a place close to your old house. Fortunately, you will find plenty of tips in this article to make an international move go as smoothly as possible.

What is the best way to pack your things?

Naturally, you don’t want your belongings to get damaged while in transit. So, make sure you pack them properly. How do you do that? First of all, you will need to make sure that you have the right packing materials, such as moving boxes and bubble wrap. Good quality materials will help avoid damage. Items that fit in moving boxes should be packed in moving boxes. These boxes provide protection and more importantly, they are stackable. This will save space in the container and save a lot of time as opposed to moving all goods separately into the moving van.

How many boxes do you need?

It can be tricky to determine how many moving boxes you will need. This, of course, is different for every household. Your moving company can help you make an estimate based on the following information:

  • 1.5 box per kitchen cabinet
  • 2 boxes for kitchen appliances on the counter
  • 10 boxes for all loose items in the living room
  • 1.5 box per full shelf of a two-door cabinet
  • 2 boxes per meter of a bookcase
  • 8 moving boxes for a wardrobe. There are special boxes for suits and dresses. This is approximately 1 box per meter of hanging clothing.
  • 2 boxes for the pantry. Please note: you are often not allowed to bring food with you.
  • 4 boxes per meter for items in the attic
  • 20 to 30 boxes for a garage or shed
  • 10 boxes for the garden. Please note: plants and items with remnants of soil are not permitted in a moving box

How do you protect fragile items?

Moving boxes are made to protect your belongings, but fragile items will need some extra protection. Make sure that boxes with breakables are always completely filled, so that the items cannot move. You will also want to add enough protective layers. You can do this with paper towels and newspapers (although the ink might rub off), but the best option is using special packing paper.

Always put a protective layer on the bottom of the box and pack plates upright. Glasses and cups should be packed on their sides and put a wad of packing paper between each cup or glass and stack them on top of eachother. Cutlery should also be wrapped in paper. If you have silver cutlery, make sure you use acid-free wrapping paper. Be sure to write “FRAGILE” on the top and the side of the box in large and clear letters.

How do you label your moving boxes?

When you move, you will use so many different boxes that at a certain point you no longer know which items are in which box. To avoid this, label your boxes correctly. For this you need a packing list. Write a number on the box and then note on the packing list which items are in the relevant box. You don’t have to write down every single article, a rough categorization is enough. Always note the number of products per box. 

You must also indicate on the packing list under “additional info/room” which room the box should be placed in, so that the mover quickly knows where to put everything. Also put your name and the country of destination on the box.

What is the most a moving box should weigh?

In general, a box is not allowed to weigh more than 20 kilograms (or 44 lbs). Movers will not put every moving box on a scale, but should you feel that a box is a bit on the heavier side, we advise that you remove some items. A box that is too heavy is not good for the movers and you don’t want the box to tear open, especially if it contains fragile items. Tip: for extra protection, always use moving tape on the bottom of the box, even with the lighter boxes.

Pay attention to the following items

You will have to pack the following items in a particular way

  • Books: Always put books on their side and put them in a smaller box to avoid overloading.
  • Electronics: These are very fragile and must therefore be packed very carefully. If you still have the original packaging, use that. Include the manufacturer’s name and model number on the packing list
  • Fridge/Freezer: Refrigerators and freezers must be completely defrosted and cleaned in good time, so that no mold can form. Furthermore, you have to pack it in cardboard, but make sure you can still lift it. Again, state the name of the manufacturer and the model number on the packing list.
  • Washer and dryer: There must be absolutely no water left and the drum must be secured with the bolts that are included with the appliance. The washer and dryer should also be wrapped in cardboard, with a small opening to allow for lifting. Include the manufacturer’s name and model number on the packing list.

How do you pack large furniture?

Products that do not fit in moving boxes must also be properly packaged. This concerns large furniture such as cupboards and benches. Many pieces of furniture can be disassembled and reassembled in the new house. To prevent that you will no longer know how the furniture was put together, it is wise to take photos of the furniture while it is still intact. In addition, you must put all loose parts, such as door knobs and screws or remote controls, in a separate bag and clearly indicate for which piece of furniture it is.

Furniture that cannot be taken apart

Large furniture or parts of large furniture that have to be moved in their entirety must, of course, not be damaged. Therefore, always pack it well with cardboard or bubble wrap. It is important that the furniture can still be lifted, so leave a part of the furniture without wrapping. You should also wrap other large items that can be damaged, such as ladders or bicycles. There are even special bicycle boxes for the latter. Detach the handlebars and pedals and pack them separately.

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