Getting ready for removals day
Two to three days before the removal company arrives
The following assumes you are using a professional packing team. You have enough going on with planning this move abroad and keeping your children on track and reassured, so leave the actual packing to the professionals.
It’s probably best to start these final preparations at least a couple of days before the removal company’s crew are due to pack up. Don’t panic, just be methodical.
Keep this in mind at all times: anything that can be packed, will be packed.
Let me say that again – anything that can be packed, will be packed.
If an object is not either nailed down, hidden from view or very clearly labelled ‘Do Not Pack’ you will be in for some surprises when you finally unpack at the other end.
Your main objective right now is to prevent anything you need to take with you or use for the time being packed up and sent on the ship.
Professional packers are incredible, clearing a house quicker than you can believe possible because they have no emotional attachment to your belongings. Therefore, it takes them very little time as they aren’t reminiscing over a photo album or ornament – they’re just efficiently wrapping and packing.
These wonderful people just pack. They do not evaluate what they are packing. That is not their job. It is your job to ensure that what they see is what you expect to ship across the world. As far as the packers are concerned, it is better to pack something than face possible legal recriminations if something is left behind.
How did that get here?
As I say, they can literally pack everything. That includes full dustbins, empty bleach bottles, teapots containing tea bags, diaper bins and any random thing that’s in their way.
So have a major tidying up session before the packers arrive. And empty (and hide) the dustbins!
I devised a method that has worked for each of my moves – after the first one (see, I learnt!), and seems to be ‘language proof’: I print out a load of ‘no entry’ signs and stick them very securely on everything that wasn’t to be packed. This method received a big thumbs up from the foremen on each subsequent move.
More tips for packing day preparation
Pack your carry-on bags and luggage as much as possible before the packers arrive, partly to make sure everything important is out of the way, and partly to make sure everything fits in your suitcases. You may find you overestimated the capacity of your suitcases, meaning you may need to add extra to your shipping container. Or add extra weight to your air freight consignment. Not recommended!
View this as a packing trial run in case you need to include a few more items in your cargo.
Remove anything that is not to be packed in this shipment. If possible, place it all in one room with everything else that isn’t to be packed and lock or bar the door. Alternatively, leave it with a friend until the packing day is over. Or put it in your car and lock the door. You really do not want your passports being packed at this point.
If it cannot be hidden away, then make sure there are plenty of ‘do not pack’ notices on it. Print them off and tape them very, very securely onto objects. Signs with words on have been ignored in the past, but the no entry symbol seems to be recognised by everyone whatever their language. Make sure you point your ‘do not pack’ system out to the packers before they start so the whole team are aware of it.
Put everything left back into its rightful place. All kitchen stuff should be in the kitchen, office items in the office. This will make the room-specific boxes easier to unpack at the other end. Boxes will be labelled with the room the items are from, so it will be easier to sort items when unpacking if everything is in its correct space.
Make sure any white goods are spotlessly clean. Several weeks in the hold of a ship can cause entire new life forms to take over. Yuk!
Dismantle flat-pack furniture. Make sure you keep all the fixings safe.
Take pictures and wall decor down from the walls, and stack separately with other framed pictures and photos so they can be packed safely together and away from other things.
Batteries have to be removed from everything being shipped due to the explosion risk.
Remove anything from your bookshelves that is not a book. You don’t want your knick-knacks boxed with your books. Although doing this doesn’t actually guarantee that books from the office will not be dropped randomly on top of a glass bowl from the dining room… Yes, bitter experience, again.
If you still have the original packaging for any items like TVs etc., pack them yourself and fill up any excess space with soft items such as cushions, socks, towels etc.
Vacuum pack soft, bulky items such as duvets, soft toys and thick clothing.
Make sure to pull out hidden items so they don’t get left behind. One time the packers didn’t realise there was a drawer under the oven, so the baking trays and muffin tins didn’t get packed.
And again, don’t forget the garden, shed, attic and garage. It’s so easy to overlook these in the confusion. We had to call our packers back once as we had forgotten to show them some important garden ornaments.