Submitted by Praosakun Chittapraneerat
Whether it is across the Atlantic Ocean or just a couple of borders, moving always seems like the most daunting task. You often don’t realize how many things you own until you have to pack it in an endless amount of cardboard boxes. But luckily, with careful planning and a little bit of patience, moving can be a lot easier and cheaper than you think. Here are a few tips and tricks so that you no longer have to dread your next big move!
- Plan, plan, and plan!
There is no such thing as too much planning. With such a big life transition, it is best to be as prepared as possible so that you don’t end up wasting both time and money. The first decision you need to make is what type of transportation to use. If you are not in a rush and you have big pieces of furniture, it might be best to ship it across. However, if you don’t mind spending more for a faster delivery time, then choosing an airline company is probably more convenient. Once you have chosen the method of transportation, it’s time to do some research and explore all your options. Compare the moving companies available according to price, delivery times and insurance policies. Look up country-specific import fees, customs regulations and duty costs. The internet contains an overwhelming amount of information, so don’t forget to make use of it!
- Give yourself enough time
Packing and moving is a long and hard process. Don’t rush it otherwise something is bound to go wrong. You need to give yourself enough time to organize, to make decisions and to do all the physical work. The length of time depends on your destination and how long you will be away for. If it’s a country you are not familiar with, then it may take more time to figure out what to bring. It also depends on the number of people. Packing for a family of four kids is going to take a much longer time than a solo traveler. If possible, you should even leave some extra weeks in case something is delayed or does not go as planned.
- Prioritize your belongings
The toughest part about moving is choosing what to bring with you. Go through your closets, cupboards, shelves and even attics to pick out the most essential things. Keep asking yourself the question of whether it is really necessary or if it could be replaced at a low cost. Another key factor is the climate at your new home. Maybe a fur coat wouldn’t have much purpose in a tropical place like Thailand. Contrastingly, you might own things with sentimental value that might not be very practical but would help make your new place feel like home. This could include things like antique cutlery your grandmother gave you or that rocking chair you’ve had since your first apartment. In general, you need to be harsh on yourself because the more you take with you, the tougher it is going to be on your wallet.
- Get help
Don’t put the burden of moving all on yourself. It is not worth injuring your body trying to disassemble a double bed when you could easily ask someone for help. This could either be a close friend or family member, or a professional moving company. There are many services available with varying degrees of help. If you have a large budget, you could hire someone to help with the entire process without having to break a sweat. However, this might make unpacking slightly more difficult and confusing, especially since you didn’t do everything yourself. It’s also nice to have a second opinion when you have to make tough decisions. Your friends would see past your emotional pleas and tell you that you don’t need that extra leather jacket.
- Pack well and efficiently
Whether you are packing a suitcase or a shipping container, try to pack as efficiently as possible. This seems like an obvious tip, but you’d be surprised how much of a difference it can make. When packing clothes, the best way is to stuff them in vacuum storage bags. By sucking out the air, you are packing as many clothes as possible in the smallest amount of space. If you don’t have access to these special bags, you can simply roll each clothing item into a tight bundle and line them on top of each other. With bigger objects, be smart about the way you stack them up in a container box. It might take some extra time to figure out the most space-efficient layout, but it is definitely worth it in the end.
- Sell/store any remaining belongings
After packing everything up, you may still have a lot of stuff left. Don’t make the mistake of throwing things in the landfill, just because it’s easy and you are exhausted by this point. Try to sell it on online marketplaces or have a big garage sale. Something might seem useless to you but could have much more value in someone else’s life. If you cannot find any buyers, then you can always donate it!
- Be patient
In every step of the way, patience is the key to a smooth move. It’s going to be hard, and it’s going to take time (maybe more than you expected). As mentioned, there are a lot of factors you need to carefully consider. It is not just physically exhausting, but also mentally draining. Do not expect everything to run perfectly. Your furniture might be damaged once it arrives, or you might have forgotten something important back at home. If a problem arises, remember that there is always a solution!
Moving to a new country is undoubtedly overwhelming, but it is also extremely exciting! The adventure does not start only once you step foot in your new home; it already begins the moment you decide to move. With all these tips and tricks in mind and the right attitude, packing and moving can actually be fun! All in all, don’t forget to enjoy this unique experience and you will be one step closer to living that expat life you have always dreamed of.
Submitted by Praosakun Chittapraneerat
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