Moving To Australia – Packing and Shipping

In the last post I went through some details of the visa application process, this post is more about the actual move and how the shipping arrangements work.

I will follow up with another post with how we are getting on and settling in.

We moved at the end of February 2018 after a week of skiing and a two weeks of sorting stuff for shipping. We’d pre-booked delivery of shipping boxes from Seven Seas Worldwide; they provided a reasonable price quote and the customer service was helpful with our queries. They also had good reviews online compared to some others in similar price brackets we had looked into. We had decided not to ship any furniture but still had a lot of other stuff to ship. Some companies pack your items for you but we didn’t really have enough space and probably weren’t organised enough for that as we weren’t taking everything with us. We had to let them know how many boxes we thought we might need and the sizes of any extra items we would want shipping. You pay a deposit for the boxes you request but you are only charged for the number you give to them for shipping, the cost of any extra boxes not used is taken off the shipping costs.

The boxes turned up on time, all packed flat with loads of tape, marker pens, bubble wrap, packing lists and details of how to pack, what was allowed and what would need to be checked. Australia has very strict border controls; no plants, seeds or anything would could contain seeds are allowed. Wooden items will also be checked for any signs of bark or anything living potentially in them. All shoes and outdoor items could be checked for signs of mud or plant life too. The Australian Borders website had details and links as to what is and isn’t allowed.

We decided to be quite harsh on what we would pack trying to avoid taking items we’d just be able to buy in Australia again cheaply. As recommended we tried to pack similar items together such as kitchen stuff/clothes etc. in one box. This didn’t always work as we would find things later on or items wouldn’t fit in the same box.

The important thing is to keep a record of everything going into each box, we kept a written record and then added this to a spreadsheet so we had accurate details of each box. The packing lists provided didn’t have much space for detailing the items included so we summarised on these but also included a print out of our detailed list as well. There were also a few extra items such as garden chairs which we wrapped up separately. We also packed and weighed our luggage we were taking on the plane to make sure this was under the weight limits, this meant we did have an extra box of clothes we needed to ship.

As requested the guy came to pick up the boxes about a week later, there was just one guy so we helped by carrying the boxes down the stairs, the company do request that all boxes are on the ground floor of your property but we we were in a flat that wasn’t possible. Surprisingly all 22 of our boxes and items hardly took up any room in the van. That evening we got a confirmed list of the number of boxes to be shipped, they also got back to us to query some items we had packed which wasn’t a problems they just wanted clarification.

The website allows you to track the items as they are shipped, at the moment the container is on a ship heading towards Singapore, i will update later with how the customs side of things goes.

For the rest of the furniture and items in the flat we advertised them on eBay, asked the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to pick them up (they offer a free pick up service) or gave items away on our local Colliers Wood Community Facebook group. After the initial booking with BHF we added the bed but this message didn’t get though so it is worth making sure to get confirmation that all items will be picked up first. Our sofa also didn’t have the fire safety label so they would not take this.

Fortunately we managed to get rid of everything and the flat was pretty much empty other than a few car loads of stuff and one run to the tip a few days before we were ready to leave.

After some final farewells we few out from Heathrow, fortunately we had Premium Economy tickets on Qantas so had 2 hold luggage bags, plenty of hand luggage and a very nice flight with a nice extra bit of legroom, food, service and comfort. We had the one stopover in Dubai before flying across to Melbourne arriving of the evening the next day. Michelle’s parents were there to pick us up, they weren’t quite brave enough to squeeze everything into one car as we did in London so went for two cars.

I think that is enough for now, i will write another follow up post with how we are getting on in our first few weeks.

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