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Shippy's avatar

I am moving overseas, and I have no idea where to start?

Asked by Shippy (9870points) August 30th, 2012

I have sold my home, and I am off to the UK. I realize this is a good move for me for lots of reasons. I suffer with bipolar and acute anxiety disorder as well.

OK, where to start. I am currently not sleeping either so everything seems huge.

here are some questions if any one has any suggestions? (I realize they might sound simple but I can’t think straight!!)

1. How do I move my photographs and paperwork ?
2. If I want to hire a small crate to ship is it expensive, who do I contact?

I am leaving my furniture too, as I sold it along with my home, so would like to take some personal things maybe? Like my pillows or sheets, things to feel familiar, any suggestions there?

In fact any suggestions helpful thank you!

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32 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

I would suggest some kind of durable storage container system such as PackRat where you can pack items securely and in a weather-proof locking container.

Then find a local service or person to entrust with local storage of the container until you have determined where you are going to live. At that point, it might be convenient to send the container as-is, or repack it (some items being proved unnecessary due to local availability, hence “too expensive to ship”) and arrange with US and your now-local Customs people to clear the shipment at both ends.

It would definitely be worth your time, and it may be worth a fair amount to you in actual dollars, too, to consult with professional movers on planning and execution advice in this regard. That customs clearance thing can be a big, expensive and time-consuming hurdle to overcome. If your package fails to clear Customs at either end it can languish at a dockside warehouse (at your expense for the storage space) for weeks, months or indefinitely (or fail completely and require shipment back to the source or even destruction). In our business we make routine shipments of mechanical and construction materials overseas to countries who are in desperate need of the products we provide, and still we get hung up in Customs during the import process. (One hopes that would not be such a big hurdle with shipments between the US and UK, but still, best not to take chances.)

Good luck with the move. I’ve made over half-a-dozen coast-to-coast whole-house moves in the US, but I’ve never tried to move my domicile overseas. That does sound daunting.

Bellatrix's avatar

Given how you are feeling I would invest in professional movers. They will come in and pack up anything you need to go. Less stress for you and they will quote you based on the size of the job.

With your photos and paperwork – can you get someone to help you with this. I don’t know how many photos you have but I think you should take all your photos. You could scan them but I like to actually hold photos sometimes, to pass them around and share. You don’t want to have to print them all off again on quality paper. Unless you have thousands, get a box and pack them away. I wouldn’t use albums. More weight and cost transporting them. Speak to your photography shop about whether putting them in plastic bags will harm them?

Get a friend to help you go through your paperwork and decide whether you need to keep things or can bin them. Given your frame of mind I just think having someone very sensible and practical will help you make decisions and it will be a collaborative thing and therefore less stressful.

So happy you have managed to sell your property so quickly. I hope your move will be successful and a very positive thing for you.

janbb's avatar

We moved years ago from the UK to the States. Bought two camp trunks and packed our wedding gifts and other things in them. We left them with a brother who shipped them when we asked. I don’t think it was too costly. I would definitely save personal mementos and pictures. Weed the paperwork and only take what you really need.

Shippy's avatar

Thanks the professional movers sound like a plan. I just hope my home money comes through in time, to cover.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Congratulations on selling your home. That’s a huge hurdle. You took that step and made it through. You can make it through the other steps, too. Remember, it’s one step at a time.

I realize moving from South Africa to the UK is going to be difficult, and I’m unfamiliar with the South African postal system. If it’s trustworthy, you could send a lot of your things through the post.

How to start? One picture at a time.

How much does a crate cost? Get out your phone book and call no fewer than 3 shipping companies. I moved from Japan to the US once, and one freight company had a special on a cubic meter box. It was perfect. They brought me the box, I filled it, and they sent it on its way.

Best of luck and keep us informed of your progress.

Shippy's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Thank you, I feel so stupid loll. But I will get there, I hope.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Shippy : You are not stupid. You need assistance, and you’re reaching out for it. That takes courage. You’re brave.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Shippy Boy, you sure were not kidding about your avatar. : )

Shippy's avatar

It’s so strange although I know it is a good move, I am scared to leave all familiar. Well maybe not so strange. Familiar things have kept me going little else! Now those things are going. I do wish I could take lot’s with me, as well as a little of the ocean and sand!! Perhaps also a bottle of sunshine.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

Dear Shippy,

As a porcupine with little experience within this particular field I can only offer some assistance via what happened with my dear friend TheHesitantHedgehog.

Hedgie was also hesitant at moving and like you wanted something to remind them of their old home. They made a list of everything they would like to take with them and then laid them out to see how much space it took up. (very small space as hedgehogs do not own a lot) This list was then given to The Meerkat Moving Company and they were asked about how much space they believe that this would require. It at least allowed Hedgie to then know if they could take more or not before throwing things out.

When you are in the UK please do let me know and consider popping by for tea.

Shippy's avatar

@TheProfoundPorcupine loll. I think I want to take more than Hedgie!!

fremen_warrior's avatar

A move in the right direction! Europe welcomes you ;-)

Bellatrix's avatar

If you think “I really can’t leave this behind” try not to. I moved from the UK to Australia and there were so many things I said “I won’t want/need that” and I later missed or wished I had those things.

As to sunshine, sand and water… as long as it doesn’t breach quarantine/customs regs why not fill a little miniture bottle with some sand from your favourite beaches, or some dirt from the side of the road. You are going to miss South Africa. You will have times when you question the decision you have made. Those little mementos will help when that homesickness hits.

You are definitely not stupid either. Moving can be quite overwhelming. One step at a time :-)

Kayak8's avatar

Others are giving great suggestions. I would only add that important papers should be carried on your person, not entrusted to movers, shipping, etc.

wundayatta's avatar

I think you should do some planning for your mental health. Perhaps get a recommendation for a psychiatrist or a therapist in the community you will be locating. Keep track of your meds. Get prescriptions in advance, if you can. Although I don’t know if you actually take any meds. If not, never mind.

Also keep up your exercise and try to get yourself to bed regularly at the same time every night. Just make yourself do it. You know this is important. If you have anyone helping you, ask for help with the mental stuff.

You havea chunk of change now. I would not let you hold it in cash. I would ship it off to the UK as soon as possible, before you can risk spending any of it. Find someone you can trust to hold it for you in some way. But set up a back account in the UK, or use an international bank, and put it in an account that is hard to get it out of for trivial things. Do not go on any spending sprees. This money has to hold you until you can get work in the UK and get the income going.

I don’t know if you’ve had any manic episodes, but money goes fast when people have them. If you’ve had them, you know what I mean. Have a plan to protect yourself if you get sick. If you are not sleeping, you are increasing the likelihood of a manic episode. Take care of yourself.

abundantlife's avatar

Hiring shipping company is the best option for moving. There are number of moving and relocation agencies available in UK which will help you move.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I moved my entire household overseas – twice. After cleaning and getting rid of junk, everything in the home was sorted into 4 categories:
Carry: Important papers, meds, one day night of clothing, passports
Air Ship: Things we would need for first week. Limited clothes
Sea Ship: Things we would want, but could do without for 6 weeks. Furniture
Store: Items that we could do without for 3 years. Furniture, garage items, motorcycles

Air shipment was limited to 1200 pounds for 4 people.
Sea shipment was limited to one sea container. (Huge!)
Storage was virtually unlimited. House items were stored in temperature controlled facility. Motorized equipment and anything flammable went into an outdoor storage facility.

Everything was handled through a shipping company. They did the paperwork, packing prepared the inventory, provided insurance, and even did the unpacking. They replaced a TV that one guy dropped and broke during the move.
The expenses were fully covered by my company. But after seeing what was involved, I would use a professional company again – even if it was out of my own pocket.

flutherother's avatar

I have been in a similar situation as you know but I didn’t have much stuff and what I had fitted into two suitcases.

I digitised my photographs and much of my paperwork and put them on a USB stick as a precaution. I carried the most important hard copies with me.

Regarding the bigger items I would speak with shipping companies such as UPS and discuss what you want done and how much it will cost. They are expert at what they do and you will find them very reassuring.

I would consider carefully what you want to take. In your circumstance items of sentimental value are the most important though that doesn’t mean you have to take them all. Consider with some care what you have to take. It may be cheaper to buy clothes in the UK than to ship them over for example.

Rather than starting with everything you have and deciding what you can eliminate it can be good practise to start from scratch and consider what is essential for you to take. Sentimental items must be included but it is surprising how little stuff you really need.

How much you take depends to some extent on your accommodation in the UK. If you are staying with someone or living in a bedsit you won’t have room for very much. You could put things in storage but again there will be costs and I would recommend paring things down to a minimum. That suited me and my personality but you may feel differently.Perhaps a friend could store some of your stuff in South Africa for shipping over later.

PS I would definitely bring some bottled sunshine. We are heading towards winter over here and the sun will be keeping a very low profile. Let me know if you intend to venture north of the border because I would buy you a cup of coffee.

Shippy's avatar

@flutherother Thank you! Yes I am actually, venturing very far north, how far are we talking!! Might turn out I am your neighbor!!

flutherother's avatar

Well you never know. I am about 56 degrees north up here in a sizeable city.

Shippy's avatar

@flutherother My geography really sucks! loll

flutherother's avatar

I’m in Glasgow, Scotland.

Shippy's avatar

@flutherother Oh thats fantastic, I will be in Edinburgh! so yes I’ll have that coffee!!

flutherother's avatar

@Shippy It is a small world indeed. It’s a deal.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

@Shippy do not forget the tea and perhaps a fruit scone can be thrown into the equation as well

Shippy's avatar

@TheProfoundPorcupine I feel much more positive now, I have a couple of friends over there ha ha. Not a bit of crumpet then ?

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

@Shippy well crumpet requires the correct amount of buttering up but it is an interesting thought

TheTao's avatar

you have a visa to live there?
a work permit to remain in the UK?
How long did it take to get a residency visa?
Do you have plenty of money resources ?
England has plenty of people unemployed and on welfare.
why go there?

research they are international shippers of whole households.

Shippy's avatar

I’m going there because I am british.

janbb's avatar

@Shippy Hope your upper lip is still sufficiently stiff.

Shippy's avatar

@janbb That in itself would be a good question loll.

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