Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Big Move - Preparation

My flight is this Saturday, my bags are packed, and I am almost ready to go. It is pretty exciting and I am really looking forward to arriving in Sweden and settling in. There are challenges that await me and a few organisational hurdles that remain, but I am ready and it is almost time to go.

Moving internationally is fairly complicated, there are a variety of shipping methods, customs forms and insurance required and despite having a number of coworkers who had made the move from Europe to Australia we had a surprisingly small pool of advice to draw from.

We knew that we did not want to send everything, and that we didn't want to try to tackle that kind of a logistical burden. Instead we used a shipping service a couple of our friends recommended after using them to move to Switzerland. They had a pretty good experience with them, unfortunately for us, it was not replicated.

I should note that I didn't do much of the organisation for this move. My fiancée did the bulk of the organisation, she did not have the formal work hours I did, and so was better able to organise quotes and the like. The quoting process for this service actually involves sending someone to your home, discussing your plans with them and showing them roughly the kind of materials you plan to move.

The biggest advantage of using a shipping service is that we didn't have to pack most of our stuff ourselves, organise boxes, packing materials, helpers, removalists and cleaners, the service we used did all of that for us. We were actively discouraged from packing, as if they packed then they could sign off on the manifest for customs and insurance, and since they are a trusted company, they are less likely to be delayed by customs.

Our move was slightly more complicated than normal, because we conveniently were able to send most of our furniture to one of our friend's houses for safe keeping, they had the space and were happy to get free use of furniture in exchange for providing free storage. In order to keep things a little simpler, we organised that aspect of the move through Grace as part of the whole operation.

This meant that our task was to go through our house put things into the following categories:
  • To be sold/thrown out/donated to charity
  • To be sent to our friends
  • To be sea freighted to Sweden
  • To be air freighted to Sweden
  • To be taken with us
  • To be stored with family
Selling  and donating things was specifically my job, the furniture our friends did not want went up on eBay and 2 items sold. The rest went out onto the street for the council to pick up. The clothes and books we weren't keeping were taken to the Salvos in Glebe and donated.

Our sea freight was arranged to be picked up and shipped about a month ahead of the actual move. We knew were going to be quite busy post Christmas and sorting it out closer to my fiancée's flight would have been simply too difficult and my parents were happy to have us stay with them in the meantime.

We packed some boxes and suitcases for the things we needed, our air freight and the remaining items that weren't to be shipped and took them to my parent's house. All that we had left in the apartment was  pretty much ready for the furniture move and sea freight pick up, which I will leave for next time.

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