As you research and otherwise prepare for your London move, it’s inevitable that at some point you have to start packing up.  And packing for an overseas move is no piece of cake.  I’m the Queen of Procrastination, which is why I’m providing this Saturday series on how you can chip away at this mountain of a task and feel good about being productive over your weekend without feeling overwhelmed. 

Last weekend, I encouraged you to starting sorting it out.  That task combined with packing what you will move abroad will both benefit from today’s key advice:  keep inventory.

A simple pen and paper will do, at least to start.  Every time you place something into a box, write it down!  Grab a big ol’ black permanent marker and number that box (make sure your last name is on it, too!), then grab that pen and write the corresponding number on the paper.

The benefits:

– For privacy/security reasons, maintaining a separate list that corresponds with just a number on the box will spare you from writing all the contents onto that box surface.  You aren’t just tossing this into the back of your minivan or U-Haul rental this time.  Your boxes will cross many hands on its way across the sea.  Do you really want the movers to know where your fine crystal or jewelry is located?  Or your underwear for that matter?

– Especially for the boxes you are leaving behind in storage, you will be separated from your stuff for a while.  When you move home from London after a few years, will you remember where you put the toaster or your books?  It just makes it easier to find what you need, when you need it, not to mention what location it’s in if your belongings are stored around a few different friends’/family-members’ homes.  I swear, our pirate’s booty is spread over so many different houses, our packing list will be a virtual treasure map to reclaim it all again (Aarrrrr…).

– You will likely have to provide the international movers with an official inventory of what you’re moving to London.  We certainly did, along with estimates of value for each item for insurance purposes.  Customs will want to know what is coming into the country to ensure it is safe/legal—also, if you have an excessive amount of goods purchased at home within less than 6 months, they might slap an extra tax (close to 20%) on it if suspicious you plan to sell the goods here.

I remember how this had sent me into a massive panic, only because my husband and I had just gotten married, so a huge quantity of our items were shower and wedding gifts given, that’s right, in less than 6 months prior to our London move.  Rest easy if this will be your situation—proof of your wedding date (I think I may have also provided copies of our registries) should suffice so they realize all those items were gifts from other people that you have every right to bring with you.

Now that you have your lists, you may want to finalize them in an Excel spreadsheet for the movers (their documentation may have an area for it, but the space might be inadequate, and why give yourself a hand cramp by rewriting it all again?  Just attach it to the form) or otherwise just make sure it’s legible, consider making a copy, then store it in a safe place that you’ll remember months if not years from now.  London Relocation Ltd. wishes you well as you’re makin’ your lists and checkin’ ’em twice—nothing naughty, only nice ;).