Really, whether you’re making a domestic or international relocation, the way you pack your items is key to ensuring everything arrives at your new home in its original condition.

I don’t mean to belabor the subject in these recent posts; fact is, if you already know for certain you’re moving to London in the not-too-distant future, it’s never too early to start sorting and packing your goods. Leaving it to the last minute could stress you out beyond belief as well as result in a rushed job that could damage what you’re shipping over.

BECOME A HEAVY-WEIGHT CHAMPION OF INTERNATIONAL RELOCATION

If you’re presently enjoying an unbroken back, that is a very good thing, yes? You’ll want to continue that after your international relocation to London and hope that your movers can delight in it as well. I’ve written before how you probably don’t need to ship furniture and other large objects to your new London flat, but the big stuff isn’t all that can get extremely heavy. Poorly packing in this respect could therefore not only cause damage to your goods but injury to your body.

A few pointers that could help (aside from lift from the legs!):

– If a single item is already heavy on its own, you’re not going to want to pack much else with it. Place it in a small box, then secure it with either packing supplies (like bubblewrap, newspaper, and packing peanuts) or towels, sheets, etc. that you need to pack anyway.

– If an item is individually light but very heavy when packed in large quantities (like books), divide up the collection between separate, relatively smaller boxes and use lighter weight items to stuff in between (like bed linens, stuffed animals, sweaters, blankets, pillows, etc.).

* Think: Mix “Hards” with “Softs” *

– Finally, as you’re mixing your heavier and lighter items together, adopt a grocery-bag mentality. You probably wouldn’t place a bottle of wine on top of a bag of tomatoes. So, likewise, load the heaviest items into a box first. This not only protects the “soft”/fragile items but also prevents the box from getting top-heavy, which could cause it to fall over when lifted.

WHEN INTERNATIONAL RELOCATION BECOMES A DELICATE MATTER

Some of your possessions will be sturdier than others, but everything benefits from a layer of protection. Generally, anything that could get scratched, chipped, dented, and so forth should be wrapped in one of your “soft” items or paper/bubblewrap/etc. and secured with packing tape to keep it safely bundled when jostled around. For a long-distance international relocation, you’ll especially want to protect the box itself (and ergo, everything inside it) by packing it full enough so outside pressure won’t easily crush it; also, tape up the flaps at least three times for reinforcement.

As for the more specifically fragile items that your international relocation must handle with care:

– Glasses—wrap separately in bubblewrap/paper and pack each one standing up.

– Dishes—wrap separately in bubblewrap/paper and pack each one standing up on its side versus laying it flat.

– Mirrors/Frames—wrap individually in bubblewrap or blankets and pack inside a flattened cardboard box that you can simply seal at both ends with packing tape. You can also use a carton specially designated for pictures.

– Paintings—wrap individually in acid-free plastic first, then bubblewrap or blankets. These can also go inside a picture carton or box that you manually flatten for the purpose.

– Electronics—wrap separately in your choice of blankets, bubblewrap, etc. and be particularly mindful of any dials or buttons that stick out and could snap off; pad these bits accordingly.

– Lamps—remove shades and light bulbs and wrap everything separately and securely. Avoid getting multiple shades stuck together by placing a layer of paper between each one before stacking them.

Actually, for any furnishings that can be disassembled, do so for the sake of condensing their size and/or protecting their individual components (bookshelves and barstools, for instance). Again, wrap everything separately, but keep parts of the whole together so that, after carrying out your international relocation, you’ll have all the bits and bobs you need to reassemble your items. For example:

– pack shades/bulbs with their lamp bases

– keep detachable cords with their appliances

– keep screws/nuts/hooks/etc. in a Ziploc bag and either label it with which object these pieces go with or tape it directly to the object itself (which could help avoid accidentally throwing it away with your packing rubbish!)

International relocations entail a long journey, on which your possessions might take multiple modes of transport and perhaps sit in limbo a while, either waiting until the mover’s cargo container is full or for when your destination address is finally sorted. Your possessions are therefore going to be mixin’-n-minglin’ inside those boxes for quite some time and manhandled who knows how many times between Point A and Point B. Your moving company can surely provide professional packing services to keep your belongings secure, but for the extent that you do it on your own, be prepared, cautious, and thorough—that goes for any aspect of your international relocation!