Packing to Move Overseas-What to Know




Just wanted to give everyone an update. We closed on the house on October 1st and moved out on October 2nd. We are really lucky that the house sold quickly within 90 days and I got what I wanted for it. I have to say we had a great realty group.

Packing to Move Overseas Procedures

Moving boxes, Hat box

Packing to Move Overseas (

The movers said that packing for a shipment overseas takes about twice as long as a move within the country. Why?

Every box must be labeled with the general contents and have a corresponding number for inventory. This is so immigration can know what you have shipped and determine the value if any of the items will have a customs duty on them. It is also vitally important for any insurance that you have purchased.

When I looked online at several websites, I couldn’t find any website detailing exactly how and what the specific procedures were for moving abroad. So now that I know I am here to tell you.

Before I knew what to do, we began packing items into small boxes about a month before the move. We packed things we knew we would not use. Movies, music, books, etc. These were easy things to pack as we figured they did not need any packing material and fit well into the small boxes we used. At first, before we had talked with the movers about the specifics of the packing, I had taped the boxes shut, thinking I was making life easier for the movers by doing some of their work. Before we  had 10 small boxes done, they called to let us know that they wanted all the boxes arranged in order and remain open for inspection as to contents. Okay, so we reopened a few boxes. They also told us to keep the weight down per box so the movers could lift them easily.

So Here is the Scoop On What to Do When Packing For Your Overseas Move

  • You can reuse boxes you find  ONLY IF there is no writing on any kind on the outside of the box. This means (from personal experience) boxes from UHAUL that have their own labels on the outside are a no no.
  • Never reuse a box in which you received  a product. (I had kept all the boxes that my computers, television and other electronics were in. I also kept all the packing material that was for each specific item. This would have been great to use for a move across country, however to a customs person in any other country, the original shipping boxes would make that item appear to be new and duty would be charged on that item.)
  • We learned early on that Space Bags were great at cutting down the space needed for clothes and linens. Although it made them heavy. We used only the small size ones so we could still fit them into boxes and make them not to heavy for the movers.
  • Other clothes, that I packed into boxes I first put into large lawn and leaf  bags to protect those items from (ok who knows, it just made sense at the time).
  • I guess this has to be said. Don’t ship guns, fluids that will ignite, contraband, food, seeds or plants, jewelry, or money or gold. Customs will go through your belongings. They will also fumigate your belongings.
  • Don’t close the boxes. Let the movers do that so they can confirm the contents for insurance and customs. Plus they use industrial tape and lots of it.
  • Make a list of all the items in each box. Not a specific list, just a general list. Such as clothes, kitchenware, desk office supplies, cd’s and DVD’s or any personal papers.
  • Each box must be numbered in sequence with the contents. We used a big black permanent marker.
  • Purchase the insurance. (Talking with people who had already moved, the recommendation was to get the insurance) Even though we only had a total of 51 boxes and most things were replaceable, we decided to get the insurance mainly for the electronics. They are harder to replace and more expensive to purchase out of the United States.)
  • I also recommend that you download some type of free software to do a home inventory. I used WHO What You Own. No one recommended me do this but I thought it was a great idea to have some type of proof of the shipped items, their purchase date, cost, serial number and model numbers. This software allowed me to list all our electronics, television, cameras, DVD player, microwave, stereo equipment and surround system. Before we had the movers pack those items, I took pictures of each item, collected the model numbers, serial numbers and dug out my manuals and receipts. I scanned all of those to my computer and downloaded the pictures also. The software enabled me to input the information and add any pictures of receipts and the actual items. So I finished that and saved it on the laptop I took with me and also printed out a hard copy. That allowed me to send the manuals and other receipts along with the items to be shipped. The company we used will remain nameless until we get actual delivery. I want to make sure that if I really endorse a specific company, that they really followed through for me. So far though they have been terrific to deal with.

    Moving boxes, Moving to our final destination

    The Movers

The local movers came on Oct 2nd at about 9am and had everything organized, inventoried, counted, packed and taped in a little over 2 hours. They wisked away all of our favorite personal possessions. They were packed by a company in Aurora who then will ship to Miami and store everything until we give the go ahead with a permanent address where they can send the shipment to.

We are living at an Extended Stay America in the Denver Tech Center, at least for another week or so. This has given me time to figure out how to use my new video camera and take the video I made earlier and put it here. Please be kind, the photographer (me) is new to the whole video thing. I will get better. Here it is :

We are continually amazed that we are very comfortable in our new small home (hotel room). All of our lives and personal belongings are with us in 4 suitcases. The only bad part is that we only packed summer clothes we will need in Panama and as you all know last weekend was quite chilly. Down here we even had some snow.

I will update when we get closer to moving and finally want to say that I will be adding more to the website pages, that I encourage you to visit at the right of this blog.

For more on how to move and pack, please visit my page on What to Bring and How to Move it Abroad


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