How do you pack 39 (or 58 in my husbands case) years of life into a timber box less than half the size of a one-car garage? How do you pack your memories, your homely comforts, treasured items your children hold dear, and the practical things you want for when you arrive? It certainly wasn’t my favourite task in our move from Queenslands Sunshine Coast to Kent in England, but in a way it was a little cathartic and really made us think about what is really important and what could be rehomed or thrown away. I guess it was probably easier because we do prefer the minimalist way of home life and we do tend to hate clutter, moreso after reading The Minimalists and seeing their show – it gave us a new way of thinking about “stuff”.
We knew in July 2018 that we would be moving abroad later that year and immediately started preparing by researching, getting quotes, and looking at online blogs and vlogs of families who had gone before. We really had to consider what we would and would not take with us and what we would do with some of our things we would want on our eventual return. After all, we have always known and been open about the fact that moving to England was not a permanent move. We researched the cost of items we may need to replace and this also helped us to decide.
It seemed like Seven Seas was the best company to go with and the reviews were excellent not just on their website but on the forums and online discussions we had seen, and it seemed like the most cost effective way to send less than a shipping container. The problem with shipping containers is that if you are just sending items it often goes in with others belongings which can result in your items being misplaced. The Move Cubes used by Seven Seas come in small, medium and large, and are solid plywood type boxes that you get to pack yourself.
Initally you request a quote and once you book you pay a deposit at which time they deliver some basics and any other things you may have ordered to help with the packing, and the remainder is paid before delivery of the Move Cube. Its important to note that there are restrictions on what you can ship and there is a reasonable amount of paperwork involved that has to be completed properly and well in advance as this is a legal requirement. On the day of the move they arrive with the Move Cube, at which time you pack your items into it so its important you have everything ready at that time. Once loaded the backing is put in place to seal it and once at the depot it is wrapped in plastic for protection and complete sealing, and when ready this cube gets placed into a bigger shipping container.
It takes some time to arrive at your destination because it is coming by sea, however it is important to be flexible with your expectations of the arrival date as weather, port closures, and customs can delay this date which is what happened to us. You can chose for it to be delivered to your door or to the depot and you can choose storage for a time also, it doesnt cost much more to deliver to door so avoiding the hassle of renting a moving van is worth it. Once you have been notified of your Move Cube arrival you will be required to pay the destination charges before delivery, after which they will deliver to you so you can enjoy unpacking and settling into your new abode. I have to say that we had the most wonderful and professional service from Seven Seas and we will use them again to go home.
The actual packing was made so much easier using the “Moving Van” App which is free and easy to use. The App prompts you to label each box, identify the room its going into, and list items with photos underneath. This is great for two reasons: firstly it helps you identify where things are when it first arrives at your destination rather than sorting through every box for the item you want, and secondly it helps organise your items in itemised lists for you to transfer onto a document for the shipping company. We then labelled our boxes with the box number, our family name, the to and from locations, and our email address just to be as cautious as possible.
Surprisingly our television managed the distance without breaking and we wanted to bring it because it was one of those big ticket items and a gift from my father-in-law. We brought our mattress with us mainly because it too was a costly item and took so long to find one we liked and lets be honest, sleeping on an unfamiliar mattress is horrendous. We also brought our lounge chairs consisting of a three and two seater after looking so long to find a lounge suite that was perfect for our heights – it has done us well and we have decided to leave it here when we move home. Many of the basic things like a kettle, toaster and microwave and some of those smaller items we bought when we arrived, but we did bring our faithful Thermomix along. If you would like some insight to what we think are the best items to bring with you when moving abroad with a family, let me know in the comments and I will share that with you.
We have now come to time where we need to start thinking of our plans for going home and what that will look like. It was never meant to be more than 3 years yet here we are heading toward the 4 year mark and we have made a decision to stay until at least mid 2023. Since preparation is key for a successful move abroad we have started the countdown so we can make it the nicest experience possible and putting that experiential wisdom into action. Seven Seas will be our go to for moving home, although the cost going back is far more expensive that coming to the UK so we are downsizing everything and choosing a smaller Move Cube. We don’t have plans on an actual date yet and we haven’t arranged anywhere to live when we get back, but hope to get back to the Sunshine Coast – the place we love.
Cheers From Kent, Tams