1. Bring the Kitchen Table. Or something tangible which reminds you of home, provides some comfort as well as stability in those moments when you’re feeling unsure and not at ‘home’.
2. Turn knobs inside out. If you are having professional movers, they should know to do this. If not, to be sure knobs are not scratched, unscrew them from the outside and re-screw them on the inside of the drawer. No lost screws and no scratched knobs. This inside out rule applies for other items as well, for example your sugar bowl lid.
3. What to put in your luggage. Your air shipment and/or container will take some time to arrive in your new home. Therefore, pack not only essential items (medicine) in your checked luggage, but also a few items that are also very useful to have (though perhaps not essential) but will provide some comfort in the first weeks.
4. Unpack as quickly as you can. Even if it is just one box at a time, unpack as quickly as you can so that the walls become filled with color and the tables filled with photos. Not only do you need to get used to your home, but your possessions need to find their place too!
5. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Yes, I know what I just said in point 4. However, keep in mind, you have just arrived in a new country and are perhaps overwhelmed with many things. Remember, unpacking doesn’t have to be done in a day or within a week. Balance your time and listen to your body. If you need a break, take a break.
6. Labels. Use them as often as you can. Use colored labels. Use room named labels. Use home level labels. Fragile. This End UP. Load last. Unload first. Whatever kind of labeling system works for your and your items is best. Just remember to label and mark the boxes.
7. Legal. Be sure you know what you are allowed and not allowed to ship and bring with. Check with the moving company as government regulations and the specific rules of the moving company may differ.
8. Mental Move. Keep in mind, while you are labeling your possessions, about your mental move as well. What goes in your air shipment (need immediately)? What goes in your SEA shipment (need, but not right away)? What goes in STORAGE (needed, but not in the new country)? What stays (things to let go of and are no longer of use for you)?
9. A picture is worth 1000 words. Use a camera to take pictures of how complicated wiring is hooked up. Label wires. Keep plastic bags handy for screws and small pieces essential to rebuilding furniture and electronics.
10. Get a massage. Remember moving day is moving day. This is no longer a packing day! This is the day the movers come and fill the container. Most often, they don’t need everyone to be around all the time for this. Take this time for yourself, relax and know that things are moving along.