How to Pack Your Container

The shipping container arrives!

When I moved overseas, the moving company gave me no instructions for the moving container. I called them thinking that someone had just forgotten to send me anything. The women on the other end said “don’t pack liquids”. I am fairly sure my mouth dropped open as I wondered if that was all she was going to say and in fact, she was done. That was her advice.

While not packing liquids is an important rule there are some other things to think about.

What will you send in your container and how much can you bring with you on the plane? We waited ten weeks for our container and in the meantime, the seasons changed and we did not have appropriate clothing. I remember I cut my son’s jeans off into shorts on a particularly hot desperate day.

What types of paperwork will you need on you that you won’t want sitting in a container?

  • Documentation for visas
  • Proof of immunizations or school records

What about kitchen items? Our movers on the day of the move recommended that I not bring any food items due to pests and the length of time in the container. However, I was not about to throw out my spice collection! I made sure all were properly sealed and had them packed. I also packed a few new sealed items that I knew we might miss in our new home, for example, my son’s Cheerios. Just make sure it is not a product that is forbidden to transport. (i.e. dried or canned meats are forbidden to be brought into the USA)

Do you need to downsize? For many reasons, you may need to downsize: space in the container, smaller place where you are moving, and reducing your environmental footprint. See my book for other ideas on how to downsize for moving internationally.

Forbidden items in the container:

  • Nuts, seeds and plants
  • Firearms
  • Aerosoles and household cleaners
  • Explosives
  • Perishable food items