My International Movers

When to Start Packing for a Move Across the World – Preparation for a Stress-Free Relocation

Julie Grace December 25, 2023
Posted December 25, 2023 In Moving Fundamentals,
Julie Grace

Originally from The Golden City, Julie has explored the ins and outs of moving and has written all the tips down.

Preparing for an overseas move requires a strategic approach, and at the heart of it lies a fundamental question: “When to start packing for a move?” As you set the wheels in motion for this exciting journey, our guide aims to demystify the optimal wrapping timeline. Join us as we delve into key stages and insider tips to ensure the entire international adventure goes swiftly.

When to Start Packing for a Move?

The ideal time to start preparing and wrapping your stuff is approximately 8-12 weeks before your departure date. This provides ample time for thorough planning, researching, and hiring a top-notch overseas moving company, and organizing your belongings. Starting early ensures a smoother, stress-free international relocation experience.

While the US government does not formally record emigration figures, approximately 9.4 million Americans are residing abroad, as reported by the Census Bureau. The annual percentage of individuals relocating internationally constitutes between 2% and 2.5% of the overall number of movers.

Understand Why a Timeline Is a Must for an International Relocation

Relocating across the world surely requires a well-orchestrated timeline, a roadmap guiding you from the initial preparations to the exciting moment of departure. After all, knowing when to start packing to move is not merely a suggestion – it’s the key to a seamless transition. That way you’ll not only ensure the safe arrival of your belongings but also significantly reduce the stress and make the relocation process easier.

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What Is the Typical Relocation Timeline?

Navigating an abroad relocation involves meticulous planning and adherence to a well-structured timeline. The typical relocation timeline spans several crucial stages:

  • 8-12 weeks before – This phase involves researching an overseas shipping company, understanding visa requirements, and securing housing arrangements.
  • 4-6 weeks before – The focus shifts to wrapping most belongings, including less frequently used items, with an emphasis on avoiding last-minute moving stress. Addressing legal and administrative tasks during this time ensures a smooth transition, from transferring bank accounts to securing essential documents.
  • 2-4 weeks before – The emphasis turns to preparing daily-use items and confirming arrangements with the overseas shipping company, guaranteeing a well-coordinated relocation.
  • Last week – To cap it off, the last week is dedicated to last-minute checks, boxing up essentials for immediate use, and preparing for the travel day – a comprehensive approach that encapsulates the essentials for an international move.

Check Out the Factors Affecting Your Personal Timeline

Your personal timeline is a dynamic factor in the moving equation. Work commitments, housing arrangements, and family needs are crucial influencers. That’s why a flexible approach is vital as you navigate these personal factors. A job with a fixed start date or a lease expiration may dictate a more rigid timeline, while family considerations may call for a more adaptable approach.

Initial Steps – 8-12 Weeks Before the Relocation

The essential phase of every relocation, especially the international one, begins 8-12 weeks before the grand departure, setting the stage for a seamless transition to a new chapter. During this critical window, the initial steps involve comprehensive research and planning, laying the groundwork for a well-prepared and stress-free relocation experience.

Research and Plan the Entire Process

When should you start packing to move? When figuring out how to relocate overseas, thorough research and planning emerge as your compass. This means you should carefully choose one relocation team that aligns with your needs. To embark on this journey stress-free, consider enlisting the expertise of a professional international moving company.

My International Movers, with its specialized packing services, can transform the daunting task of wrapping your belongings into a streamlined and efficient process.

After hiring reliable movers, navigate visa requirements with precision. After all, it will ensure a seamless transition to your new destination. Simultaneously, strategically plan housing arrangements to create a stable base for the forthcoming adventure. These critical steps not only set the tone for the entire process but also ensure that the relocation is anchored in informed decisions and a well-thought-out strategy.

Start With the Decluttering Process as Soon as Possible

As the countdown to your overseas relocation begins, so does the process of simplifying the wrapping journey, incorporating valuable moving abroad packing tips. Commence the decluttering process 8-12 weeks before the relocation, offering a strategic advantage in preparing for the transition. Begin this transformative process by sorting through your possessions, distinguishing between essentials and items ready for a new chapter in a foreign land.

Consider what to pack carefully, keeping in mind the unique needs, and take note of items movers won’t move. Implementing effective decluttering tips streamlines the wrapping process and ensures that only what truly matters makes its way to your new home. From what to pack to what not to pack, this early focus on simplification not only eases the physical aspects of wrapping but also contributes to a refreshed and organized start to your new life abroad.

Getting Organized – 6-8 Weeks Before the Relocation

The phase of organizing an international relocation 6-8 weeks before departure becomes instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition. This window provides the perfect opportunity to create a detailed inventory of your belongings and gather essential supplies.

Begin Boxing Up Your Non-Essentials When Moving Overseas

The one packing strategy for moving abroad you shouldn’t miss is actually the practical task of wrapping non-essentials. This includes items not used in your daily routine, such as off-season clothing and decorative pieces.

By addressing non-essential items early, you not only lighten the overall load for the big day but also create a sense of order in your current living space. Employ strategic packing techniques, such as sturdy boxes and protective wrapping, to ensure these items arrive at your new destination.

Picking Up the Pace – 4-6 Weeks Before the Relocation

As the excitement of your relocation intensifies, the 4-6 week mark serves as a pivotal phase for picking up the pace. During this period, the focus shifts to the continued wrapping of most belongings, with special attention given to items less frequently used.

Navigate this phase strategically to ensure a streamlined and efficient wrapping process leading up to the big transition. By starting this critical phase at the right time, you set the stage for a well-organized and stress-free transition to your new destination.

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Preparing the Most of Your Stuff

The main focus in this phase turns to preparing most of your belongings, strategically emphasizing less frequently used items. However, if you’ve never done this before, it can easily become one of the most challenging phases. This being said, here are the steps you should take in this phase:

  • Prioritize boxing up items not used in your daily routine, including off-season clothing and decorative pieces.
  • Employ systematic wrapping techniques, utilizing sturdy boxes, protective wrapping, and labeling for organized inventory.
  • Focus on possessions stored away, ensuring they are safely packed and ready for the upcoming international relocation.

One of the important pieces of information you should have in mind is that when you have professionals by your side, you’ll enjoy many perks. That’s how with My International Movers, besides a diverse range of services, you’ll get a complimentary storage service for the initial 30 days completely free.

Address All the Legal and Administrative Tasks

Amidst the hustle of wrapping, it’s crucial to pause and address legal, financial, and administrative tasks. Take the time to transfer bank accounts, settle outstanding bills, and secure important documents. Ensure that legal obligations are met, leases are terminated or extended as needed, and financial affairs are in order. This proactive approach guarantees a smoother transition, allowing you to focus on the excitement of your upcoming adventure without the weight of unresolved administrative tasks.

Final Preparations – 2-4 Weeks Before the Transition

As the calendar inches closer to your overseas relocation, the final preparations during the 2-4 week timeframe take center stage. This critical window marks the last phase of getting ready, ensuring that every detail is meticulously handled before the exciting transition to a new chapter.

Protect and Pack Daily Use Items

In this phase, you should shift your focus to daily-use items. These are the essentials that make your routine tick. Provide yourself with clear instructions on how to efficiently pack these items, ensuring accessibility during the final days in your current residence and the first few days post-relocation.

Additionally, consider preparing an essentials box, filled with must-have items for immediate use upon arrival. This thoughtful approach guarantees a smoother transition as you settle into your new home, allowing you to start your journey with the comforts of familiarity.

Don’t Leave Anything to Chance and Confirm Arrangements With International Movers

In the penultimate weeks, confirming arrangements with your chosen relocation team is a must. Take the time to verify essential details, including dates, insurance coverage, and any special instructions. These final preparations for global relocation ensure that both you and the movers are on the same page, mitigating the risk of last-minute surprises. Confirming arrangements provides peace of mind, allowing you to approach moving days with confidence and the assurance that your belongings are in capable hands.

The Last Week – Countdown to Moving Day

As the much-anticipated moving day draws near, the last week is crucial in your international relocation journey that involves a strategic countdown. It also plays a significant role in preparing for shipping overseas. Marked by heightened excitement and anticipation, this period ensures a seamless transition to your new destination, including the meticulous coordination required for the shipping of your belongings.

The Beauty of Last-Minute Checks and Boxing Ups

In the flurry of last-minute checks and boxing-ups, there exists a unique beauty – a final choreography ensuring nothing is left to chance as you prepare to embark on your journey. This phase is akin to the crescendo of a symphony, where each note, or in this case, each item on your to-do list, harmonizes to create a seamless transition.

Countdown to Moving Day – Prepare for the Big Day

The countdown culminates with the ultimate checklist for the last week, specifically tailored to prepare you for moving day. It’s a crucial component of any well-prepared international relocation checklist. This comprehensive guide encompasses essential tasks such as suitcases with necessities for immediate use, confirming travel arrangements, and ensuring all documents are readily accessible.

A Harmonious Prelude to Your International Journey

In the grand symphony of moving internationally, a well-planned packing schedule is a virtuoso conductor orchestrating a harmonious transition. The stages outlined, from initial preparations to the final countdown, serve as the sheet music for a successful relocation.

As you stand on the threshold of new beginnings, My International Movers stands ready to transform your relocation into a seamless and unforgettable symphony. Take the first step toward a stress-free international move by exploring our tailored relocation services. Your adventure awaits – let us be your guide. Contact us for a personalized and hassle-free relocation experience.


How Far in Advance Should I Book an International Moving Company?

It is advisable to book an international moving company at least 2-3 months in advance to secure your preferred dates and ensure a smooth transition.

What Items Should I Prioritize During the Initial Stages of Packing?

Begin with essential research and planning, focusing on researching relocation companies, understanding visa requirements, and planning housing arrangements.

How Do I Handle Packing Delicate or Valuable Items?

Safeguard delicate or valuable items by using appropriate packing materials, such as bubble wrap and specialized boxes. Consider professional wrapping services for added protection.

What Are Some Tips for Reducing Stress During the Packing Process?

Start early, declutter regularly, and break the packing process into manageable tasks. Delegate responsibilities when possible, and take breaks to avoid burnout.

How Should I Manage Packing if I Have a Limited Amount of Time?

Prioritize ruthlessly, focus on essentials, and seek assistance from friends, family, or professional packers to expedite the process.

What Should I Include in My Essentials Box for the First Few Days After the Move?

Pack essentials such as toiletries, a change of clothes, important documents, medications, chargers, and any other items you’ll need immediately upon arrival.

How Can I Ensure That My Belongings Are Secure During International Transit?

Ensure the use of quality packing materials, hire a reputable international moving company, and consider additional insurance coverage for added security during transit.

What Are the Most Common Mistakes People Make When Packing for an International Move?

Overpacking, insufficient planning, and neglecting to research customs regulations are common mistakes. Start early and stay informed to avoid these pitfalls.

How Do I Keep Track of All My Packed Items for Customs Purposes?

Maintain a detailed inventory list, including the contents of each box, and label boxes clearly. Keep important documents, such as receipts and customs forms, easily accessible.

What Should I Do With Items That I Decide Not to Take With Me?

Consider selling, donating, or responsibly disposing of items you choose not to take. Plan ahead to ensure a smooth transition for both your possessions and your new living space.



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