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Leaving without tears

Most of us came from somewhere overseas to settle here in Thailand. Remember what a giant hassle that was? The packing up, the throwing away, the wondering if they had XYZ appliances in the new country and the worries if the crystal chandelier would travel. There is no getting away from it; packing up is not a fun business.

The other day I received a “Helpful Hints” list from Four Winds International Moving, one of the groups who specialize in getting your goods and chattels from one end of the world to another. I was so impressed with the details that I felt it should be published, so here it is. In the original form it was a “Tick the box” exercise, but even in text form this list will be invaluable.

As soon as you know you are moving

Obtain information about the city and country you will be moving to. Maps, pictures and books will give your family a “feel” for your new home. Knowledge of the climate, voltage and lifestyle will help you decide what to bring with you.

Apply for visas after gathering all the documents you need, photos, etc.

Eliminate items you will not need. Well before the move, go through your rooms to weed out those things you don’t want to take with you. Discard old magazines and junk, arrange for the sale of usable items or donate them to charitable organizations.

Use up perishable items. Take inventory in your kitchen and make plans to finish up frozen food, opened packaged goods, and any other food or household items you don’t want to ship.

Arrange your packing dates with your mover. Be sure to inform the moving consultant who surveys your goods about items you won’t be shipping and items you plan to purchase before you leave. Large or heavy items included later will affect the weight and volume of your packed shipment and consequently the cost of the move.

Make a personal inventory. List your furniture and personal effects, indicating an insured value for each item or group of items. This list will be used to arrange transit insurance to cover your goods “all risks” from door to door.

Notify your landlord or housing agent of your approximate departure date.

One month before

Obtain personal records from schools, doctors and dentists. Check your family’s passports to make sure they are up to date. Check progress on your visa applications. Purchase airline tickets and book flights.

Make sure your inoculations are up to date. Take care of any pending medical or dental problems and obtain a supply of any prescription items you need regularly. Travelling is more enjoyable when you are in good health.

Two weeks before

Return borrowed items such as library books and videos. Collect items that you have lent to others.

Notify utilities and delivery firms of the date of your departure. Settle your accounts with the supermarket, newspaper, etc. Arrange for essential utilities such as gas, water, electricity and telephone to continue through to moving day, so that these services will remain in effect until you leave the premises.

Prepare change of address notices for the post office, subscriptions, friends, insurance companies and credit cards. Arrange with your bank to transfer your account to your destination city.

Send out garments and carpets for cleaning. Most clothing items, as well as carpets, travel best when clean and dry. Cleaning will also reduce chances of mould and mildew en route.

A few days before

Defrost and clean your refrigerator and freezer. If you are moving these appliances they should be washed and wiped dry and along with your washing machine allowed to air with the door open for at least 48 hours.

Gather valuables, jewellery, keys and important papers from your safe security box. Collect your passports, tickets and other travel documents. Select the clothing, shoes and other items that will accompany you on your trip. Check your suitcases and purchase any additional pieces of luggage you need.

The night before

If possible turn off your room air-conditioners and use them only when necessary during the packing. Furniture kept in a constantly cooled climate will condensate when suddenly exposed to hot air. Allowing your furniture to adapt to the warm air can be helpful in eliminating moisture problems during transit in the tropics.

Pack your suitcases and remove them, together with your valuables, passports and tickets to a safe place such as a trusted neighbour’s home. This will protect them from being accidentally packed with your goods.

Set your personal telephone and address book aside. You may need it to get in touch with someone later.

Dispose of all remaining flammables, dangerous or hazardous materials. Throw away bottles of nail polish and liquids in glass bottles. Bleach and ammonia, if spilled, broken or leaked can cause considerable damage to other items in a shipment and should not be packed. Nor should cleaning fluid, explosives or other dangerous items.

Get a good night’s rest. Have the farewell party a few days before the move. You need your sleep to have your wits about you tomorrow.

On Moving Day

Relax and let the professional movers take over. You or your spouse should be on hand to supervise the packing, making sure nothing is left behind and to receive copies of your shipping documents. Be sure you have the telephone number and address of the moving company at your destination, so you will know who to contact on arrival.

While there are many moving firms in this area, this “aide memoire” was supplied by Four Winds International Moving Limited, telephone 352 268, 352 279, fax 352 269 or email [email protected]

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Updated by Chinnaporn Sungwanlek, assisted by Boonsiri Suansuk.
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