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APR 20 2017

Deciding What To Take When Moving Overseas To Australia Or Internationally

Posted in Australia, Overseas

Have you and your family committed to moving overseas and are looking to take your possessions with you? Whether you're moving to Australia or any other international destination, there can be considerable debate as to what items to ship and what things to leave members invariably have different views on this and these decisions can be the subject of lengthy conversations within the family circle!

It is recommended to have these discussions prior to arranging your pre-move survey where the Sales Consultant from your chosen relocation company will need to view exactly which items you are moving to Australia or overseas (noting prices are based on the total volume to be moved). This will ensure more accurate and relevant quotations are presented to you. (Quick tip: if you are getting several quotations make sure you show all Move Consultants the same items during each visit).

Of course it may be that you want to know the cost of packing and sending certain individual items before you make your final decision. This is fine and the Move Consultant will happily quote you a price for what items are definitely moving overseas and a separate rate for the ‘maybe’ items. Various inventories, and quotations, will subsequently be provided to you and you can then review the price differentials and decide if you do want to take the optional items.

Understandably there will be items that you have strong emotional attachment to, this is particularly the case for children who become very protective of their favourite toys. To help assimilate into your new environment more quickly (through having these familiar and cherished items around you) these type of items should invariably be included.

Whilst you need to take into account the cost of taking these sentimental and ‘hard to let go’ items, soft toys, puzzles, games and the like can be placed inside chests of drawers, lowboys, cabinets etc. so really their inclusion is adding very little, if anything, to the overall volume and hence cost of your shipment.

Do keep your children engaged in the total moving process…let them pack their own toys and ‘bits and pieces’….this helps them feel part of what’s going on.


Furniture and other bulkier items are a different ball game though and the higher cost of shipping (remembering charges are based on size) dictate that some thought should be given. You should ask yourself do I really like that piece of furniture? Would it be worth selling locally? Or can I replace it with something I like as much?

It is worth comparing prices online to research the replacement cost at your chosen destination. (Quick tip: be sure to check the currency exchange rates). You also want to consider whether you actually will need to replace certain items. Will it look right in your new home? (will it actually fit in your new home?), will it ultimately be superfluous to your needs?, are your circumstances changing negating the need for certain items?

You should also check that any electrical appliances you want to take will be compatible at your destination as difference voltages can apply and those you do take will invariably need their plugs changed. (Quick tip: check out for requirements at your destination). Another issue often overlooked is whether you are moving into a property with built in wardrobes - if so you can consider leaving your wardrobes behind as these are bulky, and as such expensive, items to relocate.

Quick tip: Don’t take forever deciding on what to take when moving. You want to avoid agonising over a specific item. Firstly, this involves your precious time and if you’re too indecisive you may well end up taking items you don’t really need or want. Try to move through the entire process as energetically and single-mindedly as possible, looking forwards not backwards. Remember one chapter of your life is coming to a close and it’s the beginning of another…if in doubt leave that baggage behind!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on specific items:

  • Am I keeping this item for no apparent reason?
  • Where do I envisage this item being placed in my new home?
  • Is it easily, and cost effectively, replaced?
  • Is it going to be expensive to ship?
  • Am I being sensible with my de-cluttering?


Once you have completed the “ship it or skip it test” it’s time to move on to the “is it allowed test”. New Zealand and Australia have some of the strictest Customs and Quarantine regulations in the world regarding what can, and can’t be, included in household effects shipments. Upon request we will happily provide you with an up to date Customs and Quarantine Guide containing useful information along with specific examples of restricted and prohibited items. In conclusion , although it might cause some family angst, moving overseas is a great time to have a big sort out and get rid of all the clutter that you probably don’t need any more and to decide what you really want to take with you.

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Related info

Moving Overseas

Moving to Australia - Customs and Quarantine Regulations

Tags: Tips