There are few things in life more stressful than an international house move. Just moving house within the same country or state is challenging enough – the process of finding and securing your new home, the expenses and paperwork involved, and of course, the packing and moving. Throw in a plane trip and a whole new country, culture, and language, and it is little wonder that many people are put off following their dreams and relocating to, say, a townhouse in Thailand. It can be overwhelming for even the calmest and organized of people, but here, we share a few tips to help to make the process a little easier for you and your family.
Create a command center
If you have looked at Pinterest, you will undoubtedly see a plethora of Instagrammable and beautiful command centers. However, they are not just aesthetically lovely – they do (or should, anyway!) have a use – to be the center of organization for the household. While it does not matter what your command center looks like, what does matter is the role it takes in helping you to organize your international move.
It does not have to be a physical center, either. In fact, in the increasingly digital age we are now living in, a digital command center may be more appropriate and useful (albeit it not so pretty!). Have a file set up on your computer – preferably easy to get to from your desktop, where all documents and information linked to your move is stored.
Google Drive is useful for this and is free to use. Also, you can sync it to your calendar, emails, and Google Keep on your cell phone. Because everything is stored on the cloud, you can access it from anywhere in the world and on any device as long as you are connected to the internet.
List, list, list
It sounds obvious – lists are one of the first things that most people make when they are moving. However, they are harder to do than you realize sometimes. You need to sit down and make lists of absolutely everything that is linked to your international house move. This is for two reasons: Firstly, it gives you a list of everything that needs to be done, and secondly, it clears your head. An international house move can really take over your head, and you may find that getting some of it out and down onto paper can be helpful for your mental health.
Some of the things that you may not have thought of putting on your list but are important include:
- Making doctors appointments for health checkups
- Booking any mandatory immunizations and vaccinations
- Obtaining copies of medical files
- Obtaining copies of school files
- Birth and wedding certificates
- Any other legal documents
- Sort out clothing and donate any that are no longer needed
- Sell vehicles
- Reserve any self-storage units that are needed
- Inform financial institutions of the impending move
- Organize your new bank
- Draft power of attorney for any home affairs
- Pay off any outstanding debts
- Purchase any adaptors for electronics
- Cancel car, home, life, and health insurance
- Organize insurance in your new country
- Register a mail forwarding address
- Print off travel documents
Keep note of what is where
The key to an organized move is knowing precisely where everything is at all times. As you pack boxes, label them with a number, and on one of your spreadsheets in your command center, note down the box’s number and what is in the box. Add as much detail to your list as possible – it could be a long time before you see your belongings again!
This may seem like a tedious job, but it serves more than one purpose. It helps you to keep track of where things are, which makes it easier at the other end. It also means that if something goes wrong with the movement of your possessions, you also have a detailed list of what is there to claim on insurance. We hope that you don’t need to do that, but being prepared for the event is always a good idea!
Organize your paperwork
Digital organization is always the best option, but some things are still in paper form, and it is imperative that you keep these together. Scan them all into your digital command center, but put all the hard copies in one file together and put them into your carry on, so if there are any issues, you have them to show the relevant authorities.