Tag Archives: packing

Oh May, Where Did You Go?

The days are going so fast now! Didn’t we only just book flights?  24 days.  24 days until we see each other again, or 3 weeks and 1 day until he boards his plane.  There are just three weekends to go, or 18 work days!  Or in the case of Johan, only 14 school days!  And then, 71 days until I make the move.  It still doesn’t feel real.

We’ve both been keeping busy, and haven’t had a lot of time to dwell on it or really get too excited I don’t think.  Johan’s been so busy trying to finish off music assignments and projects and practise work that he’s barely thought about it I don’t think – and I’m sure he’s going to love it over here with all of our sun and no snow.  Ha, we’re starting to enter winter over here as Sweden heads towards summer, and still the daytime temperatures Haparanda is getting are about what you would expect of our nighttime temperatures in midwinter,  or less!

He’s also managed to do a test packing of all of his belongings for coming out here, and his luggage weight came in at 10.1kg out of the 10kg I had estimated for him, so I was very pleased about that!  It seems my planning and OCD and frantic organising has been right on target to meet our 74kg allowance and 20kg posted.  The only thing I’ve got to worry about now is finding the right postage box that’s big enough for what I need it for without exceeding the 140cm girth limit!

My cat, Shadow, has had her two vaccination shots and is booked with JetPets to come out and see her and drop off her travel crate just after Johan arrives.  To my surprise, she seems perfectly comfortable in the cat harness I got for her (yellow for Hufflepuff!) though I think it’ll be a different story when she’s hiding in boxes and amongst furniture after a long flight.  I’ve told her it’s nothing to be scared of, but I’m not sure she’ll listen to me when the time comes, so I’ve just had to promise lots of cuddles and treats instead!

The big thing I’ve been trying to focus on lately is trying to finish off last minute crafts for our Etsy store that I’d already half started, sell everything that remains in our store, and all the other bits and pieces of books and things I don’t want.  Feel free to check out and share our Etsy store, we’d love the support!

The other thing is simply trying to decide what to show and do with Johan in the 6 weeks that he’s here, and hoping that all of our packing works out perfectly!  So very very close now.  And then we’ll both get to worry about job searching and house/apartment hunting again!  We found a house we really loved the other day, but alas, I think that dream may have to wait.  Johan’s Dad and step-mum have kindly allowed us to stay with them for the short-term, and it’ll be great to see them and Johan’s younger half sisters again, but I can’t wait to have our own space either with our hobby rooms and collections on display.  Oh, and my Swedish is coming along well!   Sort of.  Well, the written a lot more than the spoken or listening, but it’s a start, as long as I don’t get tooo embarrassed or self conscious to speak it! XD

I expect you’ll hear from us again very soon!

And so the Countdown Begins

Wow, it has been busy!

Between travel agents and computer technicians and vets and Easter… feels like I haven’t had a moment’s breath!  However, I can happily say that our flights are now all booked in.  To our family and friends, this is old news as we’ve been a bit slow getting it onto the blog,  but we’re all organised now, or at least, the technical side of things.  Johan arrives in Brisbane on the night of June 23 – just over two months away!  With any luck, the jet lag will be less bad for him as he will be able to sleep it off straight away… but I know it doesn’t work like that.  Even a week or two weeks into my last two trips, I could not stop myself from falling asleep the moment things got quiet.  But that could also have been because we filled our itineraries to bursting point.  In any case, he will have six weeks to recover before we fly back to Stockholm, together at last, on August 9.  Hopefully, with a cat.

I’m still in a bit of denial, I think.  I can’t believe it’s really finally happening.  I packed my first box last weekend, only a small 15x15x15cm box which was the perfect fit for a fragile item, and I dusted down all of my shelves and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m TOO organised.  I mean I’ve been thinking about this for over six months.  I feel I can’t pack because if I do, I’ll have it all done in a week, tops.  And I’m now not moving for another 3 and a half months so I’m telling myself to wait another 2 if I don’t want an empty unwelcoming room to live in.  I basically know what I’m doing with all my stuff, it’s just all matter of packing it into the right boxes, and jigsawing all my items into the suitcases.  I know the weight isn’t a problem, it’s just the volume they will take up and how to sandwich it altogether to meet those weight requirements.

So I’m back on focusing on my other commitments.  Finishing up all my craft projects, selling off the things I don’t want, and trying to learn Swedish.  Johan is back at school next week, and these next two months are surely going to fly before he’s finishing up, packing up his own apartment, and getting himself over to me.  64 days really isn’t that long at all.  It’s very, very close.  And we can’t wait.

International Move: The Expectations 5 Months in Advance

So, we’re into March and the desire to pack has only increased since my last expectations post, where the estimate weight of all the items I’d weighed up until that point was 51.55kg.  It hasn’t helped I’ve been helping my brother and his family move house, nor has it helped travelling into Central station everyday where there is always tourists wheeling suitcases with them.  I’ve now had a chance to weigh some more of my belongings, and despite that estimate increasing quite a bit to 154.94kg, I am refusing to be disheartened, because it’s really not as bad as it sounds!

At the moment, we are looking at flying with Singapore Airlines, who offer 30kg checked luggage, any amount of bags, and 7kg hand luggage which excludes the weight of a small handbag, laptop or camera bag.  So that’s 74kg between us, plus a few extra kilos that we should be able to squeeze into unweighted bags.  We lose about 8.5kg straight away between the weight of empty suitcases and backpacks.  That still leaves us 66kg.

I’ve weighed almost everything I can think of, except for my jewellery (which let’s be honest I don’t wear a lot of!); moving paperwork; souvenir papers and brochures from Sweden; a few smaller HP collectibles; and my craft supplies (most of which will be replaced).  Oh, and a bunch of childhood toys and items, which I’m not including right now.  So definitely no more than 10kg there, and the only priority there is my paperwork.  The important thing is, I’ve now weighed all of my clothes (including coat hangers, underwear, socks, shirts,  pants, jumpers, coats, shoes) which is about 25.65kg.  This estimate will be less, however, when I take out some things I won’t be bringing with me (including the coat hangers), and decide on the heaviest clothing items to wear on the plane.  So that right there are my priority items for shipping, plus 1-2kg to toiletries and other necessities.  Johan won’t be coming here empty handed either, so let’s give him 10kg to work with.  He’s a guy, and it’s summer for him, so he probably won’t even need that 😛 That’s 46kg for priority items and bags, with still 28kg spare in our baggage allowance.  This leaves space for all the other fun things I want to bring… the biggest of that being my HP collection.

So I’ve gone through my list  to see what I’d most like to fill the rest of that 28kg with and I’ve come up with Priority List No. 2, mostly full of sentimental items, coming in about 23kg, which still gives me 5kg to play with, and I musn’t forget to leave room for the Aussie goodies – namely Vegemite.

After reading some reviews, I am still thoroughly looking into Australian courier company, Pack and Send.  For example, I can ship a 40x40x30cm, 10kg box for $161.80 which I think is pretty all right, or say a 70x60x40cm, 30kg box for $370.23 – and arrives within 5 business days.  Cheaper and quicker than Australia Post by far, and excess baggage at airport.

australiapost1

Or, so I thought.  Only this morning l I discovered that to send a 20kg parcel express with Australia Post to Sweden, including tracking and coverage worked out comparatively about the same as the Pack and Send prices, but with a 20kg limit instead of 30kg.  Don’t ask me how on earth this works.  $211 to send a 20kg parcel with all the extras, but $50 to send a 1.5kg parcel without tracking or cover, makes ZERO sense.  So now I’m sort of stuck between the two, because despite their every day regular mail absurd prices, I have been lucky in my dealings with Australia Post.  I have never had any mail go missing or get damaged, and I’ve only ever had 2 complaints from my Etsy customers about 2 delayed packages – both of which were during Christmas peak.  But I know a lot of people have had nightmares with them, only to be expected now and then, like anything.  So now I don’t know who to give my money to.

The point is, whichever company I go with, this will allow me to have my other items that I’d still really like with me to make me happy for a small price.  I wouldn’t want to ship more than 20-40kg excess.  And this saves me the worry, hassle, extra expense and long wait period for a shared container shipment.  Which leaves the rest of my moving check list (60kg) – all of which are non-urgent items, and stuff I’d like to have with me, but most of which I won”t want for years down the track when we’re well and truly settled (think – kids).  These are things that can easily be brought back with us on future holidays to Australia.

The last thing I’m looking at shipping is one of our cats.  She is 12 years old and we’ve had her since she was a kitten.  I’m not sure if it’s the wisest move, and my Mum is still perfectly able to look after her, but she’s still a youngster at heart, and it’s one thing to leave her for six weeks on holiday, it’s another to leave her for good.  Our two cats hate each other.  Always have and always will, as such they’ve sort of clinged one to Mum and one to me, and it’s a nightmare trying to find accommodation for both of them when we go on holidays.  If we were both to have one cat, this task would be easier.  That said,  trying to ship her to Sweden is not easy.

A lot of airlines will allow pet travel in the cabin at your feet, which saves money, but not into or out of Australia.  She would have to go in the cargo, and it’s cheapest to send her within 5 days of our travel.  From what I can tell, pet travel companies charge anywhere between $1500- $3500, but that’s from reading what few reviews I can find online and I am yet to get an actual quote as we don’t have travel dates yet.  There’s also the option of doing all the paperwork ourselves and avoiding the pet travel company altogether, probably saving a lot of money by only paying the excess baggage/cargo fees of about $1000, which doesn’t include the vet fees, but with that also comes added stress to ensure we get all of the paperwork correct.  So that’s one of the most important shipping options I’ve also had to consider!

The move is coming up fast (at least – we hope it is, if when we receive a decision it ends up fitting with our plans!) and I’m beginning to feel much more confident about how I’m going to move all of my stuff and how much I’ll be able to bring with me immediately, but there’s still the matter of space and volume, and I can’t know that until I can start packing.  Already I’m looking at getting a cheap, large wheeled duffel bag simply for transporting clothes and soft items (and it’s true, rolling clothes really does take up so much less space – but how much can I make it squish?!), but we’ll see how it goes when the time comes!  As always, tips and experiences are welcome, or maybe this has helped you!

International Move: The Expectations 12 Months in Advance

I know, I know.  I’m thinking too far ahead.

But, for the longest time, I’ve been excited to start packing up my belongings, ready to make the move to Sweden.  I was ready to start packing in mid-2015!  But Johan said no, it’s too early 😛 I guess he had a point.  So in the end, I started photographing the things that I didn’t want to take with me, the things that I would try and sell second hand on places like Gumtree.  It would be a very slow process, and I refused to back down on my prices because I was in no rush to sell things – I had about 2 years to wait, after all, and I was willing to wait for the right buyers.

In the meantime, I also began writing down a list of things in Excel that I would want to bring with me – things that would be Urgent to take with me on the plane; Shipped that I wouldn’t mind waiting for, but wouldn’t want to be without for overly long; & Non-Urgent for things that could wait until family & friends could bring them over for me, or things that could wait for visits back to Australia.  It was a nice thought, but basically everything on that list ended up as Shipped.  Not exactly the prioritization I had in mind.  Instead, I began measuring and weighing the items I thought to be the largest/heaviest/bulkiest and added these to my list.

My next visit to Sweden for Christmas 2015 would result in me leaving the vast majority of my winter gear with Johan, to save trekking it all back to Queensland where none of it was needed.  I left him 2 winter jackets, my snow pants, 2 pairs of long pants, a thick fleece jumper, thermals, heavy gloves, socks, scarves and beanies.  You can imagine how much space I had in my suitcase coming home without all that stuff, and I probably cleared at least 10kg off my moving list, a year and a half before the move.  I was quite happy with that, because even if things didn’t work out, they weren’t items I’d need at home.  I also left him a few select items – a few books I wanted to share with him, and some small soft toys (what can I say?  I always will be a kid at heart) which I’d also used as space-fillers and soft packaging.  My suitcase would barely close on arrival, because I made use of every little inch – and even though I’d bought a luggage scale off eBay for a few bucks, I did worry that I’d be over the limit.  In the end I think I was about 26/30kg for my suitcase, and had another 7kg to fill in my hand luggage.  It’s something I’d recommend if you’re seriously thinking of moving to your loved one, leave stuff with them on an earlier visit that you can live without if things go south, but will save you valuable space later on!  I’m usually quite a light traveler, but this is the kind of time to pack as much as you can, down to the last kilo.

Moving on, I applied for a residence permit, and still we’re about a year out from a possible move.  I say possible, assuming that our application is accepted, because if not, we might run into some trouble!  Might I also add that it’s the biggest pain in the butt to not know when we’ll receive an answer about that application – because at the moment we’re looking anywhere between May-Sept next year and can’t make any proper plans until then!  But still, I want to know HOW I’m going to move my stuff.  You’ll find a lot of international moving companies offering free quotes online if you fill out how much you have to move – 1 bedroom, no. of boxes, etc.  And this was what really frustrated me – how am I supposed to know how many boxes all my stuff will take up?  I also wasn’t planning on moving any furniture, which I was sure the “1-bedroom” option would entail.  I wasn’t even taking my PC.  There were also companies that would come to your house and give you a free quote, but that seemed a bit extreme for something so far in the future.

So I went back to my list in Excel.  I had always thought that because I wasn’t bringing any furniture, airfreight might be a suitable option.  Yes, it tends to be more expensive because it’s priced on weight and not volume, but we’re talking about items in a bedroom (and a half) that’s just 3x3m,  I’m not big on clothes, or shoes, so I don’t have a lot there to move, either.  It’s mostly books, dvds, things of sentimental value (and I’ve got to admit, I’m a hoarder), and of course my Harry Potter collection.  It honestly didn’t feel like a lot, but I knew to expect to be surprised, that it would more than likely add up.  Still, I lived under the impression that, for me, airfreight would work out cheaper, not to mention it tends to be more reliable, and would get to me much sooner!

The items that I had weighed in my moving list came out at 51.55kg. This was no where near a complete weighing – I hadn’t weighed everything on the list, and it didn’t include clothes… but it did include my treasured HP books, and honestly, how much more was really needed?  I could always rebuy all my art materials.  Throw in an estimate on clothes and things… But still, I was right.  I did NOT have a lot of stuff to move.  The plan was always that Johan would come out to visit me in Australia before I made the move, and he would come in our winter, the equivalent of a Swedish summer, so he would not have a lot to bring over here.  Not the winter gear I had to bring!  Which would also mean we had 2 suitcases to fly back with us, and 2 lots of hand luggage.  If we were to go with the bigger airlines again, that would mean 74kg between us.  Not bad considering my current estimate was sitting at just 50kg.

Of course, the next thing would be the bulk.  Not everything I had would fit its way into our two suitcases.  I had 2 large frames I had to decide whether to bring or roll up the posters and rebuy frames.  I had a 3rd, very heavy custom made shadow-box frame .  And I had my large but lightweight Hogwarts trunk.  Take those out of the equation, gives more room for the clothes to be rolled up in the suitcases!  And surely, surely I might only need 1 or 2 airfreight boxes which would no doubt have to be cheaper than a shared shipping container.  Just had to be.  But still I could find no where to price up unless I had the size of the box and the weight, and that was something I couldn’t do because I wanted it packed properly and wasn’t sure if they’d require separate boxes or not.  The other thing was my books – they’d easily take up a suitcase in themselves and I’m not sure that would be wise, but posting with Australia Post was never going to be an option, considering it’s about $40 to send a 1kg parcel uninsured to Sweden – though certainly postage would be a great option for other countries where postage is cheaper!  So I tried to put in rough box estimates, but still there was no where that could just give me a straight price estimate without having to get into contact with someone for a personalised quote.  I just wanted to know how much airfreight was!  $100?  $200?  $300?

So I went to the airline itself, and I went back to the Emirates website, simply because we’ve flown with them twice and I don’t know who we’ll be flying with this time, but I imagine they’re likely on the higher price scale so good for estimating. $108 per extra kg over.  Oookay.  Not so good.  Let’s pretend I’m looking at 10-20kgs extra.  For that price, I’d be better off buying another return ticket home and just filling that suitcase with the remainder!  Or shouting someone a trip and saying “on the condition you bring all my stuff!” All in all, not a bad idea, especially considering most of the items I wouldn’t mind waiting on, and I was hoping to return for a short visit to Australia just 8 months later.  Still, when I say I wouldn’t mind waiting, I’m very sentimental and as with anyone I’m sure sooner-rather-than-later would be the preferred option.  And surely the moving companies would know the ins and outs and give better deals.  It kills to think of the weighty stuff you can buy overseas with free postage… But did I need a moving company if I only had 20kg extra?  Fragile items, yes, but…

And STILL I wanted to pack – I wanted to see exactly how much I could squeeze into two suitcases.  Weight-wise I sounded very well off, but volume wise?  What if it was all too bulky and I couldn’t fit the amount of things I wanted to?  But it was too early, I kept telling myself.  Too early.  Then there was this note on the Emirates website: “You can check in as many pieces of baggage as you need, as long as the total weight is less than the maximum baggage allowance of your class.” Meaning, if we could fill a suitcase to the brim and still have it be a few kilos under the limit, we could take additional boxes for the bulkier items.  Could be perfect.

Then I looked up couriers.  Multiple websites, ranging $200-$450 for 20kg.  That’s sounding better.  A small fraction to pay for  my bulky, fragile items, that are no where near worth that in value, but sentiments.  It eased my worries a little.  I was sure, that whatever happened, I wouldn’t need to pay any moving company anything.  I might pack for a month trying to work out the best way to make the most use of two suitcases and hand luggage, but I had no furniture or appliances, and surely, it would be quite the affordable international move, minus, you know, the airline tickets.

Guess we’ll wait and see when the time comes… but hopefully this might help a few of you planning a move – when you’re on your own with nothing but your dreams and guesswork to occupy you for a move that’s too far in the future.  Do start deciding what you’ll bring and what you can start selling now.  Do buy a luggage scale to start weighing individual items and suitcases.  Do nurture those dreams.  And if you have any tips, comment below!