international removals

Some days don’t turn out anything like you imagine or hope. I had imagined ending the day with a feeling of relief washing over me, and a nice glass of chilled Sauvignon blanc in my hand. But it didn’t end up like that. Oh, no, in the land of international removals, it seems like it is par for the course.

This is what my patio looked like earlier today.

I had hoped it wouldn’t look like that this evening. But, that was not to be!

The company that was supposed to pick up the boxes didn’t show. They blamed a sub contractor for the no show, but after the way they dropped the ball when the previous employee dealing with my shipment up and left and didn’t handover, I wasn’t about to let them mess with my household goods a third time. Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, for those playing at home it’s been quite the frustrating week.

Let’s hope a third time is a charm and the pickup will actually happen in the middle of next week. In the meantime there is a wall of boxes in the studio and I will now get less time than I had planned with my family.

Minimalism always seems most attractive to me when I have to pack. There is a freedom in divesting yourself of belongings, in not being bound by things. So much to sort, to do, it takes so much time. This time is better spent with people. People over things every single day – but unfortunately, I have spent way too much of the last week dealing with things, many many things. And when I look at the mountain of possessions am I really living the way I want to live?

One of the Murphy’s laws of moving is that the packing tape always runs out at the most inconvenient time: when you’re on a packing roll in the middle of the night when the shops are closed, when you have labels to put on the boxes just hours before the movers arrive for pickup and when you have two boxes left to close. Oh, yes, my timing is predictably terrible. Thankfully, a rental car meant that it was a 10 minute errand and not an hour long one. But, this minor hiccup was nothing compared to being left holding the bag….or should that be boxes.

The sense of relief at seeing 600 kg of books, clothes, china, and miscellaneous possessions head off in a truck will be palpable. It always feels like it’s too much. Seeing your whole life packed up in boxes in a strange sensation.

Seen one international removal, seen all international removals

This is international move number 4. I gave up counting domestic moves a very long time ago. It won’t be the last move and likely not the last international move and though I know moving with the military will present a different set of challenges, trying to negotiate pickup times and figure how not to destroy your grandmother’s china is still going to be part of the deal no matter who is footing the bill.

I have a system for packing – I have a way of doing things. I have a way of inventorying as I go, and of wrapping with bubble wrap and tea towels and linens. This time the new company wants to repack everything – apparently post 9/11 customs procedures look more kindly on boxes packed by the removalists themselves. I’m sure this will be different in the future but, then as now, we’ll have to roll with the punches.

On the bright side, I got plenty of exercise moving all 30 of the boxes, mainly full of books, outside the studio and then back in again!

Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Anna Blanch_Gill Gamble_blogAnna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. More of her photography can be viewed here. For more domestic things take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.


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3 thoughts on “The Murphy’s Law of International Removals”

  1. It’s good to hear your perspectives as an experienced international mover. I like that you mention you need a system in place. Your reflection on insurance and how it protects you is valuable, so i’ll be careful to pick a company that offers this to us during our move. Of course the loss of something sentimental is always a risk, but it’s good to hear from someone who has done it before that your anxiety will always be present. Please keep me posted on how the move(s) turn out.

    1. Ironically, we are in the middle of moving again and sent the moving truck off yesterday. Moving domestically in the US is a little different to international moves, but a good checklist is always the place to start for me, along with a healthy dose of reality when it comes to stuff!

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