Our Household Goods are officially on their way! This is the biggest of two shipments that we have going to Korea. It includes furniture, most of our small kitchen appliances, dishes, extra clothes, and anything else that we won't need immediately upon arrival. We opted to send this shipment two months in advance since it typically takes 2-3 months to arrive (it goes by boat). We would rather be inconvenienced for a bit here in the states rather than be without our stuff for longer than necessary in a new country. We can always borrow from friends here and because it's holiday season, we are traveling and visiting with family a lot anyways.
The hardest part of preparing for this shipment (and the rest) is that we're still living in the house. My strategy for this first shipment worked fairly well so I think I'll use it for UB (Unaccompanied Baggage) and our Storage Shipment as well. Here are some tips I found helpful.
First, get yourself a good organizational app and use it. I recommend Evernote. I have lists for each shipment stored in my Evernote app. I recommend organizing these lists by room. Walk through your house and take note of every single thing and which shipment and where (in what shipment) it's going. I also have serial numbers of our high value electronics and photos of each. I haven't even explored what else I can do with Evernote but I know I can record audio too if I need to in order to take notes later (would be great to utilize during a housing move-out or PCS brief). One more thing about Evernote, it is available for smartphone, iPad, and computer. So I will have access to my notes everywhere.
Designate a certain area or areas in your house for the shipment items to go. A few weeks before our shipment date I cleaned out our downstairs storage closet and my youngest son's bedroom (we moved him in with his brother for the remainder of our time in this house). Then, I started using my lists to gradually put all the HHG items in those two places. Obviously, our furniture could not go the closet. We have two family rooms downstairs so we put all the furniture going in one and the furniture NOT going in the other. Simple. When the movers got here, I was able to just point and say "pack all of this." It made their job easier and it made me worry less that they may pack something they weren't supposed to.
Have something for your children (and pets) to do! If you can, sending them to a friend's house would be best. If not, designate a kids/pet room for the day. The house will be filled with brown paper-wrapped furniture and boxes. It can be overwhelming, and a dangerous place for precious babies! Our boys were in pre-school for half the day, when they came home we sent them to our master bedroom with snacks and the iPad for a movie
Be nice to your movers! We were lucky enough to have great movers. Plan for them to be there the entire day. Offer help/advice where you can. It's your stuff after all, why not do your part to make sure everything gets there safely! If you have original boxes, keep those and provide them, your movers will appreciate it. They will also appreciate coffee, water, Gatorade, snacks, and/or lunch, but those are not required. We didn't have that much stuff this time around so our movers were only here until about 2pm, so we provided them coffee and water but not lunch. When the company comes to do our storage shipment, I imagine it'll take most the day so we'll likely provide chips, fruit, and sub sandwiches for lunch.
Be flexible! Things happen, timelines will change, things will get packed that weren't supposed to, there will be things you didn't plan for, etc. Remember that most things can be borrowed or replaced fairly cheap. Did your movies accidentally get packed? Visit the library. Did your hairbrush end up in the box? Walmart (or if you're already in Korea, I've heard Daiso is a good place to shop!). If your salad bowls got packed? Thinks outside the bowl and use a flower vase. I definitely never would have thought to do that but my husband did!
Lastly, do a big woooooooo saaaaah, have a glass of wine, and relax.
The next shipment will be going out soon enough.