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To self-pack or not to self-pack?

To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Old May 25th 2019, 1:45 am
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Default To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Hello there, you lovely people!

My husband, daughter and I are hoping to relocate from Coventry UK to Dartmouth NS in August. I've booked surveys with three removals firms (PSS, Burke Bros and Robinsons), the first of which was today. It raised an issue which we can't resolve without some outside insight.

Robinsons' representative (who came round today) advised against self-packing for several reasons, which all seem reasonable (basically to do with customs and so forth), but since his company would be getting paid extra to provide the packing service I obviously can't rely on his objectivity. We'd really prefer not to spend any more money than necessary. Therefore I turn to you marvellous humans.

Some basic info:
- we live in a 3 bed rented house full of stuff (we're hoping to offload a good amount of furniture and bits & pieces, but there's still quite a bit. Probably about 3/4 to a full 20ft container's worth)
- we have a good amount of industrial plastic boxes (apparently I can't post links because I'm a noob, but if you search eBay for "industrial plastic storage boxes", it's the type with the interlocking lid) so we wouldn't need to use many (if any) cardboard boxes
- we plan to rent in Dartmouth

I can't find a list of self-packing pros and cons, so I'd really value any insight you might have.

I'm posting this before going to sleep, so please don't be offended if I don't respond for a few hours 🙂

Kath
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Old May 25th 2019, 1:54 am
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Hello and Welcome to BE!

I self packed 90% of mine, the other 10% that the 'shippers' packed were the items that ended up damaged or broken. You can insure the shipment yourself (link to a good company in the wiki).

You will need to prepare a 'goods to follow' list regardless for Customs.. that can also help to prepare the documents for shipping - they're not complex. You will need to clear your shipment through customs when it arrives in Canada regardless of who packed it - you will get your 'goods to follow' document stamped when you arrive in Canada and then you take that with you when your shipment arrives and they will check the shipment against your list - asking you 'do you have anything else that isn't on the list coming at a later date' - you pay a small processing fee and away you go.. the shipment can then be released either to your agent for onward transmission to your new home, or to storage (watch out for storage costs, they can be high).
https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Shipping-Canada

I suppose some of it is down to logistics, do you have time to pack and make an reasonably itemised list of each box contents (it can be generic for customs - books / clothes / toys / kitchen items / crockery / there's help in the Wiki for that too - don't forget all electrical items must have their details listed.. so for your shipping insurance you want replacement value - for customs / goods to follow you want 2nd hand value..
You might find this of use https://upakweship.uk.com/ (they have a shipping / packing list generator you can use)

Pros and cons..https://upakweship.com/ufaqs/what-ar...king-my-items/
https://www.mymovingreviews.com/move/self-packing-vs-full-packing

Last edited by Siouxie; May 25th 2019 at 2:18 am.
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Old May 25th 2019, 11:26 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Let them self pack the furniture (all they'll do is wrap it in parcel paper anyway, which is not exactly 'protective'). For your boxed items, do not under any circumstances let them pack it for you. They'll just throw items in boxes without adequate protection, and they won't optimise the space they're using, meaning you'll pay more.

Ask them to deliver boxes in advance and pack the items yourself at a leisurely (and sufficiently protected) way.
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Old May 26th 2019, 5:29 am
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

We moved from a small, approx 70sqm, 2 bed terraced house, and took some of the furniture - queen and bunk beds (all of which were dismantled and packed flat) a couple of wardrobes and a chest of drawers, but mostly books, clothes records and CDs, and there were only two of us, and we took 90% of a 20ft container, so IMO you will have your work cut out to get the contents of a three bed house into a 20ft container.

So far as packing goes, I would say do it yourself, and use loads of bubble wrap. Be sure to use "barrels" (double wall boxes) for crockery and dump 15cm of peanuts in the bottom before starting putting in the wrapped crockery.

For furniture, whether you wrap, or have the removal company do it, you might want to invest in some of
these these
for wrapping the furniture.

Last edited by Pulaski; May 26th 2019 at 5:40 am.
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Old May 26th 2019, 1:14 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

We had our moving company (Doree Bonner) do the packing for us. It all went into a 20 ft container. They were excellent and did an excellent job of packing. ALL our stuff arrived without damage to anything. Unlike our simple move from Ottawa to London ON, when several things were damaged!
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Old May 26th 2019, 1:41 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Originally Posted by Siouxie View Post
Hello and Welcome to BE!

I self packed 90% of mine, the other 10% that the 'shippers' packed were the items that ended up damaged or broken. You can insure the shipment yourself (link to a good company in the wiki).

You will need to prepare a 'goods to follow' list regardless for Customs.. that can also help to prepare the documents for shipping - they're not complex. You will need to clear your shipment through customs when it arrives in Canada regardless of who packed it - you will get your 'goods to follow' document stamped when you arrive in Canada and then you take that with you when your shipment arrives and they will check the shipment against your list - asking you 'do you have anything else that isn't on the list coming at a later date' - you pay a small processing fee and away you go.. the shipment can then be released either to your agent for onward transmission to your new home, or to storage (watch out for storage costs, they can be high).
https://britishexpats.com/wiki/Shipping-Canada

I suppose some of it is down to logistics, do you have time to pack and make an reasonably itemised list of each box contents (it can be generic for customs - books / clothes / toys / kitchen items / crockery / there's help in the Wiki for that too - don't forget all electrical items must have their details listed.. so for your shipping insurance you want replacement value - for customs / goods to follow you want 2nd hand value..
You might find this of use https://upakweship.uk.com/ (they have a shipping / packing list generator you can use)

Pros and cons..https://upakweship.com/ufaqs/what-ar...king-my-items/
https://www.mymovingreviews.com/move/self-packing-vs-full-packing

Really the removal company stuff ended up damaged or broken???
UGH! We have some family heirlooms (victorian mirror and a chandelier) plus plates and wine glasses that we plan on having them pack up for us?? Would you say it's better we do it?
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Old May 26th 2019, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Originally Posted by FARAH1305 View Post
Really the removal company stuff ended up damaged or broken???
UGH! We have some family heirlooms (victorian mirror and a chandelier) plus plates and wine glasses that we plan on having them pack up for us?? Would you say it's better we do it?
We've shipped both ways between Canada and the UK and had the shippers pack for us each time. Items were broken each time (including family heirlooms of our own). We were well insured though and haven't had problems getting breakages restored/replaced. You my find that self-packing either limits your insurance options and/or increases the premium.

If you do it yourself, be aware of the sheer volume (and cost) of packing materials you'll need to purchase. Professional packers (4 people) took 2.5 days to wrap and box up our 5 bed home in Canada.
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Old May 26th 2019, 1:59 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Originally Posted by FARAH1305 View Post
Really the removal company stuff ended up damaged or broken???
UGH! We have some family heirlooms (victorian mirror and a chandelier) plus plates and wine glasses that we plan on having them pack up for us?? Would you say it's better we do it?
Do you intend on using those heirlooms? Sorry I am not the type of sentimental person who keeps stuff just to have it gathering dust rather than actually finding uses for an item. You or the movers can pack such an item in such a way that you say that is well packed and won't get damaged. Now for a journey by road that might well be true but this is a sea container crossing the Atlantic which isn't always a very smooth trip. Nobody could guarantee that an item won't get damaged regardless of how well it is packed. You do your best and hope for the best.
Me I wouldn't even bother there again I am not sentimental.
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Old May 26th 2019, 2:19 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Originally Posted by FARAH1305 View Post
Really the removal company stuff ended up damaged or broken???
UGH! We have some family heirlooms (victorian mirror and a chandelier) plus plates and wine glasses that we plan on having them pack up for us?? Would you say it's better we do it?
For an heiroom mirror I would fabricate my own crate, as it would cost a lot to have someone do it for you, and then pack the crate with loads of bubble wrap. .... Make it bigger on all four sides by 15cm (internal), and use probably 3/8" (10mm) plywood, and 2x4's. Put several lays of bubble wrap in the crate, lay the mirror on top, then more bubble wrap, and rolls of bubble wrap (bubble wrap sausages) all the way around. then screw the other side on. It will be heavy, but will give it the best chance of arriving intact. Mark the crate with "This way up" and arrows, to make sure that it is shipped on its edge, not laid flat.

To Former Lancastrian's point, shipping by sea is very different from shipping by road, though obviously shipping by sea necessarily include shipping by road to and from the port. I would contend that most damage is caused by the road segments and the risk during the sea segment is going to be from the load shifting, or things falling over as the ship rolls and pitches - whereas the damage during the road segment will be from repeated jolts and bangs. So to protect from damage during the sea segment it is the "macro packing", packing the container tightly, so things can't move or fall that is critical, but again, that is true for the road segment - packing the load tightly in the container is critical, so things can't fall, but unless you load your own container, you have no control over that. .... I used to load lorries myself, and know how it needs to be done .... and I was known to the drivers as someone who knew how to load a lorry properly!

Last edited by Pulaski; May 26th 2019 at 2:22 pm.
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Old May 26th 2019, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Originally Posted by Former Lancastrian View Post
Do you intend on using those heirlooms? Sorry I am not the type of sentimental person who keeps stuff just to have it gathering dust rather than actually finding uses for an item. You or the movers can pack such an item in such a way that you say that is well packed and won't get damaged. Now for a journey by road that might well be true but this is a sea container crossing the Atlantic which isn't always a very smooth trip. Nobody could guarantee that an item won't get damaged regardless of how well it is packed. You do your best and hope for the best.
Me I wouldn't even bother there again I am not sentimental.
We plan on putting both the mirror and chandelier up in the new home we buy. They are both very expensive and one of a kind so we definitely don't want to part with them.
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Old May 26th 2019, 8:02 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Originally Posted by FARAH1305 View Post
Really the removal company stuff ended up damaged or broken???
UGH! We have some family heirlooms (victorian mirror and a chandelier) plus plates and wine glasses that we plan on having them pack up for us?? Would you say it's better we do it?
Yes. I had several sets of lead crystal glasses, smashed. A set of antique serving dishes with lids, smashed. An antique solid wood French 'whatnot' - drawers not wrapped properly by the shippers - for export - not even bubble wrap... and were broken, as was one of the 'feet' and caster; an antique walnut side table - a family heirlooms - that was valued at more than £5,000 - again, not wrapped for export by the shippers - all 4 legs and the supporting cross ties were broken, even the original brass casters were bent. Yes, the legs were repaired under the insurance - but the value was lost.. they don't cover loss of value. An original Sinclair Spectrum was water damaged. I was gutted, as everything I packed was intact, not a single thing damaged.

Last edited by Siouxie; May 26th 2019 at 8:05 pm.
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Old May 27th 2019, 10:42 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

We brought a full 3 bed house full of stuff with us (full 20ft container) and got the shipping company to pack for us.

We had no choice - each company that quoted wouldn’t insure us if they didn’t pack and said it was a customs requirement for them to have sight of everything. Even a couple of boxes we packed ourselves had to be left open so they could see in and then seal it.

i have to say they were brilliant (John Mason). The packing was super- efficient and not a single item was damaged. They did everything in 2 days.

There is is no way I could have had the time or patience to do it.

The down side side was trying to sort our house out and sort what was coming and what wasn’t without being able to pack it up. That was a logistical nightmare in our tiny house.

I’ve always packed my own stuff with a house move but this has converted me - i’d much rather pay someone to do it now!
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Old May 27th 2019, 11:09 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Get everything done for you would be my advice.

I'm pretty much only moving personal effects this time and I've self-packed into 10 tea chests. I do have a few added complications that made the process a little more tricky (some stuff is staying in our apartment, some has gone into storage, some has been given away, and we've also just been through some major renovations that required a different kind of pack up, which we then unpacked to review before we packed up, left, stored, gave away...) but I've also done full service moves and I can tell you it's a lot less stressful to let the professionals do everything. They're also a lot quicker and make use of every cubic mm.
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Old May 27th 2019, 11:52 pm
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Originally Posted by ScotinCanada View Post
We brought a full 3 bed house full of stuff with us (full 20ft container) and got the shipping company to pack for us.

We had no choice - each company that quoted wouldn’t insure us if they didn’t pack and said it was a customs requirement for them to have sight of everything. Even a couple of boxes we packed ourselves had to be left open so they could see in and then seal it.

i have to say they were brilliant (John Mason). The packing was super- efficient and not a single item was damaged. They did everything in 2 days.

There is is no way I could have had the time or patience to do it.

The down side side was trying to sort our house out and sort what was coming and what wasn’t without being able to pack it up. That was a logistical nightmare in our tiny house.

I’ve always packed my own stuff with a house move but this has converted me - i’d much rather pay someone to do it now!
There is nothing to stop you packing yourself and you can obtain your own insurance - which would be cheaper than theirs (they will mark up the insurance by around 40% over what you could get it for privately!) The onus is on YOU when it comes to meeting the requirements for Customs, hence the Goods to Follow and other documentation that you sign. They fed you a good line there.
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Old May 28th 2019, 1:16 am
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Default Re: To self-pack or not to self-pack?

Originally Posted by Siouxie View Post
There is nothing to stop you packing yourself and you can obtain your own insurance - which would be cheaper than theirs (they will mark up the insurance by around 40% over what you could get it for privately!) The onus is on YOU when it comes to meeting the requirements for Customs, hence the Goods to Follow and other documentation that you sign. They fed you a good line there.
Well yes and no. Our employer was paying and organizing shipping so they wouldn’t let us deviate from that.
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