If you are shipping your belongings overseas, ensuring that they are sufficiently packed will make all the difference when it comes to preventing any breakages or damage that might occur in transit. If your international shipping plan involves using a shipping container, then space is going to be at a premium so it is important to ensure that everything is tightly packed and that you make the most appropriate use of the available space that you have.

Before you start

The most important thing is to have a proper, in depth discussion with your shipping company before you begin. Remember to tell them all about everything that needs moving – it can be a shock to turn up and be expected to move a forgotten piano without any forward planning or packaging prepared.

If you are moving within Europe then most companies will drive your belongings to their destination rather than shipping them via sea. If you are going further afield then your international move will essentially be a four step process:

  1. All of your belongings are packed and carefully labelled either by you and your family or a professional removal firm.
  2. These items are then loaded onto a lorry and transported and unloaded at a warehouse where they will be packed into a shipping container as international freight.
  3. Items are packed into a shipping container and transported.
  4. The items are carefully unpacked at your destination.

General Packing Tips

Strong, durable boxes are the best option for packing most loose household items. If you’re moving with Northover and Gilbert we can provide these and deliver them to you in the local area. We also supply strong parcel tape, which should be used to secure each box at both ends to prevent them from opening when they are lifted.

Fragile items should be carefully wrapped in bubble wrap, packing paper or even old newspapers. Group items by theme or room and label each one to make unpacking at the other end much easier. If there is any space in the boxes then pack them with paper to prevent things from moving around. Sometimes you can save time and effort by using other soft items which also need packing such as tea towels, cushions, bath towels or even clothes to fill these gaps and provide a soft packing layer.

Packing electronic items

Some electronic items need to be unplugged in advance of packing. Fridges and freezers need to be unplugged at least 24 hours prior to loading so that they can be defrosted and drained of excess water.

If you’re moving a microwave, tape down the inner table so that it doesn’t move around inside damage the inside of the unit.

Pack items with glass screens or doors with a double protective layer to minimise the chance of breakages during your move.

Packing Kitchenware

Obviously glass, china tableware and other fragile kitchen items need to be packed in bubble wrap and carefully labelled as fragile so that the box does not get bumped around during the move. Put layers of packing paper between plates and bowls to prevent chipping or breakages.

Cutlery and utensils should be tied together In bundles, with sharper items wrapped to prevent them from piercing the side of the box.


Cover the edges of each piece to prevent any chipping or scratching. Furniture is often double-stacked in trucks and containers so its a good idea to protect each piece with a bed sheet or blankets where possible to reduce the chances of damage. If these items are being packed by a professional company they will usually supply sheets to prevent damage.

Other Items

Books are really heavy so need to be packed in smaller boxes than other items.

Clothes and shoes can be packed in large bags. Professional moving companies will supply special wardrobe cartons which come with a bar inside to hang clothes on their hangers , so that you can take them straight out and hang them up at the other end.

Get in Touch

If you’re preparing to ship your belonging overseas then get in touch with us for a free, no obligation quote. We are a professional, experienced and caring company who will help you through what can be a rather daunting or stressful time. If your move is only short term, we have a large storage warehouse where you can keep any items that you’d like to leave behind until your return.

Find out more about our international shipping service on our website or give us a call to discuss your requirements.