5-Step Guide to Packing
So it's been decided. Your company wants you here, and you and your family want to come here. Problem is, you look around your home and think: "How do I get all of this all the way to over there?" Who do you call? Where do you start? What should you leave behind? How much is it going to cost? What about the pet dog? An seemingly endless stream of questions.

This is where your moving company comes in. If you have chosen the right one, half your problems are solved. A professional moving company will have the experience and knowledge to guide you through relocation, providing you with information on packing, paperwork, insurance and other thankless tasks. They should be there before you even start packing, and they should stay with you until the very last box has been unpacked in your new home.

To help you make that painless move, here are some invaluable tips:

Step One - Good Preparation is the Key

The absolute first thing you have to do is to gather as much information as possible about Singapore. Understanding your new home can help you make informed decisions when you are packing. At the very least, you will collate several important resources of information that you can turn to time and again.

Ideally, you should schedule a two or three day visit to Singapore to get a first-hand feel of what life here is like.

Step Two - Choose Your Movers

Choosing a good and reliable moving company may be one of the more important decisions you have to make prior to your move to Singapore. After all, you don't want to arrive in Singapore to find boxes of broken vases and crockery, or worse still, missing items. Your employer may have chosen a moving company for you, but in the likely event that it hasn't, here are some pointers to help you in that big move.

  • Choose an experienced mover with a good track record.
  • Always go with the mover with overseas experience in shipping furniture. Better still, find one that is representated or affiliated in some way in Singapore.
  • Find out about all the costs involved. Get quotations from different companies. Costs can range from customs fees to insurance costs to special packaging fees. If you don't, you may be surprised by the size of the bill at the end of the move.

It may be comforting for you to know that Global Silverhawk will do most of the packing for you, especially when it comes to big items like furniture. Once you have chosen a company you are happy with, it's time to plan your attack...

Step Three - Planning The Move

Decide what should be shipped to Singapore, what should be stored, and what should be sold or given away. Then, together with the moving company, you should decide on what items are absolutely essential and need to be air-shipped, which are less important and can arrive later by sea shipment, and which are to go into storage. Be clear about any special handling needs for items like valuables and glassware.

What you'll need:

All important documents:

  • Passport
  • Internationally recognised credit cards
  • Home and international driver's licences
  • Copies of insurance policies
  • Work records
  • Income tax returns for last 3 years
  • Extra passport photos
  • Medical and dental records
  • Special prescriptions
  • Innoculation records
  • School records
  • Marriage license
  • Power of attorney
  • Will
  • Proper health certificates for your pets

What you won't need:

  • Winter clothes. Summer and fall clothes are adequate in Singapore.
  • Most electronic goods. These are easily available over here. Besides, the power requirements for appliances like microwave ovens are different. Singapore uses the British electrical system.
  • Food items
  • Prohibited items like adult magazines, firecrackers, drugs and firearms. For a complete list, check the Singapore Customs website.

Special Considerations:

  • Your children: Do they have any special needs that need to be considered when packing?
  • Pets: Shipping your pets over to your new home will be top on the list for many people. The trick is to know what the health and export regulations are concerning pets. Our section on Pet Quarantine should be of help.
  • Valuables. You may want to make special arrangements for jewelry, heirlooms, stock and bonds and other valuables. Alternatively, you may want to carry them with you on the flight.
  • Antiques and other breakables need to be specially packed. Your moving company can help in this.
  • Items that may be damaged by moisture should be packed with silica gel.

For those who want to be absolutely sure about not missing out anything, check out our Relocation and Packing checklist.

Step Four - On the Day of the Big Move

Don't worry, you're almost there.

  • It helps to be present during the big move. Don't leave everything to the workers and assume that they care about your stuff as much as you do.
  • You should keep copies of all relevant documentation and have a record of what is packed where. After all, those crates and boxes start to look too much alike once everything goes into them. You may also want to devise your own system of identification on the boxes.
  • The manifest description should be checked and double-checked to make sure that it tallies with the packed items.

One simple thing that moving companies do is to use different colour-coded stickers for different boxes, eg Red for air-freight, green for sea-freight, yellow for storage etc. This will aid immensely in ensuring a smooth and uneventful move, and that everything goes where it is supposed to go.

Step Five - After the Move

You've made it. You're at your new home, your belongings have arrived in one piece, and you're beaming from ear to ear at a move well executed. Final pointers: Your moving company will do the unpacking for you as well, so all you really have to do is to be present when the stuff arrives and tell them where you want the furniture to go. Make sure you check that all the stuff is in order. If there is anything missing or broken, tell the moving company right away. Chances are, you'll need to find temporary housing before your belongings arrive (depending on when you shipped them out). Check out our serviced apartments and hotels listing if you do need pointers on finding temporary housing.