You'd think you' not worry about packing'n'moving until you had a house to move to, but an expat knows, more often than not, you pack'n'move FIRST then worry about the house at the other end.
Our shipment from Sydney to Dublin took nearly 2 months and was devoid of electrical appliances.
Dublin to Yokohama was about 6 weeks, also devoid of electrical appliances plus no lounge suite (and other items we'd accumulated in Dublin but didn't think would fit into a new home in Japan).
Yokohama to the UK was about 5 weeks, you guessed it, no electrical items.
The first stage in a move is for a quote to be done, and a tally of all your worldly possessions so that the company can say 'wow you have a lot of stuff' and then you negotiate for a bigger allocation of container space, which you will more often than not loose.
The fact that we all live differently all over the world isn't a consideration.
The assumption that every family like ours (2 adults, one child) has the same amount of stuff is ludicrous!
We were just under our allocation leaving Japan and are leaving the UK with a trampoline, out door dining setting, electrical (cos we can this time!!!!!!!!!!! Power and plugs are the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!), several small Ikebana vases, a 'few' more framed pieces of artwork, a few more clothes (tho we've had a thorough sorting), a Dyson, 3 small picnic chairs (if push comes to shove, we can leave these), and food - we can take pantry food with us this time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Like any move organising redirection of mail has to be organised, cancelling subscriptions, purging/cleaning cupboards, wardrobes; cleaning all our door furniture, dismantling trampolines or other play equipment; unplugging all electrical equipment and labelling all the cords; finding instructions to rebuild anything you've dismantled has ot be done.
Plus, with an international move, you've usually got to get rid of food stuffs; alcohol; make detailed lists of CDs or DVD's (name, rating, category); pack for what you will need while you wait for shipment separately; organise visa's (as corporate movers, work does this for us); notify embassy you are leaving/arriving; best to back up ALL computers just-in-case; ensure there's time to sell, give away or dump whatever you're not taking.
You are seldom allowed to pack stuff due to insurance, but I do pack our most valuable possessions (usually those with sentimental value as opposed to monetary) like MissM's memory table stuff and other ornaments. I pop them back into the boxes they came in, or smother the item in tissue paper or bubble wrap into shoe boxes. These are left open so the packers can see what's in them, before they seal them.
I'm itching to get going with this as it's time consuming and fiddly but for some reason it seems too early to be doing this tho I know in a week or two I'll be running out of time.
Sometimes your stuff won't arrive for weeks after you do, so you need somewhere to live in between or have rented furniture where you will be living. We are fortunate that we have serviced apartments until our things arrive, so usually we are paying rent on a property we aren't able to move into.
The company moving us 'should be contacting' me by the end of the week to come do the inventory which will tell them the space we'll need. Then the fun will come when G has to negotiate with work for (probably) slightly more.
Then we can make a date to come pack'n'move.
Then we can make a date for the car to go on the ferry (driving instead of flying which is novel)
Then we can make a date for the final cleaning of the house.
Then we can make a date for the final inspection.
Then we'll get our bond back (and put it towards a holiday)
Thank goodness our wonderful relocation manager is back to finalise everything once we've gone.