Packing up your belongings is tough enough, but packing your clothes to move abroad is a whole other story. Where do you start?
Do you fold your clothes into tissue paper and put them in boxes? What kind of packing material do you need? Do you need shipping labels? Which is the cheapest way to ship them?… If you’re confused about how to pack clothes for shipping overseas, keep reading.
Before you start packing, you must divide and conquer.
Take this opportunity to assess your closet and downsize. If you’re moving to a country with a tropical climate year-round, say goodbye to those winter clothes. Donate or sell anything you don’t wear anymore and get rid of anything that’s completely worn out.
Wash or dry clean anything that’s dirty or has a musty smell. Packing dirty clothes will cause everything to smell, even small items. You’ll also want to group your clothing by category, i.e., pajamas, sweaters, weddings dress, and so on. In adittion, you can use this moment to elaborate your packing list, a core element if you are planning to move internationally.
Lastly, you’ll want to put aside at least two weeks’ worth of clothing to pack for the plane. This will get you started when you reach your new destination, and it’ll especially come in handy while you’re waiting for the rest of your clothes to make it through customs.
Now, here’s how to pack the rest of your clothes for shipping:
If you want to know how to ship a box of clothes the right way, a garment box is one of the best options for shipping. Garment boxes, aka wardrobe boxes, allow you to easily transfer your clothes from the closet to box—no need to fold. You can hang everything in the garment box with plenty of room on the bottom for folded items of clothing or shoes.
Just make sure not to overload the garment boxes, otherwise they’ll be too heavy for you to carry, and could increase the shipping costs.
You may not thing plastic bags will do your clothes any good, but in lieu of a garment box, garbage bags are your next best thing. They’re a great way to wrap clothes for shipping as they’re simple, cost-effectively, protective, and you can leave the hangers right where they are.
The only downside to using plastic bags is that the cheaper they are, the more likely they’ll rip. Not to mention, they’re a bit slippery, making them hard to stack on top of one another, and could not be included in priority mail. Nonetheless, they’re still a good option for budget packing.
If you have extra suitcases, there’s no need to waste money on boxes or plastic bags. Suitcases are easy to identify and transport—and they’ll keep your clothes protected much better than a cardboard box or plastic bag can.
The best part about using your suitcases is that since you don’t have to worry about any weight limits, you can overstuff them as much as you want and leave them to your shipping service for a flat rate.
PRO TIP: roll your clothes to create more space or use packing cubes to keep everything organized.
If you want to know a little secret for how to ship clothes when moving, your dresser drawers make for great “boxes”. This is especially true if you’re tossing your furniture before the move (or bringing it with you).
All you have to do is leave the clothing in the drawers as is, and neatly fold them with plastic wrap. The best part about this packing and shipping technique is that once you get to your destination, you don’t have to “unpack” and put your clothes back in the drawers. It also lightens the load of the dresser, if you’re taking it with you.
This goes for whether you’re packing your clothes in boxes or suitcases. Vacuum sealing your clothes—or at least your bulky stuff—will help you create more space within the containers of your choosing.
Unfortunately, vacuum sealing does not change the weight of your clothing, so if you’re packing in boxes, be careful not to overdo it. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time carrying everything.
When it comes to the tips and tricks of how to ship clothes overseas, doubling down is the best way to go. If you have clothing that isn’t in the greatest condition but you don’t want to part with, using it to wrap other valuables is a great way to ship.
You can also use these items to fill gaps in boxes to keep things from shifting during transit. Once you’ve arrived, just wash and dry your “bubble wrap” and they’ll be good as new.
Planning to move overseas? Find out more about how we can help with your move. We’ve got plenty of tips and tricks up our sleeve, plus the experience and professionalism to get you there fast and at the best price. Try us.
"Customs duties play an important role in your international shipment. How they're determined and calculated varies from country to country"
Klaus Lydsal, vice president of operations at iContainers