How to Move to Europe: Moving Day

Moving image

Well, after much planning, shopping, paperwork and perhaps a panic attack or two, moving day has finally arrived. This means you’ve done your research and carefully selected a reputable international moving company, or, if you’re like me, picked one randomly after a quick Google search, then checked them out on Yelp to ensure the reviews aren’t terrible.

Here are what I hope are some helpful tips for your move:

Do your research and find a reputable international moving company, then get a quote from them. Do this several months in advance of your move, if you can, to allow for sufficient coordination time. Most companies require 30-day advanced booking.

Before you get a quote, you’ll have to fill out a form where you’ll be asked to list every item you want to bring. List EVERY item right down to curtain rods and rings, otherwise the moving company won’t have enough packing materials to pack your stuff when they show up on moving day.

If you’re planning a permanent move, sell and give away as much as possible (and store those one or two special items with family if you can). You don’t need it. If you’re moving to mainland Europe, moving a two-bedroom house or apt. will cost upwards of $4,000; if you’re moving to a place like Mallorca, double that. Trust me, your furniture is too big for EU-sized housing (if you’re an American) and some of your treasured pieces will likely get damaged in the move.

Pack your personal items on your own; then save the rest for the movers.

Be present during the entire move.

Make sure EVERY box is numbered and keep a list of what every numbered box has inside. You’ll regret it if you don’t as at least one or two boxes are bound to go missing and by the time your stuff gets to you months later, you won’t remember everything you packed.

Stay at a friend’s house for your last night in the U.S. (or wherever) and bring your pets (if you’re bringing them with you). Your house will be a mess and you’ll need a command center for moving day itself, when your house will go from your adored home to an empty and strange place. This is a sad thing to experience, so stay with a friend, for your own emotional well being and sanity.

Wear an embarassing clerk apron and carry around a few sharpies, some packing tape, an exacto knife, and some cash. Please believe me. You’ll need all of this on moving day.

Plan to have a few extra boxes and packing paper on hand, just in case. You’ll probably need it for something.

That’s about it for moving day. Now here are some things regarding the move to Europe in general that I would have done differently, had I known then what I know now:

I would have had more than one garage sale prior to the move.

I would have sold or donated more.

The few pieces of furniture and boxes of stuff I just couldn’t live without I would have shipped to mainland Europe (Barcelona specifically), then borrowed my brother-in-law’s van, taken the ferry from Mallorca to Barcelona, picked up the stuff and driven it to my new house. It would have cost a third of what I paid to move this way and we just don’t need everything. EU-sized houses just don’t go with huge American furniture. Even if you don’t think your stuff is big; I promise you it is.

I would have let my mom or sister-in-law adopt my two kitties, like they offered. I couldn’t bare to part with them at the time, but the move was really hard for them and now they’re kind of crazy, which caused me to make them outdoor instead of indoor kitties for my little girl’s safety, my furniture’s survival and my sanity.

I wouldn’t have “worked from home” that day or the few days prior. It’s freaking impossible. Give yourself a break, you can’t do everything.

For more zaney adventures in the How to Move to Europe series, visit these previous posts…

How to Move to Europe: The Bureaucracy Monster

How to Move to Europe: Psychotic Pre-Departure Shopping Spree

How to Move to Europe: The Plan

…and stay tuned for my final post in this series: How to Move to Europe: I’m Here, Now What?


4 thoughts on “How to Move to Europe: Moving Day

      • Did you give them their own space? Like a cat tower? I come from a big pet family (Great Grandparents and Grandma used to breed animals and had a pet shop until my mom was a teenager). They need someplace that’s theirs completely to feel safer. If that doesn’t work add in a few more toys and a nice hideaway where they can diffuse.

      • Thanks, Tiffany. Yep, We did all of that. I’ve always had cats and this has never happened. To be fair, on top of the move they were having to get used to a growing baby girl. They’re getting better, but I’ve had to basically re-train them. Fingers crossed I can let them be at least part-time indoor cats soon 😦

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