International Moving – What I’ve Learned…

First, I’ve learned I’m never moving overseas again.

Ok, maybe that’s a lie…but I hope it’s not. Since jumping into this crazy military life I have only ever moved across oceans. AZ to HI. HI to AL. AL to SK. SK to AL. The idea of a just moving a state or two…or even three over sounds amazingly easier. Can you imagine just driving your car to your new house? I’m at 8 weeks now without my car. It’s supposedly on its way from Cali to Atlanta. Hopefully.

And actually, these tips don’t only apply to international moves. Most are good for any big move…but moving across an ocean is all I know.


Anyway, moving across an ocean means we had a crap ton of pack outs and deliveries. First, there was the stuff we stored for the 2 years we were in Korea. That came back to us first. Next, unaccompanied baggage aka UAB. That came second. Finally (unless you count the car that hasn’t shown up yet) we got our regular household goods (HHG) delivery.

UAB = Supposed to take about 4 weeks. You put all the important stuff you want ASAP in that shipment. It goes on a plane vs boat so your weight allowance is limited. No big furniture or large tvs.

HHG = The rest of our Korea stuff. Still have a weight allowance but since we stored most of our furniture we weren’t too worried about that.

Storage = EVERYTHING else. If I didn’t think I’d need it in Korea for 2 years it went into storage. There was a lot. Mostly furniture and outdoor stuff.


moving boxes
Uh, just stack those boxes over by the tower of boxes we got last week…

What I’ve learned….

Storage – This can go for every pack out…but especially if its something you wont see for a few year…for the love of Pete PURGE! Purge purge purge. When they came to pack out our storage stuff it was at the end of our get ready to move frenzy. I was here in AL with the 2 kids (Timmy wasn’t even 2 yet) while Thomas was in Korea already. I had done the rest of the move prep on my own and at that point I was over it. PACK IT ALL! I’ll deal with it in 2 years. Guess what? 2 years went fast and now I’m sitting in a house of boxes that are full of multiple junk drawers and papers/books/baby toys and crib bedding. So NOW I get to go through it all. As well as our 2 Korea shipments. Seriously the best thing you can do before storing your life long term would be to get rid stuff. If you wont need it 2-3 years down the road then dump it.

UAB – This is the stuff you expect to get back pretty fast. We kept it a bit longer than the slow stuff on the Korea side expecting to get it back sooner on the Alabama side. Well, planes break, shipments are delayed, nothing is ever guaranteed. Duh, it’s like I’m new to this.  It took another 3 weeks past the time we were originally told it would be here until it was actually delivered. Thankfully I AM a bit of a hoarder and didn’t purge the storage stuff because we did have a few things in that load to use for a few weeks, but not much. DON’T expect it to show up on time. If it does, amazing! But just in case it’s a good idea to keep some cheap and light plastic dishes, some REAL silverware (just enough for the family. Washing is better than plastic for weeks), some cooking utensils (like a large slotted spoon, spatula, a good knife..), cork screw!, can opener, etc. So many things we had to run out and buy that would totally have been able to fit in a suitcase.

HHG – This is prolly the least important category. This is usually the stuff you wont need for a while. Doubles of things, the less important toys, seasonal decorations that wont come around until long after even the slowest stuff shows up. I can’t think of much in this batch that I missed. One thing you should think about when deciding what can go slower would be clothing. What is the temperature like where you’re moving? What will it be like in a month or 2 after you get there (depending on when you send out your HHG shipment). For us, all but a couple pairs of shoes were in the slow stuff along with all of my dresses and shorts. It’s much warmer in Alabama than Korea. Not a total deal breaker if you’ve been seeing my Thrifty Thursday posts but it would have been nice if I would have put more thought into how many winter clothes I’d need here vs warmer weather clothes.

moving boxes
Kitchen boxes = Christmas!

 Dealing with pack outs –

-Like I said before…PURGE. Get rid of all things you don’t want or need. Clean out all junk drawers.

-If you have more than one packout (UAB, HHG, storage…) take one pack out at a time. Pull out everything you are sending one day and keep it to one or two rooms. Your house will be crazy cluttered for a few days before they pack it but it will be much easier to have the movers come in and you can just tell them everything in this room goes.

-CLEAN everything! Seriously, when things went into storage I must have been a hot mess and just didn’t care how it went…I’ll deal in 2 years, remember? Geeze. Dust everything, clean all mirrors/glass, wipe everything down. I obviously did none of that when my stuff got packed up. Just one more thing to have to do now. And gross!

inventory sheet
Inventory sheet…apparently those are 5’s in Korea.

Dealing with deliveries –

When having your things delivered there are a couple things you will need to be on top of.

Inventory sheets: Have them all laid out ready to go. The company should be good about doing this for you. Hopefully you can read what they say because once things start coming in it can go pretty quick. They yell out a box number and you check or initial or cross out each one so you know it came in. Some numbers you can’t read so it’s good to match up descriptions on the box/paper. Also, sometimes things don’t come inside (our outdoor things and dog crates went straight to the carport. I did see them unload though and crossed them off before the guys had to figure out what numbers they were missing since they didn’t bring them inside.)

Know where things are going: First things first. When the movers come in the will want a quick tour of where you are going to want things. Some things for me were easy like toys in the kids room, big furniture went where I wanted it…but there were a lot of boxes of just STUFF that I wasn’t sure where to put yet so they all went in a pile in the living room. If you know where you want things its easy to just read the number/description and quickly let them know where you want it.

Be patient and friendly: These movers are hauling your stuff in for you and even unpacking if you want them to. You’re probably also not the only house they’re unloading that day. The whole process of moving is a stressy time so try to keep calm and be nice. Everyone will be happier that way!

moving boxes
Carport full of empty boxes…the only thing parking in there are scooters.

Seoul Lantern Festival

Just a warning now…there’s a lot of pictures here. Anyway, Friday night we drove up for the Seoul Lantern Festival. It was our first time going and Im glad we did. I feel like we don’t get out much (Seoul is a good 1.5 to 2 hrs away and it was at NIGHT! eep) so it was nice to go and cross this event off my list of things I wanted to do before we leave Korea.  We left around 4pm and drove up to Yongsan Station (totally could have taken the train but sometimes with Timmy just driving is worth it) and had dinner at UNO. From there we hopped on the subway and took it down a couple stops to the festival. And now for the photo dump…

The Giant Marshmallows (rice bales)

Coming into Seoul you can see the Seoul Tower.

And the lanterns…

We came down on the wrong side. There were so many people and it got worse before it got better :/

Things were much better after we crossed to the other side of the stream.

Read more about the Seoul Lantern Festival HERE.  It ends November 17.

Daiso = Best of Korea

Ok, maybe not the BEST of Korea but definitely one of my favorite things about this country I know I’ve mentioned Daiso before and might have shared some pictures but today we went back and I took my camera.

Daiso is sort of like a dollar store…only not everything is a dollar (aka 1000 won) but its still all pretty cheap and I love that! This is the big one on the 3rd floor of AK Plaza, the train station in Pyeongtaek.  They carry pretty much everything. Lots of house stuff, office supplies, gifts, beauty stuff, socks, sandals, pet stuff, storage, snacks, some craft stuff and gardening stuff, toys….and more.

Love. This. Place.






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