Tips for shipping furniture internationally

You don’t really know how much you love your furniture – until it’s time to start planning your move. It’s only then that you realize just how precious your old grandma’s hand-me-down sofa is. This is the time you figure out you can’t live without your coffee table, your mirror, or your bookshelf. And that’s when the trouble starts. Once you have thought about what furniture you will be taking with you when you are moving to Japan (or to another country), you need to think about actually moving them. In this article, find out how to properly pack your furniture for transportation, as well as the most important things you need to know about shipping furniture internationally.

International shipping regulations

When you’re moving internationally, understanding international shipping regulations is a crucial step. Different countries have their own set of laws and restrictions regarding what can be shipped in and out. For example, some countries might have strict rules against certain wood types or fabrics. Therefore, it’s vital to do your research ahead of time. Additionally, customs and import duties can significantly affect the cost and process of shipping furniture internationally. These charges vary widely from country to country. For instance, shipping a couch to Canada might incur different fees than sending the same couch to Japan. Being aware of these costs helps you budget effectively and avoid surprises.

A person filling a document for shipping furniture internationally
Gather all necessary documents needed for shipping furniture internationally

Handling legal paperwork and documentation is another important aspect. This includes filling out customs forms and ensuring all your items are correctly declared. Incorrect or incomplete documentation can lead to delays or even fines. For instance, if you’re shipping an antique piece, you might need to provide proof of its age and value. In summary, taking the time to understand these regulations will make your moving experience smoother and more predictable.

How do you choose the shipping company?

Choosing the right shipping company is a critical task when shipping furniture internationally. Before you pick the company that aligns with your preferences, it is important to consider three factors such as reputation, cost, and delivery times. Firstly, a company’s reputation speaks volumes. Reliable shippers, such as KSE Moving, are recognized for their professionalism and customer satisfaction. They ensure your belongings are treated with care. Next, cost is a significant consideration. It’s wise to compare quotes from various companies. For example, one company might offer lower rates but longer delivery times. While another might be more expensive but guarantees faster delivery.

A mover carrying a sofa
In order to relocate your furniture successfully, find a reliable shipping company

Additionally, delivery times are crucial, especially for time-sensitive relocations. Some air sea forwarder companies offer expedited services at a higher cost, which might be worthwhile if you need your items quickly. Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of reviews and recommendations. Reading about other customers’ experiences can give you a clear picture of what to expect. You might find that a company has numerous positive reviews, indicating their reliability and quality of service. Taking these steps ensures you select the best company for your needs.

The costs of shipping furniture internationally

One of the most important factors you need to consider when transporting your furniture to another country is, of course, how much the process will cost. There are many factors that will influence this number:

  • How many pieces of furniture you have
  • The distance your furniture will travel
  • The size of your house

Just to have an idea about it, transporting a 20-ft container from London to New York City can cost around £2000. In this container, you can fit a whole two-bedroom house. However, if your house is bigger, you might need to pick a bigger unit for transportation, which will increase the price. The price also rises the further your furniture will have to travel. The costs won’t be the same when moving from Florida to New York as when you are moving from the U.S. to Japan.

Finally, the moving company you are using will also change the price range, although usually, these prices will be pretty close. Still, added services, such as packing furniture, might cost you extra. However, you can always opt to pack your furniture yourself. Packing a shipping container yourself can significantly lower the costs of shipping furniture internationally (even up to 50%), but the safety of your items might be compromised. This is why finding a professional moving company is important – they will know the proper way to pack your things, and they will help you balance the costs of it.

Make a plan and be prepared for shipping furniture internationally

Even though you might be anxious to start dismantling and packing your furniture to ship it internationally, the best idea would be to take a breath and make a plan first. Having a good plan will make the whole process easier. Otherwise, anything can happen – parts can get misplaced or lost, you can pack something improperly and thus damage it – and you don’t want any of that to happen. So here’s what you need to think about.

A furniture in the wooden house
Make sure to make an inventory list of your belongings

First, look at the blueprint for your new home. Think about if each of your items can go there and what’s the best place for it. Also, see if there is any furniture already at the place – there really is no point in dragging your bed over to another country if you already have a good bed waiting for you. When looking at the dimensions of the house, however, don’t forget to check how wide the doors are. A lot of people make the mistake of shipping heavy items just to find out they can’t even take them inside. Remember, the weight of the shipment influences cost – so the lighter you go, the more money you will save.

The next thing you want to do is actually pick up a pen and paper and go through your house. Write down everything you are sure you will take with you. Make a list of things that are maybe and the things that will stay. Having everything written down will give you a clear idea of how many things you are working with. This way, you might also figure out you have some duplicates of items that you seldom use. Be merciless when deciding what stays and goes.

Packing your furniture yourself

After you create an inventory, it’s time to pick up some packing materials. Shipping furniture with international freight forwarding will introduce you to a whole new world of packing materials. It’s not only boxes and tape anymore. There are things that will secure your item, that will fix them in place – and much more! Make sure you do a thorough research into the subject and make an informed decision about what you will take with you. There are a number of things that you will need when shipping furniture internationally. One of the most important materials is the corrugated cardboard sheets. These are the sheets of cardboard that are thicker and tougher than the regular stuff. They are perfect for protecting your items. You can also use cardboard boxes, but make sure they are tough. The boxes can bounce around on long-distance trips – so you need firm material.

A couple packing a chair for shipping furniture internationally
One of the most important tasks of shipping furniture internationally is packing

To keep your items secure, there are even more things you can use. Start with bubble wrap – it’s the most common packing material after the boxes. There is also the plastic shrink wrap, which has less air but can stretch really well. Finally, consider getting some furniture blankets for your favorite pieces of furniture. Also, don’t forget ropes, tapes, labels, and markers.

Insurance and liability: Protecting your belongings

When shipping furniture internationally, it’s important to think about insurance and liability to protect your belongings. Understanding your insurance options and the extent of liability coverage provided by the shipping company is the first step. For example, some companies might offer basic coverage, which could be insufficient for valuable items. Choosing the right insurance for your furniture involves assessing the value of your items and the risks involved in the shipping process. If you’re shipping antique or expensive furniture, it’s wise to opt for a comprehensive insurance plan. This ensures you’re adequately covered in case of any damage or loss during transit.

In the event that your furniture is damaged or lost, knowing how to handle claims is crucial. Promptly notify the shipping company and provide all necessary documentation, such as photos of the damage or a list of lost items. Most companies have a claims process in place. For example, they might require you to fill out a specific form or provide an appraisal of the items. In conclusion, taking the time to understand and choose the right insurance will give you peace of mind, knowing your belongings are protected throughout your journey.

Tracking and receiving your furniture

Today, many shipping companies offer various methods for tracking your shipment. For instance, you might receive a tracking number that allows you to monitor the progress of your furniture online in real-time. This feature provides reassurance and helps you plan for its arrival. Preparing for the arrival of your furniture is just as important. Ensure that the delivery area is easily accessible and that there’s enough space for the movers to work efficiently. If you live in an apartment, inform the building management and reserve a service elevator if necessary.

A woman using a laptop
After shipping furniture internationally, you will be able to track your shipment online

Once your furniture arrives, it’s crucial to inspect everything carefully. Check for any signs of damage or missing items immediately. If you notice any issues, report them to the shipping company right away. Most companies have a protocol for handling these situations, which may include filling out a claim form or providing photographic evidence of the damage. Remember, keeping a close eye on your shipment and being ready for its arrival will make the process smoother and less stressful.

Shipping furniture internationally doesn’t have to be an overwhelming job

To conclude, there are many things you need to think about when shipping furniture internationally. Just like when moving locally, you need to make sure your furniture is well-packed and secure. However, you need to go the extra mile – because your furniture will go the extra mile. You can also research cargo import to figure out all the different regulations, costs, and materials you can use. Keeping informed on the subject will make the job easier for you. Also, consider hiring a professional moving company. Reliable movers will have experience in international shipping and will be of great help to you. Finally, keep in mind that sending heavy furniture overseas will take some time. Starting a month or two early is a great way to keep on top of everything.

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