Any move is an ideal opportunity to rationalise your possessions.
This process is important. It may be tempting to start afresh and buy everything new. On the flipside, you may feel it best to bring everything to minimise any outlay when you arrive. I suggest that somewhere in between is the right amount!
Based on our experience and the customs regulations, here is an overview of the key items we all need for the smooth running of a home and lifestyle, along with information you will find useful when going through your inventory.
Here's a quick overview:
Beds and linen
No special commentary here – if you love your bed and it’s worth the price to ship it, there will be one less item needed to furnish your new home.
Beds are sized and named slightly differently in Australia.
Cushion, or pillow top, beds are popular here, and the bed linen (‘Manchester’ as it’s called here) follows suit, so you are able to buy deeper sided bed sheets.
The climate in Australia will require a slight re-think of your wardrobe. You’ll inevitably need more in the way of summer or warm weather clothes and less bulky items for winter. That is not to say that gloves, scarves, and coats won’t be needed – they will be for at least two to three months of the year. Depending on your profession, office attire here is unlikely to differ significantly from most countries, to varying degrees of formality depending on the industry.
Due to the heat, especially in the height of summer, you will end up wearing more casual clothing and swimwear, so it’s best to bring this all along with you or pack it into your shipment to meet you here.
Electrical items and appliances
Large appliances may be worth bringing, depending on their age and whether they will survive the move. Washing machines and dryers are generally not included with properties for sale or rent.
Fridges have coolant in them, which is subject to import restrictions. It’s best to check with your shipping company to determine the latest regulations. This will help you decide whether it’s worth moving yours or purchasing a new one on arrival.
Other smaller items, such as hairdryers, lamps, and TVs, should travel well and may be worth bringing to save the financial outlay of replacing them on arrival. Note that you may wish to bring a number of multi-plugs and converter plugs to get through your first few weeks or months. You can then decide which items should be converted to Australian plugs.
Note that Australian TV broadcasts require a digital receiver. If your TV doesn’t have one (although most these days do), you will need to purchase one on arrival for a small cost – or consider replacing your TV with a new one when you arrive (which should have it built in). Televisions and most electronics are comparable to the rest of the world.
Essential once you arrive will be an unlocked mobile phone. I would suggest bringing one if possible. Alternatively, you can buy one on arrival to ensure you stay connected. Setting up mobile phone access is quick and straightforward, so get yourself a local SIM card as soon as is practicable. You may be able to use your current line and access, but bear in mind that it will likely be expensive due to international roaming charges. It’s prudent to forewarn loved ones and important contacts that you are best reached via email during your travel period, and advise them of your new number on arrival. If at all feasible, a smartphone with internet access is highly recommended to help with all of the communications and searches you will need to make whilst out and about and establishing yourself in the first weeks and beyond.
This forms a large chunk of the budget in making a house feel like a home. Furniture can be expensive in Australia, so, if you have valuable furniture, I would advise storing it or bringing it with you. The likes of IKEA exist here at similarly reasonable prices, so any of your cheaper furniture will probably not be worth shipping if it can be replaced here.
Outdoor furniture, if precious to you, will be worth bringing to help settle into the more outdoorsy lifestyle out here.
Beware that any wooden items or furniture will have to be declared and are subject to fumigation or other cleaning fees if deemed necessary. This will be at your cost.
Plants and other perishables
These are, without doubt, best left in the UK. You will need permits to bring plants into the country, so, unless of sentimental or high monetary value, donate them to friends and family. Similarly, perishables will have to be declared and may be confiscated.
If you’re a skier, you may wish to bring your gear with you – it surprises many that there is a ski season here, albeit at lower altitude and with less reliable snow than in the Alps, for example. Many choose to travel to NZ, Japan, the US, or even back to Europe to get their fix if not satisfied with the Aussie offering.
Cyclists and golfers should bring their equipment over, although be prepared to declare this and face possible fees to disinfect or fumigate if there is a perceived risk of disease – i.e. via mud or grass.
Any water-sport equipment – surf board, kayak – would be at home in Australia. Ensure you bring it, as there will be ample opportunity for its use.
Everything that you choose not to bring will need to be dealt with. There are various avenues to shed unwanted items – eBay, garage sales, charitable giving, friends and family, etc. This process will take discipline and time, so it’s key to start as soon as possible.