Moving to Australia? Read our tips on how to pack

The key to a successful move is planning, planning and more planning. Use this Interactive Checklist tool for a guide to the kinds of things you’ll need to do before you move to Australia.

When it comes to packing up your household goods and personal effects for shipping to Australia (via air or sea) we have some handy tips for you:

  1. Clean everything – your household goods will be inspected when they arrive in Australia. Any items that have been in contact with food, soil, plants, animals or animal products must be thoroughly cleaned and dried to ensure they are free from contamination
  2. Inspect everything- look closely at the surface of anything made from timber for signs of insect infestation. Does it have any traces of sawdust-like powder, fresh holes, chew marks or tunnels on the timber? If you find any of these signs of infestation you must either treat the items or dispose of them. Also if you have these items treated make sure you retain the certificate verifying treatment as authorities may need to sight it
  3. Secure everything – any loose items, such as sharp kitchen utensils, glass or ceramic items should be wrapped up safely
  4. Label everything - label your boxes correctly to identify boxes containing medical items, dangerous goods, or any items that may compromise the safety of people handling your goods
  5. List everything - when packing your personal effects, prepare a master list that includes all the items contained in each box that you are shipping. This list will be required by authorities in Australia. It may also be useful to keep a copy of this list to use as your own unpacking guide.

There are two golden rules you need to keep in mind when packing, according to the Australian Department of Agriculture:

RULE ONE -  the department will be interested in any item that originated from an animal or a plant (including timber), or contains part of an animal or a plant.

RULE TWO - the department will be interested in any item that has been in contact with animals, plants, water, food or soil. For example, these items of interest could include used shoes; camping equipment; or garden tools.

Below are some items that the Department will not permit to be imported:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • live plants and bulbs
  • prohibited and restricted seeds
  • unidentified seeds, which can include some foods, including spices
  • live animals (including pets) that require an import permit
  • biological products including some plant based, herbal medications
  • unprocessed goods of plant or animal origin
  • soiled items, or items containing organic residues
  • items knowingly infested with pests or a disease.

For more information here is a list of common items of quarantine concern on the Australian Department of Agriculture’s website.

If you are in doubt about a specific item and you want to check if it is prohibited by the department or not, you can check the Department’s  Import Conditions Database—ICON

More packing tips:

  • Don’t use old packing boxes that have been in contact with food, dirt or any kind of organic matter
  • Don’t use sawdust, wood shavings, or other organic material to pack your goods
  • Remember to pack your fragile items carefully and insulate the boxes they are packed in
  • Don’t pack any flammable items such as fireworks, aerosols, solvents, paint thinners, etc.
  • If you are using old packing boxes make sure any previous labelling is covered or removed
  • Use permanent marker pens instead of labels as labels can fall off during transit
  • Make sure the numbers on your boxes match the numbers on your packing list

This article covers general information on Moving to Australia? Read our tips on how to pack, and doesn't take your individual circumstances into account. Please use it as a guide only.

Source: Australian Department of Agriculture