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Perhaps you’re moving away for university or to a new job and don’t have space to transport your personal belongings in the car or on the train. Maybe you’re moving overseas and can’t take everything on the plane with you. Whatever your reason for shipping personal effects and belongings, we’ve put together a guide to help you package your items and get them to their new home safely.

What to pack your personal effects in for posting

The first decision you need to make when preparing your personal effects for shipping is what you’ll be posting them in. It might seem like a good idea to put everything into a suitcase and have it shipped by courier, but we’d recommend against this because suitcases are prone to delivery labels coming off and they usually won’t be covered for any damage to the case. We’d also advise against using plastic storage cases, because these can easily break whilst being shipped. Instead we suggest packing your items in new, double walled cardboard boxes. Used cardboard boxes can also be used, but they won't offer as much protection for your precious items.

How to protect your personal belongings for shipping

Once you’ve got your cardboard boxes, it’s time to prepare your personal items for posting. Start by protecting any fragile items with bubble wrap. If you’re sending clothes or any other fabric items, these can also be used to add some extra protection to fragile items. For anything with sharp edges, place these in the middle of the box so that the sharp sides can’t touch the sides of the box.As everybody’s personal effects will be different, it’s worth having a read of our general packaging guidelines and our guides to posting specific items.Any cosmetics or items which could leak should be packed separately and it’s worth making yourself aware of the prohibited and restricted items list to ensure you don’t include anything that isn’t allowed in your parcel – many couriers x-ray check parcels, especially when sending internationally to check the parcel contents.For any items which are prohibited or restricted, for example, anything which has a rechargeable battery – phones, tablets, handheld games consoles and even electric toothbrushes and shavers, these are better off traveling with you in person rather than by courier

International customs charges and the cost to ship personal belongings

To compare delivery prices for shipping your personal effects, you’ll need to enter the size and weight of your parcels into My Parcel Delivery’s quote form. Most couriers have a weight limit and size limit on the parcels they can accept. Take a look at our large parcel delivery page for specific information on maximum parcel sizes and weights for different couriers. It’s better to pack your items into multiple parcels, rather than risk your parcel being too big or heavy. You should also be aware not to overfill your boxes as this could cause them to burst and we wouldn’t want that.When it comes to picking a courier, although UPS have a generous maximum weight allowance of 30kg, some of their services come with a surcharge for posting to residential addresses, so we wouldn’t advise using them to post your personal belongings.Instead you can send a parcel with Parcelforce who have generous weight limits and the added convenience of the driver bringing the shipping label. Parcelforce are also handy for sending personal effects to Europe and destinations further afield (the USA, Australia, Canada, China and more).If you’re sending your personal belongings to a country outside the EU, you will need to complete a pro-forma invoice which will be inspected by the customs agents when it arrives in the country. There may be additional forms to complete to ensure your personal belongings don’t get an import charge applied to them. Get in touch now for further advice if you’re sending overseas.Be aware that all personal effects and belongings can only be sent on a no compensation basis, for a full list of other items which you can't get compensation cover for, see our full list of restricted and prohibited items.