8 Tips on How to Organize a Move Without Being Present


Moving while not being present is definitely not a common way of doing it.

A lot of questions and constraints arise from this special situation: is it possible? Are they going to make some mistakes if I am not there? Who can help me to monitor this? How can I sort out what stays from what moves etc.


The good news is that you are not alone, many people are currently in this situation and therefore, we have been handling quite a lot of moves without the presence of the tenants since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Of course, we have been talking and asking our customers what were their challenges, expectations and questions when moving while not being present, and so here a 8 tips that we hope can help:


1- Ayi is Your New Best Friend

Ayi’s are definitely key people when preparing the move.

From sorting out things to organizing visits, getting your trusted ayi to help is definitely the right thing to do.

However, if times allows it, get your Ayi to complete the preparation of the move before inviting your removal consultant for the survey.

Doing an online survey can be quite tiring for both parties if things are not clear with lots of questions and uncertainties.

The best is to go first in detail with your Ayi through everything, and once the apartment is more or less tidy, get your mover to come in.

Like this, the survey will be fast and smooth, and the volume and workload estimate will be clear.


2- Work with Videos and Photos

Videos are good to have live interactions; photos with written notes are good for clear confirmation.

One of the main challenges when moving while not being present is to insure good communication.

Have photos taken of everything, from close and from far (your removal consultant should take them as well during the visit), and comment everything (for a big home, about 50 photos should do it).


3- Try to Stay Online

Even though the move should have been quite well prepared in advance, it is still possible that questions have to be answered during the move, especially if you have a lot of things…

Despite the possible time difference, it can avoid later stress and complications if you can stay available during the whole packing process.


4- Humidity

With Spring comes the rainy season, and aside of fire or having a container being dropped, humidity is the no.1 risk that can have an extended impact on your move.

Against humidity, here is what you should ask your local representative to do:

1- At least 48 hours before the move, make sure all doors and windows are shut

2- At least 48 hours before the move, turn on AC and dehumidifiers (if no one is home and you prefer not to have the AC on at all time, note that most AC also have a dehumidifying mode)

3- Open all doors inside (rooms, wardrobes, cabinets…): let the air circulate

4- If you have a room or corners at home that are particularly humid, remove all items from that place

5- Let the leather breath: leather is something that can get moldy quite easily so let your leather items breath; clean them with a dry cloth and let them out of their closets (handbags, shoes, jackets, furniture…)

6- Use vacuum bags: it adds a layer of protection, plus reduces the volume of the move (clothes, beddings, cushions, stuffed toys…)


5- Storage Options

There are basically 2 types of storage: the moving company’ warehouse and self-storage spaces.

Moving company’ warehouses are usually not conveniently accessible for the customers. They are usually located far in the suburbs and the presence of the warehouse staff is required to move things around. However, they can take big volumes and are cheaper than self-storage spaces.

Self-Storage spaces are usually located closer to the city, or even down-town. They are accessible without appointment and usually have AC continuously on.

The downside is that they are more expensive and have smaller storage space capacity.

A good option if you are moving in order to save rent (so planning to come back to Shanghai) is to identify ‘first access boxes’ (the things you want to retrieve as soon as you are back) and to have them stored in a Self-Storage facility. The rest can be stored at the mover’ warehouse.


6- Shipping Options

There are basically 3 ways to move internationally: by sea, by air or by land (land is available only to HK and to some countries that have borders in common with China)

All options are currently available and can be combined.

Sea shipments usually take between 1 week (near countries) to 2 full months (further countries) to be delivered while air or land shipments would usually take between 1 week to a maximum of 3 weeks door-to-door (according to the size of the shipment).

Note that some documents and not-restricted items can also be couriered to you via Fedex, DHL and others…


7- Pre-Packing

Pre-packing is not only possible, it is recommended.

We indeed recommend to either pre-pack or at least clearly isolate items that you want to retrieve quickly and easily when needed.

Important documents, computer, school or working uniforms, bike and scooter keys…

Ask yourself: what are the items that I normally use everyday and make sure that these items are pointed to the movers first thing before starting to pack. These boxes should be marked and piled-up for quick and easy access.


8- What Can You Do with What You Do Not Want to Keep?

Here are a few options:

– Donate to charity (please note that we offer this service for free with Shanghai Heart 2 Heart)

– Sell on 2nd hand platforms (Smart Shanghai, WeChat mini-program ‘Movein’, WeChat groups…)

– Give to ayi

– Give to your landlord

– Organize a farewell party without being present and hold a garage sell or an auction session with your friends



We sincerely hope that these 8 tips can help you organize and have a stress-free move.




The SAE Asia Team.