If you making a permanent move, then taking not only essentials but items with emotional value, is very important. A temporary assignment however, means you should think about putting items in store or lending them out to your family or friends, reducing the total volume to be transported.
So you have a good idea of how long you'll be gone, next, what do you need to make a new home in another country? Some framed photos, a favorite chair or desk have all travelled constantly with me. Look around your house. Which things in your home would help you to feel relaxed and at ease in your new home? Familiar things in a new space will genuinely help to create a sense of belonging as you make the adjustments to your new life.
So you know the essentials you are taking, what does shipping cost and what are the options available?
Bear in mind you may need to revise that 'essentials' list once you know the actual costs but try to imagine your new address and what you really need to make it feel like home. A little extra shipping cost might still be worth it, or on the other hand maybe you can do without that extra chair. And if your new employer is paying for the move be sure to check what the conditions of their offer is. Is there a maximum volume or amount. This might influence your essentials list further.
Other factors affect your choice of what to take are size and layout of your new accommodation (can you lift that piano to the 10th floor), import fees, duty costs, climate (tropical climates do nothing for antiques & artwork) and any local laws that apply (taking alcohol to Arab countries is sensitive for instance).
Labelling and Managing your Inventory
Every box leaving your house should have a label. It may seem extreme, but the cost of not labelling a box and having it delivered to the right room in your new home in terms of the time wasted looking for the essentials is enormous. The alternative, having to go through all the boxes to find your keys to a desk, or coffee machine in the jumble of newly arrived boxes and furniture is a nightmare. So you know it just makes great sense to take a little extra time to get the job done once.
Consider using something like Excel to make an inventory in a spreadsheet. This should contain a simple table with a row per box. Each row should show from which room it came , to which room it should go, have a unique identification for each box and list the contents of each box. For example:
Then simply use the first three columns to generate easy to read sticky labels for each box, either by hand with a marker pen, or on the computer. Obviously you need to make the inventory, produce the labels and attach them to the boxes as you pack them, so don’t underestimate the work involved. But, for the ease with which you will find your processions once you arrive, you will be truly grateful.
Don’t forget to clearly label each room in your new home according to the scheme in your table. Add a map at the front door showing where each room is located so that as each box is brought in the moving team they will then be able to easily find the right location to place it.