Life in Korea: packing up, moving out, and moving in

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Author’s note: ‘Life in Korea’ posts are aimed at the newer expats among us. If you have a more experienced perspective to offer, comments are open.

Packing up and moving on / out is a reality you’ll face if you stay in Korea beyond your first contract. Although it’s not as complicated as your move to Korea, it’s a little more complex because you’re still in a foreign country.

Author’s note: ‘Life in Korea’ posts are aimed at the newer expats among us. If you have a more experienced perspective to offer, comments are open.

Packing up and moving on / out is a reality you’ll face if you stay in Korea beyond your first contract. Although it’s not as complicated as your move to Korea, it’s a little more complex because you’re still in a foreign country.

Find some boxes – but avoid the grocery stores. The boxes just past the cash registers are usually meant for customers – some places won’t mind if you take a few, but others will. Better places to look are the curbs and sidewalks near smaller business or grocery stores – the places that put them out for the ajummas and ajosshis with wheeled carts. Outside back doors or alleys where the stores throw them are great places as well. Of course, boxes are also for sale at Emart, Homeplus, and the Korean post office.

Cancel / transfer your internet – depending on your service, that may mean calling them up to disconnect the service and returning the internet modem.

Change your address if anyone mails you. If your cell phone bill or any magazines come in the mail, make sure to change your address.

Prune. I’m a big fan of pruning – that is, actually looking at things to see if I use them / need them / want them. Some things are easily kept (e.g. the book on digital photography), while others can be tossed (those cheap headphones you only used once before one of the speakers stopped working). This also goes for clothing – does it still fit / look good / get worn? How many t-shirts do you really need anyway? This important step leads to the next one.

Donate or sell. For the sake of saving your sanity, avoid selling all your little small things on craigslist. Nobody wants your Lonely Planet Korea that’s two editions out of date – donate it or throw it away. Somebody might want your collection of board games – and the price you ask will make it worth your time to sell. My personal rule of thumb: if it won’t sell for more than 50,000 won or it’s not a super-rare item, I’ll donate it or throw it away.

Get a moving truck. In most cases, your school or recruiter can arrange a moving truck for you. Expect to pay for it and do the moving yourself, or with some help from the driver. Alternatively, the Seoul Global Center can assist – give them a call at 1688-0120 or stop by their website.

Clean last, and clean first. Huh? Clean the old place to get your deposit back, and clean the new place so it’s livable. Not every tenant leaves their place in spic-and-span condition. Also part of this point: if it’s left by the tenant, it’s typically considered abandoned and yours to keep or throw away. Do one or the other, but don’t store their sleeping bag thinking they’re coming back for it.

Photograph. The last thing you want is a ‘he said / she said’ battle about the condition of the apartment – especially if the deposit your school has collected from you is a sizable one. Snap a few pictures of the place when you move out, showing its cleanliness and lack of anything broken. Do the same when moving in to the new place, paying special attention to anything that’s broken / dirty when moving in.

Fellow expats, any recommendations on the moving out / moving in process? Comments are open.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2010

This post was originally published on my blog, Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.




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