If you’ve ever moved house, you’ll be familiar with the chore that is packing. If, like me, you’ve moved eight times in the last four years, you will be so intimately familiar with it that the mere mention of packing sends you into a whimpering foetal position.
Packing to move house is easy though, really. You get a load of boxes. Put your stuff’n’things into said boxes. Hire a van, lorry, or friends & relatives, and cart it all off to your new place. It’s laborious and tedious work for sure, but it’s not rocket science.
Moving countries is a little more complicated. Especially when you have nowhere to live at the other end.
I couldn’t move with all of my things, it was as simple as that. When I booked my flights I knew that the option to buy two additional checked bags was a viable one, but also that I was heading on holiday almost immediately. Having never been on a cruise before, I wasn’t familiar with people taking basically all of their clothes with them, so assumed I’d take a medium-sized case full of ‘holiday clothes’ with the other two large cases containing everything else I’d need for three-to-four months of living in America.
Along with a crammed backpack, that all added up to a lot of clothes. But what about everything else?
Having moved to London just 11 months before, as well as having been planning on buying my own flat, I was flush with ‘stuff’ that was perfectly usable and had cost me a pretty penny, but that wouldn’t command such an attractive coin on the second-hand market. Besides that, I had enough to worry about without listing, selling, packing, and shipping items around the country.
The decision was made to box everything up and have it shipped after I’d found a long-term place to stay.
I estimated the cost to be around £1500, and it ended up being around £1150 with GB Liners in Bristol.
They made things pretty straightforward, and are providing a door-to-door service and customs clearance which is fantastic.
Before I got to that point though, I still had to decide what was to come and what was to go.
When you’re moving around inside the same country it’s easy enough to throw it all in a box and sort – or not – at the other end. When moving continents though, every little counts. Weight, particularly.
As a result I had to make relatively quick decisions on every single item I owned:
- Did I want it?
- Did it serve a purpose?
- Would it work in America?
- How soon would I need it?
- Could I get another version of it quicker and more cheaply than shipping it?
- If it was worth considerable money, was it better to ship it or sell it and buy another?
Truth be told, I can’t fully remember what I ended up choosing to be shipped, and I’m sure there will be some interesting surprises once it all gets here!
I basically had to chuck all my electronic items that weren’t dual-voltage. I sold my TV and had to throw any and all electric razors, plugin clocks, or anything that I couldn’t be sure would work.
Thankfully the big electronic items like Sonos speakers are dual-voltage, so no problems there.
Ultimately when considering something like this you need to ask yourself – how much do you want to start over?
Before I left I was getting my hair cut (at the excellent Ruffians in Shoreditch) by a guy named Matt who had come over from Australia. He was surprised I wasn’t just jettisoning my life’s accumulations and starting again.
It was certainly an option, but I couldn’t face the effort of trying to squeeze as much money as I could out of everything by selling it, and I knew that I would want familiarity at the other end and my possessions would provide a lot of that.