Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Repat Prep - Packing your Stuff Up

Second only to figuring out how to ship the mutt to the UK without having to take out a mortgage, is how and when to ship my stuff and actually, what stuff to ship. If at all.

The Ball & Chain is of the opinion that we should take nothing and buy everything once we get to the UK. This is not rocking my boat for a number of well thought-out reasons.

1. It means we'll have to go shopping as soon as we arrive and be "camping" in our rental house for a while. A friend has just ordered a sofa and it's apparently going to take 16 weeks to come!
2. It also means that, as well as trying to sell our house, I'll have to sell, donate or throw out most of our possessions.
3. The cost of shipping, while expensive, is not quite what it would cost to furnish and equip a four bedroom house.

So I think we'll be shipping some stuff, despite what His Nibbs says. The problem arises because we have only just put our house on the market and we have quite a few "showings" scheduled. In general, estate agents would prefer not to show an empty house, so the furniture stays for now. Besides, we need something to sit on and sleep in until we leave.

I could ship a few bits and pieces about 8 weeks before we are due in the UK so that we're not completely stranded when we get there. I know I won't thank myself on the day we arrive if there are dozens of boxes to unpack to find the corkscrew though. Wink.

Last time we moved, it took a day to load and unload between one house and the other. Everything came with us and the things we knew we would need on the first night, I took in the car. Given that it will take 6-10 weeks to ship things from the US to the UK, and an overnight flight for us, the logistics are slightly different. Even if we sell the house next week, the arrangement will be that we won't hand over possession till mid-July when we move. Typically in the US you "close" on the sale, the buyer takes possession of the house that day and you have to be out immediately. Most people who do this have another house to go to that same day, and all their stuff is already there. Not the case for us. I have a feeling we're going to have to find a dog-friendly hotel for the last few days which will be a bit weird.

My head is about to explode. 


  1. I can't even imagine the logistics of a move of this magnitude. But, might I suggest that you pack the corkscrew in your luggage - then you will exactly where it is...as long as they don't lose your luggage.

    Also, "His Nibbs" made me laugh out loud. I know have a new nickname for my husband when he needs to be brought down a peg or two.

    1. Most of my nicknames for him are not fit to print!

  2. Is your move to England permanent? If not would it be worth storing furniture and renting a furnished property here or plan a trip to IKEA for the basics?

    Considering your previous posting about where you will be living I assume you will be near to the American school.
    Apart from holidays and college I have never had to find my way around a new area, DS and DiL have just moved and are delighted to be 15 minutes from the beach.

    1. We've no idea what will happen once the youngest goes to college, but I don't think we will live in Chicago again so I don't want to store anything here. It's also not cheap!

  3. I think it depends how long you will be over here for. We didn't ship much to the US, and bought a whole new set of furniture, crockery, glasses etc which we had to ship back. Now we have 2 of everything - on reflection it would probably have been better to take stuff with us. Also bear in mind that buying these things is probably more expensive and more logistically tricky in England than in the US, where there are endless large shops like Bed Bath and Beyond with plenty of parking.

    1. The other great thing is that I'll be in an international community where people are moving all the time - and selling stuff.

  4. Gumtree (I guess it's English cragislist) can be a good option for some things (I got a pretty nice Dyson vacuum cleaner for £60.) Having recently been through the dog/hotel/house thing myself, I can sympathise - finding a rental that allows pets was trickier than we thought it would be in a country full of people who love dogs! We ended up leaving ours in Korea with our beloved dogsitter until we moved into the new place (painful for us, but she was happy) and then had her flown straight to Heathrow (don't know if it's the same coming from the US, but coming from Korea we had to fly her to an approved Animal Reception Centre, and I think they are only at Heathrow and Manchester(?) I would also definitely hit up the Triangle community - if you are in London, you will have no trouble finding people who are unloading most of the things that you will need. Deep breaths....x

  5. You know, one way to make furnishing homes easier is this one site called furnishr.com. They help design the rooms in your house, then they deliver and set up the furniture for you. So its one less thing for you to worry about when moving.

  6. hehehehehe sorry, but giggling as only one can who's done this and knows exactly what you're going thru, minus a pet.

    We STILL have half a house in professional long-term storage at home - 10 years after leaving. Next visit home is going to include 2 days of going thru everything and probably binning most of it as it's 10+ years 'old' and out of style, or simply has that I've been ignored' look to it. The sentimental pieces will be a different story so we'll probably downsize the unit much to hubby's annoyance.

    Each move we make, we have several categories;
    Take with us on plane (this includes more than the obvious, and things like plastic bowls and plates, cutlery, favourite coffee mugs, towels, and durable shopping bags - none of these items do you need to buy more of when you arrive)
    Sell before we leave
    Donate before we leave
    Chuck before we leave

    You can always replace what you've sold if you find you miss it/need it, but it's incredible what you can learn to live without. At least this is a semi-permanent move ...... just think about doing this every 2-3 years LOL


  7. Out of curiosity....how much does a 20' container


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