The C Family’s International Relocation | Keep, Store, Give Away, Sell: where’s our stuff? (part 2)

Wow, that last post about packing was really getting long.  Here I pick up with categories #2 and #3 from my list of our household goods we packed up to:

  1. Take with us
    • 1a. Send to the Bahamas (Taken by the movers on May 31)
    • 1b. Keep for the summer (Packed in suitcases and kept in the car so movers wouldn’t inadvertently take it)
  2. Store
    • 2a. Store long-term at a parents’ home (Packed by movers into rental truck, destination: Hendersonville)
    • 2b. Lend to family until we return (Packed by movers into rental truck, destination: Atlanta)
  3. Get rid of
    • 3a. Donate to Goodwill (So grateful for the easy drop-off Goodwill donation site on Shepherd Rd in Houston)
    • 3b. Give away to friends/family (Many items to friends in Houston, other items sent by moving truck to family in Atlanta, Nashville)
    • 3c. Sell (Craigslist, A few things to family)

Where Did It All End Up? (continued)

We are planning to live in the Bahamas for 3-5 years.  That plan could change at any point, and we could easily stay longer or shorter, but that’s what we kept in mind as we packed.

2a. Store long-term

Two sets of movers came on moving day in Houston.  The first set (two men) came in the morning and packed up everything we were sending to the Bahamas.  International shipments are based on weight, so they were weighing everything as they went along.  The second set (two men which turned into five men and a lady as the day went on) came around 2 PM and packed everything else into our moving truck.

As the second set of movers packed, one of us followed the men and wrote a number and the contents on the boxes and called out a number and contents to the other.  The other person recorded what went into each box in a spreadsheet.  Now we have a handy record of what we stored long-term, which has already been helpful as we have been able to retrieve our camping tent and a pair of T’s shoes without looking through each box.  It also comes in handy when you write blog posts about what you stored.

I should have mentioned this in the last post, but we didn’t have to write down the first boxes’ contents that day because T had already made a list.  We had to submit a list of items shipped to our international shipment broker so he could estimate a value of the goods.  Then,  a duty of 35% had to be paid upon arrival in the Bahamas.  (Once again, yay for T’s company for taking care of that for us!)

So, what did we store?

  • The majority of our kitchen items that didn’t make the trip to the Bahamas
      • Dishes
      • Cookware
      • Glassware
      • Small appliances
  • Sheets, towels, bedding, and table linens
  • Upholstered chairs for our dining room table (wanted to sell but didn’t have time)
  • Artificial Christmas tree (offered to our siblings, no takers, and it just kinda ended up in storage)
  • Winter clothes
  • Small boxes of nostalgia
  • Laser printer

Of course, there are other random items thrown in there as well.  We stored 20 boxes in all.  Our general philosophy was to box up anything small and relatively valuable that we saw ourselves using in the future.  Whether all of our kitchen supplies, sheets, and bedding will seem valuable to us when we return is unknown, but I felt a lot of attachment to the things I had so recently picked out for our wedding registry.  We are very grateful that T’s parents had the space to store our goods.

2b. Lend to family until we return

Every time I have gone through a move, I have really appreciated getting hand-me-downs from people who were looking to purge.  In California, people gave household goods away left and right as they moved because it just wasn’t practical to move Ikea stuff half-way across the country (or world).  Usually, you would buy one thing they had listed on Craigslist or from a friend and they would throw in a pile of random stuff that was just waiting for a new home.  I bought a dresser and cookwear from T’s groomsman J, and he gave me two laundry baskets, a yoga mat, and a big pile of hangers he didn’t want to schlep back to Georgia.  Another time I bought a bookcase for $10 and walked away with correctly sized roller blades and a lamp as bonuses.

Fortunately for us, we were making our move just as my two sisters were re-establishing themselves in Atlanta.  Baby K had just graduated college and was moving in with friends, and Sister A was getting married and moving into a rented townhouse.  We gave them our own piles of “hmm, this could be valuable to someone but not valuable enough to keep,” which I’ll cover in another section, but we also offered to lend a few piece of furniture and artwork that we eventually want back.  One item that I miss seeing daily is the painting of the California foothills I bought from my former roommate E.  It’s nice to know, though, that it occupies a place of honor at A&M’s newlywed abode rather than a dusty attic.

3a. Donate to Goodwill

OK, this isn’t a very exciting topic.  I’m not going to write anything here that isn’t obvious.  Moving on.

3b. Give away to friends/family

As I introduced above, we were thrilled to be able to make a stop in Atlanta and another stop in Nashville at T’s sister’s apartment to give away (and lend and sell in a few cases) some of our household goods.  I’ll go through a couple of highlights of what each sister got.

Baby K

  • Queen-sized bed
  • Spice rack (I really liked my spice rack.  I probably would have brought it, spices included, to the Bahamas, but it was specifically forbidden in our shipping documents.  Baby K reports that she and her roommates have found the spices to be very useful.)

Sister C

  • Guest room bed w/ frame
  • Gas grill
  • Two patio chairs

Sister A

  • Lots of random pieces of furniture, mostly small things like side tables and a plant stand
  • Curtains

We also gave a few odds and ends away in Houston to friends and neighbors.  At our going away party, I brought several boxes of items for people to pick through, and I kept a pile for people to look at when they came by to say farewell.  One of the last things we dealt with as we left the apartment was the contents of the laundry room.  We knocked on our downstairs neighbor’s door, offered him our leftover bleach and laundry detergent and wire storage units from Target, and then drove away.

3c. Sell

My last category is what we sold.  The summary: not much.  We simply did not have time to go through the whole Craigslist process with all of our semi-valuable goods.  If we had had more time, we could have posted things in a steady stream or in a way we could concentrate on as we had when we purged before the baby was born.  Craigslisting is not for the faint of heart.  To add a complicating factor, used furniture doesn’t get a lot of love, no matter if it’s three months used or three decades used.   The value of the furniture drops when you walk out of the showroom like a car’s value drop when you drive it out of the lot.  Selling these almost-new items was an odd spot to be in: we really liked the items, we had only just picked them out, we had intended to use them for years into the future, but we were moving overseas.  Mix in the nostalgia of our first purchases as a married couple and the sleeplessness of new parents, and you end up with more than one frustrated adult.

We got really lucky with our sectional couch: another couple wanted to buy the very same couch at West Elm the day we posted it, and they were really glad to get ours for a few hundred dollars less (but still around 70% of the price we paid).

Other than our couch and our cars (which I’ll cover in another post), we sold a few items to our sisters and a rug on Craigslist.

Store and Get Rid Of: Recap

Whew, this post is bringing back some of the stressful memories from our move that I’d rather not experience again.  It was hard letting go of many things!  But do we miss them?  For the most part, no.  Ask me again in 3-5 years when I unpack and set up our next household (where will it be??).

One thing I would have brought with us rather than store is a set of dishes.  The kitchen we have now was originally outfitted with sets of 8 dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls.  Those eight have suffered attrition, and we won’t have enough plates for everyone when our families visit.  I can buy plates here, but it would have been nice to send a few of ours along with the shipment.

Wow, you guys, thanks for sticking with me if you made it this far.  It is fun to look back at what God brought us through this summer.


One thought on “The C Family’s International Relocation | Keep, Store, Give Away, Sell: where’s our stuff? (part 2)

  1. This sounds exhausting–just the decision fatigue alone, not to mention the *doing* of everything. It makes me thankful that God knows my limitations better than I do. I hoped our move would be international, but now I’m glad to have had a stepping stone in a domestic cross-country move. Maybe next time we’ll go international! You seem to have done wonderfully with it all.

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