When this all got started, I had a moment of thinking, “How do we, with a two bedroom apartment and so much stuff, even begin to plan to move across the Atlantic?” Jessica and I often try to be intentional about the things that we own, and we try to limit the amount of stuff that we have. Nevertheless, we have accumulated much. After taking these pictures, I once again remembered how much we own. Some items we use a lot, some items we use occasionally, some items we never use but we hold onto–because we plan to use them in the future and know that if we get rid of them we couldn’t bring ourselves to spend the money to replace them.
Packing for a trip is one thing, packing for a national move is another, but packing for an international move required a whole new mindset. As usual, I began to do my research. I figured that there were other people like us out there who had done something like this before and I could learn tips and tricks from them.
Turns out… not really.
I couldn’t really find anyone who picked up from an established home in the US to move to an established home in the UK. What I found was several students who moved to the UK for a couple of years or single business people who had moved to London. Neither group that I found walked through the experience of uprooting a home and working to establish a new one. So I began to put together by myself what all we would need to do to make this move happen, and for it to happen well.
First I began to think about all that we own. We have our full kitchen, small dining area, living room, spare room, bedroom, several full closets, and a storage unit outside.
As I discovered, there were two options. One, rent a shipping container and pack just about everything in there minus the car and the piano.
Option two, ship via a pallet (anywhere from 50-100 cubic feet) and sell most of everything else.
The best option I could find for container shipping was a 20 foot container for about $6500. While expensive, it was also attractive. We would get to keep our accumulated things, our furniture, our books, and not have to worry about storage. Then, when Jessica and I took a step back and thought about it, we realized that we don’t own $6500 worth of goods. It would be more expensive for us to ship what we own than to ship a lesser amount and replace what we couldn’t bring with us.
Option two it is.
The idea is that we will get a pallet from upakweship for somewhere between $1500 and $2000 (door to door). This way we can bring books, kitchen supplies, and personal items to make the new place feel like home. Clothes will go in our suitcases. Some small boxes of keepsakes may be stored. Everything else is going to be sold or given away.
We haven’t decided on the size yet. This will probably follow the sorting of all our possessions and determining how much space we will need. Much of this process, however, is on hold currently as we wait to see what our level of support will be.
I am already preparing myself to sell items that I had never planned to get rid of ( Lord of the Rings lego, my swords, my huge Axis and Allies game, etc). Stuff I really like, can get on fine without, never would have sold if we stayed in the States, but very low on the priority list. The thing is, this isn’t like leaving college after a semester. We aren’t planning on coming back any time soon. We don’t know what the future holds, but we have decided that we are going to move with a plan to stay for several years. Therefore the amount of things we plan to leave behind is very limited. We imagine there will be some stuff in the category of not-need but can’t-get-rid-of. Right now we are considering throwing all of that in the back of the car and driving to Tulsa to store it with my parents (things like my Scout uniforms, Jessica’s wedding dress, etc). The stuff that is impossible to replace but also unnecessary. Ironically, we just brought two boxes of that kind of stuff to Phoenix from Tulsa over the summer… but we had no way of knowing.
For now, that’s about it for our plans on how to move. I suspect we will get very serious about planning and cataloging everything after the 7th. I anticipate a long list of items we are selling, as much of what you see in the pictures above will not be coming with us. Mostly, right now I am excited about the process of culling our possessions down to the minimum. There is a certain virtue in owning only what you need.