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Moving some household contents to USA

After a LOT of consideration and deliberation, myself, along with my family are planning on moving to the United States for at least 2 years. Hubby lost his job January 2020 (pilot) and there are opportunities opening up there for him. We have already done one international move but I plan on doing things a little differently this time. Does anyone have any tips for sending household contents (not electrical) that will take up approximately half a 20ft container?

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For insurance, go to a broker and don’t use the insurance offered by the shipping company. Insurance through a broker will be considerably cheaper and have better coverage. The insurance for moving is commonly called transit insurance.

Since your husband is a pilot, it is likely that others he knows has also done international moves. It might be worth seeing if they have, who that used and whether they would recommend them.

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Going beyond your query, will you share where you are relocating to and whether you have local guidance re housing, neighbourhoods, and so on? Perhaps a corporate recruiting department to assist? Is the new airline employer sponsoring the move or is it on your own dollars?

Since you have done it before perhaps a review. If economics allow have a removalist do the packing and shipping, and be sure to photograph and inventory everything in case it goes badly. Transit insurance is a necessity. Confirm any arrival/customs/delivery arrangements and fees in writing.

When we came this way an employer provided ‘trail boss’ handled everything and the only thing we learned a hard way was to not get involved, only have in the house what needs to be packed when the packers come, and communicate only to the ‘trail boss’ if you have one, not the workers/supervisors on the ground unless there is a problem on the day that cannot wait for the trail boss…

American schools might be a shell shock for schoolies. In addition to differences in studies some districts have armed security by whatever names and metal detectors for a reason. Private schools (1-12) are comparatively rare and religious schools are not nearly as welcoming to those of other faiths as are many of our own.

Lastly if you plan on coming back after 2 years it might be a better plan to sell or store your world and start again in the US. Household goods can be surprisingly reasonable and fit the American market whereby if you decide to offload your Australian goods some may be like the differences in fashion from country to country and seem ‘off’ in context. Compute costs on a round trip and based on who is paying do a financial risk analysis.

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We are paying and there will be no assistance/support with logistics from employer. We are expecting to be gone for at least 5 years but contractually, for 2 years with new employer. Our first international move was employer subsidised to an amount. I elected to take all our belongins to new location and bring them back to Australia to provide continuity for young children/growing children in tow. This time, they are older and I only want to take minimal amount. Moving to NC. I expect schooling to be tricky to navigate (compatibility and culturally).

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Raleigh or Charlotte I presume.

The Carolinas are the US manufacturing base for quality furniture. Back in the 1990’s we bought a quality bedroom set from NC for about 25% (delivered in TX) of the going price in any local furniture shop where we lived. Suggest you spend some time looking for furniture outlets to see if it makes sense to ship. Apologies I cannot recommend one, my source ceased business in 2010.

If you are happy with basic functional pieces that will never become heirlooms investigate Costco, BJs, Sam’s Clubs, and WalMarts as well as local discount shops. Fully furnished flats and houses are usually available in most metro areas too - a short to 12 months lease can take off lots of settling in pressure…

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I have yet to invest in expensive furniture. We just like it to look nice, work and where necessary, be comfortable. Will most likely purchase quality used pieces. Thanks for the tip about the manufacturing in the Carolinas.

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Moving to Charlotte.

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This website also provides some insight in relation to customs declarations for unaccompanied items shipped to the US:

https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Article-107?language=en_US

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Thank you

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Given the volume of freight you need to ship I suggest you try looking for consolidated freight. This is where several people effectively share freight space e.g. a container and is generally considerably cheaper than other shipping methods. I used this when I relocated to Australia and for me at least it worked well. The company will usually do the paperwork dockside and deliver the goods to your home (or storage).

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Thank you for this tip. I knew there was something that you could use as an option - now I know what it is called; consolidated freight. I will pursue this.

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If you haven’t looked yet be aware that the price for shipping is now astronomical my son moved to the UK originally for 2 years about 3 months after getting married he has now got an extension and is staying for 5 years so he thought he would ship over his wedding presents he got prices and has decided to save money and buy new as the prices for shipping were so high

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A freight forwarder will provide an LCL service that is less than container load. They will give you a door to door price if you know the delivery address, residential or into storage. There may be unforeseen customs or quarantine involvement and costs. You might contact the International Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association of Australia. Airfreight is prohibitive per kg and sea is cheaper. Allows for longer transit times and a week or so each end for packing container at depot unpack and clearance, delivery at destination.

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Thank you, very useful information.

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I imagine that shipping costs will keep going up exponentially for the next couple of years.

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Great tip. Thank you.

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The other advice I can give you is that freight is based on weight/measurement. 1 tonne to 1 cubic metre whichever is higher. Furniture generally goes by cubic metres. Bricks for example go by weight.
You won’t know your cubic metres or weight so a forwarder could only give you freight rates, not freight clearance delivery (origin/destination) totals.
Flying blind a little in the early days, pardon the pun.

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Hi,
Having moved from Australia to the Middle East, then to Africa then to Asia… Don’t send anything, save your money. Arrive with your bags and dearest things. Take your time to learn about the area, climate, housing. Buy it all new. We sent a 20 foot container from Thailand to South Australia, we had to get things like fridges locally while we waited for the stuff to arrive so when the container finally arrived after months! we were aghast at the crap we had sent. The cost of the container was far more than the basics we needed to get started in our new home. Seriously, shipping mattresses, trampolines, draws, lamps, TVs across the world is a waste of money. Sell everything and start afresh. Addendum: Lego is different, worth keeping.

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Agree about the Lego! Thank you very much for the advice.

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Thank you for the useful information.

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