Moving Continents, What to Pack, What to Leave behind?

(14 Posts)
ragged Wed 15-Dec-10 04:06:17

And what to do with the house, if you own one, and you don't know how long you're going for?

We live in the UK.
DH might get to go to California for work. Assuming he can get a guaranteed one year's minimum pay contract we would probably all go with him. 2 adults and 4 young DC.
I look at all our "stuff" and can't figure out what we should plan to take, and what we should plan to buy once there. How do you draw up the rules? Clothes? Books? Electronics? Furniture? Bicycles? Etc.
We wouldn't want to sell our house right away, not until the long-term picture got clearer, so then how to make sure it and its contents and the garden are looked after properly in our absence? We don't have relatives (or friends, probably) we could ask to help out. Do some estate agents have a service to look after empty properties?


OP’s posts: |
AllThreeWays Wed 15-Dec-10 04:33:08

Pack it all and put it in storage, rent a furnished apartment/house. Electronics won't work on US 110 volt and furniture would cost more to take than store. Clothes ...yes but not all the heavy coats etc for California.
You would be amazed what you can live without.

BigChiefOrganiser Wed 15-Dec-10 05:05:43

We took everything bar the electronics and garden things/tools, as the company shipped it, it wasn't an issue.

I would check about leaving your house empty, I think on our insurance it could only be empty for 6 mths. We rented ours out. If you are in the NE, I know a very reliable person who manages property if this would be of interest to you. He does ours and we have had no problems and has been reasonable cost.

Wordsonascreen Wed 15-Dec-10 05:52:01

Be wary on tax if its only for a year.

We rent out our English house (currently tax free in Dubai) and pay 9% agency fees.. if you have to pay tax on rental they'll take another 20%) I'd ask around on empty houses I'm sure if you throw money at them they'll do anything.

We ditched most stuff (house is rented unfurnished) We had a lovely 10 foot skip that we filled to the brim with 15 years of crap and clutter. We have stored boxes of books and a huge antique dining table (used big yellow storage which are expensive but very easy)

Do you have children? The one mistake we made was to ship their toys (taking 11 weeks rather than air freighting it (taking 2 weeks)

Wordsonascreen Wed 15-Dec-10 05:53:49

We shipped 3 boxes of books over (leaving about 25 in storage TBH I wish we'd shipped more. You really need a bit of "your stuff" when relocating to make it your own.

We've bought all new furniture (Dubai has an ikea grin

redflipflops Wed 15-Dec-10 06:04:12

Don't bother with electrical stuff (won't work in US).

The rest depends on relocation package... how much are company paying? will you they pay for relocation back? Also how long do you imagine you'll stay in US? If it's only for a year or so might be simpler to leave most behind?

California is expensive (renting houses & general costs) so you need good salary. Also if your kids are v young remember school system is different. Only private Pre Schools and kids only full time school once in 1st grade (age 6). Living costs quite different here.

Wordsonascreen Wed 15-Dec-10 06:19:17

sorry have jus read back your op and seen the 4dc

Our first priority when moving was getting the dcs sorted (6 and 8) have they been to California before? The last thing you want is crying children.

Make sure relocation includes an orientation week (before you commit) We spent a week at waterparks (as direct bribery) and visiting schools/different neighbourhoods to see if we COULD live abroad before signing on the dotted line.


ragged Wed 15-Dec-10 12:42:38

Thanks 4 replies. I am a native Californian so they have visited, but I am very aware of lots and lots of differences, including horrendous living costs.

Electronics: I was thinking of stuff like DS player, DH's shaver, digital camera, laptops, stuff that should work on 110 volt chargers.

No idea what relocation package we'd get -- that's part of assessing the situation, what features in the relocation package should we ask for?

How many (volume of?) toys per child should they be allowed to bring? It's Silicon Valley, so wet enough, iirc, to make it worthwhile to bring the wellies. And we are keen cyclists with terrific bikes, especially kid bikes, but seems a lot to haul them over too!

There must be rules of thumb with this stuff. I was planning on leaving the piano behind, at least.

OP’s posts: |
ragged Wed 15-Dec-10 12:44:26

Renting out seems a hassle because we'd still have to pay to store a lot of our own things/furniture, plus it's a biggish house (4 bed detached) and I don't think there's a lot of demand for rentals like this house, in this area.

Thanks for the tax tips.

OP’s posts: |
BigChiefOrganiser Wed 15-Dec-10 19:05:58

Re small Electronics - laptops, cameras etc.. yes take them with you, we brought all of ours over, no problems with that. We actually also brought our TV and stereo system and just run it off a transformer.

Again check with insurance, and also possibly mortgage holder about leaving the house empty (of people).

For the package, dependant on what the company normally offer expats. However, we got/get, shipping of household goods, housing paid, goods & services differential (due to exchange rate being rubbish), 1 return trip per year, health care paid for employee. Storage of goods we left in the UK.

We initially came for 2.5yrs, but are staying on, so continue to rent out the house, and have things in storage in the UK. We came with 1 DC and really wanted to bring our things over so it was familiar for him, he'd have his own things for his room, bed, toys etc..

strandedatseasonsgreetings Wed 15-Dec-10 20:27:28

We rented our house out fully furnished without any problems so do look into this as an option. It helped that we are close to good schools.

We brought more or less everything else with us as dh's office paid for a container. We even brought a car. If I were you I would bring as much as you can afford/the company will pay for. It's nice to have your own stuff. (Although check how much storage you will have in whatever house you are moving to - that has been a problem for us).

LillianGish Wed 15-Dec-10 20:41:21

If you are relocating with a company find out if they are paying the move there and back. Whether or not you are paying your own shipping costs will make a huge difference to what you can take (and bring back). Re bikes etc do check the rules on that - you can't take anything with dirt on it so garden furniture, bikes - anything that's been outside has to be scrupulously clean or it won't clear customs. If you are just going for a year I'd think of either putting your stuff in storage or renting out your house furnished and just take some clothes, toys and a few personal effects.

ragged Thu 16-Dec-10 11:08:49

Ooh, good tip about the dirt on bikes!
We love our bikes, I'd be bereft without.

Clothes: do we just pack them all up?? Half of me says that "fashions" will be so different that DC will want to buy a lot of different stuff out there to not stand out, anyway. Then again, what with globalisation, are fashions so different? I hate buying unnecessary stuff.

Children's books: I can't decide how many of them to take.

Xmas Decorations and similar: It would annoy me to have to buy more if we had lots unused back here.

Skiing stuff (haven't skiied for years, but it's easier to do it out there), camping things (ditto).

I am hopeless! Am trying to get rid of lots of stuff right now, at least.

My Old work papers and related? I was a Uni researcher for 15 years. There are boxfulls of that. It might help me get a job if I brought it with, but deciding what to take and what to leave is hard.

I like my stuff, I'd want to bring a fair bit with me to feel like it was really my new "home".

OP’s posts: |
redflipflops Thu 16-Dec-10 15:56:30

Depends on whose paying relocation costs and how long you're going for!

Stuff like clothes/books/toys/decorations make it feel like your 'home' IMO so worth taking.

Our crate took 6 weeks from UK - CA but you need to be prepared for 8 weeks (as it can get stuck at customs). Relocation should pay for temporary accommodation while your stuff is in transit (but this part is hard with young DC!)

Maybe you have family who can help with that kind of stuff? Good Luck smile

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in