After a decade of living in China, we have decided to return to the USA for a while. Naturally, this leads to a few decisions that need to be made. One of the big ones is what to keep.
I’ve noticed that when a lot of people are moving back to their home country they start shopping for all kinds of things. This is because the employer is footing the bill for the shipment. When someone else is paying to pack up your household, drive the contents to the port, load it on a ship, sail it to the other side of the planet, off load your container, drive it to your new home, and pay for more movers, people tend not to fret about what to get rid of. In our case, we are paying for the move. I’ve got two estimates that land our bill for shipping at anywhere from USD 500-750 per cubic meter depending on how much we keep. So whatever goes into a cubic meter-sized box better be worth more than that. Otherwise it makes more sense to leave it here and simply buy new stuff there.
My thought was to get rid of everything. Make a clean start. However, the other members of my family were not so keen on my minimalism. One very honest and helpful friend in the shipping business suggested taking extra luggage on the plane rather than shipping by sea if we are not keeping any furniture. Indeed, we have friends who arrived in Beijing with 16 duffle bags and suitcases. At $100 a bag, it was much cheaper and quicker than using a partial shipment on a container. The problem for us is that we have two squirmy toddlers and an overnight layover planned. Not to mention I already have luggage hassles enough just going on a summer holiday to the USA, let alone manhandling a lot of excess luggage. Still, I was tempted.
In the end, we have opted to get rid of the bulk of our possessions. The luggage idea was on the table, but we happen to have two pieces of furniture that we will take with us, so that ended the excess luggage plan (whew). All other furniture, kitchen items, appliances, and a lot of toys and books will be sold or donated to charity.
Wherever our new home ends up being in the Seattle-Redmond, Washington area, we will arrive with a good deal less then we have now. Thank goodness we will also be arriving in the middle of yard and garage sale season. It should make it easy to quickly stock up on toys and books for the kids. Who knows, we might even find some used kitchen appliances we like.
Photo: Courtesy of Santa Fe