Relocating Abroad: To Ship Your Things or Buy New?

When moving overseas, one of the decisions you’ll need to make early on is what to do with your belongings. While storage units allow you to pause the decision-making process for later, the logistics of emptying a storage unit from abroad are reason enough for most people to negate that as an option. Instead, the majority of travellers will either sell their belongings or ship them to their destination country. But how do you decide which is the right choice for you? 

The Case For Selling Up

If you want a clear line of separation between your old life and new, selling and/or donating your belongings is the obvious choice. Not only will you avoid shipping fees, but you’ll also earn extra money to furnish your home in your destination country.

If you meet any of the below criteria, selling up is likely the best option for you:
– Your furniture isn’t particularly valuable
– You could do with an extra boost of cash
– You love the idea of a fresh start
– You’d like to live more minimalistically 
– You’re moving to a country where goods and furniture are cheaper

That last point is a major one and should be taken into consideration before making your decision. 

Personally, I chose to sell and donate most of my family’s belongings based on the first four criteria, ignoring the last. It turned out to be a poor decision as the cash injection of selling was completely negated by having to start from scratch in New Zealand. Remember, it’s not just your sofa, beds and fridge that you can ship, it’s all that little stuff that quickly adds up – food processors, wine glasses, even cutlery is all an unwanted expense when you’re moving into your new home. 

Read more about things I’d do over in “5 Avoidable Mistakes I Made When Moving Abroad”. 

Or, Should You Ship Your Furniture Abroad?

In contrast to the reasons that selling may be the right decision for you, if you meet the below criteria, shipping it overseas may be the better option.

– Your furniture is valuable or sentimental
– You won’t be able to replace like for like in your destination
– You don’t want to start from scratch
– You can afford the costs of shipping

At the time of writing, sea freight continues to be at an all time high, with the average cost of a 20ft container sitting around £6000 + insurances and arrival fees. For most people, this isn’t pocket change, but I’d urge you to keep in mind that furnishing a home from scratch is both stressful and much more expensive than you’d think. 

I’d certainly recommend giving this option serious consideration before discounting it. And of course, always do your research before choosing a shipping firm to make sure you’re using a reputable company. Happy travels!

Sarah Todhunter is a writer, mother-of-two and a dual citizen of New Zealand and the UK. As the sole proprietor of Fyxen Copywriters, she has navigated the ups and downs of moving a business and family across hemispheres, sharing the lessons she’s learned along the way. Find her on LinkedIn or anywhere good coffee is served.

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