Two weeks…down to the wire…the devil is in the details…do or die…ahhhhhh!
It’s really happening! Visas in hand; flights booked; packing, packing and more packing.
When we first took an inventory (metaphorically) of our home, we determined everything would fall into three categories:
- Storing items to save
- Shipping to Spain
- Selling everything else
You might think this is a very difficult process. While it was emotional, it has been very liberating to rid ourselves of the belongings of our 3,000 square foot home, 50+ years of collecting “stuff.” The challenging part was determining what items we REALLY cherished that would fit into a small storage unit. What would you save/store? This is what we decided to keep:
- Our mid-century modern teak dining room table
- Handmade leather chair and ottoman (family heirloom)
- My mother’s maple dressers (used by my grandmother, mother and both my boys)
- Ten pieces of our favorite artwork – with both being collectors prior to meeting, then collecting together for the past eight years, and Craig taking up painting in 2010, we had an enormous collection of paintings, ceramics, glass, etc.
- Four plastic storage bins of family photos and keepsakes
On New Year’s Day we began decluttering by inviting our friends to an open house/art sale. While we relieved ourselves of quite a bit, we probably have 100+ paintings and other pieces of artwork left.
All other furniture has been given to family, sold or will be sold by our estate sale company within the next few weeks.
Packing to Save
Storing Items to Save
After much research, we chose Closet Box @ClosetBoxMe. Our decision was determined by price, service and offerings. In digging around for suitable storage facilities, we discovered that Closet Box stores all contents in one large climate-controlled warehouse in specific-sized boxes or storage containers. Based on what we plan on storing, we will use a 5’ x 15’ container. However, if we can fit into a smaller, or need a larger box, that will be determined when they pick up our items. Closet Box contracts with local moving companies to pick up, blanket and wrap furniture and our boxes for delivery to the storage facility. Every time I spoke with a representative they were articulate, knew their product and were not pushy sales people. Our space is running around $100 per month. Unfortunately, without owning a home, no insurance company will cover our items in storage, so we will have to fork out $40 mo. for $5K of coverage.
Shipping to Spain
Our boxes getting ready to palletize to ship to Spain
Our original plan was to pack two large suitcases each and one carry-on. However, Craig’s art supplies are in abundance, very expensive and seemed ridiculous to sell everything for pennies on the dollar only to repurchase in Spain. And, trying to figure out where to find the best art supply stores would be a chore onto itself.
We originally looked into the typical freight carriers, which, when shipping overseas, the price varies greatly. Fortunately, we are not in a hurry to have our belongings join us, so ocean freight carrier seemed a great route. Reading other expat blogs, we found an ad for @ShippingQuest and reached out for a quote.
With a minimum of 35 cubic feet, we realized we might as well fill the container with additional clothes and household items. Pricing for pick up at our home, delivery to LA, shipping to Valencia port for approximately 16 boxes/600 lbs. will be around $500. So far we’ve got 12 boxes/400 lbs. and still have bathroom and office to pack. We just received our bill of lading and shipping labels with instructions that we must palletize the boxes. This should be an adventure unto itself!
FYI–we marked each box heading to Spain and each box we are saving, keeping a detailed inventory on a spreadsheet. This will assist with tracking down any items needed during our adventure.
Selling the Rest
The last of our furniture, belongings and our two cars will be sold via estate sale after our departure. Thanks @IntegrityEstateLiquidations.
P.S. You may wonder why we have Craig and a puppy for our featured image. 1) Pictures of boxes don’t draw much attention–but puppies do! 2) This past weekend we were in Flagstaff visiting our daughter Lauren and her partner Kevin who were fostering this adorable pup. We absconded her for the night. If we weren’t leaving the country, she would have come home with us!