Cost to move household goods

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Cost to move household goods


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Old 13th August 2012, 10:35 PM
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Default Cost to move household goods

Hello all,
My family will be moving from the southwestern USA to France in the coming year. I'm trying to get a handle on how much we should be budgeting to ship our household goods over and where to start the search for a company to do so. I've heard container shipping can be more affordable. And I'm all for affordability as the move will likely be on our own dime.
We have a 3BR home, and I imagine it may be around 2000 cu feet. Does anyone have some experience in this area that they wouldn't mind sharing?

Thanks so much for your insight!

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Old 14th August 2012, 07:55 AM
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A couple of bits of advice:

Call around and get at least 3 (maybe even more) quotes for your move. Any moving company that does international moves should be able to explain the various options to you (and if they can't, then you probably don't want to deal with them anyhow).

Many US movers will charge you based on weight rather than volume. European movers tend to charge by volume. For an international move, you deal with the local moving company or service, and they sort out payments and all to their correspondents on the other end of things. You want to make sure that your moving company includes insurance (accidents do happen en route) and customs clearance on arrival. (It's a royal pain to have to clear your own shipment and arrange for shipment from the customs clearing point to your new home.)

Also, clear out as much "excess" stuff as you can prior to the big move. French houses are much much smaller than comparable homes in the US, plus much of your US sized furniture may simply not fit in a French house. Example: we have a fairly standard 3 br. house here and the official size of the living space is 110 m2, which is 1184 ft2, about half the size of a "standard" American house these days.

Bedrooms are particularly small (by US standards) so if you have a super large sized bed, you may want to think about replacing it when you get here. (We have a queen sized bed and it takes up most of the bedroom. The only way we were able to get it upstairs and into the bedroom is because it's the German style bed with two half sized mattresses, each supported by its own bed frame.)
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 14th August 2012, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klecina View Post
Hello all,
My family will be moving from the southwestern USA to France in the coming year. I'm trying to get a handle on how much we should be budgeting to ship our household goods over and where to start the search for a company to do so. I've heard container shipping can be more affordable. And I'm all for affordability as the move will likely be on our own dime.
We have a 3BR home, and I imagine it may be around 2000 cu feet. Does anyone have some experience in this area that they wouldn't mind sharing?

Thanks so much for your insight!
We moved from California in 2011 to Brittany. We had a 2400 sq ft house in CA and a load of stuff (like tools) in garage and garden shed. The load needed a 40ft container although if we had downsized a bit more it would have probably fit into a 20ft. The cost including insurance was just over $18000 and we paid for storage in the US for about three months. Our house here in Brittany is quite big (170 sq m living space) plus a huge garage/basement. As Bev said the problems are caused by small bedrooms and a lack of closets - our house had none! Kitchens are much smaller and we still have quite a lot of stuff stored away in the basement.

Shop around for movers and don't use anyone who doesn't understand international moves. The packing is different and they have to protect furniture etc much more than for a van ride across state. If you have not bought your French house or rented somewhere semi-permanent, arrange to store your stuff in the USA and then call for shipping when you are ready for it. It takes about 6 weeks from the West Coast, your house purchase will take three months from signing the agreement to actually moving in so this storage is important. It costs about double to store in France vs the US - we paid about $350 per month for storage.

If you PM me I'll tell you which company I used and why I would not recommend them!

You should also supervise your packing but don't do it yourself. Packers seem to work like grasshoppers - we found the contents of one kitchen cupboard spread among four boxes which meant we had to unpack everything to find anything. If you pack yourself you will not be insured for breakages, only total loss of the box and owner packaging raises red flags with customs so some shippers are wary of it.

Good luck

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