Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How to pack 12 years of shit stuff

I came here 12 years ago with two suitcases and a carry-on backpack with the intention of working for a year and hightailing it to Japan to make some money. Somewhere in between plans got switched, I got bewitched and hitched, going to Japan got pitched, and my niche was enriched with a plethora of goods which now have to be ditched. What a bitch!
So, what to do with 12 years of accumulated household goods? We examined the cost of shipping from just about every angle. The best option seems like LCL (Less than container load) shipping. We learned a lot about the shipping business in the process. Here are a few tidbits:
1. Shipping by air is usually measured and charged by weight whereas by sea is measured/charged by volume.
2. Volume is counted in CBM's (Cubed Meters) which does not mean what it seems at first. (1CBM equals 1x1x1meter).
3. Minimum shipping for most companies seems to be 3CBM (1x1x1m x 3) which is roughly the size of 3 large washing machines.
4. There are ways to send things by packing yourself and taking the goods to the pier and there is a significant amount of money to be saved by doing this but the headache involved with paperwork and picking up in the next country is just not worth the aggravation unless you know what you are doing.
5. Door to Door shipping is the easiest since they come to your house, pack your stuff and deliver it to you in your destination.

The best price we found so far is 1.3 million won for 3CBM door to door. (500,000 if I bring it to the pier and pack it myself and take my chances with customs in Dubai or AbuDhabi). We opted for the former.

However, the big problem is choosing which of our belongings will make the trip. Furniture is out since we can't afford the 6 million won for a full container. So, we are having a series of 'garage'sales (more like apartment flea markets) to get rid of the stuff we don't want.
First come the clothes: and now I know there is nothing more painful (or potentially life threatening) than watching your pregnant wife have to sort through her old clothes and separate them into boxes of 1)must go 2)might go 3)sell and 4)give to goodwill. It took me 20 minutes to pare down my clothes to one large suitcase or so.
Then the books: How in the world I accumulated so many books I will never know but I could literally open my own English language book store with used, hardly used and never used English books. And for some reason, throwing them away is probably as painful to me as clothes are for my wife.
Kids toys: sent the 2 year old away for a few weeks to grandma's and the 6 year old is dealing pretty well with losing some of her toys but we haven't told her we have to ditch some of her barbie dolls yet. We told her we'd buy her some more when we get there
Kitchen wares: I love to cook and I have accumulated more kitchen thingies than men should be allowed to have outside a professional kitchen. I decided to keep my Tupperware and a few of the better tools and get rid of the rest. It was surprisingly painless except for the 20KG of cookbooks that I opted to toss since most everything I need can be had on the Internet these days.

So, sometime soon, the men will come, the boxes will be packed and we will be left with the rest in an apartment now practically devoid of furniture.

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