(Kathleen) What in the world are you going to do with all of your stuff? If you are thinking about making
a move overseas, that might be one of the questions keeping you awake at night. "I've
got this four bedroom house with an attic, a garage, and a basement, and it's all filled with a lifetime
worth of accumulation. How in the world do I downsize to make a move to a new country?" Hi
I'm Kathleen Peddicord. (Lief) I'm Lief Simon. (Kathleen) And we're going to answer that question right now based on
more than 20 years of experience doing this over and over again for ourselves and helping others.
(Lief) Right, and my typical answer that I give when we talk about shipping at conferences is
get a lighter fluid and a match. And that solves all of your problems. Men in the audience usually
chuckle at that, the women cringe. And so, if you're a couple looking to downsize and get
rid of stuff before moving overseas there might be some arguments coming. (Kathleen) This can definitely be,
we'll, you know, we'll get to the practicalities involved and make some practical tips or offer
some practical suggestions in a minute. But first there's a big emotional aspect to this and
it can definitely lead to some lively debate between husband and wife or significant others
if you're going to be making a move together. We know from a lot of, again, personal experience. We've
shipped from The States to Ireland containers, from Ireland to Paris, from Paris to Panama,
from Ireland to Panama, and from the United States to Panama. And every time we've made one of those
decisions, made that decision to ship a container load of something from one country to another,
I promised Lief that's the last time I'll ask to do that. And Lief has insisted, this is the
last time we will do this. (Lief) And then we still do it. And, at this point, we're not shipping big things.
Over the Summer we ship some books from the U.S. to Panama for the Community Center that we're
starting out at Los Islotes. My mother was downsizing, so we were in The States helping her. And she is
one of these people with a four bedroom house, basement, attic, and garage packed full of
stuff as so many American houses are packed full of stuff. And, in theory, she's been downsizing,
getting rid of stuff for more than the last five years in a preparation to move to a smaller place.
And when we got there this Summer and saw how much stuff was still in the house, she got rid of a lot,
but we got started really quickly. And the first thing you want to do, of course, is
have a yard sale. Which you can do in the U.S., Canada, I presume. Not so much in Ireland or France.
They don't know what that is. (Kathleen) Well, in fact, our son tried to have a sidewalk sale here outside our -
in our apartment in Paris where this happened - when he was four or five years old. We had
some things we didn't want and Jack has always had an entrepreneurial inclination. And he said
"Can I sell that?" Those things. We said "Sure." So he took them out onto the sidewalk in front of our
apartment and the French didn't know what to make of him. This isn't something that the French do. (Lief) No,
but he did sell everything. Once they realized that it was actually for sale, it wasn't some crazy
little kid on the street, he was able to get rid of everything but it wasn't much stuff. In my mom's
case we had the biggest yard sale I think that town has seen ever. And we were restocking over
the two and a half days that we had the yard sale. We had repeat customers for those two and a half
days. (Kathleen) Coming back and filling up pickup trucks with stuff. That was a big first step. Then, there's
another option which we found to be so easy and and brilliant, I thought, which is donating.
There were so many different options for places to donate any kind of thing you could have
that might be useful to someone else. All you had to do was get it there. (Lief) Right, or in case - one group
that my mom works with, they'll come and pick up once a month.
(Kathleen) So we were, you know, when we were really into this, making two and three and four trips a week with
bins and boxes full of stuff to Goodwill and all other kinds of donation centers around Woodstock.
(Lief) And all of that is deductible, just make sure you get your receipts. And so, you sell it through a
yard sale, get rid of it one way or another, the donation centers the Goodwill type places.
Or, the next step is you can sell it online. So if you've got furniture or bigger pieces that
aren't going to sell easily at a yard sale. But for the yard sale, for the furniture, take pictures and
and create a little binder so people can look through it. You don't want them going through
your house, but that's one way to try and sell it at the yard sale. But, otherwise, there are lots of
apps. If you want to deal with the apps and dealing with people writing to you asking questions.
I didn't go into that genre. We ended up being able to get rid of most of the furniture
that my mom was selling through the yard sale or just in fact give away a bunch of it.
(Kathleen) But this is, I think, one of the most important points to make in the context of this kind of conversation
downsizing and dealing with a lifetime's worth of stuff. It's much easier to do this today than it
has been in any previous time in history. Including when we made our first move to Ireland 22 years
ago. I was pulling out the yellow pages to look up shippers and trying to figure out how to deal with
my stuff. Well today, as you know, whatever it is you want to do, you simply go to Google and type
it in and a whole bunch of resources will pop up to help you. Including, for example, we needed to get
some big heavy stuff, some big pieces of furniture, for example, down from the attic three flights
and up from the basement. And I went online and found a group called College Hunks Hauling Junk
and that's what they did.
So we hired a couple of strong college guys to come and carry stuff down from the
attic and up from the basement for us. We were able to rent a dumpster to have in the yard
for the stuff that just really couldn't be sold and wasn't worth keeping and had no real
value or use to anyone else. That was, again, very efficient way to deal with that.
So the point is that today downsizing can be a much easier undertaking than you might imagine.
(Lief) Right, and everything we mentioned takes a lot of work and effort. We were
running the business and still dealing with this stuff, working two full days effectively. But you
you can outsource this to groups that do estate sales. So you can have
them come in and just organize to run your yard sale or have the safe sale
in your house. And we're talking about getting rid of stuff here. The one thing to probably
try not to fall into is the idea of "Ah okay, I'm gonna store my stuff and then I'll ship it later"
or "I'll deal with it later" (Kathleen) We've done this and there's a statistic that you told me at the time,
on average someone who rents a storage space a short-term storage space thinks they're renting
for three months and they end up renting for three years and then getting rid of the stuff. And that's
almost exactly what happened to us. (Lief) Right, in Paris we had to put some stuff into storage
when we moved because we were going to be renting the apartment out and our rental manager said to get
rid of a lot of the small knick-knack stuff. So, we put that and some personal things into storage
and moved to Panama thinking that, okay we'll deal with it, get it out of storage
what not fairly quickly. And that didn't happen three years later, it was still in storage. That was
the shipment from Paris to Panama that we ended up making and a lot of the stuff that came
to Panama we ended up selling or getting rid of. So it wasn't worth the the storage or the shipping
in that case. And that's generally my big point, with the lighter fluid and match being the extreme,
is that, if you can sell everything for the most part, I mean you're going to want
your clothes and your computer and whatnot that you can take with you on the airplane,
but selling everything and saving the shipping cost, that money you can use to buy, again, new whatever.
(Kathleen) And part of it is to, if you're able, and it is possible to do all these things today online.
Research what is available, at what cost in the place where you're going, so that you understand
what is worth bringing and what is really not a good use of your resources and your budget
to invest in shipping stuff to a country that you could replace with something better,
for much less cost. That, for example, was what happened to us with our first move. My initial
shipment from Baltimore. I shipped a full container load of antique furniture that I had in my house
in Baltimore when we moved to Ireland, only to find that I could have bought nicer quality antiques
for a fraction of the cost of what I had spent for the antiques or what I could have resold the antiques
for in Baltimore before leaving and saved the cost of shipping. (Lief) And then one year of storage.
(Kathleen) And the one year of storage. And end up with nicer
stuff. So, part of it is to understand, again, what's available where you're going and to make
those decisions before you invest in the shipping experience. And one question we get all the time is
what does it cost to ship a container from one country to another. Of course it depends on the
country, the shipping company, you know, you you want to shop this around. You will want to get,
I recommend, three quotes from three different international shippers if you want to do this.
And I also recommend that you take the soup to nut service, that you have them pack, load,
ship, deliver, and unpack. Because they know how to pack glassware, and china, and artwork. And then buy
the insurance. (Lief) Well, it's generally the only way that the insurance will
let you. (Kathleen) Yeah, what is all that going to cost? A very
big round rough figure, because there are so many variables, is about ten thousand dollar.
So this is not a small part of your budget. (Lief) The big cost of shipping is in fact the packing and
the ground transportation to the port. Shipping a container from Miami to say Panama is,
you know, maybe fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars, depending on the time of the year and whatnot
just for a twenty foot container. But everything else adds to that, including the customs fees,
even if there's no customs duties because you have residency in the country you're moving to,
they'll still be customs clearance fees and other things plus whatever it's going to cost
to get from the port to wherever you're living. So, right, if you figure it's going to cost you
a minimum of five thousand dollars average of ten thousand dollars, and if you're going to do
a big 40-foot container, or if you're far from the port in the U.S., like if you're in Minneapolis,
for example, it may cost even more. So, put all those numbers into a spreadsheet and,
again, you figure that you can probably fill a house with furniture from that money
in the new place. (Kathleen) All right, now let's return to the emotional aspect of this because I don't want to
dismiss that too quickly. We've tried to give you some practical tips but the starting point is to
begin now. I recommend that you start right now, this is a question we're getting all the time.
With everything going on in the world during this pandemic, and all of the restrictions, and
travel is impossible, in many cases, borders are closed, and etc. What can I do? I don't want
to put my dream on hold. What can I do? Well this is one thing you can do. Begin
downsizing your home today. Start going around and thinking through, what do you want to take,
what is important to you sentimentally, what has family legacy value, what would you be really
sad not to have in your life, your books, for example, for me that would be the answer. And so,
we would always invest in shipping books with us wherever we go. For you, you'll know your own answer.
And then, once you identify what's important to you and what you want to bring with you,
if at all possible, then start looking for what doesn't fall into that category
and you can filter out starting now. Through all the ways we've talked about, by donating,
for example, which is a really easy way to get started at this. So it's a very practical
step that you can take starting right now to keep pushing ahead with your plan and your dream even
if you can't buy a ticket, hop on a plane, and show up where you might like to be. You can still be
holding on to your dream and making progress. So I hope this has been helpful, we will be in touch
again soon. Thank you for listening, as always. I'm Kathleen Peddicord. (Lief) I'm Lief Simon. (Kathleen) Take care. (Lief) Bye everyone.