Is it worth shipping furniture overseas?
It is commonly assumed that when you move to a new place, you start a new life. This is especially true when moving abroad – you go to a new country where anything and everything is new and a new world opens before you.
However exciting the newness may be though, you may want to keep some of the “old” – the things that worked well for you, the things that brought you comfort and joy, the things that reminded you of happy moments and beloved people, etc. So, even when moving halfway across the world, you may still want to bring some of your cherished possessions with you.
But is it worth it? Does it make sense – financially and otherwise – to move your old belongings all the way to your new country? Especially when it comes to large and heavy items, such as furniture pieces?
Furniture is bulky and difficult to move and can be easily damaged during the relocation – not to mention that it will cost A LOT to ship internationally. On the other hand though, bringing your comfortable and functional pieces with you will save you a lot of time and effort when furnishing your new home and will bring familiarity and coziness to your new place. You will have exactly what you need and it will be easier to make your new house or apartment feel like home when you’re surrounded by your favorite items.
So, should you ship your furniture to your new country or buy new pieces after the relocation? There is no definite answer, of course – it depends on your personal preferences and the specific circumstances in your case.
To make the right decision, however, you need to consider all the relevant factors:
The practicality of the furniture
There is, of course, no point in shipping furniture overseas if you won’t be able to use it in your new surroundings. So, the first thing to do when considering international furniture shipping is to assess the practical value of your old pieces and figure out if they will be suitable for your new lifestyle:
- Is the furniture in good condition? – If a piece is worn out or damaged, it should be left behind and replaced after the relocation;
- Is the furniture high quality? – If a piece is made of quality materials and crafted with skill, it will be durable, stylish, and expensive – and, therefore, worth taking to your new place. If it is a cheap, low-quality item, it will be more cost-effective (and much easier) to buy a similar one after the move than to ship your old piece to your new country (not to mention that low-quality furniture doesn’t have much of a chance to survive the long trip safe and intact);
- Will the furniture fit your new home? – If your furniture won’t fit in the available space in your new house or apartment or won’t look good in your new home, you should not take it with you. After all, what are you going to do with a king-size bed if you’re moving to a studio apartment or with a Victorian style living room set if you’re moving to a beach town?;
- Will the furniture be right for your new lifestyle? – Your old furniture, however practical it may have been in your old home, may not be suitable for your new lifestyle. If you’re moving into a high-rise apartment, for example, you will have no use for your patio furniture or your garden bench. And if the climate in your new country is very different from the climate in your current location, your furniture may get ruined after the move – wood and leather are very sensitive to humidity levels and temperature fluctuations, and so are antiques and other fine furniture pieces.
The sentimental value of the furniture
The sentimental worth of an item is usually more important than any practical or financial considerations – if a furniture piece is a family heirloom or has some special meaning for you, you will certainly want to hold onto it, no matter how difficult to move or how expensive to ship it may be.
Some items are just irreplaceable and worth taking wherever you may be moving to – even if it is a new country at the other end of the world.
The risk of damage to the furniture
Both low-quality furniture that is not very strong and high-quality furniture that is very delicate will be at a great risk of damage during an international move.
So, if a furniture piece is impossible to disassemble and is too large, too heavy, too exquisite, or too awkwardly shaped to survive the relocation intact and unscathed, it will be better to leave it behind.
If it is an irreplaceable item (an antique, a family heirloom, etc.) and you don’t want to part with it, you can use custom crating services to ensure its safety during the move – keep in mind though that the specialized packing services will add a lot to your international moving costs.
The import regulations of your new country
Usually, there are strict rules on what can and cannot be imported in a country, so you’re strongly advised to research your new country’s shipping restrictions and import taxes well in advance.
Furniture pieces are unlikely to be in the lists of forbidden items, but wood furniture and outdoor furniture may be considered “risky items” in some countries (like Australia and New Zealand, for example) that have serious restrictions regarding the import of unwanted flora and fauna which could be a threat to the local ecosystem (wood pieces may be infested with insects, there may be dust mites and/or mold spores on the furniture, etc.).
Therefore, when shipping furniture overseas, you need to thoroughly clean the pieces and check if they have to be declared, whether they’re subject to customs taxes, etc. These little details may tip the balance in deciding whether or not to ship your furniture to your new country.
The time it will take your furniture to arrive in your new country
The cheapest way to ship furniture internationally is via sea freight. Sea transport, however, is very slow – depending on your destination country, it may take up to a few months for your shipment to arrive. And several months is a long time to live without furnishings.
So, if you decide to move your old furniture and not buy new pieces for your new home, you need to plan for the time it will take your stuff to arrive. Will you need your furniture in the meantime? Can you manage without it for a couple of months?
If you’re going to stay in temporary accommodation (a hotel or a furnished rental, for example) until you find a permanent new residence in your new country, the slow delivery won’t be a problem – it may even be convenient as you will be able to take your furniture directly to your new home instead of putting it in storage.
If you’ve already bought or rented a property in your new country, however, you will need your items immediately after arrival. In this case, shipping your furniture by sea won’t work for you and you may need to give up the idea of moving your furnishings to your new home (sea freight will be too slow for your needs and air freight will be too expensive).
The cost to ship furniture overseas
With all that said, it is the moving costs that determine if it’s worth shipping furniture overseas.
Moving is never cheap, certainly not when moving halfway across the world. And since moving costs are based on the weight and volume of your goods, it makes financial sense to sell/ donate your larger and heavier items – such as furniture – and buy replacements upon arrival. Yet, as already detailed above, you may have good reasons to hold onto your old furniture and prefer to bring it along. Before you make your final decision though, you need to know how much it will cost you to move your stuff to your new country.
So, how much does it cost to ship furniture internationally? It depends on the number of furniture items you have for moving, the relocation distance, the transportation method, the required moving services, the time of the move, and the international furniture movers performing the job.
Generally speaking, the cost to ship furniture overseas can be anywhere between $1,000 and $4,500 (sea freight, port-to-port transportation). Air freight will be much more expensive, of course.
International furniture shipping rates will be higher in peak season (August-September and January-February) and any additional services – disassembly and reassembly of furniture, professional packing and unpacking, door-to-door delivery, additional insurance coverage, etc. – will further increase the cost.
The only way to learn the exact cost of shipping your furniture to your new country is to get furniture shipping quotes from several reputable international furniture moving companies and request in-home price estimates. Compare the offers, research the movers to make sure you’re working with licensed, experienced, and trustworthy moving professionals, and choose the international moving company that best suits your relocation needs and available budget.
See also: How to find good international movers
The cost of furniture in your new country
Last but not least, you need to consider the cost of buying replacement furniture in your new country. Living standards and costs vary widely from one country to the next, so a furniture piece that is quite cheap in the US may be rather expensive in another part of the world – or vice versa.
To get an idea of how much it will cost you to replace your furniture after the move, you can search through some of your new country’s most popular online shopping websites, put a query on an expat forum, etc.
You should also check how easy it will be to find the furniture items you need in your new area – in some parts of the world, it may be very difficult to find certain types of furniture or to get pieces of similar quality to what you have. (Custom-made furniture items, antiques, family heirlooms, and other pieces with special meaning are, of course, irreplaceable.)
When you compare the cost of moving your furniture to the cost of buying new items after the relocation and take into account the practical and sentimental value of your old pieces, you’ll have the answer to the puzzling question “Is it worth shipping furniture overseas?” Then, you’ll be able to decide exactly what to take to your new country and how to best organize your international relocation. Good luck!
Published at Thu, 07 Nov 2019 13:34:20 +0000