Don’t rain on my garage sale

Yesterday we had the first of (supposedly) two garage sales to try and shed some pounds before shipping out. It rained. It was cold. The misery of sitting in the garage, watching our stuff not sell, while running back and forth with tarps was heavy. We did sell some things. Sam let some of his tools go (the current/plug thing) and there was a bit of interest in books and electronics. But, all in all, we actually got rid of very little beyond the stuff we were giving away for free. We posted to austin.craigslist, saying we would be there again today.

Today was sunny and warm. So warm that I had to keep going indoors to shed layers and finally ended up in a t-shirt and jeans, barefoot. We put everything out, Sam went and replaced signs around the neighborhood, and we waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing. It seems that not being in the paper, especially as we live rather far North, is tantamount to not existing on the garage sale scene. We shed a few more freebies and about $.50 worth of toys. The rest we packed back into an admittedly cleaner garage. We’ll try again later.

In previous moves, we’ve done our best to organize and then said, “Screw it. We’ll sort it out when we get there.” However, moving across country is a bit more forgiving of this attitude than moving across an ocean. International movers figure your move by volume (how big a container you will need) *and* weight (how much time it will take to pack and how much space will be needed to truck it to port). Now, as it turns out, our move from Austin, TX to Leeds, UK will end up costing us a bit less than it cost us to move here from California. Yep, you read it right. It’s going to be cheaper to move overseas. And it’s not because we’re going to sell everything we own and eat off a card table when we get there. It’s because international shipping rates aren’t regulated the same way as domestic shipping rates. Therefore, it’s an extremely competitive market. This is very good for the family moving, as long as you follow some simple guidelines (and I’m not claiming to know all of them). One – Don’t deal with anyone not willing to do an in-home estimate. Two – Get at least three estimates and make sure and tell all of them who else you’ll be talking to. Three – Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Door-to-door service. Packing services. Port fees. Custom fees. Damage insurance. There are a lot of factors and everyone who you talk to should be willing to answer all of your questions and come up with a few for you as well. I went so far as to ask for each companies US shipping license number, references from previous international clients, and how long they had been handling international moves. If they balk at any of those, walk away.

The first man who came was extremely nice, very professional, had an extensive moving brochure for me with checklists, and was generally willing to talk to me for as long as I needed information. He went through each room of the house with me and asked what we would be taking and what was staying. He made suggestions as to how we could get more in a smaller packing space, etc. He also noted that he would return, closer to the move, to reassess the amount to be moved, as he knows we’re in the process of sort and sell.

There are two other companies coming to bid this week. Then I’ll email everyone with everyone else’s bids and see what happens. It should be interesting to watch.


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