Do I take my belongings with or not?

Posted on: January 15th, 2013 by admin

container to New Zealand

Container to New Zealand or not?

The question of : Do I take my belongings in a container to New Zealand or not? is a tricky one to answer. We have had many discussions about this on the forum and we can honestly say that this is the one topic where there is simply no consensus.

The reason for this is that some folks attach more emotional value to their belongings than others. One family may be quite happy to sell everything off and start fresh with everything new in New Zealand. Other families have found that they were able to settle in to their new life easier with the familiarity of their belongings around them. Others have decided to sell all, only to be sorry after they arrived. Yet others have brought everything including the kitchen sink with and in hindsight feel they should only have brought a small trunk with a few personal effects with instead.

For this reason there is no do or don’t advice to give here. What we can do is give you a few thinking points to ponder on when making your decision.

1) After two weeks on holiday you can’t wait to get back to your house because you are feeling home sick then you may want to consider bringing your belongings with. If however after two weeks you haven’t even thought about your stuff back home, then you will probably be okay selling everything.

2) If you have a large amount of brand new, large ticket items in your house like beds, lounge suites and whiteware it may be cheaper to bring your container along.

3) If the kids are very emotional about the move and the thought of leaving all their beloved toys along. Some kids are more happy go lucky than others and couldn’t care less and actually look forward to having all new toys, while other can become emotionally unstable if they are not surrounded by their belongings. A good test of this is whether your kids are happy to sleep over at Grandma or a friends house. If they can happily do that, then you should be able to leave everything behind without a fuss. If however it is a big rigmarole or impossible to get your kids to sleep out, then they will probably not cope well without their belongings around them in New Zealand.

4) If your furniture is quite expensive then it may be cheaper to bring it over in a container than to buy new in New Zealand.

5) If you have rare items like antiques that cannot be replaced and that you don’t want to part with, then you would at least want to bring those items with.

6) If the thought of starting over, sleeping on the floor until you have bought a bed, running around to buy even the most basic utensils because you didn’t bring them with, is too daunting to even contemplate, then you should rather bring your belongings with.

7) If you are not too worried about new furniture, etc. then you may find that selling everything off and then replacing them here by hunting around the Hospice and Salvation Army stores can actually net you a profit. These stores sell items that other Kiwis don’t use anymore so have donated them to Hospice or the Salvation Army. You know what they say about one mans junk is another mans treasure. We have bought many things at these stores dirt cheap (and we brought a container over). Everybody does it here, it isn’t like walking into a second hand store in South Africa – nobody looks at you funny ;-)

8) If your furniture is old and probably due for replacement anyway, then you may want to compare the prices in South Africa and in New Zealand first. It may be cheaper in South Africa, but then you still need to pay for a container to get it here.

9) Selling everything in South Africa means you will have to sell at bargain prices to ensure you get as much as possible sold, otherwise you are going to end up giving it away just before you leave. Will the money you get in be enough to replace those items? If not how long will it take you to replace them on the salary you will be earning in New Zealand.

10) If you bring your container with and then find you are battling to find work, then at least you don’t still have to replace your belongings. Your Rands become very few Dollars when you arrive so if you find you need to live off those Rands in New Zealand, they are going to disappear very quickly. If things go really pear shaped, then at least you have some stuff you can sell.

11) If you don’t bring a container with and then find yourself struggling to find work, then you will be roughing it for a long time using borrowed camping chairs and blow up mattresses, but at least you will have some extra cash which will allow you to survive a lot longer.

12) If your whiteware breaks in New Zealand, then you will probably not be able to have it repaired and will have to replace it anyway.

13) For many a new life with new belongings is just the break they are looking for because with belongings come memories.

What you can do to also help you decide is:

1) Call a removal company and get a quote so you know what it will cost to bring your belongings over.

2) Walk through the house and make a list of EVERY SINGLE item you will need to buy again if you do decide to sell up and start over. Then go price them online. Also mark which are the essentials that you will need to buy immediately when you arrive.

3) Walk through the house and make a list of ALL the items in the house that you can sell and estimate a price you can get for it. Then take at least 30% off of your estimate because we all overestimate the value of our own stuff and how much others would be willing to pay for it. Then work in another % loss to make up for the items that you will end up giving away because you couldn’t sell them in time. Will the money you raise be enough to get your essentials list in point 2 above started?

This should give you enough food for thought and enough talking points for you and your partner to discuss when deciding. In the end of the day only you know yourself and your family and which option is going to be best for your particular situation.


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