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Thread: Last Call!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    USA
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    Red face Last Call!

    Hello everyone,
    We are moving from the USA to a small town on the South Island. We've done the math, and it will cost less to ship our belongings than it will to replace them. The international movers take our container in about 4 weeks, so we're stocking up! I'm buying top-quality bedding (living in AU taught me that "high quality" is relative and it's hard to find top-notch bedding down under), extra shoes and hiking boots/gear, the hair/bodycare I like that is super-expensive in NZ, outerwear, and some of next year's-sized clothing/shoes for my daughter. Also extra laundry detergent/toilet paper etc since we have the room. Not that soap or paper is more expensive there, but we may not buy a car for a while and we need to find our way around, so the fewer things we need to stock up on, the better. All bedding, shoes and clothing will go through the wash a few times and not be in new packaging.

    Anyone else live in a small town and have recommendations on what we might throw into the container? We go wheels-up in just a few weeks. Last call!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Oregon (Formerly Auckland)
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    Congrats on your pending move! Having done the same years back there are a couple of things that we can recommend. Since you've lived in AU already you're probably aware of most of it, but here's what we learned...

    Clothing can be slightly challenging but it looks like you're on the right track. If you have some favorite shoes, pants, etc., ones that you know fit well, stock up as much as practical. (Costco is your friend!) U.S. sizes are different vs the rest of the world, and not just when it comes to inches vs centimeters. U.S. clothing is often "oversized". "Medium" in the U.S. can easily be "Large" in NZ. A size 34 waist in the U.S. would often equate to a 38 in NZ. You'll get it sorted, but having some reliable, well-made clothing until you get used to things offers a little peace of mind. Since it'll be a while before your container arrives, it's better to take as much as you can in large suitcases than to travel light. Paying extra baggage fees is worth it. Travel tip: rather than packing a bag for yourself, one for the wife, one for your daughter and so on, mix everyone's clothing in all of your suitcases. Have at least a few outfits, shoes, etc. for everyone in each bag. That way if one or more get lost in transit you'll at least have enough items in the remaining bag(s) to ensure you won't have to buy a bunch of clothing for someone immediately.

    You didn't mention electronics, but I'm sure you're aware that without step-down transformers most U.S. electronics will not work in NZ. The exception being computers and most computer peripherals (which will only need mains adapters). PM me for more on that if you'd like; one of my areas of "expertise".

    Speaking of computers, if you're shipping any, make sure you have a backup of everything. Either carry a hard drive (or SSD) copy with you or backup to a cloud account. Things can and do go missing or get damaged now and then.

    You're also probably aware that it generally takes many weeks even months for your container to arrive, be unpacked into a warehouse, then back into a local moving truck and finally delivered to your door. If they opt to inspect the contents at the port of arrival, a bit longer. I only mention that so that you can avoid packing some things including personal care products, detergents, etc. that may go south on the trip or be damaged when a box is accidentally dropped or crushed causing them to spill out onto other items. Most American products like that can easily be found in NZ. Unless you're packing it in your suitcase, you'll be buying essentials like toilet paper long before yours makes landfall.

    Things that can melt should also be avoided. Even though you may be leaving before it gets hot wherever you are...and it will be autumn/winter when it arrives, your container will cross the equator. The ship may also have stops in hot places along the way. Candles and other heat-sensitive items may not fair well. Leave them behind.

    Murphy's Quantum Law applies to shipping anything fragile.

    NZ is very careful when it comes to keeping non-native pests including bugs, plants, etc. out. If your manifest indicates that you may have anything that could harbor such things like gardening equipment, bicycles, etc. It will almost certainly trigger an inspection. You mentioned hiking boots and new or not, they will want to have a look if you list them. So if you aren't bringing anything else that could raise a red flag, you may save yourself the time and expense of a full-on inspection by skipping things like that. Kiwis love the outdoors and there are heaps of stores selling tramping (hiking) supplies and apparel. It may be more expensive, so weigh that against having them go through all of your belongings if it can be avoided.

    That's about all I can think of at the moment...hope it helps, best of luck and keep us posted!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by richsadams View Post
    Congrats on your pending move! Having done the same years back there are a couple of things that we can recommend. Since you've lived in AU already you're probably aware of most of it, but here's what we learned......< snip>

    That's about all I can think of at the moment...hope it helps, best of luck and keep us posted!
    All excellent advice, and covered thus far, right down to dumping the candles! Already bought the hiking boots, though, as the prices here on Amazon are just too good.
    The rest of our goods that might have bugs/seeds on them are either getting washed within an inch of their lives (bikes) or given away (gardening tools/lawn mower etc). I suspect we'll have an inspection because of the hiking gear and bikes.

    We debated the step up/step down transformer solution for expensive appliances like KitchenAid mixers, but shifting the current doesn't fix everything. The US runs on 60hz, and NZ on 50hz, so even after the 110>120 conversion, appliances will be sluggish.

    Our goods ship before we leave, and we've booked an AirBnB for a month after our arrival, so we hope our belongings will coincide with the move into our home. Of course, Murphy's Law applies to that too. If you think of anything else, feel free to comment, and thanks heaps!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    36,274

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    I suggest packing the "probable inspection" goods all together, and labelling carefully. This CAN avoid them looking at everything. The things that you wash - give anything that won't be damaged by it a last wipe over with a strong-smelling disinfectant, as it gives a good impression whenever anyone opens the box.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2018
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    I suggest packing the "probable inspection" goods all together, and labelling carefully. This CAN avoid them looking at everything. The things that you wash - give anything that won't be damaged by it a last wipe over with a strong-smelling disinfectant, as it gives a good impression whenever anyone opens the box.
    Great advice! The moving company has a nice, neat manifest we can use to categorize these items, and the disinfectant is a good idea. Too bad they don't sell an air freshener that smells like disinfectant .... that would make the whole shipment smell better to Customs!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    West Auckland
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    NZ lacks big-box pharmacy stores like Rite Aid. Buying ibuprofen etc in little 20-tablet packets at the supermarket is frustrating when you're used to buying 500-tablet bottles. Our California holidays always include a visit to Rite-aid to stock up on things like ibuprofen, vitamins, Tylenol PM etc.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregonkiwi View Post
    NZ lacks big-box pharmacy stores like Rite Aid. Buying ibuprofen etc in little 20-tablet packets at the supermarket is frustrating when you're used to buying 500-tablet bottles. Our California holidays always include a visit to Rite-aid to stock up on things like ibuprofen, vitamins, Tylenol PM etc.
    Good point, I had that problem in AU as well. Also, Neopsorin wasn't available over the counter. I'll check on that too - thanks for the reminder.

    BTW we're from Oregon as well. Portland used to be so cool, but now it's TOO cool.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Colorado ->Richmond
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    All great points. We shipped a container and saved a ton! If you do any sporting events treat yourself to a new bike, kayak, camping gear, etc since they are much, much more over here! Bring your old ones too as you can keep them for when friends visit or sell at your convenience instead of rushing to get pennies on the dollar in the US on them. Costco / target is our friend as well; we packed extras of the things we like that are hard to find here and stock up when we head to the states. We did the step up transformer for our kitchen aid and vitamix and they work great and glad we didn't have to buy them here. Hit up a Lowes/Home Depot and stock up on tools like shovels, rakes, etc as not are they more expensive here but the quality is often lacking unless you buy the absolute top quality which you will pay a lot for. Over the past several years we have learned how to shop better here in NZ using sites like tradetested.co.nz and knowing every Thursday Briscoes has 60% off, etc but doing so just brings prices into line with US non sale prices. At the end of the day you can get everything you need here BUT you are paying to ship the container already so might as well maximize your savings. Buy Costco TP/paper towel rolls as cushioning in your fragile boxes. Lastly and unrelated to your container, but similar in principle is that Hawaii and the Gold Coast are easy to go on holiday to and we always come back with two suitcases each after a Costco and Target run. Which small town on the South Island?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Oregon (Formerly Auckland)
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    342

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpotSpot View Post
    All excellent advice, and covered thus far, right down to dumping the candles! Already bought the hiking boots, though, as the prices here on Amazon are just too good.
    The rest of our goods that might have bugs/seeds on them are either getting washed within an inch of their lives (bikes) or given away (gardening tools/lawn mower etc). I suspect we'll have an inspection because of the hiking gear and bikes.

    We debated the step up/step down transformer solution for expensive appliances like KitchenAid mixers, but shifting the current doesn't fix everything. The US runs on 60hz, and NZ on 50hz, so even after the 110>120 conversion, appliances will be sluggish.

    Our goods ship before we leave, and we've booked an AirBnB for a month after our arrival, so we hope our belongings will coincide with the move into our home. Of course, Murphy's Law applies to that too. If you think of anything else, feel free to comment, and thanks heaps!
    Sounds like you've gotten things sorted out fine. Sending everything ahead will certainly help!

    FWIW we shipped about a half-dozen step-down transformers to run a number of things we just couldn't live without including a full-sized refrigerator (that ended up not fitting in the kitchen in the first house we bought...but fit nicely in the third one ), a treadmill, a high-end audio system, mixers and such. As Heynekamp mentioned, they all worked fine. The only downside is that due to the difference in frequency (50Hz vs 60Hz), everything ran a bit hotter. I thought that would reduce the life of things, but we still have some of it and everything is still working normally. Lamps will work fine as well providing you buy the lightbulbs there (and mains adapters of course).

    I forgot to mention vehicles. We rented a car for about a week when we arrived. After looking at some car lots and not finding anything we liked for the price we wanted to pay I decided to hit Turner's Auction in Auckland. We went one day to get a feel for things, check out what they had and such. Auctions are a roll of the dice, but I grew up working on cars so have a reasonably decent feel for the mechanical issues to be on the lookout for. Being able to do some quick research online with your phone helps to determine the market values as well. After finding one to our liking we ended winning the bid. Turned out to be a very good deal. You're mostly competing with used car dealers who still have to make a profit when they sell them. So it's fairly easy to outbid them and still pay less than "retail". Something to consider.

    As JandM said, the cleaner and more antiseptic things appear to be, the less chance they'll want to open every box. Honesty on the manifest (as with everything else in life) goes a long way.

    Best of luck and keep us posted!
    Last edited by richsadams; 21st May 2018 at 09:14 PM. Reason: Typo...oooops!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Oregon (Formerly Auckland)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heynekamp View Post
    Lastly and unrelated to your container, but similar in principle is that Hawaii and the Gold Coast are easy to go on holiday to and we always come back with two suitcases each after a Costco and Target run. Which small town on the South Island?
    Wow! Hadn't thought about visiting HI for any "bargains". Costco and Target weren't an option when we lived there. Long's Drugs at the Ala Moana shopping mall was the only thing even resembling a "big box" store at the time. Good advice now though I guess.

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