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Saturday, 18 July 2009


After filing our I-130 Visa application form, and getting quotes from a couple of builder/decorators, our timeline is starting to settle down more. The builder we choose to get our house back up to scratch for putting on the market will (hopefully) start work on the outside of the house on 17th August, and the inside on 31st August.

This means that between now and 29th August we have to reduce our worldly possessions, or at least the things going to America, to 320 Cubic Feet, the size of an 8' x 5' floor and 8' high storage unit.

Ignoring the irony of compressing our "stuff" into this space so that we can later expand into a much larger space, we're well on track to achieve this. We've decided to take very little furniture so we can decorate from scratch, the only things we're taking are a couple of bunk beds which we bought new last year for the spare rooms. We can sleep on these in our rented apartment while we search for a house. Very few UK electrical devices will work in the US, so TVs, stereos, digital radios, DVD players, bedside lamps, fridge/freezer, stove, vacuum cleaner, iron, etc. will all be replaced in the US.

The bulk of the 320 cu. ft. is actually hobby stuff - my Playmobil model collection, my wife's fibre and wool related hobbies, and musical instruments. We've also got DVDs (trusting we can get a multi-regional DVD Player) and books, clothes and some computer stuff, mostly digitalised data and portable computer games.

We had originally planned to ship the stuff to the US long before we go, but discovered this week that we have to be present in the US when it arrives (I guess for customs purposes), so we have to store in the UK, and swallow the higher storage costs. The advantage is that we can keep adding to the storage, and only have it out of reach for the time it takes to ship over, about 35 days. The transport costs door-to-door are about £2,500 ($4000), less than we originally anticipated.

The house is thus filled with piles of boxes and other items waiting for storage, and we have other piles of things to sell, things to give to charity, and things to dispose of. Every time these latter two piles reduce in size is a little celebration.

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