Moving personal items to the USA
October 15, 2012 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Looking for transportation options and advice on moving from Canada to the USA.

I'm looking for any and all suggestions, advice, or experience moving a small amount of personal items from Canada to the USA on a K1 Visa. I have too much stuff to fit in a car, but not enough to fill a moving truck ( Biggest items are TV, kitchen table and chairs, boxes of kitchen stuff; but no couch or bedroom furniture). It seems expensive to do Uhaul since they charge according to mileage and this is going from south western Ontario to New Jersey (9 hours).

I've heard that there may be options to rent a small part of a truck or companies who do little container shipping and put a bunch of them from different people on a truck. Anyone know anything about this or any better ideas?

I need to figure out an option where the cost of moving the stuff doesn't cost more than the stuff is worth!

Thanks :)
posted by Serendipitous to Travel & Transportation around Canada, KS (6 answers total)
Best answer: Honestly, it's very hard to do this in a way that doesn't turn into "more than the stuff is worth," when you own that scale of stuff. If it were me, I'd just rent a small pickup or van at a flat rate, fit in what I could, and ship or ditch the rest. Is it that nice of a kitchen table and chairs? For that matter, if you already own a car, why not pack what you can, ship some of the rest, and ditch the big/heavy/not-expensive things?

One of my college professors, who moved a lot for her and her husband's jobs, had this advice for me about property in general and furniture in particular: "Only own things you're wiling to leave behind when you move, or that you love so much that you're willing to spend the time and energy to haul with you cross-country. Anything in between will just frustrate you."
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:19 AM on October 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

When we moved Toronto to Philadelphia, we were able to get a one-way minivan rental from Avis that was quite affordable. You'll have to call around a bit though because companies are usually reluctant to do cross-border one way rentals unless they already have a car on hand that needs to get back to where you're going.
posted by 256 at 11:21 AM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I second just selling anything that doesn't fit in your car. It will cost hundreds to ship or haul otherwise so consider just replacing the table when you arrive.
posted by saradarlin at 11:41 AM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've moved a lot within my region, so I've kept myself from being too much of a pack-rat or keeping things that I don't use.

I appreciate the advice offered - it really felt like a "Duh" bonk on the head when I read Tomorrowful's response. I think I really needed someone else to point out the obvious!

Thank you :)
posted by Serendipitous at 11:44 AM on October 15, 2012

Unless these are really great pieces, or have some huge value, it's almost never worth it to move furniture. Even the TV, unless it fits in your car.

Small things, boxes of things (~30cm on a side) can go by mail as the cheapest option. Again, only those keepsakes and mementos and irreplaceable things. Books are my weakness. But why ship old kitchen spatulas, when new is almost the same to buy as it costs to send?

Not an expert or anything, but I did move at least two dozen times in my twenties.
posted by bonehead at 12:33 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Having just moved trans-atlantic my advice is to get rid of everything that is larger than a big moving box. It can all be replaced very cheaply or as was our case - upgraded - via a weekend or two on craigslist and a $19/day uhaul rental.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the U.S. has gotten very crazy about stuff coming into the country. Your shipment cost will include a large U.S. customs inspection fee in addition to the weight/volume charge your movers will hit you with. It also likely will not arrive when you do so if you are shipping stuff you can't live without you are going to have to anyway for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months so factor that into your decision making.

We used seven seas for the trans-atlantic move but they would probably do yours as well. They have standard for rates for large and small boxes and get good review here in the Green.
posted by srboisvert at 3:09 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

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