Packing for an overseas move | What to do about the sofa?
As we preparing to move into our house in London. we’ve started shopping for furniture.
Before we moved, we sold or donated almost everything that wouldn’t fit easily in a box on a palate. Our general rule in downsizing was to ask two questions:
- Do I love it?
- Do I need it?
If the answer to both of these questions was no, then we got rid of it. Simple, right?
In reality, the process was not that simple. Mostly because a third question was involved: is it worth it to ship this item that I love or need to London?
To anwer this question, we considered the cost of shipping. From London to Seattle, we ended up paying around $11 per cubit foot, plus the cost of insurance and packing for our fragile items. The cost depended on both the volume and the weight, as well as what shipping or packing materials were involved.
For example, a large box of clothing takes up about 5 cubic feet and costs $55 to ship. Almost of my clothing fit in two large boxes, or 10 cubic feet. Could I replace my entire wardrobe for $110? No. So it makes sense to ship clothing overseas.
On the flip side, our large sectional sofa would have required close to 100 cubic feet of space inside a container. This means shipping our sofa would cost $1,100. We bought our sofa on Craigslist for less than this. Furthermore, our large sofa would have never fit in our tiny house in London. Could I replace my sofa for less than cost of shipping ($1,100) plus how much we could resell for on Craigslist ($900)? Yes.
So we’re shopping for a new sofa or two.
In our London house, our first floor has three small rooms. The front room is about 8′ wide by 14′ long, has one wall with a fireplace and built-in bookcases, and window looking out on the street. The middle room is also about 8′ wide by 14′ long and has a wall with built-in storage surrounding what used to be a fireplace. The back room is about 13′ wide by 12′ long and has the kitchen along one wall. The back of the house is a wall of windows open to the garden. To be fair, the photo above must be with a wide angle lens…it doesn’t look quite that big.
On the second, there are two small bedrooms and a bathroom. We will use the smaller of the bedrooms for our two girls and the larger of the bedrooms for our boys. On the third floor, we have our master bedroom and one more bathroom. The master bedroom is large enough for a small sitting or office area tucked under the eaves and has windows that look out over the small garden.
So what did we actually ship from Seattle?
In addition to our clothing, favorite kitchen items and dearly loved books, we shipped a small amount of furniture:
- Two steel beds from Room and Board
- Two desks from Room and Board
- Solid teak dining table and benches made by Crate and Barrel
- Small toddler bed from Ikea that was brand new and small enough to fit on a palate
- Small leather chair from Room and Board
And that’s it. Once we move into our new house in London, we will need to buy a few things. Thankfully, the house has a lot of built-in storage, including wardrobes in 2 of the bedrooms, bookcases and a buffet. We will need to buy loft beds for the boys’ room and one more child’s bed for the girls’ room. We will need to buy wardrobes for clothing storage for the girls’ room. We will also need to buy or or two sofas for the main floor.
We’re leaning towards the Ikea Manstad. This small sectional would fit in any of the rooms on the first floor and would convert into a bed when we have guests. We just spent a week at a house in Paris that had this sofa. It was comfortable and I love the dark blue color.
We are still trying to decide on a second sofa. As I was searching for modern and contemporary furniture in London, I found made.com. I am so excited. I love the idea behind this company. The vision of made.com is to give talented designers a way to manufacture and sell furniture directly to customers. As a customer, this means you can get beautifully designed modern furniture for a great price. Like an Ikea price.
Although I like many of the sofas on made.com, I think my favorite is the Jonah.
So we’re trying to decide what to do. It’s all in our heads until we finally move into our house and sort it out.
What do you think?
Should we put our office space in the middle of the living area? Or should we tuck it up in our bed room?