Sunday, March 2, 2014

Our shipping container arrived

On Monday afternoon, the crate that we shipped from Los Angeles was delivered to our home in Dublin. We had originally thought we would ship a big steel cargo container, or maybe just a half container. We soon realized however, that even a half container would not fit on our narrow, windy, steep, hillside, Los Angeles street.

So we started researching smaller options and decided on the Uhaul Ubox. Some companies that we called would not allow self-packing of our belongings into the container. They claimed that since 9-11, self-packing is not allowed. The fact is, that is totally untrue. Uhaul didn't have this restriction. Unfortunatley, the cost of shipping one 5'x8'x8' Ubox to the port in Dublin was going to be $2500. Custom's clearance and delivery to our home would be extra. Shipping a full 20 foot container would have been under $5000 and it would have held 4 times the volume of our Ubox. (Glad we didn't actually ship four times what we did though.)

We delivered our fully packed Ubox to Uhaul the day before our departure. Approximately 6 weeks later, we were informed that the box was about to arrive in Dublin. Our quote from Uhaul was an additional $2700 to handle the customs clearance and delivery to our home in Dublin. We decided to call around some local companies to see how much they would charge for this service. We got a variety of quotes and found some very helpful companies. The lowest quotes (and most helpful people) were at and Shipco . We ended up going with Shipco, because they were already listed on the Bill of Lading as receiving the box. The cost? 650 euros (~$900)! Saved us a huge amount over the Uhaul quote.

It took a little over a week from when the box arrived in Dublin for it to clear customs and be delivered. It all went off without a hitch and we were glad we went with Shipco. They were great. Our street is also narrow over here, so the driver parked his big truck out on the main road and drove the box up our street on his forklift. It just barely fit into our driveway and there it was left for us to deal with.

Looking out our front window- the container blocks the whole house.
We have been living in our new home for two months now. It came furnished, including pots and pans, dishes and cutlery. Though none of it is "my style", it has been really pleasant living in a minimally furnished house. Having to bring all those boxes and things into our small, but sparse and tidy house, was so painful. On the other end it had seemed like we were bringing so little, but here is seems like so much. We now have the long and arduous process of unpacking and finding a place for all of these random things. I kind of wish the container had fallen off the ship and was now on the bottom of the sea.

(One issue is that our house is not only small, but like every other house that I've been in here, it is heated by radiators. They take up a huge amount of wallspace in every room. So, once you put in a couch or a bed, then factor in the doorways and radiators, there is no more room for any other furniture- things like bookshelves or drawers that might contain "stuff.")

BEFORE:  a nice empty space (*note the radiator though!)

Though I hated the full attic in our last house, and just wanted it all gone, I am so thankful that this house has an attic and DH is handy. The plan is to saw the Ubox into pieces and lay those pieces down in the attic, so that there is a floor. Once that is done, we can put a lot of the contents of those boxes up into the attic, hopefully more organized and accessible this time around. Til then, I am squeezing through towers of boxes and the kids are scattering things that don't yet have a place. Even with the potential of an attic, I feel like we are back to drowning in stuff! Grrrr.

AFTER: Grrrr.

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