Tuesday, August 08, 2006

R2I # 4 - Moving

R2I - Moving
I am continuing this series after a long gap. Here comes my fourth post in the R2I series. You can access my previous posts on this subject here here & here.

Moving is never easy, so be prepared for the usual grunt work and more. Moving across the continent requires more effort than just the back breaking packing and moving work. Several things have to be considered if you are moving lock, stock and barrel.

When to Move?
This must be decided well in advance. If kids are involved in the move then that might dictate the move dates. If you are moving from US then you might consider after the school closes in June. One thing to consider though, school year starts in India around June first week and that no summer break. So, be considerate and give them sometime to adjust before making them start their school year in India. First few weeks will be challenging for the kids, so that must be taken in to account as well when deciding 'when' to move.

What to Move?
Everything you have been using and is part of the household can be moved. However, I would avoid shipping stuff like car,refrigerator, lawn mower, freezer & washing machine etc.,. These items can be made to work in India but generally not worth the hassle, particularly if you are moving from US. Customs duty on cars is prohibitively expensive in India and one of my friend who did bring the car felt that he could have gotten a new car for that money. Also, due to left / right side driving issues, this imported car is just sitting in the garage.

The amount of stuff to be moved will depend on the family, length of stay and the amount of accumulated junk. This is also a great opportunity to get rid off unwanted stuff. There are charities on either side that would love to hear from you on this. So, give yourself ample time and start sifting through your stuff well ahead of the move date. We started 3 months prior to the actual move and to sort, pack and inventory the stuff. We first did it over the weekends and spread the work load over a period of time. This gave us an opportunity to gauge the workload and assess what we really needed to move.

As you decide on things to move, start packing them as well. I suggest buying boxes in bulk (from Sam's Club or Costco?) and start packing and labeling the stuff that can be put away. You might also consider taking digital snaps of the items packed and creating some tags. This might help you search through stack of boxes at the other end.

As you start packing, pay attention to the stuff your kids are using now and the stuff you would need immediately after landing in India. You might consider bringing them with you as the container (assuming you go that route) will take several weeks to get to India by ship.

How to Move?
There are numerous movers available all through US, who can provide end-2-end service. Look for a mover who provides total service rather than engaging several of them who might just provide point services. The customs clearance process in India is cumbersome, so it is important to engage someone who can help in this process also.

The only realistic option for moving all your household stuff via ship. So, look to engage a 20' or 40' container which can be brought to you door step by the mover. Some sub-divisions / cities might restrict the duration of having such big containers in a residential area. So, know your local regulations and act accordingly. I was able to load all my stuff in a 20' container under 6 hours.

Where to Store?
This might be a problem if you are moving ALL your stuff to India. Depending on where you are moving to, you might have to rent a temporary place to store all the stuff as the living quarters in India tend to be smaller than the ones you had at your 'other place'. In my case, I had to basically forego one large bed room in the house to stack all the stuff and we sorted out things over a period of 6 months, till then the bed room became a store room.

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