Tag Archives: Moving Abroad

Life in China: Bring Your Towels

2 Nov

On the random list of things to bring when you move to China, I’d probably put towels pretty high on that list.  A lot of schools or housing places will provide you with one big towel, a hand towel, and a washcloth.  And you can always find those at the local Waka (said Wanja – I know, I don’t get it either).

But it you are the standard American, addicted to the soft fluffiness of your large snuggly king-size towels, you need to bring your own.   All of the Chinese towels are the thin, cheap version you would expect at a 3-Star hotel.  Just generally un-productive. I’d leave the hand towels and wash cloths behind; just bring a generic white fluffy towel.

International Shipping

4 Aug

The question of what to move in suitcases and what to ship later has risen several times on the FB page for my new Teaching Abroad friends.  But I also remember it coming up when I was studying abroad as well, especially for students living abroad for more than a couple of weeks.  

This is what I have gathered about shipping with USPS:

USPS will allow you to send the Large and Medium Flat Rate boxes up to 20 lbs and Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate boxes up to 4 lbs (weight is the maximum; some countries have weight restrictions limiting you to a smaller allowance).   More information is available at the USPS website for International Shipping.

Services include shipment to over 180 countries.  

Flat Rate costs (to anywhere outside of Canada:

  • Envelope ~ $24.75
  • Small Box ~ $24.75
  • Medium Box ~ $61.75
  • Large Box ~ $80.50

Random Tips:

  • More information about individual countries’ restrictions are available here.
  • It’s cheaper to send 2 small boxes than 1 medium. 
  • Pack it as full as you can possibly get it (within the weight limit)
  • You can find the boxes online or at the post office.  
  • Pricing Guide available here.

Moving Abroad: Garage Sale Early and Often

6 Jul


I’m going to take a stab in the dark and guess that there aren’t very many people selling off a three-story home before moving abroad into a small two-room apartment.  But no matter how much or little you are taking with you, I highly recommend that you think ahead about Garage Sales.

First of all, you need to decide whether you hope this sale brings in a little bit of money.  If so, then arranging for at a minimum, two weekends of sales ( for a small apartment) is a good idea.  If you wait until the last weekend, then you  have to price items to sell right away or be left with boxes of left-overs that you give away for free.  The first weekend, price your items at the level you want to make ~ try selling off those books for $1 and dishes for $1.50.  The next weekend, follow it up with prices intended to move items off.  Drop books, plates, and toys down to 10 cents.  Get things gone ~ you don’t want the added stress of finding time to lug it all to goodwill on your shoulders in the  middle of a packing frenzy.  

If you are more like me and have a butt-load of stuff to unload, then you might need a lot more weekends for selling things off.  If you only set aside two weekends, then you are limited to two prices ~ the price you wanted, and the basically free price.  It leaves you no wiggle room.  

One good idea we’ve worked with is to list and sell your items in categories.  Have a kid’s day on Saturday, an Office Supplies day on Sunday, and then add in some new categories (e.g. Hard-back books and Kitchen items) the next week.  Each week, price the previous items on down to move it out.  This lets people know when they need to stop buy, and keeps bringing them back.  Unfortunately, having so much stuff means that we will be having about 7 weeks of garage sales.  Every weekend; Makes for a long and timely excursion.  But we simply have too much stuff to sell everything all at once, especially since we would kind of like to make a little in the process.  And once you take stock of your possessions, you might have too much stuff too.  

So don’t wait until the very last weekend to put your stuff in the garage sale.  Try to do it as early as you can, so that then you have a little time to get rid of what’s left.  Don’t assume that the “popular items” are going to sell like hotcakes, or that what sold for $1 last year will sell for the same price this year.  You will have stuff left over, things you thought would sell right away.  And saving a bit of time to figure out what to do with those items will help you in the long run.


Moving Abroad Questions: What’s For Sale?

24 Jun

In August, I will be officially changing my residence address to one in Xinzheng, China, selling my possessions here in the States and starting a new life over there.  I have been really blessed in that my University has established a Facebook Group for all the foreign teachers there.  All of us newbies are asking tons of questions of those who went before, and I thought I’d share some of the important ones as they come up.  If you are moving to teach or changing jobs for one overseas, you might want to ask your organization or contacts the same questions!

1. What’s for Sale?

I never really thought about, but sometimes the people leaving have things for sale.  Leaving teachers at my school are offering things like medicine, water purifiers, American towels, potted plants, shelving, curtains, etc.  The kind of things I don’t want to take, they don’t want to bring back, and no one wants to buy.  See what your place has to offer! 

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