Take it or leave it
When researching what people took with them when they made the big move there seemed to be two trains of thought: the minimalists and the maximalists. In the former category would be people such as au pairs or students going for a year or even our friends Tracy and Alan who are there to stay. You would see them at the airport with a suitcase, a backpack, and a smartphone or tablet for entertainment. They would be headed to fully-furnished accommodations where even the silverware is included. Count me in that group.
At the other extreme, especially if the spouse’s company is paying the bill, are the folks who want to take everything, including the kitchen sink, since even that common item is sometimes taken with the previous tenant since it was their own property they brought to the rental. Since electrical appliances from here won’t typically work in Europe, this group will need a storage container or a spare room for all of the items they can’t use.
It appears that we are going to fall somewhere in between but much closer to minimalists. Give me some clothes and a computer and I’ll be happy. Bill is thinking about sending “a few boxes” of books, photo albums, framed diplomas & certificates, along with the china and crystal. Humorously those last two items originated in France so they would just be going back home. He has run a small custom design knitting business for years and is considering sending one knitting machine (he had 6 at one point) and some yarn as well. We found online a quick estimate that it would cost about $1000 to ship one room of furniture, regardless of weight, and that it would take 2 to 3 months to arrive. The US post office will ship a 20-pound box that gets there within 10 days for about $85. I bet that we could pile a whole bunch of those 20-pound boxes into the space that one room of furniture takes up in order to get that $1000 rate from a freight forwarding company. No matter what we send, the challenge will be where to put all of it once it arrives at our new home.