So it hit me this morning…this is the last 4th of July we will celebrate in the US for the foreseeable future.
Not sure why it gives me such a heavy heart but it does.
The plan this year was to do a bbq with our families but damn Mother Nature had her own plans and decided to rain on our Independence Day. So instead, we spent the earlier part of our morning getting ready for the move before watching Brazil beat Colombia 2-1 in the World Cup Quarter-Finals (just HAD to throw that in there! Sorry not sorry).
Although Andy’s company is providing us with a ton of relocation assistance there are still things we need to do. For example, what do we do with our mail while we are living in the UK? Turns out, and after some extensive Google research, that the best recommendation is to hire a parcel forwarding service. The USPS will not forward mail to international addresses (at least not unless you pay $17 per week) and it’s just not realistic (nor smart) to ignore the important pieces of mail you’ll surely receive while overseas. And packages. Our local UPS delivery guy knows me as the girl who “gets all the Zappos boxes”. How can we continue to shop in our favorite US stores will avoiding the ridiculous costs of overseas shipping? Enter US Global Mail.
US Global Mail is a parcel forwarding service that will provide you with a physical mailing address for your parcel forwarding needs. This means that they do NOT provide you with a PO box (which most services will not ship to) but instead provide you with an actual address to provide others a way to send you items.
Ours is in Houston, Texas. This means that all of our Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic/Express/Loft/J.Crew/Bonobos and Warby Parkby purchases will get mailed directly to Houston, Texas. Once received, US Global Mail will basically scan all of our mail items and send us a daily email with what we’ve received that day. Then, we tell them either send it (to our UK address), scan it (so that we can read it without holding the physical copy) or shred it. I should mention though that sending packages to the UK from the US require that we pay whatever the customs tax is – which I read is 7% of what we paid for the item.
We were really excited about the service and read good things about it – so we decided to commit to the 12-month plan which came out to $200 for the year. If it’s great we’ll renew for as long as we’re in the UK or as long as we feel we’ll need it, and if it’s not we’ll try another service. Either way, with a mortgage, student loans and a shopaholic, it’s comforting to know we have a US address to send stuff to.
In addition to our parcel forwarding sign-up fun, we also started getting stuff together for our storage. We are in the process of selling a bunch of stuff we know we don’t want to take with us. BUT there are still some things that I keep in my own storage unit which I refuse to get rid of (my EXTENSIVE Minnie Mouse collection, my wedding gown, artwork, etc). We could just throw everything in boxes and put them in my unit, but from my experience (being a storage unit owner now for almost 4 years), I’ve learned it’s just not practical – especially when you’re looking for those amazing Halloween decorations you know you put in one of those boxes but can’t remember which one… And it’s not smart to label the boxes either. Storage units are notorious for theft so labeling your FLATSCREEN TV as such just makes it easier for the bad guys. So what we’re now doing is getting several huge Tupperware bins and putting our items inside. Then, we’re numbering each bin and creating an excel sheet to detail what’s inside which box. Genius right? We can’t take the credit though, it was my amazing manager that gave me the idea.
And that, my friends, is how the Almontes celebrated their last July 4th in the US. Now time to wait for the fireworks.