Should You Ship Furniture Overseas?

The idea of starting fresh with new furniture is really exciting. Especially when you’re moving to a new country.

However, it’s probably worth holding on to some of it, and here’s why.

Finding the exact furniture you want in a new country that’s in your budget, your taste, and won’t take forever to be delivered (leaving you living on a mattress on the floor for weeks) is NOT super easy.

We will get into the costs of shipping your furniture overseas *spoiler alert* it’s expensive.

Although it’s expensive, do NOT choose a mover other than a reputable moving company for an international move.

We will also get into the discussion of when it’s worth shipping your furniture and when it’s time to hope IKEA isn’t too far from your new home.

Let’s get into it.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Furniture Overseas?

The cost to ship furniture overseas is really an open-ended question because it can range anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 or more. What factors go into determining the price of such a shipment? All of the following will be taken into account when shipping furniture overseas:

  • The destination
  • The amount of furniture being shipped
  • The time of year you move
  • The moving company you select for the job

You should always shop around before deciding on which company will handle the move overseas for your family. The best moving companies will look at all of the furniture you wish to move and acquire more information about the move before providing you with a quote. Their estimate will be provided in writing so that you know what to expect from start to finish and how much it will cost.

Reasons for Shipping Furniture Overseas

There are a myriad of reasons for shipping furniture overseas, including all of the following:

  • It costs more money to buy new furniture for your new home
  • The furniture you wish to bring with you has sentimental value
  • You need the furniture immediately, don’t want to order new furniture without seeing it in person, and don’t want to wait weeks for the new furniture to be delivered
  • You want some familiarity in your life when moving to a new country
  • The furniture you like won’t be available in your new country

Should you decide against shipping furniture overseas, you might come to this decision because of the following reasons:

  • The furniture will not fit in your new home
  • The wooden furniture will not hold up well in a new climate
  • It could be more affordable to outfit your new home with new furniture instead of shipping your old furniture

What are the International Moving Costs?

If you do choose to ship your furniture overseas, it’s best that you’re aware of all of the costs that this implies.

Here are the costs to keep in mind:

  • Packing and shipping household goods: Average Cost: As little as $1,000 to well over $20,000.
  • Shipping a vehicle: Average Cost: $1,000 to over $4,000 (excluding destination fees)
  • Insurance: Average Cost: A few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
  • Customs clearance, duties, and taxes: Average Cost: Usually about 2%, but may be significantly higher in some cases.
  • Storage: Average Cost: As low as $100 per month for small shipments, to thousands if you’re storing the contents of a home.
  • Visa fees: Average Cost: Less than $50 for short-term visas in some countries, to well over $1,000 for permanent resident ones in others.
  • Lawyer fees: Average Cost: Less than $100 to many thousands depending on the country and complexity of your situation.
  • Travel: Average Cost: $500 at the least, to well over $1,000.
  • Temporary and permanent accommodations: Average Cost: From a few hundred dollars for apartments in developing countries like Cambodia and Tanzania to million-dollar homes in others like the United Kingdom and Australia.
  • Regular trips back home: Average Cost: A few hundred dollars to more than $1,000.

See a detailed breakdown of international moving costs.

How Can I Ship Furniture Overseas?

Finding the right moving company for shipping furniture overseas can be challenging, especially if you’ve never done it in the past. For starters, you should NEVER go with the cheapest company for this important project. There are too many things that can go wrong when using the cheapest moving company you can find, including the following:

  • Damage to your furniture
  • Lost items
  • An entire shipment not being delivered
  • Delivery occurring well after your anticipated delivery date
  • Items being delivered to the wrong address

This is not an exhaustive list of problems that can occur when choosing the wrong moving company, but it’s some of the most common issues we’ve seen over the years.

Some of the other issues you might experience when using a a less than reputable moving company for your international move include the following:

  • Bait and switch (the fees you agreed to instantly increase once your furniture is loaded on the company’s trucks)
  • Unrealistic promises of delivery times (arriving before you do, or arriving within one business day of your arrival)
  • A cancellation by the moving company at the very last minute (without receiving a refund)
  • Using a broker to schedule a move with a moving company

You want to choose a company that has plenty of experience with international moving for all types and sizes of furniture. See the companies that we recommend for international furniture shipping.

Is it Worth Shipping Furniture Overseas?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It truly falls on your preference and how much you can afford for the move after purchasing a new home, taxes, and any other fees associated with your international move. You also need to take into account the factors listed earlier in this article. Those factors, once again, are as follows:

  • How old is your furniture? If some of it is falling apart, it’s time to move on from it
  • If the furniture has some form of sentimental value, it might be best to bring it with you
  • How much is your furniture worth? If you have a lot of antique pieces, it might be best moving it with you to your new home
  • Will there be enough room? If you are downsizing when you move, you might not have to bring all of your furniture. If this is the case, moving just a few pieces might not be the best idea for you financially
  • What are the import regulations? Every country has some form of import regulations in place. Depending on where you are moving, you might not be permitted to import furniture

Are There Add-On Costs to Shipping Furniture Overseas?

There are absolutely add-on costs when shipping furniture overseas and these costs are completely left up to you. For example, some of the most common add-ons when sending your furniture to a new country include the following:

  • Disassembling and reassembling the furniture (this can cost anywhere from $130 to $250)
  • Packing and unpacking of the furniture (wrapping and packing the furniture in protective materials), which can cost anywhere from $260 to $400 or more
  • Cleaning the furniture (which can cost anywhere from $260 to $400 or more)

If you are dead-set on having your furniture shipped overseas to your new home but cannot afford a lot of the add-on costs, you can do some of the work yourself. For example, you can disassemble the furniture before the movers arrive and clean it. You can then reassemble the furniture upon it being delivered to your new home and cleaning it again. This will help you save a couple of hundred dollars during your move.

Will You Need Storage?

Another important question to ask yourself when deciding on whether or not you should ship your furniture overseas is if you will need storage. If you have furniture in storage where you live now, you will need to consider buying storage if you plan on bringing all of that furniture with you overseas.

If the furniture does not have sentimental value, it might be best to sell or donate it before you move. The cost to move this furniture and then spend more money to store it for who knows how long might not be worth it in the long run. At the same time, be prepared to add storage fees to your moving budget if you decide to bring every piece with you when you move.

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