Household items adv...
 
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Household items advice

(@allieb)
Posts: 1
New Member
Topic starter
 

Hey Everyone, 

I’m considering relocating to STX.  Ive read conflicting information on the costs of bringing vehicles and some household items vs. purchasing on island, and would like advice. It appears that things are expensive there but so is shipping.  I’m thinking we will need two cars.  What are the advantages of bringing two cars - vs bringing one and buying one, or buying two on island?  Would bringing our electronics (TV, computer) be a good idea or is it better to replace them there?  How about our cheap but comfortable couch and mattress, are they expensive to replace?  We are considering building a home, would it be wise to purchase appliances and a generator here or buy them on island?  In short, given the cost of pricier and larger items on STX, is it a better value to bring them?  Any advice is appreciated.  

 
Posted : November 10, 2022 4:21 am
(@ca-dreamers)
Posts: 447
Honorable Member
 

We've done this twice. Once in 2012 in 20 footer from California and back here after a brief 2 year hiatus to Florida this last spring, this time in 2 forty footers. My advice is to bring everything you can fit in the largest container you can afford. When you get here and get set up you will kicking yourself because you left stuff behind and will have to replace it here at considerably more expense. As far as cars are concerned, IMO its far better to bring what you have, and know, than to buy used or for that matter new here, after all this island is only 26 miles long and 6 mile wide where you gonna go?

 
Posted : November 10, 2022 7:59 am
(@afriend)
Posts: 525
Honorable Member
 

Completely agree with Ca.Dreamers!  Follow the old adage, bring as much as you can, as soon as you can.  You may not be able to fine what you need in the stores on the island when you need/want it.  If the items are in stock, the selection will be limited and will not be anywhere near a broad as you are used to finding back in the states, the items you need/want (especially things like furniture, electronics, small and large appliances) will usually be on the lower end of the quality scale and the prices of just bout everything will certainly be higher then they are on the mainland.  Same applies to cars.

We lived in the Caribbean for 18 years and were always having the things we wanted/needed shipped down from the states.  In addition, every time we went back to the mainland to visit friends/family, or for our annual medical check-ups, etc. we came back with suitcases full of all the goodies we couldn't get on the island.  Big ticket items, small ticket items - it doesn't matter - you are better off shipping them down when you relocate.  Same with your cars. 

 
Posted : November 10, 2022 10:53 am
(@jaldeborgh)
Posts: 530
Honorable Member
 

If you already own stuff you like ship it down.  We shipped 2 vehicles and 2 twenty foot containers (both packed to the gills), each about a year apart. I’m sure shipping cost have increased in the past couple of years but inflation has made everything bought here more expensive as well.

As I recall each car cost roughly $3,500 and each container was about $7,500.  The 40 foot container would have been more economical (vs 2 20 foot ones) but that didn’t fit our logistical needs.  We moved everything from the Boston area, as reference.  You also need to add in the moving and unloading the container once it gets to the island. I believe that ran about $1,600 each time.

 
Posted : November 10, 2022 2:49 pm
(@stjohnjulie)
Posts: 1057
Noble Member
 

I 100% agree you should ship items down.  But I would probably wait on the bulk of the household items if possible unless you are positive you will be staying for a good amount of time.   There a a lot of people who move to the USVI and find that they just don’t like it here.  

I would also do a big sorting out of what you have.   Any furniture that is not solid wood doesn’t hold up here well.  Vehicles with higher clearance and 4WD are good to have too. Even if you have to buy something new (or new to you) in the states and ship I still recommend that.  As mentioned, selection and availability are often issues here.  

 
Posted : November 11, 2022 2:14 am
(@vicanuck)
Posts: 2935
Famed Member
 
Posted by: @allieb

Hey Everyone, 

We are considering building a home, would it be wise to purchase appliances and a generator here or buy them on island?

If you're planning to build a home, you're looking at 3+ years before you'll be moving in. Plan accordingly.

 
Posted : November 15, 2022 8:45 am
(@jaldeborgh)
Posts: 530
Honorable Member
 
Posted by: @vicanuck
Posted by: @allieb

Hey Everyone, 

We are considering building a home, would it be wise to purchase appliances and a generator here or buy them on island?

If you're planning to build a home, you're looking at 3+ years before you'll be moving in. Plan accordingly.

As horrid as this sounds, if you don’t already own the land and have an approved set of plans, I have to agree with the 3 year timeline.

After buying our place in early 2019 I decided to build a garage and replace the driveway (crumbling asphalt to concrete) this took roughly 2 years and was a much more straightforward project than building a complete house.  My lesson learned, focus on the quality of the work, not the timeline.  I’m very happy with the outcome.  

 
Posted : November 15, 2022 11:09 am
vicanuck reacted
(@speee1dy)
Posts: 8870
Illustrious Member
 

im glad i brought everything i did, especially the car. for example when i purchased my kitchen aid stand mixer for 200 they were going for 400 here. same model. cars in the states are much cheaper. nissan versa starts at 16k in the states. you would never find one for that price down here.  

 
Posted : December 6, 2022 9:22 am
(@vicanuck)
Posts: 2935
Famed Member
 
Posted by: @speee1dy

...you would never find one for that price down here.  

A bit off topic but...you could say that for just about everything you purchase in the VI. This is why the local retail market (except perishable groceries) is slowly disappearing as stores gradually close due to lack of sufficient, sustainable local support.

I know in my own life here, if I want something, I immediately go to the internet, shop around for a minute or two, buy it online and ship it to Paradise Freight.

 
Posted : December 6, 2022 2:08 pm
(@jaldeborgh)
Posts: 530
Honorable Member
 
Posted by: @vicanuck
Posted by: @speee1dy

...you would never find one for that price down here.  

A bit off topic but...you could say that for just about everything you purchase in the VI. This is why the local retail market (except perishable groceries) is slowly disappearing as stores gradually close due to lack of sufficient, sustainable local support.

I know in my own life here, if I want something, I immediately go to the internet, shop around for a minute or two, buy it online and ship it to Paradise Freight.

I don’t think that’s unique to the USVI.  While living on the mainland does massively increase shopping options, most (or at least many) find it easier to shop on line.  It’s much easier to find the best price as well as not needing to drive all over looking for things.  People generally look for the path of least resistance or simply value convenience.  If Amazon or another on line merchant ever offered free shipping to the USVI it would be devastating to the local economy.

I try to shop locally whenever possible but sometimes it’s just so much easier to use the internet and I’m 66, my kids buy virtually everything online as consumer merchandising continues to evolve in that direction.  It’s increasingly big box stores and the internet.  I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon.

 
Posted : December 6, 2022 7:37 pm
(@vicanuck)
Posts: 2935
Famed Member
 

It’s increasingly big box stores and the internet.  I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon.

As affirmation of your correct observation, we're closing our STX office and production facility at the end of the month (a soft close actually...it will take a few months to clean out 45 years of accumulated stuff).

Going forward, we'll conduct business from our online store and fulfill orders from our mainland facilities. Over the past few years, traffic in the shop has dropped dramatically with 95% of the orders now coming in by email or phone. We believe our business in the region will increase as a result and we'll be considerably more competitive with the significant reduction in overhead.

We don't really compete with the few local competitors that remain in our industry, we primarily compete with those on the internet. For a number of reasons (WAPA first among them), it just doesn't make sense to manufacture here anymore. However, being able to manage the business from my laptop anywhere in the world I happen to be is very appealing.

 
Posted : December 7, 2022 8:40 am
(@asif345)
Posts: 0
New Member
 

I wholeheartedly concur with Ca.Dreamers! The traditional saying "bring as much as you can, as quickly as you can" should be followed.

 
Posted : January 20, 2023 9:39 am
(@mykmid)
Posts: 14
Active Member
 

Hi AllieB, 

All very good recommendations so far, but given the timeframe to build I'm wondering what your plan is for the 3 years it will take to complete the build? Will you be on island renting for the duration or not move until the new home is complete? If your plan is to rent - you likely don't need to bring things like furniture, since most rentals come furnished - obviously your budget will determine what the level of the furnishings would be! It would be good to bring your cars though (although they can't be stuffed with other items you may want to ship with them). Certainly, being here on island while building would be a better option than having it done while off island - but it can be done! Personally, I wouldn't want to go through the new build process here. In my opinion it would be better to buy something that you could renovate and that would take MUCH less time - although not cheap depending on the amount required. It's possible you could find a place that has a separate "rental unit" with it (lots of homes do) and live there while you renovate the main house? If I did it again - that's what I'd do.

Anyway, be sure to do PLENTY of research before you make a decision - that's the best recommendation you can get! If you haven't already "lived" on the island (not just vacationed) it's HIGHLY recommended to plan to come a stay for a few months before making all the other commitments required to move here. To me, your way ahead of yourself in your current plans if you haven't already done a lengthy trip to the island.

 
Posted : January 20, 2023 10:51 am
 MW24
(@mw24)
Posts: 15
Active Member
 

We moved here about 3 years ago.  We decided to ship one of our cars (a paid off Jeep Wrangler) and one 20' container with all our household possessions.  

We debated getting rid of everything except a few boxes of mementos and clothes, but I'm glad we brought most of our electronics and the furniture that we'd need.  First, you can find most things you'll need here on the island or easily shipped here.  However, options can be limited on the island for types/brands of electronics, furniture, etc.  The house we bought didn't come with a lot of furniture (a lot of homes come furnished), so we basically downsized our stateside house and brought exactly what we needed.  Over time we looked to replace furniture, but have found it hard to find exactly the styles we want here.  We can order online, but I'd prefer to sit on a couch before I purchase it.  

For cars, our plan was to bring the Jeep and buy a second car once we got here.  As we are both retired and spend a lot of our time together, we never did buy a second auto.  We simply haven't had the need for it.  Even when my wife took a part-time job, she'd only be away for a few hours and I can always wait till she gets back to use the Jeep. 

Unless moving into a furnished home, based on our experiences, I'd suggest shipping a 20' container with your personal items (electronics, basic furniture, clothing, lawn equipment, etc.).  We filled our 20' container and shipped the Jeep separately.  Then once you get here, you can decide if and what you want in a 2nd vehicle.  Maybe you want something fun for the beach and sunny days like a Jeep.  Maybe you'll be working on your house and a truck will make Home Depot runs easier.  Maybe you'll find you wont need one.  

 
Posted : January 21, 2023 10:13 am
(@jaldeborgh)
Posts: 530
Honorable Member
 

We bought in January of 2019, as I approached retirement, rented back to the prior owners until that November and began moving our belongings in December.  Similar to above, we sent down a 20 foot container as we were selling our primary residence north of Boston and renting a smaller house for two years, again leading up to retirement. We also shipped down a Jeep Cherokee initially along with the first container.  About a year after we moved in, I think late 2020, we shipped a 2nd 20 foot container as well as my Jeep Wrangler, this coincided with my retirement and our moving out of the rented house. We do still have our long time summer place on Martha’s Vineyard as we’re seasonal residents, although I’m planning to make STX our primary residence beginning in 2023.  The home we purchased was furnished but we’ve now donated to charity about 90% of what was here as we chose to use our existing furniture or buy locally as we settled into the property.  We have also done a considerable amount of work to the property but the major projects are now complete and while this work took longer that originally thought the outcome exceeds my initial expectations.  Costs were probably 20% higher than planned but that was mostly from unexpected surprises due to prolonged lack of maintenance and not work that was additive to the property.  We’ve now upgraded or replaced virtually every maintenance item/system on the property, so hopefully we can avoid future surprises by simply keeping up with the routine care and feeding.

 
Posted : January 24, 2023 1:52 pm
 saif
(@saif)
Posts: 4
New Member
 
Posted by: @allieb

Hey Everyone, 

I’m considering relocating to STX.  Ive read conflicting information on the costs of bringing vehicles and some household items vs. purchasing on island, and would like advice. It appears that things are expensive there but so is shipping.  I’m thinking we will need two cars.  What are the advantages of bringing two cars - vs bringing one and buying one, or buying two on island?  Would bringing our electronics (TV, computer) be a good idea or is it better to replace them there?  How about our cheap but comfortable couch and mattress, are they expensive to replace?  We are considering building a home, would it be wise to purchase appliances and a generator here or buy them on island?  In short, given the cost of pricier and larger items on STX, is it a better value to bring them?  Any advice is appreciated.  

It is not worth purchasing pieces of furniture on Island. Because the first matter is the emotional connection to your appliances 🙁 and the second reason is the matter of huge cost to buy new items of furniture on the Island. You should hire an affordable mover via a moving network. Because you can get multiple quotes from many movers and can negotiate with them about pricing.

 
Posted : February 8, 2023 5:34 am
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