i wish someone would have told me ........
i've been packing for a couple of weeks now and with almost every box i think to myself - will i really need this? should i take that? would it just be smarter to get rid of this and get it there if i need it? and on and on.
for those of you who have made the move how would you finish this sentence:
i wish someone would have told me to bring.......or not to bring.......
some of you might think it's not necessary to put the obvious b/c anyone with common sense would know ......but there is a lot of things to think about with this kind of move and i welcome the obvious!
thank you so much - i am thankful for this board and all of you who contribute!!!
have a good day!
Hi and welcome. I think it has more to do with you than what is available here on island. For instance, a lot of people are fine with taking a couple of hundred dollars to Kmart and outfitting an entire one bedroom apartment with dishes, linens, etc. Some people want higher end house wares. If you fall into the first category, don't bother sending that sort of "stuff". If you prefer better grade merchandise, then you might want to bring your own. The really good stuff is expensive, and we don't have Marshall's, TJ Maxx, etc. where you can get close-outs.
Everything is more expensive here (except booze and cigs), so if you have room and want to stock up on your favorite health and beauty aids, etc., then by all means, do so. Personally, I wouldn't bother. We really do have everything you need to live right here. You can order online and shop when you go back to visit, too. Another idea is to store your things you aren't sure about with a friend or relative, and then when you get here, decide if you need them, and have it sent, if you do.
This question comes up every once in a while, and I never can think of anything in particular. However, when I go to the states or Puerto Rico, I sure do enjoy shopping!:-)
We might be able to help more with this question if you have some specific items in mind.
I would suggest bringing your entertainment. For example if you are a crafter, scrapebooker, cook, bring your stuff. Entertainment value on the island at night can be very limiting. For my husband and I it was computers, game systems and books. I don't regret bringing my books at all. I'd go crazy without them, but to each their own. Whatever your hobby or passion is bring it. As someone who loves to cook I find the selection of "toys" on island to be very limited. So I pick up things whenever I travel.
I would be as spartan as you can be with everything else. You won't need as many clothes. There are a few fashionistas but mostly people live in shorts or capris and flip flops, at least in their off time. Homes tend to be smaller and with much less storage. Bring your memories and hobbies and leave or get rid of the rest of the stuff.
Bring your memories and hobbies and leave or get rid of the rest of the stuff., Betty's right on that one we came here with a 20foot cargo container filled with "stuff" and i still have like 30 containers i've never unpacked, weed through everything i had 40 containers of books and when we got here i went through them and eliminated about 25 of those containers,just weed weed weed and be like the 2 shows on tv,Neat and clean sweep
90% of our stuff is still in boxes waiting for the bigger place that we might or might not ever get. We definitely brought way too many clothes and dishes. The place that we rented really was completely furnished other than dishes and linens. One of the things that we're glad we brought is some really high quality pillows and sheets. Ironically, one of the most useless things we brought were blankets and comforters.
old quilts or comforters make good beach blankets, too.
I wish I had brought a few things I left behind with my sister. they would have easily fit into the few pallets of stuff I shipped down, but I was trying to not ship too much stuff. So I left behind a really nice pressure washer (useful for so many things here) and a couple chaise lounges and a bunch of captain's chairs that would have been great on the beach and are more expensive to replace here with inferior products than if I had paid to ship the ones I already owned. I left behind some of the sporting goods that I should have brought and brought a few things I could have left behind. I shipped more of this down last winter and it was nice to finally get it out of storage after 4 years and back into use. I would have bought more flip flops and sandals as a mainlander has a hard time conceptualizing just how many you blow through here wearing them every day and not just on occasional vacations or during short summers. The same goes for sunglasses.
I wouldn't have brought a few boxes of clothing that I did and would have bought more shorts and summer things to augment my wardrobe. As a Realtor I had expected to need a bit more of a formal wardrobe for work than it turns out is necessary here in my profession. I wasn't aware of just how limited the shopping would be (hadn't found this website at that point and my husband/then-fiance didn't think to fill me in on things like that). I would have actually shipped two of my vehicles that I sold. At the time it seemed easier to sell and buy here but that cost me a bunch with how it turned out. I would have gone ahead and shipped more of my books. I did ship quite a few, but stored the rest and then wished they were here over the years. I had not expected to leave things in storage as long as they wound up there, but every trip back to see family was so full of other plans and activities that there was never time to go through things to get what I wanted most... from the back of the storage unit, of course.
I wish I had brought my good vacuum cleaner. I've bought 4 on the island and none works well and they jam up constantly. I would have brought the fans I left behind, again they would have been cheaper to ship than re-purchase.
Definitely bring linens, pillowcases, for some reason, especially are way overpriced on STX. Good pillows too. K-Mart prices on dishes and small appliances are decent.
Things I have either mailed or took in a suitcase that I do not regret - two Select Comforts mattresses, pillows, all linens, hardware, tools, a Zodiac inflatable boat with motor, TV, fishing gear, SCUBA gear and a few zippered mold resistant mattress covers to protect mattresses that came with the house (if you will be renting I recommend you bring with you - Wal-Mart has them between $20-30).
When packing boxes, someone on this board recommended padding boxes with toilet paper, paper towels, linens, rags, sponges, clothing, shoes, stuff like that. That was a great tip - no Styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap to throw away.
If I had packed a container I would have shipped, beach chairs, furniture, lamps, decorative pillows. Seems like anything you would buy infrequently is very expensive on the island.
We go back to STX next week and this time have much less to tote. A few more tools and hardware we know we need for specific projects, binoculars, and a bag of clothing I'm bringing just to sell at a consignment shop because I will have an extra empty suitcase and some frozen meats from our local Costco.
Next time I will bring window treatments and hardware . . . I forgot to measure during the last trip.
FWIW, in terms of bed linens, I would recommend buying at Carlos if your coming to St. Croix if you don't have the space to ship. We just bought a king size sheet set (sheet, fitted sheet, pillow cases) in 400 thread count for around $60...the quality is better thatn what we had stateside for a lower price. We also got 2 king size pillows thrown in when there was a problem with our mattress order and are very happy with the quality of them. Much better than our usual option (KMart) for a good price. Also we got a Sealy Posterpedic in King size for $1100 (discounted because aformentioned problem with order) that is fantastic, we like this mattress better than our $2200 Serta that we got in the states. I don't think I'd bother shipping a mattress down. Other than the fact that it took 6 weeks for our mattress to arrive we have been very happy with the furniture and mattress's we bought from Carlos. We also bought some furniture from Best and were happy with it (got a very unique piece that we use as a "buffet" for our living room that is fantastic there).
I definitely would echo what others have said, don't bring too many clothes, you just won't use them. And the advice Betty provided about a hobby is dead on, specialty items for hobbies are hard to find, although my wife paints and she hasn't had a problem finding art supplies at the shop in Sion farm.
As for vehicles, we bought stateside, the dealer here was out of their mind on their prices, even with shipping/customs we saved a ton of money. Was going to look at PR for our next vehicle since shipping might be lower, don't know if anyone has done that and has any thoughts.
what kind of sporting goods? i have quite a collection and that is one of the areas in the garage i haven't even started on.
i think i'm going to go get more flip flops right today before my little ol' size is all gone! ha ha
We should have brought the rest of our SCUBA gear right from the start along with boating accessories. I got rid of fishing gear, nets, gaffs, etc. and have had to replace with low quality at higher prices. Should have brought our Coleman 3 burner camp stove. Shipped it recently and it's great to have for beach cookouts or dock parties. I have a propane stove in my current house, but didn't in either of our condos and a camp stove is a great thing to have when the power goes out for a day or two and you want to be able to cook some of that food that is going bad in the fridge and thawing freezer. Should have brought our Coleman lanterns and box of flash lights for power outages, also.
We should have brought some more of the water toys we left, such as inflatable rafts and tubes and floatie chairs. We could have gotten rid of the huge box of super soaker squirt guns. My sons had kind of outgrown them when we moved here but I figured my younger stepsons would use them and that in the heat even my boys might have but they've remained in a box for 4.5 years. We definitely should have brought a lot more frisbees and water-style footballs for beach and in-water fun. So many have gone floating away and they are hard to find the good ones at KMart.
We brought a bunch of golf clubs and accessories but don't use them often. We brought LOTS of baseball gear and it has never been used on STX.
We brought lots of board games and they've pretty much gone untouched on STX. We do use cards now and then and dice games are popular here. I brought a very expensive mountain bike that hasn' t been ridden here despite having tune-ups 3 times in 5 years. The tires go bad in the heat and bugs and dust gum up the chain, etc. We brought several Razor Scooters that haven't been used here.
I brought holiday decorations that we don't use here with kids grown up and most of our parties being in town or on the boat rather than in our house.
We purchased a house and car in STX in one week, so we didn't spend enough time researching (and I wish I would have found this board before we bought the car). We need 2 vehicles, so for our second vehicle, we shipped a SUV that we had in Florida. We drove it to Miami and had it shipped direct to STX. We also filled the vehicle with "stuff" and paid $300 extra to be able to do so. It was worth it because the ship did NOT go through Puerto Rico, where I've heard horror stories from people that have had their vehicle go through PR. I will never buy a vehicle on-island again. The other shocker was the auto insurance premium, twice than what we paid in the States and we drive less (work from home), spotless records and way over the age of 25.
Everyone here is right.... store your stuff and decide what you need when you get here. I also order online a lot. Lowe's in Miami - I combine a lot of purchases (paint, hardware, gas grill, building materials, patio furniture); Lowe's will get it to VI Cargo and it will save you a lot of money. One more note about online ordering, not every website ships to the USVI so avoid frustration when shopping online and go view their shipping policies before adding to your cart. Good luck.
Great post...been doing the clean sweep now since April...having garage sales and giving away to friends....now were down to the junk and taking it to auction. After that it's getting rid of the furniture we still need until we move in 63 days.
We are taking one care to Miami and hoping to find and island beeter for the other.
I have already purchased 3 new sheets of quality sheets, all new towels for JC Pennys on clearance.
Clothing has been purged to the mininum. Do think the husband may need a few more pairs of flip flops.
Was planning on getting the boat there but after reading this post may just pick up the Zodiac we want here and have it shipped.
Am shipping all photo books and memories along with the fine china and silver...gonna use it as daily wear and it's about time it gets some use!
Still trying to decide on the personal care products...you know that hair dye you need every 4 weeks...lol
Keep this post going as I am curious to hear more of what to bring and what not!
See you in 73 days
Its really not much cheaper to bring personal care products, especially with websites like cvs.com that will ship free with orders over $50. We came with all kinds of shampoo, OTC pain pills, hair dye, etc and it just took up space in a typical west indian house that is usually low on storage.
I also use my china for everyday, but mine is a plain white. What I found I didnt use were all my big serving pieces, its just too much of a pain to clean them without a dishwasher and again limited storage. So I wish I had given them to family before I came here.
For all ya'll that are buying sheets before you come, on STX at least you can get quality for a good price at Samson House. I always think of them as the Caribbean Pottery Barn. Most stuff is reasonable and pretty well made.
Let's just be honest.....you need shorts, t-shirts, a couple of good solid shot glasses, and most of all, a good attitude. Other than that, you need the basics. leave all long sleeved items at home, leave your jeans at home, leave your ex-wife and "all her issues" at home along with all of your troubles. (we have our own troubles here to keep you from misisng those "other" troubles...hehehe)
Samson House is on Company street as you leave Christiansted. Across the stree from the Big (Catholic?) church. Its a pretty yellow building with lime green shutters always has pretty displays in their windows. Everything from pillows, sheets, quilts, couches, tables, candles, place mats, glasses, etc... Much cheaper then Travelers Tree and Patadlis but just as nice.
My short list to add to others:
Extra pair of sunglasses
Extra pair of flipflops
"Cool" gym shorts, and not my heavy cargo-style shorts, or too-thick khaki shorts
WD-40 (for all the hardware that sticks or is rusty in this climate)
Our low Beach chairs (the kind you can sit low in the water)
Books showing pictures and names of flowers, trees, shrubs, animals of The Caribbean. (it's driving me nuts not knowing and I haven't had time to go the library yet, or find a bookstore)
our sharp kitchen knives
extra money for a/c (!)
extra handtowels, bathtowels, dishtowels
Yeah, they got all this stuff here, and it may be the same price or more expensive... but I already 'owned' it in Ohio, and none of the above items are expensive or breakable.
Thing I wished I had done better or sooner:
Organized important papers in a small portable file box, with extra room to add my new VI important papers.
Brought a few more of those plastic folders with the flap you tie down with the string so you can carry your papers, IDs, and other docs together to all the places that will ask you for them.
Organized prescriptions, stocked up on refills, and checked with the local pharmacy to see if they HAD that particular medicine in stock BEFORE I really needed it.
Finding a doctor first thing, rather than wait until it was "needed" --and then having to wait so more.
USPS Priority Mail Shipping Advice:
Use good quality packing tape, not the thin stuff.
On larger or heavier priority boxes (the ones the post office gives out for free) wrap a few bands of tape around the cardboard and not just the seams. Most of our boxes made it down quick and without incident, but the USPS cardboard on a few of the heavier ones had gouges and stress tears. Luckily I wasn't chincy with the tape.
Do NOT use the free 3 inch high USPS flat boxes to pack anything remotely breakable. Those boxes got squooshed the most. Stick with your larger square boxes.