Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
adventurer1

Electronics/ Furniture

Recommended Posts

Which Electronics are worth taking with to us (and use step up or step down transformers).

 

We have loads of gadgets and electronics that we have accumulate over the past few years.

To give all away / sell (for fraction of what it was bought for obvious), and replace them in the US, will cost an arm and a leg, and will take us again a few years to replace.

 

What is the rule of thumb when it comes to shipping and or replacing things.

 

Is it worth taking for example my expensive cappuccino machine? Will it work with a stepdown?

 

Another question: Beds and bedding. I know US vs SA matrasses differ. I can't sell everything and start from scratch, it just doesn't make sense.

(I know I can replace cheaply stuff with Ikea furniture for example, but my quality of furniture I currently have, is definitely not cheap like Ikea)

 

A friend also said that you can't find Duvet inners in the US, is this true?

 

If I do the calculation on replacing everything in my house, it is definitely a lot more than R140K it will cost to ship over, but then again, a lot of the expensive stuff are electronics that won't necessarily go with.

 

My Husband suggested that we store the electronics and furniture we won't take with. Cause if we ''don't'' make it, we can return and still have some stuff here.

But isn't that just creating the opportunity to give too early cause you have a ''safe haven''.

 

And is storing stuff at +- R1000 pm really worth it in the long run?

 

So many questions and decisions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also interested in the duvet inners answer.

 

My cousin in San Diego reckons if you have really good furniture - bring it with - because that is really expensive to replace in the US. They actually just had 2 sofas made up in SA and shipped over!!

 

Re electronics. The stuff is generally cheap there so I would not usually take that. Interestingly a good number of house ads we looked at noted that they had 220V outlets as well. I don't know if this is just a CA thing or more wide. Even so I doubt we will take much electronics, maybe our Clavinova.

 

I agree with the thinking that if you move, you move. One foot back in SA and psychologically you don't make the move properly. So many people have said this to me, including one who didn't sell their stuff here and moved back, then over again...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should bring everything but electronics, with the exception of lamps they are relatively easy to convert to 110v. Reasonable quality furniture for a family of five will cost more than the $ 8,000 it will cost to ship your home furnishings. We used Frazers to move our contents in a 40 foot container at a cost of R 80,000 and everything arrived intact with not so much as a broken glass. We never took insurance as firstly it's expensive and secondly if you valued your contents more than R 50,000 you would required Reserve Bank approval.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should bring everything but electronics, with the exception of lamps they are relatively easy to convert to 110v. Reasonable quality furniture for a family of five will cost more than the $ 8,000 it will cost to ship your home furnishings. We used Frazers to move our contents in a 40 foot container at a cost of R 80,000 and everything arrived intact with not so much as a broken glass. We never took insurance as firstly it's expensive and secondly if you valued your contents more than R 50,000 you would required Reserve Bank approval.

Just to mention that if you are financially emigrating the household contents value just gets listed on the form so in that case it is no extra approval. Also when did you go? I thought it was R200k on household goods. I may have remembered wrong or maybe it's updated.

 

Another poster here, I forget who, mentioned his insurance ended up being useless because breakages have to be reported within a specified time and in the nature of a move like this one may not unpack and discover the breakage in time. Where it would be useful are the rare occurrence of the container being lost, ship sinking etc. I remember a report of a ship sinking a while ago and people looting the containers washing up!!

Edited by SJ27
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, peeps!



My basic rule of thumb regarding electronics and appliances is as follows:



Make the distinction between electronics and appliances.


Electronics are generally gadgets… computers, laptops, tablets, TVs, phones, computer monitors, gaming consoles etc. (ie. high-tech stuff with microchips and/or processors).


Appliances are mostly things like refrigerators, microwaves, fans, coffee machines, kettles, blenders, hairdryers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, ovens, power tools etc. (ie. simpler items that require high wattages or either make things bright or hot via an electric element or that have and an electric motor of some sort.)



The US uses 110V/60Hz while the EU/SA use 220V/50Hz (Thanks to Jannerman for the correction). Just look at the back of your electronic gadget, appliance or at the power brick/supply or charger. If you see something like "110V - 220V / 50 - 60Hz” or there about you're good to go in the US. You may have to change the plug or use one of those travel plug adapters, but it'll still work just fine in the US. The awesome thing with the US’s 110V is that if you happen to plug in your SA item that only uses 220V it won’t damage the item, it simply just won’t turn on or work properly. Where as if you were to plug your US device into a 220V SA wall socket and it wasn’t rated for 220V, you get snap, crackle, pop, bang, a lot of smoke and then it’s “So long and thanks for all the fish” for your device or power supply!



Most houses you see advertised in the US with 220V outlets are usually only in the laundry and sometimes kitchen. These are specific power outlets to power your large appliances like Washers, Dryers, Lamps, Fridges and Ovens. They take a non-standard US plug anyway, so you wouldn't be plugging any other items into those 220V rated sockets either way.



Make a list of your precious electronics and appliances and note its compatibility with the US. I made a long Excel spreadsheet with power ratings, power compatibility as well as Yes, No , Maybe columns :-)


Adding in an estimated price is also worthwhile to get a better idea of replacement costs/losses. You’ll be amazed how quickly it all adds up!




In further detail…



Electronics (ie. laptops, phones, computers, TVs etc.):


If it has a charger or power brick/supply of some sort it will more than likely work in the US without any problems at all, as those power supplies are generally made for the international market and usually have automatic power-switching capabilities. It’s good to check them all anyway, because there are still gadgets that don’t have switching power supplies. I still have a few odd things that required either a new power adapter/cable or a step-up transformer, but not that many. If it's an old device, though, and you are in the market for something newer you may as well not bother and just by it new on this side.



Note 1: For desktop computers and most HiFis you'll need to manually switch the power supply to 110V. There's usually a little red sliding switch at the back of these things where the power cable runs into the device. So once you’re in the US and while it is still un-plugged (both VERY important!), just slide it over to 110V with a small screwdriver or pen and you'll be good to go.



Note 2: Modern TVs are generally compatible in US. If you have a new-ish flatscreen Plasma, LCD, or LED TV it will more than likely run on 110V/60Hz power and will generally also accept the NTSC video signal used in the US. Although it is still best to double check your specific TV first, especially if it’s not a very popular global brand (eg. HiSense, Goldstar, Sinotech). Our Sony Bravia worked perfectly here in the US. The same goes for your DVD and Blu-ray players. In fact if you have a large DVD collection make very sure to bring your SA DVD player, as there are no guarantees that a DVD player bought in the US will play any of your DVDs due to the different region code used here. Blu-rays are less of a problem, although a couple of my Blu-rays (mostly from the UK) will not play on one of our US bought TVs, because even though my player will play them, the TVs itself does not recognize the PAL video only signal via HDMI.



Note 3: Yes. Electronic items are “technically” cheaper in the US, if you were to replace them here. However, don’t be fooled by the initial prices you seen advertised. Firstly, they exclude sales taxes, which runs anywhere up to about ±10% over the marked price, and secondly, if you’re buying online you often need to factor in shipping or delivery costs, again anywhere from $3 - $50 depending on the store and value of the item. This adds up really quickly, especially if you’re replacing a whole bunch of gadgets! This can close any perceived price gap considerably in most cases.



Note 4: Gamers can message me if you have any questions regarding your gaming consoles (PS2, PS3, Xbox360, Nintendos etc.) I have a ton of games and consoles and can answer most of your questions :-)




Large and small appliances:


Many of these are a no go for a few reasons. Most are specifically designed to work on 220V - 240V only. And anything with a spinning motor (e.g., hairdryers, fans, blenders, power tools etc) are usually designed to run at frequency of 50Hz. The latter is less of a problem and will technically will still work, it just won’t work to its optimum (mostly faster) and will risk damage to the motor after constant or long periods of use. Again, just check the back of your appliance and look for references to 110V/60Hz. If you see this, you should be good to go. But more likely that not you’ll just see something like “220V/50Hz only” or “240V only”. These are no good unless you have a Step-Up Transformer (i.e. a current transformer that ‘steps’ the 110V Voltage from the wall ‘up’ to the 220V required for your appliance.)



As a basic rule of thumb, your Washing Machine, Dryer, Fridge, Dish Washer, Oven, Microwave, Kettle and Toaster are all a write-off. You may get lucky with some other small items like your food mixer, blender or maybe your coffee machine, but don’t bank on it or hold your breath. Either way, their required wattages are often way too high to operate safely, if at all, for long periods of time with a step-up transformer.



Note 1: Step-Up transformers work well and get the job done, but they’re pretty big and heavy, some times unreliable. They can also make a buzzing sound if they are working hard to power multiples items. They only step up the Voltage (V) and not the frequency (Hz). It’s also best that they are only used for intermittently for items like the occasional drilling or sewing session if you must. Especially for appliances with motors. They MUST also have a higher Wattage rating than the item/s in use combined. So if your 220V drill or hairdryer uses above 1000W (Watts) it’s better not to even bother bringing them or using them with a transformer . A decent enough 1000W Step-Up Transformer with cost you about $50 and up. Anything more powerful gets really heavy and really expensive fast! So it may make sense for a handful of small individual items that use 800W or less and that you’ll probably replace later anyway, or maybe for that one big item you simply can’t replace or live without.



Note 2: US bulbs will not fit in your your lamps. But some of your lamps can still be saved if you’re handy with a screwdriver, some pliers, a wire stripper and re-wiring plugs. For a few bucks each you can often gets some new plugs and replacement light bulb sockets to adapt your lamps for US use. Seriously though, unless you know what you’re doing or unless your lamp a really a expensive designer thing, something really unique, traditional or carved from exotic African wood, it’s probably not worth the effort. I re-did about 4 of our lamps, and they all worked out well, but you often have to work some magic with the lamp shades to connect them around the slightly wider US light bulb sockets.




Furniture:


If you have something that looks even vaguely decent, is designer, or is made from any kind of solid wood, even plain old pine, stop reading now and just bring it with you! Quality furniture in the US is expensive. Solid wood furniture even more so. Even IKEA can be anything but cheap in comparison to average SA furniture prices in similar ranges and quality. Yes, there is a huge variety of furniture available in the US, some of which can be very stylish. Quality, however, varies greatly regardless of price. There are also often very good deals and sales to be had, but seriously, look at all of your stuff, consider its value and then do the maths.



A 20-foot container to the US costs very roughly R120k - R160k. That’s $11.5k - $15k at the current exchange rate. Now make a list of your furniture and go online to Ikea, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Macys, Sears, JC Penny etc. and price (even vaguely) the equivalent items, not forgetting to add up to 10% sales tax. Even excluding delivery, which is either free or exorbitant. If you make it to even three quarters of the way though your furniture list and HAVEN’T hit $13k yet, you are either a student, or you are young and single, or you have somehow spent more money on your car than on your house/flat/apartment. That is furniture ALONE! Now consider all of your other stuff… cutlery, crockery, towels, linen, curtains, wall art, picture frames, mirrors, clothes, shoes, electronics (the ones mentioned above that will work in the US), Blu-rays, DVDs, CDs, Games, Books, Toys etc. Suddenly, even at R160k, that container is looking like a bargain!



Note 1: Bed sizes are roughly the same in the US, give or take an inch. Name differ and vary slightly though. The US also has some additional sizes like California King for example. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_size for dimensions and you should get a good idea if they match what you have. We didn’t bring our beds, because they were really old and we were going to replace them anyway. Our linen from our queen bed fits the replacement queen-sized bed we bought for our guest bedroom perfectly (even the fitted sheets). As for duvet inners, we found some decent feather/down duvet inners at Bed, Bath and Beyond (even in blazing hot Arizona). American’s are more partial to their comforters, which are more like all-in-one duvets. Think fiber-filled duvet with the cover sewn on permanently. It’s also very regional and based on climate, so you’ll find they layer their linen more, depending on the season and the temperature range.




Now of course not everyone’s financial circumstances are the same and up to R160k cash up front is quite a chunk of change, especially factoring in the costs of flights, accommodation, rentals and the whole move in general. Luckily for us we had the savings up front and could afford the container. We’re also so glad we did. Not only from the financial side, but also from the personal side. The shock of a new country and whole new culture, one without friends or family is hard enough to deal with, sacrificing almost all of your familiar and worldly possessions that you’ve poured your life, your savings and years of your time into is like leaving behind a part of your soul. I find it wonderfully comforting to have so many familiar things from my SA life around my new home in the US. Alternatively, if you’re young and carefree enough and still sleeping on that worn out old couch bed that your mom gave you when you left home, you can just flog your worldly belongings and start from scratch. Beware, though. The climb back to where you were before will be slower and more expensive with almost every single thing you have to replace. Although, it does make for a great spring cleaning exercise :-)



I’ll leave you with that to mull over for now…


Edited by JumpingJasonFlash
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, great post

 

Answered everything!

 

Thanks a lot JumpingJasonFlash

 

We will pack the container then. Even considering buying some extra's here and ship them with.

 

I would just not make the same mistake (when we went to Holland), we were in such a hurry, bought some extra stuff, didn't remove the packaging, re upholstered our couches etc. The day the container arrived, so did customs. We had to pay taxes on everything in original packaging, and they didn't want to hear a thing on the couches that has been re upholstered!!

 

Though a good spring cleaning will help clear the clutter and unnecessary stuff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

The US uses 110V/50Hz while the EU/SA use 220V/60Hz.

 

 

 

Tiny mistake - It's the other way round: 60Hz for the US and 50Hz for EU/SA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/25/2014 at 5:28 AM, adventurer1 said:

Which Electronics are worth taking with to us (and use step up or step down transformers).

 

We have loads of gadgets and electronics that we have accumulate over the past few years.

To give all away / sell (for fraction of what it was bought for obvious), and replace them in the US, will cost an arm and a leg, and will take us again a few years to replace.

 

What is the rule of thumb when it comes to shipping and or replacing things.

 

Is it worth taking for example my expensive cappuccino machine? Will it work with a stepdown?

 

Another question: Beds and bedding. I know US vs SA matrasses differ. I can't sell everything and start from scratch, it just doesn't make sense.

(I know I can replace cheaply stuff with Ikea furniture for example, but my quality of furniture I currently have, is definitely not cheap like Ikea)

 

A friend also said that you can't find Duvet inners in the US, is this true?

 

If I do the calculation on replacing everything in my house, it is definitely a lot more than R140K it will cost to ship over, but then again, a lot of the expensive stuff are electronics that won't necessarily go with.

 

My Husband suggested that we store the electronics and furniture we won't take with. Cause if we ''don't'' make it, we can return and still have some stuff here.

But isn't that just creating the opportunity to give too early cause you have a ''safe haven''.

 

And is storing stuff at +- R1000 pm really worth it in the long run?

 

So many questions and decisions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did this entire exercise in  September and this in my 2 cents worth and for Pennsylvania. Please note this is in no order, so my apologies.

  • Had to rent a car until we had learners and drivers tests, cannot buy without.
  • Car Insurance very expensive as they count your driving experience from date of Pennsylvania license.
  • Travel insurance (must have) valid for 32 days only.  Got here and went on Government insurance, managed to secure for.  It ran out the same month as our company insurance kicked in.
  • Rented a fully furnished house and we have been purchasing household items on sale like there is no tomorrow.
  • First big purchase was to replace our Simmons be (Queen around 1000 and double 600)
  • Macy's stock duvet inners, covers is a different story.  Ended up getting quilt and lovely winter blankets.
  • Electric blankets also first on the list - snow - Pennsylvania
  • We sold our entire household content.  Shipped 6 containers from Cape Town by plane, R18k.  We kept photo's and the most precious memos. 
  • Laptop, phones etc in crates and nothing went missing.
  • We ended up having to buy new phones anyway as Vodacom promised they were good to go, the were however locked when we got here and therefor had to buy new phones.
  • Great deal with AT&T.  40 usd per month, unlimited calls, text and 6 gig.  
  • Electronics we brought laptops and phone.  Adapter now giving in, so really not worth it.  Hubby bought new laptop.
  • As we secured house from SA I was able to contact school district and they did everything from school bus to class.  we arrived, Wednes, school orientation Thurs and he started Friday.
  • Niche.com is a great tool and quite accurate.
  • When you arrive, give a few days and go to social security office, ours took 3 weeks to arrive and can do pretty much nothing without.
  • Green Card arrived at around 6 weeks
  • Got life insurance set up within 2 months.
  • The main concern is getting credit score, if you are looking at buying as soon as possible.
  • We started with Bank of America, 3 months later Capital One contacted us for actual credit cards and it looks like we may have a credit score. Waiting for bond originator as we speak to advise if we have one.
  • This is how we did it, lotto winners, middle class, only proceeds from the sale of our house to pull us through.

Best of luck and please ask.  This forum is super fantastic and ready with answers.  I remember waking up and the first thing I did was to open Sausa to see what responses I got and that gave me some ammo to take on the next phase.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re above - great list, a couple of things to add or contrast:

 FYI we had no problem buying cars on our SA licenses in California. Most insurers wanted to load the insurance for being a foreign license (then drop when get CA ones) but geico gave us normal rates right from the start - we did bring no claim statements from SA insurer. We were actually paying about same price or slightly cheaper than SA without the expense of needing tracker, a garage or lockup parking etc. 

What we found with beds is that queens are the same size and nothing else is. But - mattress/duvet same size as SA but pillows aren’t! They get bigger with the bed size here. Can use plain comforters as duvet inners. You can get duvet sets (ikea usually has a good number) here but not as common as comforter or quilt sets. GO TO THE DISCOUNT STORES when you’re setting up  your home— depending where you are those could be Home Goods, Marshall’s, century 21, Ross etc. they have both cheap stuff and good stuff (even le creuset!) at better prices than the main stores, and when you’re buying a bunch of stuff at once it makes a difference. Good for linen, towels, crockery and kitchenware as well as decorative items, and if you’re lucky you’ll even find small appliances there too (we’ve seen coffee machines, toasters, blenders etc from names such as cuisinart, Krupps, breville, dash). Actually lol I even saw a full size Smeg fridge in Home Goods last week 😂 !!!

our mtn phones would have worked with the right provider but it wasn’t the one we wanted. There are charity programs to donate old phones to, which we did.

Moving2018 had a huge advantage with being able to arrange a house from SA - you’ll need proof of residence to get your kids into school. Some districts are stricter than others - our elementary schools require 2 different proofs of address and the high school 3, and you generally only have one when you sign a lease; we got the utilities companies to give us letters saying we had been connected for services at the address so that we didn’t have to wait a month for first statement for proof.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×