How much of my household goods should I move to Mexico?

How much of your household items you should move to Mexico is a very personal, and at times, almost a philosophical decision.

At one extreme, there are people will tell you to sell or give away pretty much everything, arrive with just two suitcases and live a life without the need for material items. You should “start over,” and leave the past behind, including all those consumer-based evils they have north of the border.

Or they may tell you that you can “get everything you need in Mexico.” (How they define “need” may be different than how you would define it.) Many times, such people are on Facebook, giving very personal and particular advice to complete strangers about whom they know nothing. These people can at times be quite strident and try to publicly shame the people who want to bring their household items.

On the other side is my wife, Jet, who has said, “You didn’t work your whole life to retire to Mexico in order to give up the things you cherish and to live like a monk. Do you want to be comfortable in Mexico, surrounded by the things you worked for and love and give you joy and comfort, or would you rather live out your retirement without them, especially when you don’t have to?”

You may agree with the people on Facebook who tell you to bring nothing, you may agree with Jet, or you may be somewhere in between. The most important thing to remember is that it’s your decision, so don’t let anyone bully you to their point of view. If you do let them bully you, it won’t be them who will be unhappy later, after it’s too late; it will be you.  (They don’t care.)

I will leave it to the realm of philosophy whether it is better to live without “things.” However, you should know that, factually, you cannot get everything you want or need at a reasonable price in Mexico. Just off the top of my head, I can report that people have told me that they can’t find at a reasonable price items such as comfortable beds, ovens with thermostats (who even knew to ask?), many different types of baking paraphernalia, middle of the road clothing in certain sizes, or comfortable furniture. And it goes without saying that your sentimental items (irrespective of how silly or useless they are to others) have value to you, and that’s all that matters.

There is also the comfort of having around you things you may have had for decades that just make you feel good, in addition to sentimental items. Do you really want to just get rid of these things?

And this is not just a “Gringo Thing”. Guess what? Mexicans like nice things, too, some of which are American and some of which you may have in your possession already before you move. As an example, just when we were starting our moving company, Best Mexico Movers, we had a local Mexican couple to our home to visit. Just to be clear, these were Mexicans, born in Mexico.

The wife told us that they had gone to live in the US for several years and during that time, had acquired many standard American products and a good part of an American lifestyle. When the financial crash happened in the US, she told us that they had to return to Mexico, upon which time, her husband forced her to give away much of what they had accumulated in the US.

As the wife was coming to this part of the story, her husband just looked down. I soon knew why. The appearance of unhappiness in the look the wife gave to her husband as she said “And now I don’t have those things and I miss them” said it all. And this was more than 10 years after the fact! More than a decade later, she still deeply regretted not having these items any longer… and her husband regretted it, too.

We’ve seen this in all varieties of couples and other family members. In our more than 150 moves to date, I’ve had exactly one person who told me they wished they had brought less (although maybe half a dozen told me — privately — that they wished their partner had brought less). Several dozen told me they wished they had brought more.

Of course, you have to find your own comfort level regardless of what anyone tells you, including me. One thing I can strongly advise, however, is not to let other’s people’s views overly influence you, especially those who don’t know you and who tell you to sell everything. I have talked to lots of people who regretted just that, only when, sadly, it was too late.  Just don’t allow yourself to get bullied.

On a business note, I started Best Mexico Movers in large part in response our own experience. When we decided to move our own household goods to Mexico, we had a lot of them, and the cost to move them with the established movers was, in my view, astronomical. My wife Jet was terrified that I wouldn’t let her bring what she wanted. That’s why we created the Best Mexico Movers model in which it doesn’t cost that much more to move items. Jet was happy with that.

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