• Lifestyle

How I Shop Items from the U.S.

Large Mirror | Rug | Coffee Table | Floor Pillows | Similar Couches | Block Pillows | Wicker Basket

After two trips to the US, one rented cube van, 2 good friends, 4 layers of packaging and months worth of waiting, I’m so pumped to finally see this mirror in our space. When I shared the updates, I was blown away at the incoming questions I received from all my gals north of the border: how did we get this mirror (and our previous one) into the country?

I had no idea that getting access to this piece of furniture was so tough. Truthfully, for years we’ve been buying and shipping items to the US and bringing it back across the border. And yes, I am aware the dollar conversion isn’t great, but we are often mindful to only purchase items when they go on sale and take advantage of free shipping. I’d say 8/10 times, it still works out to be more reasonable to shop in the US vs. Canada and in some rare cases, like this mirror, there’s no choice.

First things first: your billing address. I can’t speak for all credit cards, but one of the biggest hurdles I often face when buying and shipping an item within the US is that my billing address is Canadian. I called our credit card company and found out you can put a secondary billing address on the account if the website’s browser attempts to verify your address for a second time. The billing address can be American and must match where you are shipping your items to. We use our American address (see more below).

Get a U.S. Mailing Address: I had first needed to send a Nordstrom order (prior to their Canadian shipping days) and came across the website, NeedAUSAddress.com. This was a pay as you go option of obtaining a US address that did not appear as a P.O. Box. This is crucial as most companies won’t ship to an address if they notice the P.O. Box designation.

We paid $5 USD per package that was received on our behalf and the items were rerouted to a UPS store in Lewiston, NY, about a 10 minute drive past the border. When more and more packages started to be sent, we realized that $5/package was adding up – and fast. We chatted with the UPS store and found out that purchasing a more permanent option directly with the store was an option. We would receive a formal address with a unit number for all future delieries. This is the address I now use as a secondary billing address on my credit card for online shopping.

We pay $120 USD every 6 months and share the box with other family members who also use it to ship packages within the US. We can access our mailbox 24/7 thanks to a key to the building. A simple 1-2 day notification to the store is required so they can ensure your packages are stored in an accessible locker. I try to coordinate my visits on weekends when the store is open, so if I need to return any clothing purchases, the return process is a breeze and can be done on site (they have WiFi and you can get access to a printer).

Large items such as the Anthropologie mirror – or any piece of furniture – can be shipped and held without additional fees but must be picked up during regular hours.

Get yourself a NEXUS Pass. So you’ve shipped your item to the US, saved yourself with a better shopping discount and avoided shipping fees, but you have to get it back into Canada. And all those duties. Now what? Get yourself a NEXUS pass. For only $50, this pass is good for 10 years and in the case of the Buffalo border, gives you access to special lines getting in/out of the two countries which in itself is worth the investment. 

While I can’t officially confirm this, both Adam and myself agree that there tends to be a larger leniency allowance for goods brought into the country with a NEXUS pass vs. without. We also find that taking back merchandise mid-week close to 9PM results in lower chances of paying duties vs. a weekend time slot. Do note that you must declare all items in your car/truck with a NEXUS pass. If they randomly search your car and items have not been declared, the pass is immediately revoked.

If you do any sort of air travel, this clearance also comes in handy for breezing past security lines and in most cases, is a speedier process since you’ve already been vetted by both country’s defence personnel.

For those who don’t live close to the border or the road trip isn’t worth your time, there are some forwarding companies in the US that will ship your parcel to Canada. I have not personally used any of these sites so I can’t vouch for them, but US GO Buy is a name that is used a lot. Do note that you can and should expect to pay full duty on all the items you’re bringing over.

Upcoming trip to the US? If there’s an item you’ve got your eye on and want to have it ready for you ahead of your trip, ship the item to your hotel. Having worked in events and PR, I know that hotel properties will accept packages in your name up to 3 weeks ahead of your arrival. When checking in, let them know they’re holding parcels for you and they can collect them and have them brought to your room. I do this for almost every trip to the US and have never run into a problem.

In regards to this specific mirror, we shipped it to the UPS store in Lewiston. Since it’s 7 feet tall and is packaged with bubble wrap, styrofoam and a wooden palette, the delivery package was more like 9 feet long which made transportation difficult. We rented a cube van and brought it back on a weekend. Thankfully, we did snag the mirror at 30% off so the duties weren’t as harsh as we had banked on!

Console Table | Candlesticks | Lucite Chairs | Pillows

The stores I shop the most from the US are Nordstrom, Wayfair, Madewell, Red Dress Boutique, Anthropologie and World Market. Hope this helps and definitely let me know if I missed anything or if you have any questions. Happy shopping!

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Since its first post in 2012, Krystin Lee has become a daily destination for women with varied interests in fashion, home decor, beauty and travel. My hope is to inspire you as I share my journey and I encourage you to join in on the adventure!