Yes, I still remember: moving sucks!

Poor Jaquandor wrote at the end of May:

The move is done.
Well, at least the part that involves “taking all of our stuff from the old place and bringing it to the new place”. I can’t believe how long this process took. It seemed a good idea at the time: “Hey, we’ve got about two months, so we can just slowly nickel-and-dime our way over there! We can slowly pack and take a few things over every day and gradually it’ll get done!”

Take it from me, folks: this approach sucks, and should never be adopted by anyone. Live and learn, I guess.

[Except for his books,] Moving it in little chunks was a stupid, stupid, stupid idea, and it may well rank with my dumbest ideas ever. What sounded like a way to make moving into a less-stressful, less-annoying, less-soul-crushing-of-a-day turned out to be “death by a thousand cuts”. The old place became this daunting monkey on our backs, always there, always in the back of our minds. Every day, thinking, “I’m almost off work, gonna go home and take a nap…oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff.” “Hey, it’s Sunday, I can read the paper and–oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff.” The phrase “Oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff” has become the most often-said thing around here.

Yes, this is almost invariably true. I have moved so often, north of 30 times, that I actually got rather good at it. But I never enjoyed it. Jaquandor’s way reminded me of getting a pair of pliers to remove a tooth, but you just yank it a little every day for three months.

I’ve been in my current abode for 14 years this past May, and the idea of moving STILL gives me the willies.

Jaquandor also wrote, and I am going to quote his entire post:

Really good friends help you move. Your best friends help you move twice

This is not necessarily true, in my experience. I’ve helped people I’ve known two weeks.

I once wrote, and it’s still accurate:

Moving other people’s stuff I love. I love it for a number of reasons:
1) It’s good exercise
2) It becomes an interesting anthropological study
3) People are grateful that you’re moving their stuff
4) It’s not MY stuff

Whereas moving my OWN stuff, even efficiently, is all sorts of emotionally dreadful.

Here are my rules for moving other people’s stuff, having done so many times:

1) Pick a time. Stick to the time. I want to get there, do it, and leave.

2) The movee (or his/her designee) must be in charge of the move, especially the unloading. I don’t care if the movee picks up a single thing as long as that person can say: what goes and what stays when we’re in the old place; and where the things go when we’re in the new place.
One friend was physically incapable of helping the physical moving. That’s OK.

3) Have extra boxes. Inevitably, the movee thinks he/she is done packing, but forgot the stuff behind a piece of furniture or in a closet or in the refrigerator. Seldom have I been in a situation with too many boxes.

4) Don’t pack your books, records and other dense items in large boxes. I may be, as one friend calls her roving moving crew, of “strong backs and small minds”, but we’re not looking to end up on the disabled list while doing one a favor.

5) Highly recommended: extra packing tape, and markers for labeling boxes (oh, PLEASE, label your boxes so that we don’t have to open the boxes and decide what’s in them). Bungee ropes can be useful.

6) If possible, contact the authorities about blocking off the moving spaces so we can load and unload at the actual addresses rather than from a half a block away.

5 thoughts on “Yes, I still remember: moving sucks!”

  1. And then there are EPIC moves involving 52 people, 7 28′ trucks, a 9 month pregnant movee, with a group of folks who JUST loaded trucks, a group that JUST drove trucks a group that JUST unloaded trucks AND a group that unpacked boxes and put together a working kitchen, bedroom, living room and bathroom, ALL in one 16 hour day. Such moves become the stuff of legend and require commemorative t-shirts. Luckily, as time goes on, memory fades and people no longer really remember the details and hardships of that move. It is probably also good that the movees have kept their promise, made almost 22 years ago, and have never moved again.


  2. It becomes an interesting anthropological study Boy, that is true! Once was asked to help a neighbor pack to move, walked into a room and all she had were trash bags to put the stuff in! She was also the wife of the Dean of Engineering….which I found extremely funny. 🙂


  3. 1. I agree that moving other people’s stuff is not nearly so awful as moving your own.

    2. When I moved to my house (and I sincerely hope that’s the last move I ever make, or rather, my next move will part body and spirit and body will go wherever I decide body is going to go and spirit goes on to the next world…) I was also doing some reno work myself (painting, mainly) so it wasn’t so terrible to box up a bunch of books every time I went over there and move piecemeal. But for a move longer than a mile and a half (which was my move – from an apartment to a house) or without that added motivation of “I’m gonna paint the bathroom tonight so I might as well cart a few things over there,” it would be kind of awful.

    3. Though I think if I were moving again I’d just save up my pennies and hire some guys. I had friends move my furniture and big stuff and while they seemed happy to do it (and I fed them barbecue and beer as thanks), still, I felt bad about depending on their kindness.


  4. We once moved from to a house next door, and did it without hiring movers, thinking we could move little bits at a time. Yes, doing it that way is a terrible idea.

    Nowadays we always hire movers to do it all. We don’t ask anyone to help us, and we don’t have to help anyone, which works well for us!


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