This is no business-paid relocation; I’m doing it myself.
I’m moving, and it’s a personal move.
If you’re being moved for business reasons, you’ve got it easy. When someone else is paying for it, just call professional movers and get out of their way.
And I do mean get out of their way. I’m reminded of the famous first “military move” in my past. We were young and inexperienced, and were told “don’t do anything,” so I didn’t. Well, I did put the clothes we would need for our 3-day drive to our new location in a special dresser drawer, but that was about it.
How amazed I was when they scooped up dirty dishes and ashtrays with cigarette butts in them and dumped them into moving boxes without changing their expressions. While I ran to protect the dirty diapers from their grasp, they must’ve packed our clothes for the trip, plus my toddler’s favorite car-car. There were tears for 200 miles. My son cried too. So that’s a paid-for move.
This one I’m doing on my own and it’s been an adventure. Here are some tips.
NOW WHERE CAN YOU GET SOME HLP?
Moving is one of the biggest stressors in life, and we hate to even be around it. Even my own son said he’d send money if only he didn’t have to come help.
So, let’s see how these things work … who could possible benefit from your move and therefore want to help you?
FIND A REALTOR WHO WANTS TO SELL YOUR HOUSE
Ken Brodeen has been my lifesaver. He likes to sell houses and came over to tell me what I’d need to sell this one quickly. He was referred by a friend of mine, and he works in what I call a “quality loop.”
He not only told me what needed doing, he started giving me the names and phone numbers of all the trustworthy repairmen and service people I would need. In fact, he had THEM call ME. All I had to do was answer the phone when it rang.
He has a carpeting company he works with that doesn’t charge you until your house is sold, a painter who’s an artist and also a careful worker – no paint to scrape off windows or furniture when he’s gone! A tile man.
My list of repairmen comes and goes; they die, go out of business, they’re obnoxious or incompetent and I never want them back. Ken made it easy for me. A realtor who wants to sell your house will work for your business. Take advantage of this. They can be fabulous resource people for you, and sav you lots of time.
GET NEW CARPETING
You may not get more than half the money back but it makes the house sell faster and it has a serendipitous advantage. You have to move a lot of stuff to get new carpeting in and this gives you a pre-run for the move. Why not pack it up as you go along and also weed it out. It also gives you a tremendous “lift” and makes you love your house again (or still), which is always the number 1 selling point. You know how the realtor tells you – if you love your house, be there when they show it; if not, go away.
The carpeters move big furniture for a fee, and as long as you have to unload the buffet, you might as well pack up the china and crystal. Come on now, how many fancy dinner parties are you going to have between now and the move?
Realtors always want you to put in cream-colored carpeting, and what person in their right mind would live with that? It’s been fun to gamble with fate for a couple of months – one spilled glass of wine … one drop of spaghetti sauce …
To sell a house, you need to de-clutter it. That’s another reasons to start packing!
MAKE TWO PILES
Start in a back bedroom and move toward the garage. Sort and pack: two piles. One is for the garage sale (and what doesn’t sell at the garage sale goes to Goodwill) and the other is for packing. I’m not a big believer in paying to take junk with you. When you pack by room, you can label your boxes and mark them. Write big and clear in magic marker. Remember the word “FRAGILE”. Use a different colored tape or label for each room. Which reminds me – you need the right tools!
THE TOOLS YOU NEED
Companies like U-Haul offer a great deal – you can buy those lovely boxes and return the ones you don’t use. How sweet is that? Yes, you could haunt the back of liquor stores for those boxes, but what’s your time worth? If you’re lucky, your son just moved and will knock down their boxes and give them to you!
The U-Haul in my neighborhood will even deliver the boxes to you within hours.
Get that great pro packing tape, with the Manco handler. You’ll feel like such a pro, and it works. Then a huge black magic marker. Be SURE and label what’s in each box. Over-label, you won’t be sorry, because when you get there you’re going to be tired and needing certain things.
Then some sort of huge colored label for marking rooms, if you like. “Red” for master bedroom, “Blue” for living room, etc.
U–Haul has the advantage of having different sizes of boxes, and all the stuff you need for breakables—foam, popcorn, etc. Great wardrobe boxes too, so you can be assured at least as many clothes as you put in there won’t need re-laundering and pressing when you arrive.
Use things you’ll be moving like pillows and extra linens for padding. Why not?
BEFORE YOU START, HERE’S A TRICK
I planned to do as much of it myself that I could, and it seemed daunting. I kept putting it off. Finally I tackled one of the back bedrooms. I timed how long it took – 1 hour. 1 hour! Well, that made it all manageable. It’s the old trick of breaking it down into manageable “bites.” Of course some rooms take longer than others, but once you get an idea of the timeframe, and no it isn’t going to take forever, you know you can handle it.
A YOUNG, STRONG BACK
I’m reminded of the time someone came over to buy an extra piano I had. He arrived alone, and my strong, young son met him at the door. The man announced he had come for the piano and just stood there. I knew what he had in mind – fool that he was. He said, “Your son can help me can’t he?” I was preparing to say “Not on your life, sir. His back’s got to last a lifetime,” but my son beat me to the punch. “How much ?” he said. “I know what a young body’s worth.” We compromised (ha ha). I sent the guy off to get help of his own.
Well, if you look at who the pro movers hire, you’ll get an idea of what all that lifting involves.
I pack the boxes very light because it’s I who’s going to be moving them out to the garage where I’m pre-storing them, and then moving them around the new house when I move in.
At the same time, I consider it a “workout” and approach it that way. It’s been a couple of weeks of hard work, but I can’t say I’m the worst for it. I’ve got it narrowed down to where there’s just stuff I need for daily living, and the rest is boxed up and placed in closets or out in the garage. That is, one side of the garage. The other side is preparing for the garage sale.
Extra furniture? There’s someone in your town who will come and take away what you can’t sell. Goodwill, a homeless shelter, Habitat for Humanity. They’ll disassemble it and haul it off. Some of those big pieces of furniture aren’t worth moving.
As needed, hire some “strong young backs” to come over and help you. They’re good company, and concerned with their own things, not your move, which takes your mind off it all, and you can probably get some teenagers for a very reasonable rate.
Consider packing your books in small boxes and mailing them to your new address if you can, at the book rate. It can be cheaper than moving them.
I haven’t even put the house on the market yet, and about half the work is done. The house is easier to clean and show, decluttered, and I feel much more at ease about the move. When the time comes, I’ll hire professionals to come and finish up the task. In the meantime, each time I drive up to see my son in Dallas, I take some boxes along with me. He has storage space. It eases me into the transition.
DON’T FORGET THE REALLY HARD WORK
This is the house my children and I lived in for over twenty years. It’s an ambivalent move, as most are. I’m leaving a lot of memories and going forward to an uncertain future. I haven’t even looked for a new house yet, so I can’t picture where I’ll be. The hard physical labor has come in handy in that regard. Sometimes when I’m very tired I cry easily, and you might as well go ahead and cry and deal with the emotions as they occur.
Other times when I’m really tired physically, I just fall into bed and sleep well, and that’s good too! My aunt is also packing up to move at this time. Her husband is ill, she’s leaving their home of 40 years … we email and agree sometimes it‘s good to “keep so busy you don’t have time to think.” Doing your own moving is good for that. It also has given us time to “go through” everything one more time. Lots of memories. We agree, however, it’s time to move from memories of the past to memories in the future!
Don’t “pack up” the emotions, experience them, mourn the losses, be excited about the future, and experience it all as it happens. That’s the emotionally intelligent way to move.
And P.S. Don’t be a perfectionist. There was the couple in med school moving across country who’s “load settled.” Well, that’s what insurance and resilience are for. If it’s irreplaceable, place it in your lap and drive it there. And good luck!