Last Weekend

This past weekend, I helped some folks I know from church to move from their old apartment to their new house.

I have been involved in a lot of moves. On a scale from 1 (meaning nothing was packed and absolutely nothing was ready to go) to 10 (meaning everything was ready to go and the move went like a well oiled machine), I’d have to honestly give the move I participated in a 6.5.

Last year, I participated in moving each of my in-laws. Everybody was either buying a new house or buying their first house last year. About six month before that, we moved to a new house.

My wife had prepared our house for moving perfectly. She had most of our stuff packed up before we ever even started looking for a new house. We purchased the new house while still owning the old one (we didn’t want to put a house sale contingency, as we could afford – barely – two mortgages), so we had about a month or so where we lived in the one and were fixing up the other. During that time, most evenings I would drop off some boxes I had loaded up that morning. When actual moving day came, we just had a few boxes and the big furniture items. My own move, as organized by my wife, is the yardstick by which I measure all other moves. Was it a perfect 10? Probably not, but it was close. I’d give it a 9.5.

So, what are some of the hallmarks that I think make for a well done self move?

  1. Donuts before and Pizza after. Feed your crew. No, it doesn’t have to be donuts and pizza, but some sort of tasty treat to start out with, and end with a meal.
  2. Serve coffee, water, and soda.
  3. Do not serve the pizza until after the move is completed. IMPORTANT!
  4. Have your truck in front of your house before the people helping you move get there. Do not gather everyone together, then go get the truck.
  5. Have your boxes piled up in front of the door that is closest to where you will be loading onto the truck. This will allow for a chain of people to quickly load your boxes into the truck. You want to load the boxes first.
  6. Speaking of boxes… have everything that you possibly can boxed up before the people to move them arrive. You cannot possibly maintain a fully functioning household if you are going to move and expect the move to go smoothly.
  7. Reduce to a bare number of dishes, silverware, pots, pans, toiletries, towels, washcloths, blankets, pillows, and so on, and pack the rest up!
  8. Switch to paper or styrofoam plates, bowls, and cups and plastic flatware for the last week at the old place.
  9. Use old ratty towels and washcloths(that you are chucking anyway) in the shower for the last week, and throw them out on move day.
  10. You don’t need all of your clothes in your closet until moving day. Pick out a minimal set that you can deal with for a week or two, and pack the rest up.
  11. Moving is a perfect time for going through your junk drawer. Do not simply shovel all of the contents of the drawer into a box, then dump the box into a new drawer in the new place.
  12. PACK UP YOUR KID’S TOYS!
  13. Empty your dressers, armoires, and cabinets.
  14. Pack up game systems, dvd players, computers and associated wires before the move begins.
  15. Have the following tools handy: hammer, flathead screwdriver, phillips screwdriver, measuring tape, work gloves, hex wrench set, vice grips, straps/bungie cords/rope.twine, packing tape (preferably lots), duct tape is always useful..
  16. Most helpers will help with a single trip from the old place to the new place. People who will help for two trips are rare. People who will help for more than two trips are nearly unheard of. You will find out who your friends are when you move.
  17. In phase one, the primary goal is to get stuff from the old place into the truck. It does not have to be ideally placed perfectly in the truck. Nobody cares.
  18. In phase two, the primary goal is to get stuff from the truck into the new place. It is not to put everything where it goes.
  19. In the new place, there should be a place designated for a pile of boxes. It doesn’t matter that it says “kitchen” on the label. You can sort it all out later. Put it in a pile that is out of the way.
  20. For large heavy multiple lifter items, the best you should hope for is it getting into the room that it will be going, but not into the position and facing it will be in. You can fix that later, too.
  21. Paths into and out of the old and new place should be kept clear of debris, children, and pets.

That scratches the surface, anyway.

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