A month from now I will probably be neck-deep in brown boxes and packing tape, sniffing a Sharpie marker to relax. I’ll be moving to North Carolina at the beginning of July, and while I’ve moved across town and moved 70 miles away for college, I’ve never moved out of state. Well, not on my own. My parents moved us out of state several times when I was a kid. My only part in those moves was the “game” my parents had us play afterwards where my brothers and I competed to see who could collect the most packing inventory stickers off the furniture. At the time I seriously thought this was a game, and not a clever way to get your kids to do slave labor gleefully.
My memories of former cross-city moves include several last-minute carloads of crap piled into the back seat that I ferried across town, all while saying, “I think we can get the rest in just one more trip!” Ha! Since I don’t see myself driving 12 hours back across the mountains to pick up a forgotten toaster, I’m trying to figure out the best strategy to move what I need and leave behind what I don’t. Here are the tips I’ve accumulated so far:
Ditch the furniture
Unless you have an antique chair or a highly-valued piece of furniture, it’s not worth hauling it across the country. For the price you pay moving the item, you can probably buy a new one at your new destination. I’ll be ditching my office chair, which has doubled as a scratching post for the past 8 years. I’ll be saying farewell to my awesome Steelcase desks, which I adore but probably weigh more than I did at my fattest. My bed is 10 years old and should be replaced anyway. If anything, moving is a good way to get rid of stuff I should have trashed years ago.
Pack your necessities in your car and ship the rest
I have to drive my car out to North Carolina anyway, so a couple friends have recommended that I pack my automobile full of necessities like clothes and the coffeemaker (definitely the coffeemaker) and ship the rest. I have no desire to drive a U-Haul across the Appalachians, so I don’t see myself renting a truck or hiring one for the rest of my stuff. Right now I’m debating between shipping everything ahead via the postal service or getting a PODS service. PODS is a company that drops a metal shipping crate in front of your house which you load up with stuff. Then they put it on a truck and ship it to your new destination. PODS is the name of one company, but there are competitors too, like U-Pack. I need to get estimates on these and also consider if I’m willing to risk losing everything in one of these crates, or being without it for a month if the crate gets lost.
Other questions I’m pondering right now include:
- Where do I get lots of boxes for free or on the cheap? Craigs List?
- What is the most efficient way to pack everything so I can still use my necessities up until the day of the move, but don’t have to pack a lot of things the day of?
- Will I be so exhausted by the end of this that I’ll give up all my possessions and live as an ascetic monk?
When I start to think about all the work ahead of me, I think of friends of mine like Kyle and Shauna who have moved to different continents. If they managed, I’m sure I can handle a 12-hour drive across a corner of the country.
So, if you’ve made a big move or know someone who has, take advantage of this rare opportunity to give me advice without invoking my ire. What’s your moving advice?