I had a childhood friend who lived in the same house from the time she was born until she moved into an apartment with her new husband. To her, moving was a great adventure, and she did so as often as possible. Most of us, though, avoid the experience unless we’re forced into it by a life change or tempted into it by more closet space. Regardless of your motivation, if you’re considering a move, my experiences might help in some small way.
Don’t always take the lowest bid.
One of the most complex moves of my life was when my husband was transferred from Dallas to Tampa. My parents lived close to us, but their declining health mandated that they come with us. The process of selling two houses and combining two households became a multi-step operation that called for professional help. Professional movers are expensive, so we got several bids and settled on a low, turn-key offer. It was not the best decision we ever made.
Without going into detail, I’ll just say that a lot of our household goods were not improved by the experience. The movers ran short on packing supplies, and many of the last boxes contained no cushioning materials at all. The trucks were not packed well, and many items were scratched or broken. And claims for damages were never paid. It was a high tuition for a lesson learned.
Supervise the packing.
If you hope to locate anything when you arrived, this is vital. Our agreement for the Dallas to Tampa move included packing. I tried to supervise, but with several people working in separate areas, I lost track. Boxes from Mom and Dad’s garage were labeled simply “Garage,” regardless of whether they contained Dad’s five-decade collection of hardware or mother’s winter clothes. And although I put notes on all my office equipment, it took a couple of weeks to locate my computer keyboard.
If you don’t need it, don’t move it.
Once you know a move is on the horizon, begin cleaning out the attic, storage shed, closets, and filing cabinets. Those five ugly bridesmaid dresses and the stacks of 10-year-old magazines will only take up valuable packing material and space on the moving truck. Trying to do this in conjunction with packing will overwhelm you, and you will end up packing everything whether you need it or not or discarding things indiscriminately. It’s even worse if you have help. I once discovered that professional movers had packed the trash can with the trash still in it, and during one move, glassware I had set aside to be donated to the thrift store was packed along with my good crystal by well-meaning friends.
If timing is tricky, consider a portable storage unit.
When we retired, my husband and I returned to Texas. In an attempt to keep costs down and to avoid the fiasco of our previous move, we did as much of the move ourselves as possible. Since we weren’t sure when we would be ready to take delivery, we used a portable storage unit. The company delivered the unit to our home, we packed it, and they picked it up, holding it in storage for us until we were ready.
After the house was empty, we moved into our RV, planning to stay in Tampa a couple of weeks because of doctors’ appointments. One of David’s appointments led to minor surgery, and the two weeks turned into two months. When we finally headed toward Texas, bad weather further delayed us. And when we arrived in Texas, the renters had left our home in an uninhabitable state. Two months later when the house was livable, we called the company and they delivered the unit. Instead of handling our belongings several times, moving them from truck to storage unit and back again, it was a one time in and one time out operation.
Moving is never easy, and each situation is different, but a little thought and a lot of planning can simplify the process and make it more manageable.