October 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
I read somewhere once that moving is one of life’s biggest stressors, up there with death, divorce, and illness. My boyfriend and I recently moved an hour north to a different apartment (Ahwatukee to North Phoenix), and I thought I’d share some tips that helped us along the way plus a few tips I’d picked up long ago when my family moved six times in three years. I hope this helps you get through a move that is as painless and stress-free as possible!
~ PACKING ~
1. Fill up the boxes. As I was packing all my books and other heavy items, I thought that I’d save everyone a load of hassle by filling the boxes about ¾ of the way. They’d be lighter, I figured, and thus far easier to move.
Enter the movers on moving day, who attempted to stack all my boxes on top of one another on their dollies and found that a lot of the half-full ones ended up crushed due to the weight of the boxes on top. Empty space = bad. Fill the boxes, heaviness be damned. Otherwise you’ll hastily be wrapping boxes with tape in order to hold them together for the journey.
2. Tape the boxes on top. Coming from the same I’ll-save-everyone-a-bunch-of-trouble department, I folded the box tops neatly rather than tape them shut after I’d finished jamming stuff inside them. This, I figured, saved us a bunch of tape and would keep me from going too crazy during the unpacking process. Again, I was wrong. The movers couldn’t quite keep the exasperation out of their voices when they (politely and professionally) informed me we’d need to tape all the tops on top in order for them to move them safely.
In short? As far as those boxes go, fill them all the way to the top and then tape them shut.
3. Color code everything. As you’re packing, tape sticky notes to each box and clearly label what is inside each of them. Separate each box by room according to its final destination: Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom #1, etc. Then, in your new home/apartment, label the rooms so the movers can clearly see where each box is supposed to end up.
This saves an enormous amount of hassle when you’re unpacking. Instead of hunting all over the house for a specific box containing your plates and silverware, you’ll be able to find it easily in your kitchen. And for goodness sakes, put those sticky notes on all four sides of the boxes as well as the top. Once they’re stacked up against the wall or on top of each other, you’ll never guess which one is which just by glancing at them if the side with the sticky note attached is hidden.
4. Put plastic bags around everything questionable. Spices? Lotions? Vinegar? Wrap it up before putting it in a box. You will not regret it.
5. Get your keys prior to move-in day. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but if it is, it’ll prevent even more stress.
At our first apartment, my boyfriend and I went into the office on move in day and our movers had to wait in the truck until we had signed our lives away, received our keys, and located our unit within the complex. Then, they followed us up the stairs and waited yet again while we took in our apartment for the first time and decided how we wanted to arrange the furniture.
Figure out how you want your furniture arranged, what each bedroom will be, etc. prior to move in day. And going back to the color coded boxes, get to the apartment ahead of the movers if you can and label each room so your movers will know which boxes go the second they walk in the new place.
~ MOVING DAY ~
6. Hire movers. Repeat after me: Thou shall hire movers for thy move.
If you only have a few pieces of furniture in addition to some boxes and are moving ground floor to ground floor in the same city, by all means rent a truck and grab a few friends to help you out. It can be done (and I have memories of helping to move college friends in and out of apartments to prove it).
But for all other situations? Namely, if you are moving a bed, two night stands, three bookshelves, a kitchen table, six chairs, two dressers, a couch, two desks, a TV stand, a coffee table, fourteen thousand boxes, and a partridge in a pear tree down three floors and up another three? Movers. Movers all the way. They take 90% of stress (and chances of potential injury) out of moving. I cannot stress this enough: They are worth every single penny.
7. Keep a toolbox on hand. Before the movers get to your house/apartment make sure that one thing is left unpacked: A toolbox complete with different screwdrivers, scissors, packing tape, a box cutter or two, and labeled ziplock bags containing all the bolts, nails, and/or screws from any dismantled furniture. You will use the tools more often during the day than you think.
Example: My boyfriend and I forgot to unbolt one dresser from the wall and he was able to unscrew it during the hasty process of moving thanks to our toolbox being so accessible. Otherwise, who knows how long we would have hunted for the right screwdriver? Yes, I know, worse things have happened. But on move in day, stress can quickly turn small inconveniences into crises.
8. Have snacks on hand. To prevent general grouchiness (and a trip to the ER, if you’re hypoglycemic like me), have some fruit and granola bars out at the new apartment for your family as well as the movers (I also provided Rice Krispies Treats™). Not only do you need to keep your strength up during the day since you’ll be moving up and down stairs far more often than you think, your movers will appreciate the kind gesture. (Just don’t eat anything cold that’s been sitting in a car for an hour. See the bonus tip at the end of this for more details.)
9. Take your jewelry off. This is pure common sense, but I’m including it in this list because I didn’t think to do it on move in day. Behold a necklace that I’d worn every day for almost four years with its chain broken because it got caught on a box corner as I was setting it down:
Again, common sense. Hopefully you have more of it than I did.
10. Breathe. Moving might not exactly be on par with death, divorce, and illness, but it is nevertheless an incredibly stressful time. Rest assured that all your boxes don’t have to be unpacked on move in day or even the day after. Also, rest assured that the world will not end if your new house/apartment looks like an Ikea store for a while. Relax. You made it from apartment to apartment/house to house. Take a deep breath and have fun turning your house into a home!
BONUS TIP: Don’t attempt to take cold stuff with you unless you have a cooler with ice. Better yet, don’t eat anything cold (i.e. deli ham) that has been sitting in your car for over an hour lest you want to spend your first night at your new place throwing your guts up in your glossy, new bathroom sink.
September 4, 2015 § 2 Comments
Kitty, boyfriend, and I are moved into our new apartment, and we are all both thrilled that the move is over and thrilled to be in our new place.
I went into this bound and determined to make this move as painless as utterly possible, because moving has always been a bit of a sore spot with me. My family and I moved six or seven times in three years when I was 12 to 15, and each move was something along the lines of traumatic. Needless to say, when the moving boxes came out a few months ago, so did lots of ugly crying and painful memories.
But then I color-coded the boxes, so it was okay.
This move really was different than any other move I’d been through before. Moving into the dorms in college was a whirlwind of adrenaline and excitement. Moving back home a year later was both a relief and a downer (but mostly a relief). When I moved in with Alex last October, he’d already been settled in the Ahwatukee apartment we’d picked out together for a few months. Because we moved in at separate times, we still had a relatively clear line as to what was his stuff and what was mine.
But this apartment? Everything in it is ours. And getting everything into it went as smoothly as moving can go. In fact, I might even say it was relatively painless.
One reason our move was relatively painless? Movers.
When Alex and I sat down to plan the logistics of moving, we both debated for a minute or two as to whether or not we could save money and just rent a truck then move our stuff ourselves. One look at my three full bookshelves (and a couch and two desks and a coffee table and a kitchen table and two dressers and a bed and a TV stand and and and) and knowing the fact that we were on the third floor both ways quickly made up our minds.
Our movers saved us. They were outrageously expensive but they were worth every. single. penny.
Color-coding each box was something my mom did every time our family had to pack up and move. Because mommies know everything, I copied her and it was the best thing I could have done. Our movers were great about putting the right boxes to the right room which is saving us a world of hassle now as we’re unpacking and don’t have to worry about dragging any boxes anywhere.
One thing I didn’t do was tape the boxes shut on top. I folded them and figured it would be good. But one of the movers took a look at them on moving day and said we’d have to tape them up, otherwise they’d be crushed when they started to stack them. Oops. Lesson learned.
Our movers got to the Ahwatukee apartment at ten to eight. Prior to that, we put Gypsy in the bathroom with her litter box and carrier and shut the door so we could keep the front doors open. I think the worst part of the entire day was listening to her cry behind the closed door as she tried to figure out what was going on.
But the movers left the new place a little after 1pm, and not long after kitty was happily exploring away.
I did learn a few things the hard way. Number one: It would have been a good idea to take off the necklace Alex gave me that I have worn every day for almost four years before we started moving. The chain snapped when it got caught on a box corner as I was setting it down. Luckily I was able to find the key charm and we’re going to find another chain for it soon.
Another lesson learned? It probably isn’t a good idea to eat ham that’s been sitting in the car for the hour-long commute up to the new place, because even if you packed it in with the cold stuff, it’ll still go bad and you’ll still taste it twice.
Honestly though? Moving day was a good day. We even met our neighbors, a very sweet engaged couple with two cats and a dog of their own. I met one of the women as we were going up and down the stairs with boxes (she was very nice to let us pass first!) and the other when she knocked on our door in the evening to introduce herself and also ask if we had a bottle opener. We ended up chatting for a while about our pets and her work. I’m really looking forward to getting to know them!
As for this apartment, Alex and I are still loving it. We were living in a 700 square foot one-bedroom, so two bedrooms and two bathrooms is like a legit palace to us. We get a kick out of the fact that we have to actually search for each other now since before, we could stand in one spot and see the entire apartment. Even as I’m sitting in bed writing this now, Alex just trekked over from his desk across the apartment to say, “I hate being so far away from you!”
Alex is excited that he essentially gets his own bathroom and that our microwave has a spinning plate. He’s not excited that he can’t use the kitchen being too small as an excuse to not help me cook anymore.
I love that I have my very own office now. Half of my job I do from home, and it’s going to be much easier and more efficient for me to work when I don’t have papers spread out over my bed or my kitchen table. Also? I love that our bathtubs are enormous and that we have so much storage space.
As for kitty? She is just in heaven. She’s been prowling around the place (and on top of the cabinets) like she owns the joint, which I suppose she does.
This morning, she woke us up because she’d hopped onto one of the boxes just under the window in our room and wanted to see out. I got up and opened the blinds for her and she happily sat down on the windowsill to watch the sun rise.
Now that we have some extra space, Alex and I are seriously thinking about getting her a brother. We’ve wanted to for the better part of a year, but we’re just not entirely sure if she would handle another cat well. We constantly ask her if she wants a sibling, and this is pretty much her response:
We shall see…..
Meanwhile, it’s back to work for me tomorrow (my weekdays run Saturdays through Wednesdays) but we’ve managed to put together our furniture and unpack a little. We’ll be unpacking for quite some time!
It is so, so good to be home back in the area I know and love – and only 15 minutes away from work as opposed to close to an hour. I’m actually looking forward to my drive tomorrow, and I’m excited to keep making this apartment more of a home for us.
(Just a heads up, for anyone interested, I plan on writing another post with quick tips and tricks for an easy move in the future!)