View Full Version : Wanted: Your Experiences While Moving

08-12-2008, 08:00 AM
Have you ever moved? Did something funny, horrible, or nice happen? Did you learn any tricks about packing? Any insights about moving from one house to another?

I'm collecting such experiences, and may ask permission to quote you, with all the legal jazz that entails.

I appreciate any replies!

08-12-2008, 08:21 AM
Hmm, I've moved more times than I can count. Let me see...

The most important thing about packing is to mix heavy and light stuff. That way you don't end up with 10 boxes of blankets, bedding, and stuffed animals... and 10 boxes of books.

Also, if you are single, enlist help. I was moving by myself once and fell down some cement stairs. I sprained my ankle REALLY bad and had to crawl back up to my apartment, find a phone, and call for help!

Drive carefully. And slowly. Once I packed everything I owned into a pickup truck with a camper shell. I was trying to pass a big rig when it ran me off the road, and I rolled the truck! My carefully packed stuff ended up EVERYWHERE.

If your moving plans involve large suitcases on planes, don't get "creative." For example, packing rolled socks inside of your shoes. Stuff like this looks really suspicious on the airport security monitors, and before you know it everything you own will be spread out on a counter while a burly black man with a badge asks you to "Please STEP BACK." And if you think they put that stuff back the way they found it, you're wrong.

08-12-2008, 08:27 AM
Pack the lightbulbs in the same box as the lamps, and mark which box contains the shower curtain. :D

Clair Dickson
08-12-2008, 08:37 AM
The best boxes are bleach and detergent boxes, poached from your friendly, neighborhood grocery store. Egg boxes are rather durable, too, if you can get your hands on them. Banana boxes have nice handles, but the bottom is only covered with a thick piece of paper.

Regarding dresser drawers-- take the drawers out (makes dresser lighter!) but don't worry about removing the items. Just move them as is.

Friends and family are usually bribable. I can usually lure my family with pizza. And since we're moving, I don't have to worry about making conversation with them.

Keep like items together-- or at least like rooms. Kitchen stuff with kitchen stuff, etc. Probably best to keep the IMPORTANT things that you know you'll need quickly (personal hygiene, medications, etc.) with you, same as you would with traveling.

Try to plan your move so you're not tripping over boxes while moving furniture. Plastic baggies work great for containing loosable items like pens and other small things. Start packing things you don't use early so you have as much ready as possible come moving day.

I've only moved twice (not counting moving from my summer bedroom to my winter one.) Aside from generic advice, I've concluded that I will, for the next and all subsequent moves until I die, only make one trip. I will rent a truck, load everything into said truck and move. Last time we moved, we decided we could do it just using the fleet of cars and pick-up truck. That was a lot of time hauling back and forth across the county that was just agitating. I'd rather load it up, drive over, unload it all, then set about unpacking.

I'm one of those folks who prefers to get everything put into it's place and set up nicely. This works rather well with Hubby since he doesn't tolerate change well-- if everything is put away, he can adjust faster since there's less transition. No boxes hanging out everywhere!

Moving is a good time to ditch old things you don't want, but at the same time, don't be a jerk about them (filling apartment dumpsters beyond full is one example another is just leaving your crap in the house you're leaving.) Moving is also a good time marker for seeing if you need to keep things-- when Hubby and I moved out of our little apartment, we noted that there were quite a few things that stayed in storage the entire five years without even a thought of retrieval. Somethings, like books, were there because they had not place to go in the apt, but others were things that clearly were no longer used (like clothes that hadn't been worn in five years.)

If you have a lots of helpers, figure out roles for them to do that don't include wandering around useless. Someone can wrap dishes in newspaper, someone can box up books, etc. I like to play dictator, so I spend a lot of time seeing what folks are up to. =)

08-12-2008, 08:38 AM
, and mark which box contains the shower curtain. :D

We just went shower curtainless for a couple of days last month for this very reason.

We're on our seventh address in less than five years, and I still suck at moving.

Label every box. And cross off the old labels if you reuse boxes. Make a separate pile for stuff you'd die if you lost, and never let this pile out of your sight.

If something is still boxed from your last move, chances are you don't need it and it can go to the salvation army.

Make a list of everyone you need to call and change your address with (I have a shortcut to it on my desktop). Actually make all these calls. Do not forget to change the address associated with your money market account where a bulk of your personal assests reside and live in fear that the statement got sent to some stranger (as we are currently doing).

If I think of anything else, I'll pop back in.

Jersey Chick
08-12-2008, 08:41 AM
Hire someone to move your stuff for you. Seriously. I had to pack up my house by myself last fall (Jersey Guy was recovering from intestinal surgery) and if I'd had to move everything myself, I probably would have killed someone.

So, once you've hired someone -

Use a marker (I like Sharpies, myself) and label the boxes with:

1. What's in the box
2. What room you want it in
3. Your name

And write it on at least 2 sides. I've only moved once (when hubby and I moved into our townhouse, it didn't count. We both lived with 'rents, and had bedroom furniture and a folding card table to move.), and we had a great experience. The movers put every box in the right room, nothing got lost and nothing got broken. Of course, we moved from the southern end of town to the northern (approx 7 miles) - so I'm sure that came into play.

Save all the newspaper you can - you'd be amazed how much you go through if you're moving an entire household. And it protects.

I think that's it... I'll add if I think of any more...

08-12-2008, 08:54 AM
Whether you do it yourself, or hire it done, do a separate set of clothes and "stuff you HAVE to have when you get there", just in case your stuff doesn't get there for a few weeks. (or months, in the case of our move to Japan.)

And, when you are young, like when we moved to Alaska when I was 11, large empty boxes after the move are AWESOME fun. But, when you and your brother decide that it will be cool to climb into the box and slide down the stairs? Make sure your brother goes first. (I had a half inch rug burn stripe that ran up the middle of my face, from my chin to my hairline.)

Jersey Chick
08-12-2008, 09:10 AM
Yes - you definitely want to pack an equivalent of the airplane carryon - with all the necessities.

08-12-2008, 10:15 AM
Well, I can tell you how NOT to do it!

I moved from student digs to my first 'proper, owned' home 4 years ago. Basically, me and my OH needed somewhere to live, and quick. The sale came through very quick, on December 23rd. We had no time to prepare- and moved in on Christmas Eve. It was sudden, chaotic and crazy!

We didn't even use a removal company. I just stood with my stuff out on the pavement outside my flat and got a black cab to take me, my little tv and stereo, my clothes and books...my OH borrowed a van from work and piled the rest of our stuff from his flat in. Nothing was packed properly, just jumbled together in bin bags and carrier bags. It took the 2 of us ages to cart the stuff inside on our own, as it got steadily darker and colder. We had plenty of books, dvds and CDs, but we were missing a few little things...such as furniture, appliances and kitchenware.

The house itself? Houses are so expensive here in the UK that all we could afford was a run-down little place with no central heating, draughty old doors, and a mysteriously stained old metal bathtub. Since we owned no furniture we cobbled a sort of bed on the floor using towels, coats and blankets, and laid there, feeling every chill draught which came up through the floorboards. The streetlight shone a depressing orange through the bare window, our only light since we had no electricity.

More than once that night, as I laid there, chilly, uncomfortable and hungry, I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into, and whether this was the most depressing xmas eve ever.

Now, of course, we've added central heating and even furniture (an amazing invention!) and I'm pretty fond of the place. I suppose I would advise first-time buyers to prepare, pack properly, get help from friends and family or use a removal service- and not to move on Christmas eve!

08-12-2008, 11:11 AM
I second all the stuff on labeling everything. If you get the chance to move in over time, do it. If you can afford to pay for an extra couple of weeks where you currently are, it's worth it. Put up the shelves, put stuff on them, put all the non-essentials in the cupboards (aside from the skeleton basic set you keep out to eat with) Put the spare clothes into the closets. If you can do a carload a night, you get the small stuff moved, and put away, done, before moving day. On moving day, you've just got the big 'truck' stuff left (and the skeleton basic stuff you've been using). This way you can re-use boxes as well. Oh, and if you've got pets, pick an out-of-the-way room - spare bathroom is perfect. Put a big warning sign on the door, food and water inside and don't let them out until the fuss is over. Less chance of hurting or losing them, and you won't hurt yourself dodging them.

08-12-2008, 11:18 AM
Do not leave the grill cover on the grill in the pickup bed. Ever seen a parachute? My dad would've killed me, had it scratched the side of his precious truck. He's the one who left the cover on and didn't attach any bungees to keep the grill in the truck. "Oh, it won't move. It's heavy enough." Sure it is. Tell that to the wind at 35 mph.

Beach Bunny
08-12-2008, 11:31 AM
Sigh. I've moved four times in the past eight years and I am about to move again. Two of those times were across the country pulling a U-haul trailer through the desert in the summertime. I hate moving. :( It always takes longer than I think it will take. And I always have more stuff than I think I do.

I use file storage boxes that I get at Office Depot (6 boxes for $6-$8, I think) to box up my books and other stuff. Because they are all the same size and they have handles. Being all the same size makes it easier to pack them into a truck or trailer. The built in handles makes them easier to carry. However, you do need to test the weight of the box before you pick it up. If you jerk up on a box filled with books or magazines, you'll rip the handles out. :(

I also bought a hand truck with my last move and it made it so much easier to take my boxes (and boxes) of books to the trailer and then to take them from the trailer into the house.

If you are a pack rat and trying to decide whether to keep or get rid of a precious piece of flotsam, ask yourself this question: "If it is after midnight of my third day of moving my stuff from one part of the city to another and I am utterly exhausted would I put this in the truck?"

If you have something that you just can't bear to part with and it won't fit into the truck or trailer, then box it up and ask someone to mail it to your new address. (I did this on both my cross-country moves.)

If you can afford it, hire professional movers. :D

08-12-2008, 03:51 PM
The best boxes I've found are the fruit boxes from the produce section. Apples, pears...not bananas. :)

We were planning to move this year, but those plans have fallen through (thank God). Last time we moved, though, I had to work until 10pm, so the man and a pal did a lot of the transfer-of-stuff (we just moved from a rental to an owned home in the same subdivision), but one thing they didn't get was...the bed!

So here we are, the man and I, lugging a king-size mattress up the front walk at 10:30 at night, and here come the neighbors.

"We were wondering if you would like to split the cost of some cypress trees to go along the property line?"

I looked at that woman, dumbfounded. We were still holding the mattress. It's dark. Yeah, eight years later and we still don't have a civil relationship after that night.

08-12-2008, 04:42 PM
During one move, my girlfriend and I crashed our hire car - after an unsuccessful attempt to change tapes in the stereo - into a ditch in the central reservation of the A1m near Scotch Corner. We both ended up with mild whiplash in an Army Hospital. I rang the hire company and the woman said, 'Don't worry, we'll have another car for you in Darlington.' And I thought Dave Edmunds had been joking when he sang about 'crawling from the wreckage into a brand new car.' We then had to head off, still shaking, to the scrapyard so we could recover our worldly goods.

In the end, destroying that Ford Orion cost us 150 in excess and my guitar never played again without rattling. But how we laughed about it later.... Actually, we didn't.

08-12-2008, 04:53 PM
I've moved from Massachusetts, to Maine, to New Jersey, to New Mexico, to Oregon, to California, back to Oregon, to New York, back to Massachusetts, and then back to Maine. That doesn't count all the moves I made within each state while I was there. :D I'm transitional, to say the least.

I haven't read through all your other responses, so I'll say I'm sorry now if I repeat what's already been said:

When packing boxes, color code them with an X or some other mark. For example, all the boxes for the kitchen should have a blue X and so on.
If you run out of newspapers to wrap fragile things in, plastic grocery bags work just as well.
if you run out of plastic grocery bags, towels, sheets, and pillow cases are an alternative for wrapping fragile items.
Under no circumstances should you try riding your motorcycle up the ramp of the moving van. You're not Evil Knievel for one, and it's not permitted to travel that way for another. (Yes, this happened during a move and, no, I wasn't happy with the rider.)
Leave the place cleaner than you found it - I'm sick of cleaning up after you when I move into new places! :)If you need more information, I have plenty. I didn't want to ramble on too long here. Good luck with your project! :D

08-12-2008, 05:14 PM
When we moved from Kauai, HI to Marathon, FL, it was a military move w/ hired movers. They lost out stuff - we went 3 months with what we shipped w/ us or in the car (which we drove from CA to FL). They said it was lost & couldn't be found. It took my Dad (a civilian) to get it tracked down. We got it 2 weeks later.

08-12-2008, 05:15 PM
We moved during the wettest season ever seen in ten years. Two solid weeks of non-stop, driving rain. The new house did not have a cement driveway.

08-12-2008, 05:31 PM
Go to the local liquor store dumpster for boxes. Never pay for boxes.

Always put your books in the small boxes. Put light stuff in the big boxes.

Put your cleaning gear aside; you'll need it when cleaning the old apartment.

If moving cross country, don't be afraid to take a slightly longer route to avoid driving an unfamiliar and fully laden vehicle through difficult traffic. I will never regret taking the long way from minneapolis to maryland, avoiding Chicago, Gary, and Pittsburg, in that ridiculous U-haul. (though some would have hesitated taking the mountain route, I had no trouble, and it was very pretty)

Practice driving with a trailer, and practice backing one up, before you use one.

(take someone along for company, if you can)

Appalachian Writer
08-12-2008, 05:44 PM
Back when I was escaping my abusive husband, I learned that I could pack up a whole house within 4 hours. For some reason, I took great pride in that.
1. Boxes (book or liquor stores. If worse comes to worse, as someone else said, dumpster diving at the supermarket.)
2. You can pull clothes out of the closet, on hangers, and insert said hangers with said clothes into large, black garbage bags, using them just like 2-suiters.
4. Drawers? Take the drawers from your dressers with items still inside and wrap them tightly in the black bags. No need to unpack and repack when you arrive at your new place. Using duck or freezer tape, mark the bags covering the drawers as to which dresser they belong.
5. Pick up two large, plastic garbage cans with rollers. Pack all kitchen utensils and glass items into each can (wrapping each item well with paper.) The cans are sturdier than boxes and it's easy to carry what would be very heavy items onto the moving van, U-Haul or what have you.
6. When packing the moving vehicle, do so by room. Bedroom items, excluding mattresses should go in the back, kitchen items next, with upholstered items in front. Mattresses should go on top of everything else as a kind of soft packaging.
7. **Make sure all boxes and bags are labeled either with the name of the family member in whose room they belong or with the items in the box itself.

That's the key to a four hour move. Unpacking? That's another story.

08-12-2008, 05:52 PM
If you're looking for a funny story, mine goes back a few years, back to the days when we still had TV antennas on the roof. This one belongs in a Laurel and Hardy movie.

I installed the antenna and the roof was one of those very steep ones. It was an experience I vowed never to repeat. When I was moving, I said leave it, I'll buy a new one at the new house.
Two friends, overloaded with testosterone, both volunteered to climb up the fire escape to the roof, to retrieve the antenna against my advice.
The first one, Tony, carried a two foot prybar with him. When he jumped onto the ladder, it didn't slide down to the ground. the counterweight cable was rusted so badly that it wouldn't move through the pully.
Tony got almost to the second floor when Ralph jumped onto the ladder. Ralph was much heavier than Tony. Their combined weights were too much for the rusted cable and it snapped.
The ladder slid to the ground. Ralph fell twisting his ankle. Tony fell from the second floor. Knowing Ralph was below him, he tossed the two foot prybar away. It hit the wall, bounced off then hit Ralph in the head. Tony continued to fall, landing on Ralph's other foot.
Both guys were hurt but not seriously. We all laughed as Ralph hopped around on one foot, then the other, holding his head, then switching to his foot. I was so relieved that I wasn't going to be the subject of a lawsuit, that I joined in the laughter.
As we stood around the fire escape, we'd forgotten about the other end of the counterweight cable. Well, that finally let loose, and the 100 pound weight fell from the second story and landed right in the midst of us, but missing all of us.
There's no substitute for dumb luck.

08-12-2008, 06:16 PM
Some great advice here. We've moved ourselves, and our kids, many times, so I can add a few tips:
Before the move, spend some time culling what's not worth moving
If at all possible, eat dinner out and stay at a motel the night before the move, or do take-out and shower at a friend's, so you don't have to pack wet towels or the last few things you cooked with
Remember you can't back a trailer out the same direction it came in, unless you're very, very good
Clean the house and get everything in the room or closet it belongs in. Then pack an entire room except for its furniture.
Either leave cleaning supplies out or borrow a friend's, so you can clean after your stuff is gone
Wax the floor and wipe out the inside of the fridge and you always get your security deposit back
Clean the oven before the move, since it's a time-eater
Hang onto white toothpaste, Wite-Out, or spackle to repair nail holes your landlord said not to make
Heavy items go at the front of the moving van, panel truck, minivan, etc. If they don't, you'll realize your folly at the first hard braking you do.
Boxes of identical size stack and stay put much better than sturdy freebies, unless you can get identical freebies. Used boxes cost about a buck, and you can use them about twelve or fifteen times if you store them dry and flat. If you move a lot, invest.
Lock the van with a good padlock, the key kind. Everything you own is in there. Anybody with a heavy shoe can break your combination lock and shop in your van while you're asleep in the motel.

Maryn, who could go on and on

08-12-2008, 06:30 PM
Oh yeah! Expensive items in the front of the van, not the back. As Maryn says, you want the heavy items in the front too. So you have to pack creatively so the heavy items do not crush the expensive items. (you put the expensive items in the front so they are less likely to get stolen when you stop)

When parking, back in up against a wall if you can.

08-13-2008, 03:56 AM
If possible, pack a lot of your stuff well before the move. If you are selling your house and staging it for buyers, your real estate agent will advise you that you need to get rid of the clutter and since you're moving anyway, you might as well start packing before the house is on the market.

Throw out or give away anything you don't need.

Pack any meds in a separate bag and don't let it out of your sight. Take a couple of rolls of toilet paper with you in case the people who lived in the house before you did took theirs and left you with nothing. Don't forget to bring bowls, food and water for the dog/cat/guinea pig.

Label all boxes in detail!! Detail!!! DETAIL!!!!!!

08-13-2008, 04:40 AM
We rented a truck from A Certain Major Truck Rental Company. So, having finished unloading the truck, we had to take it back. We had just arrived in New York City, barely knew our way around, and drivers in NYC are - well, aggressive is the nicest word I can think of.

By 'we,' well, I was at work, so it was actually my mother and my sister, to whom I am eternally grateful.

I had mapped out the place where I was supposed to drop off the truck, so they drove around until they got there. Their answer? Nope, they weren't a drop-off location for Truck Company at all, but maybe this other place would work...

More driving around. Mom and Sis barely manage to find the place, getting twisted around on one-way streets, but finally see a row of A Certain Truck Company trucks parked outside. Well, can they take it? No, there's no space except for the smallest trucks. We have the smallest truck, but alas, no dice.

On the road again. Finally they reach the third place, which is a broke-down ancient cluttered car mechanic place. They can, at length, be convinced to take the truck.

Except for one thing. They want to charge a fee because the truck hadn't been returned to the assigned location!

That's not advice, that's just my hilarious moving story. Which was a lot more hilarious because I didn't have to experience it.
The end of that was that Truck Company sent me a customer satisfaction survey, and I told them the whole story AND asked them to contact me, and I never heard a thing from them.

Oh, heck, it's all true, so it's not like it's libel: it was U-Haul. Don't rent from them.

Giant Baby
08-13-2008, 05:35 AM
Someone stole my chair on the street when I was moving once. A load later there was a strange chair on the sidewalk with the stuff (don't have have a clue how they maneuvered that) I'd brought down waiting for my boyfriend and the pick up to return.

It had a note on it that said "tradsies!"


It wasn't a bad chair, actually. I liked it better than mine (after the steam cleaning). Would love to know who it was. That sort of larceny/restitution is a character just waiting to be written.

Don Allen
08-13-2008, 06:29 AM
Before I relate this story you have to understand I was 17, 1976 and pretty much living on my own, changed oil at a truck repair shop, my mom liked to indulge in the drink and dad was bumming somewhere, thats the set up...

So my mom is getting kicked out her apartment for a petty little reason like not paying the rent for 3 or 4 months and needs to move into her new digs like now.... She calls me up and begs me to get as many of my friends together to come help her move, now since I was living at my girlfriends house, I hadn't been home (I use that term loosely) in a while, so I agreed called a bunch of guys I knew and we showed up at mom's house about 10:00 am. Now in my socio-economic part of town payment for moving was always expressed in terms of alcohol, by the case or keg. My mother God rest her soul knew the rules and dutifully provided several cases of the cheapest beer she could find which I believe was Pabst Blue Ribbon, an excellent choice at the time..
The problem was that mom didn't quite understand the principles of packing things in a box for transport, so when the guys and I showed up, the apartment was exctly the way i remembered it several weeks earlier including ashtrays in every room still loaded with butts and such. Mom and I exchanged courteous colorful metaphors as to the disposition of the move while the boys began slamming down tins of pabst while taking in our conversation. It was evident by about noon that our crew of men ranging from 16 to 22 had consumed enough booze to transform the seriousness of a move into a playful game of "Toss Across" substituting furniture for darts, bags, or those little round frizzbe looking things that come with the actual game. Since nothing was packed, we found it useful to set up relays from the apartment to the waiting cars for transport, (No one could afford a truck) It was quite a sight to witness lamps, chairs, meat from the fridge, and other household staples being systematically heaved through the air to the waiting vehicles. But alas, we managed to get everything out of one apartment and neatly piled into a huge heap that resembled the mud mountain Richard Dreyfus built in his living room in Cose Encounters of the third Kind. My mom was thrilled with her move, and informed me the next day that me and my friends worked like mules, well I think the way she put it was "Me and my friends were drunken assholes who effed up her house". I took it as a compliment, how I miss mom.....

08-13-2008, 06:41 AM
In less than two years I did an interstate move, a cross-country move, and three local moves, and I learned that I really hate moving. A few other things I learned:

If you don't have a lot of stuff and you're moving far away, considering selling it instead of moving it. Movers can be more trouble than they're worth. For my interstate move, the movers showed up six hours late, and then they called my cell to tell me when they were delivering the stuff to the new place, although I had specifically asked them to use a landline number I gave them. I only had a one-bedroom apartment worth of stuff, and I concluded that moving it hadn't been economical in terms of time or money.

When I moved across country, I sold all the big stuff and just took essentials like clothes, kitchen items, and books with me in my car when I drove to the new location. Since I wasn't taking a bed, I bought an inflatable camp pad to use until I got settled in the new place. Well, I'm settled now, but I still use the camp pad. Sleeping on the floor has been great for my back.

Also--and this is kind of quirky, but hey, I'm single and I make the rules--I don't own anything I can't transport in my car or that I can't carry by myself in a pinch. Because I've learned the hard way that folks may not always be there to help you move.

It goes without saying that before moving you want to throw out as much stuff as you possibly can. Be brutal. I even got rid of some of my books. Some.

Linda Adams
08-13-2008, 02:37 PM
Any insights about moving from one house to another?

Yes! Don't move in the middle of a hurricane.

Which is where the story comes in. When I was in the army, they would think nothing about telling the soldiers in the barracks that they were moving the following day. They seemed to think that all we had was a duffle bag and bedding, not books, TV, VCR, computer, civilian clothes, and other normal stuff.

Our company was completely changing locations and moving to a new building two miles away. A four day weekend was coming up, and the men were told to move during the week. The females were told to not pack because the female barracks weren't ready. At the last minute, they told us "Move now. Be out of here today." Aarrgh!

So we literally start throwing things into boxes. No organization whatsoever. I asked my squad leader for help with my big computer desk because I couldn't move it myself. He promised me he would drop by to help. Then the hurricane moved in. It dumped tons and tons of rain on Washington state, and the wind was blowing terribly. I would fill up my trunk of my Geo Metro (if you've ever seen one, it's a rollerskate; I couldn't put much into it), make the two mile trek, unload the car in the rain at the new barracks, and head back for the next load.

I did this all day long. Squad leader never showed up. Never called, nothing. At the end of the day, I was soaked from all the rain, didn't know where anything was, and had this desk I still needed to move. It was something like 9:00 at night, and I was the only one left who hadn't finished. Another platoon sergeant showed up to check out the barracks and was surprised I was still there. Well, yeah. It's not exactly like they gave us much notice. The guys had a whole week to move. We had a day.

Fortunately, the platoon sergeant had a pick up truck, and we loaded the desk on the truck. He was furious at my squad leader for not helping like he had promised (my squad leader later said he forgot). At last I got that cursed desk to the othe barracks, so now I had all these boxes I'd hastily thrown things in. Nothing was marked.

And the army wanted things inspection perfect by the next day. So what's a soldier to do? Stack the boxes in the wall lockers! I ended up hauling those boxes out every time I needed something, and then putting them back into the locker again. Ten years later, I still was still storing those boxes, but I did finally go through and get rid of them.

Did you learn any tricks about packing?

Years later, I thought I was going to have to move when my lease expired; it had a funny renewal and smelled like they were going to kick everyone out of the building (didn't happen). After my horrible army experience moving, I realized I didn't want to pack everything. So I went through everything and started figuring out what I could get rid of. Got rid of a lot of stuff. Since I had nine months to do it, I could take my time with it.

08-13-2008, 02:58 PM
Have you ever moved? Did something funny, horrible, or nice happen? Did you learn any tricks about packing? Any insights about moving from one house to another?

It helps if your boxes are uniform size. "Think through" before you start stacking things.

Don't buy what you can get for free.

Don't use big boxes for books! (No brainer!)
You can't lift them.

An appliance dolly is a lifesaver - even if you aren't moving appliances.You can give 'rides' on a break if nothing else.
I don't know where the extra dots came from.
I stopped counting after 23 moves. I don't even want to THINK about it.
I'm working on levitation and other ways as we "speak". Think Star Trek and the transporter.

If you ever saw a big yellow Ryder Truck towing an orange U-Haul trailer - that might have been me. They didn't have the size I requested and all my shit wouldn't fit. :tongue It was real "special" let me tell ya!

And cats in carriers? Oh, yeah. Drugs. Serious drugs for Uncle Church. I had to duct tape the carrier together on the road because he woke up. And started destroying it. (start hell! he was OUT)

I had to put him back in and wrap the silly thing with duct tape to keep him from escaping in the back of the truck. The big ones are open to the cab and I DID NOT want him up front with me trying to help drive. No. Not him. (He drives like a maniac!)

08-13-2008, 05:17 PM
Everyone seems to be giving advice, so forgive me if I'm doing this wrong.

I moved around a lot during my university years and yet I did it wrong every. single. time. Worse, with each move I acquired even more Stuff and it got even harder. The way I did it? With a suitcase, walking up and down the road each time. In Britain, driving isn't as prevalent as it appears/is in the US and I didn't know anyone with a car. Nor did I have the money either, obviously. It's university!

When I moved to Japan, I did the same damn thing, except by train. I went from Chiba (prefecture to the east of Tokyo) to Central Tokyo. We took everything on the subway, even the sofa. We also had a bunch of pots, pans and random plastic things you find only in Japanese houses. The company had revised and reduced the list of things that should be found in their housing, so we took full advantage of it. Hey, I was only two years out of university!

Recently, I moved again, from central Tokyo to west Tokyo. We did it properly this time, with a removal service. The guy we got was very nice and we swapped stories about our cats. I think it was because we were cat lovers he charged us only the minimum amount.


08-15-2008, 03:32 AM
I think it was because we were cat lovers he charged us only the minimum amount.



The way I did it? With a suitcase, walking up and down the road each time. In Britain, driving isn't as prevalent as it appears/is in the US and I didn't know anyone with a car. Nor did I have the money either...

I will remember this when I want to complain about moving. But I do have a (somewhat) new rule regarding furniture. If I can't lift it myself - I'm not buying it!

Laurie Champion
08-16-2008, 05:00 AM
Look on Craigslist for boxes. Then list the on Craigslist when you unpack. I got some amazing moving boxes and packing material this way. And if you relist, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

08-16-2008, 12:24 PM
Do not use Trucks on Call--they are rripoff artists and scammers.

We were putting stuff into storage--the pace was 1/2 mile from my apt. 2 days before I came to Israel. We followed the truck and sat waiting til the movers had put everything into storage--4 hours. I had measured the space, diagrammed where to put stuff. 10pm they come out, say not everything fit, they had tried 3x and they had to leave. About $3000 of stuff was left out in the hallway! I was pissed!

Our car was NEXT to the van for the entire 4 hours. Yhey could have asked us at any time --this doesn't fit--can we leave it out --what's important to get in, etc, and I would have chucked small bookcases, a desk, even a bed etc, but no, these asshats just left my stuff in the storage building hall.

I wouldn't open the gate for them--as a storage tenant only I knew the entry/exit combo and I called the police.

The police said I was 'unlawfully detaining' the movers despite their not finishing the job and leaving my stuff abandoned. The Trucks on Call folks wouldn't keep the leftover property in their truck under lock and key and come back the next day per the owners whom we called several times that night.

I had to let the Trucks on Call movers go. The police wouldn't let me file a report. I had to go back the next day 8am to make sure my stuff was still there, hire a new mover, rent a 2nd storage unit and put up the expensive tools, etc.

As a company, Trucks on Call is unprofessional, and run by scammers.

08-16-2008, 05:17 PM
I see only one reference to weather (rain, which could be treacherous) ... how about heat? I'm helping my son move into an apartment before he starts UT (there is only one UT, University of Texas). Anyway, of course it's mid August in Central Texas, and the temps are in the low 100's everyday. Nothing like moving and sweating at the same time. It seems in my clouded memory that everytime I move and/or help someone else move it's August, in Texas. 'Nuff said.

08-17-2008, 05:59 PM
When renting a truck for a do it yourself, don't take one that they say "they just bought and is brand new". We got about an hour into the planned 6 hour drive when the truck began overheating and acting kind of squirrely. Silly them, they forgot to put a fuel pump on it and since we were on the border of two states, the rental company couldn't decide on what towing company to use and where to have it towed. We spent six hours in the blazing sun, with no source of shade using our bodies to shield our infant son from getting sunburned. I walked 5 miles to the nearest gas station to pay through the nose for any source of water to take back. So we decided the next time we'd hire movers.

That time the movers showed up and seemed like they knew what they were doing but "got lost" on the straight interstate and it took them an additional 2 days to supposedly find the place. Interestingly the box containing liquor was also "lost" somewhere along the way. That's when I first realized that all that "professional" means is that somebody got paid. All the boxes clearly marked "3rd floor bedroom" were stacked into the center of the garage. Thankfully, I had the sense to have their supervisor write "Paid In Full", the check number and had him sign the invoice before they left because nearly 2 years later we got a bill from the company and a call from a collection agency claiming that they hadn't charged us and they wanted to be paid again.

08-17-2008, 08:32 PM
Before having to pack, thin out your belongings. Go through everything and have a garage sale or donate items you don't need.

Organize everything before packing. When it's time to unload, like items or related items will be together, either in the same box or the boxes will be next to each other.

If movers pack your stuff, clearly label on the box any expensive items and ensure ALL the items are annotated on the inventory. I've had a box of camera gear and a box of tools stolen. Apparently the movers had picked which boxes they wanted.

Along the same lines, require the movers to annotate on the inventory if an item is brand new and there are no scratches, dents, etc. I've had brand new furniture damaged and the movers said the item was damaged before pickup. Baloney. Ensure they annotate the item is new and there were no scratches, etc.

If you have to keep thing with you, like some cooking utensils or clothing, place them in the cabinets or a closet and put tape over the door so the door can't be opened. This makes it easy for the movers to know what NOT to pack.

Think through what you need to remain with you to clean the house before you leave and what you'll need at the new place to clean it immediately.

Lastly, you don't need as much stuff as you think!
Good luck.

Linda Adams
08-17-2008, 08:49 PM
Along the same lines, require the movers to annotate on the inventory if an item is brand new and there are no scratches, dents, etc. I've had brand new furniture damaged and the movers said the item was damaged before pickup. Baloney. Ensure they annotate the item is new and there were no scratches, etc.

A friend who was a mechanic in the military moved with her tool chest. This was a giant, five foot high tool chest with drawers. When she got it, dented wasn't the right word.

They'd run a forklift through it.