We recently moved to a new apartment and are very happy with the new place. I’ve been thinking a lot about what the right way would be to make this post. It’s a long and convoluted story and I wanted to do it without boring the readers, but at the same time not leaving out the juicy bits. I think I finally figured out how.
There is a saying often attributed to Warren Buffer that goes something like this: “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” In that vein, I’ve prepared a short list of takeaways from our moving experience, each accompanied by a short story. That way, you can indulge in a little bit of harmless schadenfreude, while learning something useful that might come in handy in the future.
1. Always overestimate the amount of stuff you think you have.
When we started planning the move, we figured we probably had enough to stuff to fill 10-15 boxes. However, as we made headway, we realized we were waaaay off and the situation turned stressful. There is always stuff you forget to account for, not to mention the whole bunch of little stuff spread around the house that becomes a lot when you put it together.
Take-away: Estimate double. If you don’t, you will end up super-stressed when you find out that after hours of packing, you’ve barely made a dent. On the other hand, if you overestimate, you avoid the feeling of disappointment and futility, and probably feel good once (if) you realize you have lesser stuff than you estimated.
2. Don’t pinch pennies. You’ll regret it later.
To prepare for the move, we took a friend’s recommendation and decided to buy a whole bunch of moving boxes from the local discount store. During the move, those boxes started tearing and falling apart. We ended up having to buy a number of extra boxes from Ikea and spending more than anticipated. Not to mention the constant worry of the cheap boxes tearing open in the middle of the street.
Take-away: Buy your moving boxes at Ikea. They are really good quality, well designed, have a high weight tolerance and are completely worth the couple of extra cents.
3. Murphy was a wise man. Pay him heed: When something can go wrong, it will.
We had visited the new apartment multiple times before the move. However, we didn’t on the day of the move. Over the course of a couple of hours, we unloaded multiple car trips worth of boxes in the common area of the building. We figured it’d be more efficient to accumulate a whole bunch of stuff there and then move it all up to the apartment together in the elevator.
Turns out, the elevator was out-of-order. Now, we had a whole bunch of stuff just sitting in the common area with nowhere to go. We called the elevator company and they sent a technician. However, since it was the weekend, he was the only guy on call. All in all, we lost a good 8-12 hours between him arriving, figuring out the problem and fixing it.
Take-away: Don’t take anything for granted. Double-check your moving infrastructure before you begin. This includes keys to both apartments, your car, the road (no road closures), elevators, etc.
4. Spend the extra money to make your move less stressful.
The last time we moved, we did it ourselves. But, that was before we amassed so much “stuff.” This time, as the boxes started to accumulate, the trepidation built-up. We realized there was no way to humanly move so many boxes even with multiple trips in our little car.
Thanks to some quick thinking on the Honey Bee’s part, we were able to find and hire some movers. Since it was last-minute and they had other commitments, they couldn’t help us with the entire move, but they helped us with the vast majority of our boxes, especially the heavy stuff.
Take-away: If you have more boxes than your age, hire a mover. Your back will thank you.
5. Label all your boxes
Label all your boxes, tagging them on the top and any 2 opposite facing sides. That way no matter how the boxes are stacked or arranged, you will almost always be able to see the tags and know what is where. It will be especially useful while unpacking.
We did this for most of the boxes, but got a little lazy towards the end. It was the unlabeled boxes that were the hardest to unpack and organize in the new apartment.
Take-away: Don’t get lazy. Tag all your boxes. It will make unpacking and settling-in a whole lot easier.
6. During the move, forget cooking.
We got this part right. Over the 2-3 day moving period, we didn’t even try to cook. We ordered out every time. We were so drained from all the moving, neither of us could muster up the strength to cook, or even wait for the food to be cooked. Not to mention the fact that all the kitchen stuff was spread out across various boxes.
Take-away: Treat yourself to good food after a hard day of moving.
7. After you’re done with the move, get a recovery massage.
I’m glad to say we got this last part right too. After all the trials and tribulations of the move, my back was completely out. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t lift a heavy grocery bag from the floor. After our massages, we emerged from the spa healed and feeling much better, ready to enjoy the new apartment.
Take-away: After a stressful move, treat yourself. You deserve it!