I disappeared. Yes, I totally did. Sorry about that, but I had to move for the 30-ish time and this time it was across about half of the United States. You would think a move from Europe to the United States would have been worse, but it really wasn't.
Would you know it, being in the military had some pretty cool benefits, like having complete strangers come in your house, pack everything themselves, then move it all for you on both ends. Not being in the military and trying to move an entire house with just you, your husband, and your dog is a lot different. Especially when you're disabled and your husband's back is jacked up. The dog in question did nothing but complain a lot the whole time. I asked him to go ahead and get a job so we could get settled faster, but you know, he's a dog, so he said no.
There he is below. What a bum. He pretty much did that the entire time. Well, that and complain about how he had to sleep in a hotel and it wasn't the kind of accommodations he was used.to. I'm sure it's a lot better than living by your wits in the forest, buddy.
Anyway, I digress. Seeing as how I now have a lot of experience moving my crap from place to place, I thought I'd share some moving tips to make your moving experience a lot easier.
Get all new boxes. I know, I know, they say you can save money by using old boxes from your last move, old boxes from friends, or used boxes from grocery or liquor stores. We did that for almost all of our moves. We saved boxes from move to move and there was so much writing and tape on them that when we moved those boxes this time, we couldn't tell what they were for. Plus they are all different sizes and getting the movers to fit those in the truck is a pain in the ass. We bought new boxes for this move because we ran out of boxes and let me tell you, we would never do that any other way. If you move a lot, it sucks to have to save a bunch of boxes. We had a whole room of broken down, used boxes and it was awful. Just buy new boxes. They are clean and all the same size which saves you time when packing and when the movers (or you) pack your things into a truck. Surprisingly, Wal-Mart had the best boxes. I hate Wal-Mart with a passion, but they had very sturdy, cheap boxes that survived a move with no problem at all.
Get lots of bubble wrap and packing paper. By "lots" I mean, way more than you think you will ever possibly need. If you don't keep the original packaging for your stuff, you will need this. I used bubble wrap and paper for everything in the kitchen, all of our computer stuff, my makeup, skin care, decorative things, lamps, electronics, and pretty much everything I wanted to keep in one piece, and it ended up being for almost every box. Let me tell you something though, nothing was broken. We drove about 1,300 miles and a lot of stuff fell in the U-Haul, but nothing was broken. It did take me longer to pack than it would have if I had just thrown stuff in a box, but then again, I would've had to replace a lot of broken things if I hadn't taken the time to pack things I cherished carefully.
Pack as if some guy named Taco is going to drop your box labeled "Fragile" off a truck from eight feet in the air. True story, when we originally moved to Kansas City a few years ago, we hired some guy off of the U-Haul site and one of the guys with him was named Taco. I caught Taco dropping some of our boxes labeled "Fragile" from chest height onto the ground, which was about eight feet down. I didn't pack my glass plant holder carefully in one of those boxes, and I just imagined it shattering when he dropped it. It didn't, thankfully, but it could have, it could have. This time around, I thought, as I was packing everything fragile in bubble wrap and paper, "Ain't no Taco goin' to try to break my shit by dropping it off a U-Haul truck." We, of course, hired more professional movers this time, but let that be a lesson to you, pack as if some guy named Taco is going to drop your shit onto the ground from eight feet up.
Pay a little more and get professional movers. I'm not saying have them come in, pack up all of your stuff, then move it for you. That would cost a ton, really. What I did was research movers that actually had a website (the company Taco was employed at did not have one, cheers to you, Taco) and had good reviews that weren't featured on their website (check Google, Yelp, and any other sites with reviews for the company and make sure there are quite a few (at least more than 100). I always read the one star reviews first to see if there are common complaints (like, they broke all of our stuff, then ignored our claim), then read the five star reviews to see if they sound fake. You can usually narrow down your search this way and find good reviews. You want to make sure the movers are professional and insured. Any professional company should answer your questions and put your mind at ease.
You can save money and time by putting all of your stuff for the movers in one area (like a garage) so they aren't traipsing back and forth in your house. We lived in an apartment on the top floor and had a garage, so we just brought our stuff down into the garage we rented and it took so much less time to load the truck than if the movers had to put our stuff in the elevator, brought it down little by little, and put it into the truck. If you have a big living room, put it in there, really just anywhere close to the area where the moving truck will be.
Buy yourself a "welcome home" pack. Before you wear yourself out the last few days of packing, go to the store and buy yourself a "welcome home" pack. Buy toilet paper, paper towels, disposable plates, cups, and utensils. Buy something to clean your toilets with and new toilet scrub brushes, disinfectant spray, and something to make your house smell nice (I use organic clove essential oil, organic cinnamon sticks and distilled water and a pot to boil stove-top potpourri). Get some drinks to put in the fridge when you get to your new home. I mean, when you are done moving, whether it be two miles or 2,000 miles, it's an ordeal. You just moved everything you own and it even if it's something you wanted, it can be one of the most stressful things you ever do in your life. Never have I moved and wanted to cook when I got to our new home. All I wanted was to go to the bathroom, eat something I didn't have to stand or walk around to make, all in a clean, nice-smelling environment.
Remember to take care of yourself and be empathetic. Even when you want to move (like we did), it's a huge change to take in. Some changes are bigger than others and depending on how resilient you are, change can be a huge hurdle for some people. I wanted, no, needed to move to a warmer climate for my health. Even though I am in a better environment for my body, it was hard to process such an extreme change in climate, culture, and lifestyle. I had to take time and remember that even when you want something, it can still cause feelings of loss and grief. I never really liked living in the Midwest because the weather was scary (tornadoes), the weather was harsh on my body, and it wasn't anywhere near the beach (I grew up on the east coast, so I was spoiled by having the beach so close growing up), but I still missed the feeling of knowing the area where I lived and having familiar surroundings. When we moved I lost all of that and couldn't figure out why I was upset when we finally got the place I wanted to move. Remember, it's normal to feel grief when you are going through a huge change. Remember to take care of yourself and let yourself process your feelings without judging yourself.
Moving sucks. Anyone who has moved knows it's one of the most stressful events in a person's life, so I hope you find this article helpful. Do you have any moving tips? Do you agree with these tips? Which ones are new to you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!