Archive for December 9th, 2012

We had to move it, move it

As of today, it’s been four weeks since we backed out of our old driveway in Colorado.

Moving an entire household across country is not a trivial task. I spent a lot of time preparing for the move for nearly two months, packing as many boxes as I could ahead of time and planning the logistics of a major move.

When assessing our options for a cross-country move, we found quite a few options for getting our stuff from one place to the other. I wasn’t keen on paying a small fortune for a full service move. Initially I thought using a Pod was an interesting idea. You could pack it yourself, wave goodbye as someone picked it up and toted it for you, and you retrieved it when you got there and unpacked. Unfortunately, the PODS brand actually gets some pretty terrible reviews, and I hesitated to go that route. Our friends moved a few months prior and did it all themselves with a Penske truck, but that involved trailering one car and driving the huge truck plus another vehicle across country.

I ultimately found an option that mixed the convenience of a DIY move with someone else doing the driving. ABF U-Pack drops a semi trailer off at your house (they also offer moving pods if that works for your stuff), you pack it (as the name implies), they pick it up and drive it across country, you show up and tell them when to bring it, and they drop the trailer off at your new door so you can unpack your stuff into the new place.

Another benefit is that you get charged per linear foot, so you don’t pay for more than you use. That encouraged us to throw away and sell a ridiculous amount of our stuff before moving. That was largely good; we got rid of stuff we didn’t need and even made a nice tidy sum from things we sold on Craigslist. Ironically, we moved from a smaller house to a larger one, so in a way we lack a bit of furniture to fill it out.

All in all, this strategy worked out great for us and we had a largely successful move, but wasn’t without its bumps.

It was incredibly stressful packing the moving truck ourselves. The trailer arrived late Tuesday afternoon, and we needed it to be picked up no later than Thursday in order for it to arrive at our destination with enough days to unpack on the other end. That meant we had barely more than one day to get it loaded. We had a few friends come and help us, but not nearly as many as we probably should have, mostly due to moving in November and having the sun set so early. For two nights we ended up working by ourselves by the light of our car headlights. Ultimately we worked until nearly midnight on Wednesday to finally clear the entire house of every single item, which was probably the lowest point of the whole move.

Thankfully, one of our pastors and his wife were gracious to let us stay in their home for four days between packing our bed on the trailer and pulling out of town. We had those days to pack the truck, clean the house, get rid of some final items, and even take in a few last attractions before leaving Colorado.

We left Saturday morning and took three days to drive about 1,700 miles across the United States, making two stops along the way. Since DH and I keep a map of the US with the states that we’ve both visited colored in, this trip alone almost doubled the number of states we’ve hit since we were married. For the record, this is what our map looks like now, with states where we’ve lived in red and the others we’ve visited in blue. One of the nice things about living here now is the ease of reaching all the New England states. Hitting these while we live here is definitely one of our goals.

States we’ve visited

We left on Saturday and arrived at our new home on Monday evening. We spent our first night here with only the items we fit into our two cars. This included one plastic folding table (which we’re still using, as we sold our dining table before we left), some camping chairs, two backpacks full of clothes, an ice chest of select refrigerator items, a few cleaning supplies, some basic kitchen items, and a mattress.

The mattress was an accident, actually. We were planning on just sleeping on an air mattress until the moving truck arrived. However, we packed the spare bed box spring in the moving truck but didn’t have room for the spare mattress at the end. No problem, I said. I figured it would be no problem giving it away for free on Craigslist. Oddly, nobody seemed to want it even when we were just giving it away. On a whim, we tried cramming it into the bed of our truck, and what do ya know…it fit! So a potentially awkward situation turned out to be a nice advantage in the end.

Unpacking the trailer was okay; we hired movers to help us get the heaviest and most awkward stuff out, since we couldn’t do it by ourselves and didn’t know anyone to help us. The two guys looked like NFL wide receivers but could lift crazy ridiculous amounts of stuff. We got chided for how we’d packed stuff, which I didn’t appreciate, even though yes we did it ourselves and no we aren’t experts. We were paying them to help us, not critique us. Oh well, at least they did the job.

We unpacked boxes at a moderate rate and got pretty much everything important put up within a week or so. There are still a few things like tools and craft stuff that didn’t seem worth disturbing unless we need it at some point. Even after scrutinizing and culling our possessions on the front end, after having to touch it all twice we decided there are still more things we are willing to get of.

Probably the most disheartening thing about moving is that we’re just renting, and we anticipate moving to a more permanent location within the next year. At least we won’t be going as far, just across town somewhere. However, all this moving around has really made me reconsider why I have stuff and what I really need. I don’t think stuff is evil, but it shouldn’t weigh you down when living your life, either. This was probably the perfect time of our lives to take these lessons to heart and hopefully keep them with us for the future.


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