If you’re just checking in, we’re moving on Sunday! And if you’re counting (or have lost count), this will be the THIRD move since we left DC last August. For me? The fourth move in the past year, and this will be the first time I’ve signed a one-year lease since my Dietetic Internship (2008).
I may not have settled, but I have lived in some cool places:
And, I’ve learned a thing or two about a thing or two.
Here are my Moving Tips – whether you’re going Cross-Country, or just the next neighborhood (aka ‘hood’) over, these will be helpful. Trust me!
Padmapper.com – this site has become 1) an obsession and 2) my very best friend. Somebody told me about it last Fall, before we moved into Denver (from the suburbs), and words cannot describe how helpful this was. Staring at the bright white Craig’s List screen with addresses and neighborhoods that meant nothing to me was getting me nowhere. Seeing those listings on a map, with reference to places in Denver I was familiar with? A-mazing.
What makes it even better? Search specifics – set your price range, select options for image/no image, pets, sublets, full-leases, etc. Basically you create a map that only shows you exactly what you want to see. And from there, you can create Padmapper.com alert with keywords and those specifics– choose the frequency with which you want emails letting you know that the apartment/house you want was just listed. Get on it!
WalkScore.com – the “walkability” of a neighborhood is a huge factor for me. Here, you type in your address and it will tell you the “score”, and also how close things like grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, parks, trails, etc are to the neighborhood. If you’re very unfamiliar with the new town/city/county that you’re moving to, this can be a huge help when deciding where to narrow down your search.
Pricing – Depending on what you’re looking for, it may help to scope out apartment buildings in that area to get an idea for pricing. Even if you don’t want to live in that building, it gives you a comparison point for houses/condos in the same neighborhood.
In the weeks leading up to “the big day”, DO NOT buy:
Large containers of anything, especially if you’ve got some distance to cover
this could include any or all of the following, depending on the journey at hand: shower necessities (spill = mess), condiments or frozen foods (no fridge = spoiled), canned foods (heavy = ouch), laundry detergent (see :shower & canned foods) or baking supplies (again, see: shower & canned foods).
Boxes! There are way too many other things you’ll be spending money on (security deposit, rent, things you “MUST HAVE” in the new house, etc), boxes can definitely be found free from many places. Take it from someone who once paid almost $3 per box at a UPS store, while in an unpaid internship and before moving into DC (hello, expenses). Lesson learned.
I’d suggest 1) a friend who recently moved (thanks, D’s coworker!) 2) any store – grocery, liquor, convenience or even a clothing store (ask when they get their shipments because, trust me, boxes galore!).
While you’re packing – PURGE! Go through everything you have –get rid of things you haven’t used/seen/thought about in the past 6 months (seasonal clothes are an exception to the time rule, but I guarantee you can pare down the wardrobe, too). We’ve made an unprecedented amount of donations to Goodwill in the past year. We probably could’ve started our own store – or gone with “yard sale” idea.
Once you have your big pile of things you don’t need, go through everything again. Trust me, you’ll find more. And that means you’ll have less to pack!
Pack early, and live the minimalist life. Usually I assume the little packing I do leading up to The Day is helpful, but I leave out almost everything that I might possibly ever need in any situation. In other words, I pack books, picture frames and things on the wall. Everything else? But what if?!
Lesson learned: when moving day comes, and you haven’t used more than half of those things you haven’t packed yet? You’ll be one busy, exhausted, frustrated mover.
Instead, pack it all up! You probably won’t need it, and can probably live without it for a few days and will definitely be glad you have a few less boxes to pack when it’s finally time to move everything out.
Gather friends to help, if you can avoid paying movers to do the heavy lifting.
This isn’t any huge revelation, but I’ve done the solo-thing, and it may be the most inefficient system ever. Granted, there’s little you can offer the saints that help you move boxes in and out, and then in again, to make it worth their time. But, if you know good people (whew, thankfully we do!), they offer their stronger muscles, cars and helping hand. It makes a big difference!
This could go on and on, mostly with things I’ve learned the hard way. Things like don’t Race on moving day (Twilight 8K), don’t move in the middle of a DC summer (i.e. July, i.e. death), remember that old houses have Narrow doorways and staircases, start gathering newspapers early…..but those are all stories for another day.
What tips would you give someone on the Move? Or, what story taught you THE thing you need to know about relocating?