Have you moved recently?
Good, then you’re going to feel me on this one. Settle in.
I’m a freakin’ James Bond when it comes to moving. I’ve moved from one residence to another (both across-the-street and across-the-country) nearly twenty times. I’m good at packing. I’m ruthless when it comes to keeping stuff or dumping it. I’m organized enough to know what I have to do when, experienced enough to anticipate what I’m going to break or what’s going to be broken (who needs an air conditioner in June in Alabama?) and cynical enough to understand that this isn’t going to be cheap no matter what (I break leases like I break hearts).
And the funny thing is, this has been an incredibly smooth move-in. Nothing horrific has happened. Sure, there’s been minor drama, but nothing that isn’t par for the course when you’re moving 32 boxes, furniture, and clothes up two flights of stairs into a place previously inhabited by four (four!) galloping pitbulls and their owners (my downstairs neighbors just LOVE me and my two cats, let me tell you). But moving to a new state takes time, money, and stress management skills that unless you’ve done it, you simply don’t understand. For example:
1. You must expect to get ripped off.
Generally, people aren’t even doing it out of malicious intent. They just have 7,342,394,300 fees to charge you because it’s what they’ve always done. Applying to live here? $50. Running a credit check to live here? $50. Have pets? $200 (and that was a deal! With two cats, I should be paying $400 but the manager was super-sweet and let me do it for $200). Need internet? That’ll be the monthly fee plus installation plus parts plus labor. And don’t get me started on Huntsville Utilities charging me $300 just to sign up for an account. I’ll see half that money again in 2 years. I’m not holding my breath.
2. You don’t need all that stuff.
When I was leaving Florida to move back here to Alabama, I had a pretty clear policy: if you want my furniture, you can have it for free. The caveat to this policy was that I was not going to help you move it. Disassembling and getting the furniture down the three flights of stairs was entirely on the person who wanted the free furniture. You’d be surprised how many people went “oh yes, I want your Mistress of Pain dungeon set!” (hypothetical) only to back out once they realized that they were responsible for lugging it downstairs themselves while I drank gin and tonics on the couch. I gave away a TON of furniture. Most of my furniture, actually. I had a few kind people who asked me “are you sure you want to give this away?” and I said “YES, PLEASE, JUST GET RID OF IT SO I DON’T HAVE TO RENT A BIGGER U-HAUL” and they were worrying about my sentimentality getting the best of me. I assure you, once you start moving, you will realize what you want to keep and what you want to give away because you have to pack that shit in a box and then lug that box across the galaxy. You don’t realize the value of belongings until you’re forced to actively deal with them. I lost so much stuff I feel like a lighter person. It’s fantastic.
3. Moving is never quick.
I’ve been in my apartment since May 15th. Here are the things that I still don’t have: a bed, cable, internet, towels, a bathroom trashcan, dishcloths, a bedside table, a desk. And all my art is on the floor, unhung. I’ve been working my ass off to get my apartment “done”, and I’m just beginning to remember that when moving into a new place, YOU ARE NEVER DONE. NOT FOR A YEAR. You have to order stuff. It takes two weeks for them to ship it. You can’t just get cable; they have to come install it. Etc, etc. When I hear about my friends who have plans to move into a new house over a weekend I have myself a nice long laugh, because their definition of “moving” must include “using our boxes as a coffee table for the next six months because Jesus fucking Christ this shit is never through”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I hate smug movers who assure you that their moving experience was done in a weekend. Yes, there are moving hipsters. No, I don’t get it.
4. Hire someone to help you move, or rely on easily guilt-tripped friends. You can’t do it yourself.
Moving from the rental house to Huntsville, I hired two guys who got all the horrible lifting done in an hour-and-half versus all day of me huffing and puffing. It cost $200 including tip and it was the best investment I’ve made in the last year. Before that, I begged my friends to help me move with promises of Cracker Barrel and beer. That worked out nicely, too, and it costs almost the same amount (a little cheaper, but it made some fantastic memories). Thank you, easily-guilt-tripped friends!
In short, moving is torture and I’m stress-eating. Don’t do it unless you love your apartment. I do. But holy crap this mess THIS MESS.