Moving Is Fun....Really!


Odette Pollar,

For most people a root canal, major surgery or parachuting from a plane is preferable to moving into new living quarters. Whether it is across country or across town, the amount of effort required is the same. Each and every object must be wrapped and boxed. Even when moving by choice—a promotion or marriage that takes you across the country—it is an emotionally charged time. If you have had the experience of cleaning out the house of a parent or other relative, you are familiar with the amount of effort and emotional distress that accompanies such a task. There are ways to make the experience if not fun, then bearable.

Preplanning is the most important part of an efficient, smooth, moving experience. It is a major undertaking, so treat it as you would any large project. Start planning at least three months before your move date. Everyone in the family should have a role in the effort. Post a large wall calendar, with completion dates noted, where everyone can see it.

Have a layout plan for your new location. A floor plan of the new location will help you visualize how your belongings will fit. Go to the new home or apartment the day before and place signs in each room, indicating furniture placement and where to stack boxes. It will help the movers, even if they are your closest friends, place items properly. Signage prevents you from being pulled in eight directions at once with questions about "where does this go?"

Begin collecting boxes far in advance of the move. You will need an incredible number of them. Liquor boxes are a good all-around, all-purpose-size box, as are the boxes in which copy paper is delivered. You can also purchase heavy-duty moving boxes. Avoid damaged or tired boxes that may not hold up during the move and can cause spillage, breakage, or other damage to your goods. Check Craig’s List. Often people will give away their boxes once their move is complete. An average three-bedroom house will require between 70 and 100 boxes.

If you choose to hire professional movers, they can do the packing for you, along with transportation and unloading. Some will even unpack at your destination. These options are limited only by your budget. If you choose to work with a moving company, be clear about your expectations and be sure to read the fine print on your contract. There are two main complaints about moving companies: timeliness and the damage to your goods. Ask for references and explain your timetable. If your interactions prior to the move date are less than stellar, it bodes ill for the actual move: find another company. Investigate your homeowner’s insurance for a policy rider that covers moves. Compare the cost and coverage allowances with what your mover can provide.

Don't make the mistake of undervaluing your own time, energy, and resources. Consider how much of your time will be spent running around to locate boxes, packing materials, small truck rentals, etc. Include the cost of gas for your vehicle, as well as your labor in packing the boxes, loading, and transporting them on both ends of the move. It may be wiser to hire specialists. If budget is a problem, get assistance for portions of the move to relieve some of the cost, i.e., having friends help with lighter boxes, very fragile or incredibly valuable items.

As you get closer to the move date, make special arrangements for your pets and children. The house has already been disrupted, things are strewn about, the last thing you need is a child under foot asking about every item as it goes into a box. This is a great time for relatives to take your children for a visit or to spend time out with friends in some fun activity that takes them out from under foot. If it rains on the day of the move be prepared to lay plastic sheeting under the boxes to protect hardwood floors.

Make your life as easy as possible. There is nothing as exhausting—physically, mentally, and emotionally—as moving; be prepared for extra stress and the resulting short tempers. To make things easier, budget for eating out more often or having meals delivered. If you enjoy cooking, cook ahead and freeze full meals. In this way, dinner decisions are eliminated and become one less thing to worry about.

Despite all your best planning, things will go wrong. Everything takes longer than you expect and glitches are bound to happen. Try not to let it make you crazy. Even if you are moving to the home of your dreams, moving is tiring. Don't push so hard that you increase the load. Take frequent breaks. Treat yourself to dinner, a hot bath, a massage, or anything that will make you feel better. A successful move means that it is done in the time frame you have set and the end result is a new home, not a nervous breakdown.

Odette Pollar is a nationally known speaker, author, and consultant. President of the management consulting firm, Smart Ways to Work based in Oakland, CA, her most recent book is Surviving Information Overload. Email to share your comments, questions and suggestions: Visit us at: call: 1-800-599-8463.

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