A Real Life Moving Story (A Cautionary Tale)

Young couple painting wall at home in blue

As I write this, know that my wife and I are actually in the middle of moving ourselves. We are moving from an apartment into a house, and the distance between the two locations is about 6 miles. Sit back and enjoy the story of our move, followed by 8 things to remember while moving.

We closed on our new house on Tuesday, December 23 of this 2014. Since we knew we would be working on the house before moving all of our stuff in, we kept our apartment lease through the end of the month, providing plenty of cushion. Before lugging our stuff across town, we aimed high. The ceiling, to be exact. The house had not been lived in for almost a year, and we were not impressed by the dirty popcorn ceilings. After closing, we spent our next four days (including Christmas Eve and Day) ridding the entire house, closets excluded, of said popcorn.

To describe it as agony would be to give agony a bad name.shareasimage I don’t know if we had bad luck or poor atmospheric conditions, but in many spots, the popcorn and surrounding plaster simply would not budge. A few days of hard labor later, we managed to get just about all of it off, save for a few spots we are willing to live with. Fortunately, the ceiling underneath was in pretty good shape–no serious cracks or holes.

We were caught off guard by just how long it took and the level of physical exertion needed to get it done. All the YouTube research in the world couldn’t have prepared us for it. Even using a mister to wet the ceilings just the right amount, scraping an entire house’s ceilings is hard work for two people. It took a lot longer than anticipated, and even with our week-long buffer period, we worried about it setting us back.

But it’s not all bad! There are certainly worse things than spending your first married Christmas prepping your first home. There was laughter. There were tears. The frustrations we encountered pushed both of us to the brink of insanity. That said, having a moving partner is invaluable, and serious multi-pronged undertakings like these would be virtually impossible to do alone. Add in a deadline? Forget about it. Sometimes when things look hopeless, you just need someone else around to make you laugh.

By 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, after a 14-hour day spent sanding and painting the freshly-scraped ceilings, our big project was finished. And by finished, I mean it was finally time to move in. Sunday was spent filling up our two tiny sedans and driving the 6 miles back-and-forth between the house and apartment. When we got there, we unceremoniously dumped garbage bags filled with clothing and unmarked boxes filled with who knows what in the approximate room that they would be unpacked in. We filled each car up at least three times, and borrowed a truck from a friend to get all the big stuff. I am writing this on Monday, and after taking an early-morning pre-work truckload over to the house, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

At the time of this writing, we’ve moved 90% of our belongings into the house. By publication, we will have an empty apartment and get to enjoy our cozy new home (sans popcorn). So now that you all know what my week has been like, here are some of the things I’ve learned.

8 Things to Remember while Moving

1. Cherish the people you are moving with. They may occasionally contribute to frustrations, but they will also be your source of strength.

2. Don’t forget to eat. If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to plow through as much work as possible before the sun goes down, but make sure you carve out a little time for a food run. Even if you eat unhealthily and at irregular hours, eating is too important to forget completely.

3. It pays to have a friend with a pickup truck. Our two small cars worked fine for the most part, but there was no way we were moving our bed or couch in a Fiesta or Corolla. Even if your friends won’t lend their physical presence, seek out all options for securing the use of a pickup.

4. Keep a running list of where your tools are. Yesterday, I needed a screwdriver to remove the base of my television so I could box it up, but all of the screwdrivers were at the new house already. This is just one example of  avoidable extra trips we took due to bad planning. A 6 mile commute isn’t so bad, but not everyone has such a reasonable distance to cover.moving humor

5. Leaving yourself an extended window of time for moving is an amazing thing if you can swing it. The extra time and built-in vacation around the holidays has worked perfectly (so far). This allows you to tackle home improvement projects in an empty house. It’s much more convenient covering an empty floor with drop-cloths than it is working around furniture and stacks of boxes.

6. Make sure your utilities are activated in your new house, especially when you know your move-in date. You don’t want to be all moved in only to realize you don’t have heat/AC or running water.

7. Bring lights so you can work into the evening. Painting and most other housework basically becomes impossible if you can’t see. We found this out the hard way the first night, but then we borrowed some lights from our friend with the pickup. Should we take him out to dinner, or what?

8. Have fun and document the process! Everyone you know will love to see the photos, and if you’re consciously documenting your move, your stories, both good and bad, will benefit!

Share your best/worst moving mishap or nightmare in the comments. We’ll laugh/cry with you!

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