Advice to Movers

A long time ago, I posted the “7 Stages of Moving,” a description of what happens when you change residences. It’s spot-on, I’m told, though I don’t know how helpful it is except for maybe raising awareness of what is going to happen to you as you pack. But having just moved again, I’d now like to offer you some advice. If you’re getting ready to move, listen up.

Start Packing Early. Way Early.

It is NEVER too early to start purging and packing. Even months ahead of time is fine. You’ve got plenty of stuff you’re not going to use between now and then (out-of-season clothes, extra linens, etc.) and plenty of decor you can do without for a bit. Go ahead and take down your curtains if you can. Pack up all those books you keep meaning to read but know you won’t before the move. It will make unpacking more fun because every time you open a box, you’ll be all, “Oh YAY! I’d totally forgotten about this!” It’s like getting new stuff.


When you open a box and are like, “What the eff is this?” you can just take the whole box straight to Goodwill. Bonus!

Get Three Times As Many Boxes As You Think You Need

Twice during my most recent packing, I thought I only needed maybe eight more boxes, and both times, I went to the ABC store and got 10-15, and BOTH times, I packed ALL of them. So do yourself a favor, and when you think you only need eight more boxes, get 25. If you don’t need them for packing, just leave them in your old place so that when you go back to finish cleaning up, you’ve got a couple of disposable trash cans there waiting for you.

Take the Week Off

W-Josh and I both happened to have the whole week off of work before we moved, and it was the best thing ever. You think you need time off after you move, but you are wrong. You’ll be tired, but you’ll make it. You’ll be less tired if you give yourself plenty of time before the move to be prepared for it. We did such a good job that all day Friday, we were just sitting around. We wanted to try and get a few loads of stuff in if we could, but we couldn’t because they were cleaning the carpet (which was fine because our lease didn’t start until Saturday anyway), so I literally sat around all day watching Friday Night Lights and waiting for 5:30 to roll around so we could get things started.

You may not need to take a whole week off. A day or two might suffice, but I’m telling you, if you can do it, do it. It will keep you sane.


This is the most important thing I learned from this move. People are not deceived by promises of pizza and/or beer. You can’t dress up a move as a party. Everybody knows it’s not fun. It’s sweaty and exhausting, and too many people are on gluten-free and/or Paleo diets these days for pizza to be much of an incentive. But if your friends and family love you (and of course they do), they just need to know that they are needed – desperately, desperately needed.

So beg. Beg a LOT. Beg often. Beg in emails. Beg in person. Beg over the phone. Beg on Facebook. Beg on Twitter. Beg with pain in your voice and tears in your eyes and a slight limp or some bandages. You don’t even have to fake it if you think hard enough about how heavy your crap is and how much of it you have. Or if you’ve sliced your thumb open with an industrial tape gun.

And no matter how many people you have committed to helping you, when someone asks if you still need help, the answer is YES. Always, every time, period. Even if 20 people have said they’ll help, you still need more help. You just never know what’s going to come up, and hey, if 35 people show up, boom! Easy work. That’s how we got a full truck unloaded in twelve minutes. TWELVE.

Set Up Teams

You can have an outdoor team carrying stuff out of the old place while an indoor team cleans up behind them. That way, when everything’s out, it’s also clean, and you don’t have to come back later.

You can have an outdoor team carrying stuff from the truck to the door and an indoor team set up to put things in place in your new digs. That way, when everything’s in, it’s also arranged, put-together and partially unpacked.

You can have a muscle team and a motivation team. The muscle team does the heavy lifting while the motivation team cheers and keeps Gatorade at the ready.

You can have a moving team and an unpacking team. The moving team comes on moving day to do its thing, and the unpacking team comes the next day to put all your books on shelves, clothes in drawers, spices on racks, dishes in cabinets, etc.

Help Other Movers Move

This is powerful stuff, man. The more people you’re willing to help, the more people you’ll have willing to help you. It’s like a co-op. Start building up your network now even if you’re not planning on moving any time soon.

That’s all I’ve got! What advice do you have to offer movers?

What I’ve Really Been Doing

Ok so now that everybody pretty much knows, I guess I can talk about it.

I might be moving to Europe. It’s weird to type it out into the world like that. So far, it’s just been discussed privately among a few close, trusted friends and people I knew would understand and be excited with me. Honestly, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’ve been taking things one step at a time, and really, at any point, the whole process could just be over, and that would be it. We’ll see. But for now, we press on.

I’m applying to go with World Team either to Italy or Spain. This is the same organization I went to Italy with back in June, and so far, this process has been…quite thorough. It’s been very cool – I’m learning a lot about myself as I go – but it has also been taking up lots and lots of time that I might have otherwise spent blogging. Or (let’s be honest) watching every episode of Bones (again) on Netflix. The application alone was at least twelve typed pages, and then they sent me the personality tests, the spiritual gifts test and the Bible tests (one of which I told you I flunked miserably, the other I haven’t been brave enough to take yet).

Then they sent me the official invitation to join them for a week of information, evaluation and mutual assessment, and suddenly things got really real. First of all, I need about $700 to make it happen, which is the first real commitment I’ve had to make. Until now, it’s all been literally on paper. Just theoretical. Just a really, really amazing dream of a possibility. Just paella and/or pizza, European public transit, Romance languages and adventure abounding on every side. But when it hits your pocketbook, it hits home.

Then, speaking of home, I started thinking about all the things I’ll miss if I leave. Weddings, birthdays, family reunions, my godchildren growing like weeds, Baby Josh, maybe Moravian Sugar Cake in my PJs with my family on Christmas morning. I don’t know what I’ll miss and what I won’t, but I know I’m asking my family and friends to make as big a sacrifice as I’d be making in going.

But then I started thinking of all the things I’d miss if I didn’t go, namely the chance to do something awesome, something bigger than myself, something impossible, something I’ve felt compelled to do for the last seven years. I don’t know the details of what’s in store for me. I just know that if I don’t at least try, I’ll always regret it and wonder.

I think y’all would too. You know me. You know I’ve got this crazy pull toward Europe. I honestly think if I didn’t at least try to go, some of you would be disappointed. So I’m asking you to sacrifice with me, but also to share in the awesomeness, knowing that your letting go is fueling something incredible.

I didn’t intend to make this a fundraising post, so you can stop reading now if you want it to not be about money. But if you’re still with me, and you want to give a little bit to help me get to the assessment week, please contact me. Comment, call, email, text, smoke signals, carrier pigeon, dream invasion, note in study hall, whatever. But maybe don’t send me a pigeon. You know how I feel about birds.

Moving: Check!

We’re all moved!! And I don’t think there’s been a day in the past week that I haven’t woken up completely sore from all the lifting and carrying large, heavy things up and down stairs. Who needs the gym? I’m just going to start my own moving company. Stay in shape AND make money! Genius!

Nah. I think I would hate that within a week.

So please come over because as I get things put into place, I like my apartment more and more. Mostly, I think I just like decorating my apartment. Perhaps I missed my calling as an interior decorator. Nah. That would involve decorating for people who have wildly different tastes from mine, and I would want to decorate their homes like I would decorate mine, and they wouldn’t like it, and I would get fired. I should probably just stick with that I’m good at – decorating my own apartment.

How many other occupations can I consider in one blog post? I think I’m done. I’m on limited battery at the ‘Bou, and I have yet to accomplish the task for which I came over here, which was to investigate internet services for the apartment, so I’ma get back to it, but I just wanted to let you know that the moving was completed successfully, and I’m VERY glad that I have a few days off completely to recuperate and put things in order. If you want to help, give me a ring (round cut, sapphire or just phone works too).

For Exciting Times, Make It Moving Times

I seem to have gotten this move off to an odd start by doing things in the wrong order. Just to refresh your memory, here are what I have determined to be the 7 stages of moving (for a more thorough break-down of each stage, go here):

  1. Dread
  2. Action Plan
  3. Paying a Butt-Load of Money
  4. Purging
  5. Packing
  6. Adrenaline Rush (aka Moving Day)
  7. Unpacking

I’m not really sure I did the Dread phase this time around. Maybe a little bit, but I started the Purging phase so long ago that I wasn’t too worried about all the stuff I had left. Don’t get me wrong, I have PLENTY of stuff left (and plenty left to get rid of), but I really have gotten rid of a lot. So I started with Stage 4, skipped Stage 1 entirely, then went to Stage 2, and today we did Stage 3, which turned out not to be so bad after all. AND we got our new keys, so it’s official!!

That all sounds good, right? Sounds like I’m moving right along? Well, yes and no. That puts me at the beginning of Stage 5, which, as we all know, is the most dreaded of them all (including Dread itself). I have not begun to pack at all, which wouldn’t be so bad except that we’re moving in a week and a half.


And I still have a semester to finish. And a Sound of Music Sing-Along to attend. And a Harry Potter movie to watch. Oh it’s going to be a fun couple of weeks, friends! If you feel like coming to help me pack (even simply by way of company and/or motivation), let me know.

Simplify2011: Chuckin’ It

I’m creative, but I’m not always all that proactive, so I buy stuff with this great idea of what I want to do with it, and then I never do it. So the stuff just sits around and sits around and sits around, and then it gets moved to a new house where it sits around some more. It just sits there for years and years, and I never actually get around to doing anything with it. I’ve decided to get rid of those items.

A few years ago, a local Raleigh radio station had a poor intern whose job was basically to embarrass himself royally for the entertainment of the DJs and the listeners. They sent him out to Krispy Kreme one morning, where his mission was to order doughnuts, take a bite or two, and then take them back to the counter and say, “I don’t want this no mo’.” That was all he could say. “I don’t want this no mo’.” When they asked him if there was something wrong, all he could say was, “I don’t want this no mo’.” It was pretty hilarious.

So I’m looking around my room at all the abandoned projects and random items associated with them, and all I can think is, “I don’t want this no mo’.” And I really don’t. All the stuff is just overwhelming, and when I think about moving it, I REALLY don’t want it.

And I’m beginning to think that a yard sale might be yet another project that will never happen. First of all, we don’t really have a yard. Second, a yard sale is a lot of work. You have to price everything, organize it into displays, advertise your yard sale and get up at the butt-crack of dawn to haggle with people. And third, I have a lot to do between now and the time we move, and I don’t think I’m going to have the time or the energy to do it before then. And if I’m not going to sell it before we move, I want to just get rid of it some other way so I don’t have to move it.

So yesterday afternoon, I took a trunkful of stuff to Goodwill. It was the first of probably many, many trunkfuls, but it was a good start. Next time, I’m tackling the crap under my bed that I never ever pull out to use. Then W-Josh and I are going to chuck a pile of crap that has somehow built up in our front room. Yes, friends, I’ve moved directly into the fourth stage of moving. Maybe by doing it this way, I can escape the dread AND the crap multiplication? I hesitate to even say that because the crap always multiplies. Always. I don’t know how, but it does. But perhaps just this once, I can nip it in the bud? Maybe?

I’ll let you know. At any rate, I’m getting rid of things. If you think you might want some of my things, come on over, and I’ll tell you if you can have whatever it is that you want. Your chances are actually pretty decent.

It’s Inevitable

When I was packing to move this most recent time, I was shocked to find out that if you start packing a month in advance and make steady progress right up until moving day, your stuff never multiplies. This surprised me because it always multiplies. Always. I thought I’d found the solution to the problem of crap multiplication! And then I started unpacking.

The problem, see, is that if it doesn’t multiply on one end, it WILL do so on the other end. I moved a week and a half ago, and I’m still opening boxes and going, “What is THIS?” And at this point, I really begin to question whether I need these things or not. Probably not. If my plan upon opening the box is just to stick it fully-packed in the top of my closet until somebuddy moves out and I can take over her room, then I have to doubt my need for those items. If, after 6 months, I have not looked at those things or thought about them; if indeed I have no idea what they are, I should just take the whole box, unopened, to Goodwill and be done with it.

This is the new plan. And it is now my life’s goal to defeat crap multiplication in both the packing and unpacking stages of moving. Maybe I’ll start a non-profit.