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Moving, Relocation, and Packing: Strategies, Tips, and Best Practices.

Updated on November 1, 2023
nijineko profile image

I have moved 45 times. Local, national, and international. May I share my experiences?

All the world is my home.
All the world is my home. | Source

"I am become Wanderer; Traveller of Worlds."


To most people, it is something that happens only once, or perhaps, a few traumatic times in their lives. Change of job, college, marriage, death. Even then, many do not stray far from where they originated. I personally know people who have never travelled more than 30 miles from the place of their birth.

To some, their jobs or spouses or circumstances take them around for a time. A transfer, military service, wanderlust, new opportunities, taking refuge... there are many who must relocate for one reason or another. Though most of these will eventually seek a place where they can stay and settle down. I have many acquaintances who have moved for various reasons, even frequently for a period of their lives.

But to a rare few, it is a way of life. When I think back on moving, and the many moves I have had (42 and counting), I think of trees. Trees are strong and rooted, they don't move around much. And there are the seeds, blown upon the wind with down, propellers, and on the bounce, till someday they find a place to settle and put down roots. You need both states in order for a forest to be healthy, and people need both states too.

Without change, there is the death of stagnation. Without roots, there is the death of chaos.

Let's move on from my musings and thoughts and delve into some simple tips to "Level Up" your skills and smooth your move; making it less of a trauma, easier to recover from, and put paid to the "Packing End-Boss".

Moving Poll

How many times have you moved?

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Knowing when the Moving Day Boss is going to show is key to your strategy.
Knowing when the Moving Day Boss is going to show is key to your strategy. | Source

Rule Zero: Don't Wait Until the Week of Your Move to Start!

In gaming terms, a "Rule Zero" is a rule so obvious, so integral to the game, that everyone should know it and follow it, without having to be told more than once.

In moving terms, the Rule Zero is, "Don't Wait Until the Week of Your Move to Start Packing!" Instead, start a couple of months in advance, at the least. If you wait too long to start packing, then you will feel rushed and hurried. Tempers will fray, words will fly, and you will forget things. It will put stress on your family, your friends, your marriage if you have one, and will leave a bad memory for everyone involved. Don't do that to yourself!

  • PRO TIP: Get a calendar and put it somewhere prominent, like the back of your front door. Mark the Moving Day in bright fluorescent colors. Refer to it to remind yourself of how much time you still have to work with.

DON'T BE THIS PERSON: I have literally walked into a family's house the day the truck showed up, ready to help load the truck... and they not only didn't have anything packed, but they didn't even have a single box in which to put anything. There were supposed to vacate that day. What followed was a grueling, horrendous, exhausting experience for everyone involved that I have tried to forget every day of the rest of my life.

INSTEAD, DO THIS: In contrast to that long ago life lesson, I will share the most recent move I made. Due to the peculiar circumstances of the time, I was between jobs, and so I sent my beautiful and talented wife off ahead to scout out opportunities in the new state we were moving to, while I stayed behind with the kids to pack and keep up with school and activities. She was gone about a week. Every day, I would take the kids to school, hunt up some empty boxes from various stores, pack up some things, pick up the kids, and do the evening routine of supper, games, a bit more packing, any weekly activities currently ongoing, and bedtime routine.

By the time she returned with some good opportunities (never send a man to do something a woman is better at), we had about 3/4 of the house packed and ready to go. All she had to do was some of the closets. (I hate closets when it's time to move.) The day before our move, all that was left was the cleaning, and packing the few day-to-day things that we were still using. Even the truck was 99% loaded.

The Master Plan for World Domination.......   (or at least your moving day.)
The Master Plan for World Domination....... (or at least your moving day.) | Source

Rule One: A Little Foresight Will Save You a Lot of Headache!

If you've followed my advice from Rule Zero, you are reading this ready to get started, and your projected moving day is a few months off. The very next thing you need to do is to get a piece of paper. Maybe two or three. You will need it because you are intelligent, smart, savvy, and you are about to make a Master Plan that would make a BBEG (that's Big Bad Evil Guy, ie: Villain) weep from envy. You might want a clipboard for good measure - it makes the piece(s) of paper easier to find in the upcoming weeks and months.

  • PRO TIP: Look to local hardware stores, office supply stores, or stores with school supplies for clipboards. The fancier ones have a built in box to store swag and other useful stuff.

For laughs, you might even want to title your paper "My Evil Plot" or "Easy Steps to World Domination" or something else equally fun and amusing. Never underestimate the value of humor when confronting the task of moving an entire household. After all, mad cackling, spooky laughter, wringing the hands, and dramatic poses have proven therapeutic value... though it does tend to distract one from minor developments that a more attentive person might catch.

Having secured your piece(s) of paper (with optional Clipboard of Power™ and accessories), you will now need to make a couple of lists, which will prepare you to bend the mighty forces of space and time to your will, and dance at your beck and call.

The Master Plan (Example Only)

Packing Supplies
Cleaning Supplies
People Supplies
Floors - Wood, Carpet, etc..
Sleeping needs
Walls - safe for paint/plaster
Food / Utensils
Tape gun(s)
Bathrooms (ceramic / tile)
Resealable Plastic bags
Plaster & paint - for touchup
Trash bags
Blankets / Towels
Scented fresheners
Cable / Satellite
Gloves, cotton & rubber
Paper and Pens
Safety goggles
Postal service
Permanent Markers
Doctor's masks
Truck / Trailer

Planning ahead is critical. It's no good if you pack up all your clothes and bathroom supplies only to find that you have to unpack them again to use them!

You're gonna need a whole lot of equipment and gear for your move... though maybe not quite this much.
You're gonna need a whole lot of equipment and gear for your move... though maybe not quite this much. | Source

Packaging Supplies

Supplies. Just like the saying, "You need money to make money", you will need stuff to move stuff.

The exact amounts you will need will vary depending on your household circumstances. It is wise to have more than you need, for it is very common to underestimate. I have moved 42+ times, and I still underestimate a bit at times. What you do not need for holding things, you can use for sandwiching and protecting items, give extras away to those who need boxes, or simply recycle.

Walk around your house. Open cupboards, closets (shiver), and doors; go into each room, nook, and cranny and look at what there is. Try to visualize how much of it would fit into a box you could hold comfortably in your hands. Note items of unusual size or shape... large, bulky, and heavy items. Are you taking your appliances with you? Do you have an attic, basement, garage, or shed used for extra storage? You might need a few extra pieces of paper for your Clipboard of Power™ as you take notes.

When you start to feel overwhelmed by the number of boxes piling up in your imagination, stop. This is why Rule Zero! You don't have to do it all in a day, or a week, or even a month. Packing a few boxes a day is exactly the sort of level grind you need to do so that when the Big Bad Moving Day Boss comes stomping onto the scene, you'll crush it out of existence with ease.

Behold, the box of infinite boxes!
Behold, the box of infinite boxes! | Source

A Word About Boxes:

As may be expected, the first item on my imaginary Master Moving Plan List, is boxes. Unless you happen to have a lot of disposable cash, you'll be scrounging for boxes. I have found that the best places to get boxes are Grocery Stores, Pet Stores, and places that sell tools. You can find clean, ship-shape, quality boxes at these locations.

  • PRO TIP: You will want to check for any stains or dampness on the boxes. It is better to reject any that are damaged (they won't hold up to stacking), or stained (tends to attract pests, and cardboard is weakened by liquids). And if there is any sign of mold, just flee. Trust me, you don't want do deal with that!

  • PRO TIP: Look for stores with a cardboard recycling dumpster in the back, usually a different color. Cardboard recycling dumpsters remain surprisingly clean since there is no food to attract bugs, but if it has rained and the lid was open, skip it and move on.

  • PRO TIP: Ask a manager for permission to get boxes from where they store them, when the best time to do so is, and record their name (and time) on your Clipboard of Power™, just in case someone asks what you are doing. If they refer you to someone, get their name and title (there may be more than one by that name - it's happened to me.) When you know their name, you sound legit, professional, and respectful. Respectful gamers get the goodies.

At grocery stores, ask for the manager or someone in charge of the produce section. Explain that you are moving and looking for boxes, and ask if they have boxes that have not yet been broken down or disposed of. You will usually be referred to another person, preferably someone in the produce section. Ask when are good times to come for boxes, as most stores usually dispose of them on certain days of the week and at certain times. Be prepared to get up early for them.

  • PRO TIP: When speaking with a manager, be very brief, they appreciate you not taking up a lot of their time! If you need to, practice ahead of time to cut down the amount of words used.

  • PRO TIP: If you make an appointment, or if they say they will hold boxes for you, be there, or call and cancel! That is what your Clipboard of Power™ is for. A little goodwill goes a long way, and nothing disrespects someone like no-showing and then blowing the person off with no communication. Take it from a gamer. It's like pulling the plug on the game right after they finally beat that boss, but before they could save. Not Cool. They are doing you a favor. Show them some appreciation and respect.

If they have them, you want apple boxes. Apple boxes are the "+10 Boxes of Awesomeness", the Masters of Might and Power of the cardboard world. Apple boxes are strong enough for kids to jump on a few times, and could be used as an improvised shield or weapon in a pinch, just in case someone tries to burgle your house while you are packing. (They are not likely to deflect bullets, however.) And keep the internal packaging, it makes for great lining and cushioning materials. Plus they are about the right size to keep you from overpacking them such that the box weighs a ton.

  • PRO TIP: Pack books in smaller boxes, so that they do not weigh as much. An average load of hardbacks in an apple box weighs something like 60+ pounds. Avoid using large boxes for books. (Unless you have loads of books like me. Then you must simply resign yourself to 'hurtage' and exhaustion.)

Pet stores order lots of supplies and tanks and cat-trees and stuff, and thus have lots of great boxes of multiple sizes. Furthermore, most of the boxes are shipped in dry and pet free, never entering the floor proper. So those with allergies don't need to worry about boxes from these sources!

Universal Single-sided Bonding Membrane, an indispensable tool for the savvy gamer. You could also use actual packing tape.
Universal Single-sided Bonding Membrane, an indispensable tool for the savvy gamer. You could also use actual packing tape. | Source

Other Packaging Supplies:

Rolls of tape and tape guns make sealing up boxes so much easier. It takes a bit of practice to get the combo of arm position and wrist snap that makes tape guns fast and easy to use, but it is worth it.

Resealable plastic bags are not only useful for holding parts and pieces, but are great to hold a box-inventory on a piece of paper inside, and taped to the outside of the box. Inventories are worth the time, after all, there are good reasons why all businesses put inventories in or on the stuff they ship! You will need to find a balance between sufficient detail and taking too long to write each out that works for you.

  • PRO TIP: Put parts and pieces (nuts, bolts, attachments) in a resealable plastic bag, and tape them to the thing they go to; but if said thing is wood, cloth, or some other fragile material, pick an attachment spot that can't be seen, in case the tape leaves a mark!

Trash bags are necessary for all the little things that accumulate, that are not really needed, as well as for broken stuff.

Blankets and towels are great for cushioning items of furniture so they don't get marked, but make sure you are not using a handmade or heirloom item to do so!

Newspapers (along with the packaging inside apple boxes) are great for cushioning dishes and other small or easily damaged items.

  • PRO TIP: Newspapers can also be taped to the edges and corners of things to help cushion them. Just be certain that the tape won't leave a permanent mark on what you are affixing it to! Test in an inconspicuous place first.

Papers, Pens, and Permanent markers are for making box-inventory lists, for resupplying your Clipboard of Power™, and for labeling which rooms the boxes go into at your new location. If you don't yet know where you will be exactly, then label the boxes with the rooms that they came from... chances are you will want to put the stuff in a similar room when you do find a new place.

One set of items not on my list is protective gear. You will want to seriously consider getting knee and elbow pads (good for cleaning time as well), gloves, eye protection, and a breathing mask to protect against dust. Pinches, and things unexpectedly and suddenly moving or even flying are not uncommon during a move. If you have many things piled up high, or overhead, consider a helmet.

The truck and/or trailer deserves a special more detailed mention. It will get a separate section below.

Take comfort that your cleaning job is unlikely to be this big!
Take comfort that your cleaning job is unlikely to be this big! | Source

Cleaning supplies

When you make the cleaning portion of your master list, feel free to include humorous items such as any arch-enemies or nemesis's that you may have managed to acquire over the course of your career. This could even include things you always meant to fix or take care of that you never got around to.

As you are doing your walk around, take note of what things are made of: wood, tile, metal, ceramic, vinyl, leather, cloth, plastic, plaster, stone, carpet, and so forth. What kinds of cleaning supplies you will need are determined by what surfaces and materials you have to clean. Do a little research if needed to determine what cleaners are effective and safe for your various surfaces.

Trust me, you don't want to guess wrong and leave a huge mess. That's like using the wrong weapons against an enemy that is immune to that type of damage.... Instead of cleaning the surface, you will probably damage or discolor it instead and create a huge stress-ball monster that you simply don't need to spawn in the middle of a move. It might also cost you your deposit, which is seriously bad mojo.

  • PRO TIP: Take the time to do the research, that's why we started with Rule Zero. If you really don't have the time (or the inclination - I understand, there are times you just don't want to deal with something...), you may want to consider hiring a professional. If you can find one running a special, it can be surprisingly affordable - if you used your awesome Clipboard of Power™ to plan ahead, this is an easy side quest. As a bonus, a professional cleaning company can be held responsible for mistakes, instead of you having to take the fall for a screw-up.

  • PRO TIP: If you hire a professional, make sure they really are a professional! Not only will they have licenses, but they will have the tools, equipment, and insurance to cover the job. It's great if your buddy knows a person who can do it on the cheap - but I've gotten jobs because the "buddy's friend" turned out to be a dead end that costs you more money to fix what they screwed up than you would have spent on a real professional in the first place.
  • If you really must go the route of helping out your buddy's friend, then get the number of some of their previous clients, and speak with them about their quality of work and timeliness, first. If they can't (or won't) give you any way to pre-check their work, then seriously reconsider taking that person on... because it's most likely a risk you don't want to take. Gamers routinely take risks, even those with long odds, but this is one you don't want to roll dice on!

Be sure to obtain protective gear, such as gloves, breathing masks, and goggles. Some of the cleaners are harsh, and you don't want to breathe the fumes either.

It seems there are never enough snacks - and it is always a good idea to have some for those who come to help you move.
It seems there are never enough snacks - and it is always a good idea to have some for those who come to help you move. | Source

People Supplies

You may be surprised how often I've seen people forget this simple yet important aspect. You're chugging along, getting stuff packed, cleaning out rooms, feeling really good with your progress... and then night falls. Where is the bedding? Packed. Where is the toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap? Packed. PJs? Packed. Truly not the way you want to end a day.

Again, your Clipboard of Power™ comes to the rescue. In your People Supplies list (modeled after my semi-imaginary list above) you will have listed how people are going to be sleeping, with what where, and so forth. We use the following method, you are welcome to adopt, modify, or ignore it as you please.

For each person we set aside a suitcase and a backpack or duffle bag (stores with sports, camping, travel, and outdoor themes are good places to check if you don't have any). In one container we put the day-to-day stuff that we will need while everything gets transformed into parts, pieces, and boxes. Toiletries, comfy sweats, PJs, t-shirts and slacks, underclothing, bedding. Into the other we put stuff for when we aren't packing: some books, laptop if you have one, hand-held game system and games, some music, cords and chargers, and toys. We are lucky enough to have sleeping bags and an air mattress, which work great for sleeping on after we take apart the beds.

  • PRO TIP: Toys are important, and it is best if you talk with the kid(s) in question and have them pick the toys out themselves, as they will invariably have a sudden uncontrollable urge to play with each and every single toy that starts "disappearing" into a box, even if they haven't touched it in years. And the (theoretically) non-kids (you know whom I'm referring to) will need some ways of de-stressing, too.

This is also where you do your meal planning. You don't want to be trying to plan meals and go grocery shopping, let alone serious cooking, in the middle of a move. It's just more stress you don't need. As your move day approaches, start packing up cookware that you don't absolutely need, but be sure to save out a few basics - a pot, a pan, (our favorite is a wok, as it doubles for both a pot and pan!) a sheet, enough dishes for everyone to have the basics - a plate, fork, spoon, knife, and cup per person. (Also save a box or two and packaging to wrap up these last few items!) Save up a bit ahead of time, and plan for the last couple of days to be take-out. It can be fun, and help offset the feelings you will get as you look at bare walls, empty floors, and piles of boxes - especially for kids.

  • PRO TIP: Make certain to include lots of bottled water, or a couple of water pitchers with built-in filters. Moving is hard work, and you'll need your hydration more than ever! Consider also drinks with electrolytes, especially when loading the truck! Though be sure to avoid the ones with sugar in them, as they tend to spike and then crash your energy level - and trust me, you do not need to be suddenly running out of "mana" in the middle of a Moving-Boss Fight!

  • PRO TIP: Cardboard and tape drys out your skin! Not to mention the cleaners. Consider putting some moisturizer lotions and sanitizer hand soaps on your People Supplies list.

Utilities can cost or save you money, your Clipboard of Power™ can help you there.
Utilities can cost or save you money, your Clipboard of Power™ can help you there. | Source


Utilities are what make houses livable, for the most part. Gas, Electricity, & Water are the Three Pillars of Power for a house, but I have listed a few others in my semi-imaginary list above. The real important thing here to list on your Clipboard of Power™ is the contact information for each utility, the due date for payments, and the date you want to cut it off. The due date is important because many utilities will charge you pro-rated rates for usage during part of a billing cycle. This can be a cost savings or an unexpected extra cost depending on how well you've planned.

Particularly in the case of civic utilities such as the gas, electricity, and water utilities, once you actually manage to convince them of a date to cut it off, it is even harder to change said appointment. I have had people show up to turn stuff off, despite cancelled appointments, and you do NOT want to try to clean a house when the water and electricity is turned off. Especially in mid-summer or mid-winter. On the other end of the spectrum, expect to call and confirm the shutoff dates, because I've also had people no-show, and then the city tries to charge me for the extra days of "usage".

It is sometimes worth the extra cost to have the utilities cut off a day or two after you leave, just to insure that there are no 'outages' of critical utilities that you are using during your move. You will have to be the judge of the benefits and costs.

  • PRO TIP: Get the name and employee ID number or some other unique form of identifying the person you are speaking to, especially if they are reluctant. Go up the chain of command if you have to. Get a confirmation number, a ticket number, a work order number... something that will positively identify the work to be done (or not done, in the case of a cancellation). Write down the time you called, the time that the person actually came on the phone line, and the time the call ended. This is simple self-protection. If a dispute arises, they won't take your side unless you have solid evidence. A gamer always maxes out their skills, equipment, and ammo before taking on a Big Boss, and believe you me, city government is one BIG Brother BOSS.

For other utilities, you need to carefully consider what you cut off when. You can save yourself a bit of money if you cut off less used or unnecessary utilities early. It can also help you focus on your bit-by-bit packing every day if you have less to distract yourself with. On the other hand, entertainment and relaxation are important, especially during a stressful time like a move where everything is chaotic and half-packed.

In our last move, to which I've already referred, we cut the landline phone early which was no big deal as we had cell phones, but left the internet on so we could watch movies and play games in the evenings, and also to do research to find things we needed.

Choose wisely.

Throwing in some scenic relaxation, taking time to meditate, or crushing a few levels of that game you're working on... however you prepare, be sure to make time for it.
Throwing in some scenic relaxation, taking time to meditate, or crushing a few levels of that game you're working on... however you prepare, be sure to make time for it. | Source

Preparing to Quest for the Mystical Truck of Might

There is only so much you can fit into a passenger vehicle, and still be able to safely see, move around inside, and drive. Therefore, we turn to the moving truck and the eternal question... how big a truck do we need?

The answer, for most of you, is: "Bigger than you think!" This is not a place where you skimp, people. Cutting costs is great and all, but do you really want to go El-Cheapo on the device that you are trusting to move your entire household and valuable possessions? I THINK NOT.

That would be like buying a super expensive printer and computer, and then getting a crap printer cable. That would be like buying a huge HD flatscreen TV, and then skipping HDMI in favor of getting cheap RGB cables for it. You don't skimp on critical equipment.

Those guidelines for how many rooms of stuff will fit into a truck are guidelines, not rules. And, if I recall correctly, they are calculated on an average household of two parents and 1.5 children... ie: that perfect pretty picture you see in those various house and home magazines which does not exist in reality without way more money than most of us will ever see. Not to mention the whole fractional child thing. Ridiculous.

The vast majority of you reading this have WAY more stuff than that. Seriously, my books and gaming gear took up about 3/4 of the boxes that came out of the master bedroom, and my wife likes cute things... a lot. Getting a clue? Got it? Good.

My guidelines (are just that, not rules or law, you use them at your own risk) are as follows:

  • If you have walk-in or just plain big closets (shudder) count them as a whole room.
  • A basement? Count it as one room for every room above it on the main floor, unless it is packed, in which case you may go as high as doubling it. If it is packed to the ceiling, then triple it.
  • A garage? Count it as one room for every car, plus one room for overhead storage, if you have it. If you are instead using it for nothing but storage, you will have to use the doubling and trebling rules as if it was a basement.
  • An attic? Count it the same as a basement, including the "it's packed" variant rules.
  • A shed? Depending on size and packed-ness, it may count as one or two rooms (or more if you went insane on your shed).
  • An external storage unit? Most people pack those suckers tight, count it a room or rooms of a size twice the footage of the unit. Three times that if you've packed it to the ceiling.

Once you have guesstimated your needed size, you are off to obtain your Mystical Truck of Might. Hope you don't need two. ^^

  • PRO TIP: Have a friend or other neutral person you trust come and independently estimate your stuff. They won't have the same sentimental miasma blinding them to the realities of your stuff that you will.

You wish your truck was this hot....
You wish your truck was this hot.... | Source

Mystical Truck of Might™, Activate!

Do you remember way back in Driver's Ed., they would grade you on if you did all of the vehicle checklist or not? Well, once you've sized your truck, and picked out one you like (bonus points for cool random factoids, or other serious decoration), DO THE LOUSY CHECKLIST. This is a case where you do need the stinking checklist.

Most people do not drive moving trucks, or in fact, any truck that pushes GVM / GVWR as their other vehicle. You will usually need two people to do a proper check - it's a little tough to check the brake lights when you are in the cab holding down the brakes (unless it's dark, or you somehow conveniently brought a mirror... when you're a gamer, there is always a way). I am not going to give you a checklist for this one, as your safety is in your own hands. If you don't remember how to do a checklist, use common sense or go to the DMV and ask them for information.

I also recommend that you take the truck out for a spin, before taking it home. I've had trucks that "passed inspection" and wouldn't shift out of second and made odd noises. And make sure the heat / AC is working as appropriate for summer and/or winter.

  • PRO TIP: Double check what the weather will be where you are going! If you were going from sunny So-Cal and ending up in one of the mountain states towards year's end, to take one example not choosen at random... you're going to experience a whole lot of weather of all kinds. Take appropriate clothes too. I remember having to stop and change into winter gear, and then see the police shut the highway down behind me due to the blizzard we had driven into... couldn't see more than 100' ahead, and that doesn't make for a safe braking distance for a fully loaded moving truck with a car on a trailer behind!

You do not want to run out of fuel in the middle of a move.
You do not want to run out of fuel in the middle of a move. | Source


Your Mystical Truck of Might™ will have some gas mileage information in all the documentation you received - which of course you stapled to the appropriately labeled truck page, or placed it inside your upgraded box style Clipboard of Power™, riiiiiiight?

In any case, may I humbly suggest that you DO THE MATH!

This will help you estimate how much money you need to set aside for gas. You may want to have extra beyond your projections, because actual gas mileage will depend on weather and traffic conditions, recent maintenance and upkeep of the vehicle, as well as how much lead is in your foot.

  • PRO TIP: Add a little more money above and beyond gas projections because gas prices change (and they aren't going down) and because humans always seem to need to pick up snacks along the way, no matter how much they plan and pack ahead of time. (We have two coolers, one for each vehicle, with snacks and goodies for travel when we move... and we still manage to pick up extra snacks and munchies en route every single time.)

It can be handy to convert them to gas gift cards, rather than carry cash around - though some places do offer discounts if you pay in cash. Not only for safety, but so you won't be tempted to spend it on something other than gas. (I don't know about you, but those truck stops have some sweet gadgets you don't usually find elsewhere!) The choice is ultimately up to you.

  • PRO TIP: Ladies, keep the men away from the gadget section of the truck stops. Or plan ahead accordingly, O Master of the Clipboard of Power™. And the magazine section too, while you are at it. Can't safely drive and read or look at pictures, after all. No matter how cool the stuff in the latest computer magazine.

Your boxes and furniture will not fit as neatly as do the pieces of a certain Russian game.
Your boxes and furniture will not fit as neatly as do the pieces of a certain Russian game. | Source

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, Select, Start!

Like games? Well, loading the truck is your chance to play live tetris. The first part of loading actually starts in the house with staging your items. As you are packing stuff (and starting several months in advance, Rule Zero), you will need to find places in the house that does not obstruct traffic, does not block doors or entryways, and does not block furniture from being moved.

This will be harder than you think.

Unless you want to be moving boxes from room to room just to get stuff out of the way and exhaust your strength before you ever put a single thing in the truck, then plan ahead. Move furniture to places that will enable them to be moved out of the room swiftly. Disassembled furniture should be placed near the door / openings, while boxes should go against back walls out of the path of traffic. Do not stack boxes too high, especially if you have children, lest they be bumped, fall and harm someone or something. To assist with this, heavy boxes on the bottom, or place boxes in stacks according to weight.

  • PRO TIP: Before you start moving things high up, move things out of the way below. You will feel terrible, if when trying to move a box up high in the garage, it falls on your windshield and cracks it. And your spouse will not be amused. Not a random example.

When loading your truck, you will need the heavy and light items to come in mixed waves. If your truck has an "attic" or "cupboard" space over the cab of the truck, then light and medium weight items usually go there first. Heavy items should generally go on the bottom, with lighter items on top, or stacked in the spaces between large items. Fragile items should be well protected from movement and crushing from other items. Large thin fragile items such as glass, mirrors, or paintings should be upright, not laid horizontally, and cushioned on all sides, especially the bottom. Tall items need to be cushioned or propped such that they don't tip or sway much during the move.

Again, I'm not giving you an exact checklist because you are responsible for how your things are packed, and for the results thereof. If you aren't sure, then ask a professional for advise or assistance.

  • PRO TIP: No matter how well you pack the truck, once you are in motion, things will shift. Make sure you don't stack items too high in the back of your truck, or they may move and fall against the door, or shift into the area the door track runs, and prevent it from opening!

The exact details will vary due to truck size and shape, the household items, and your individual gamer skills. If you don't have the skills, get someone who does. Quality does not come cheap. As always, should you or any of your team use this information, you do so at your own risk; should any of your items be damaged or destroyed, you will be disavowed.

Um... bonus points for retro, but I think you'll need something a little bigger.
Um... bonus points for retro, but I think you'll need something a little bigger. | Source

The Trailer of Lassitude.

It's just a trailer. They just sit there and don't do much. Right?


This is where I break the Guy Code and say, Read The Instructions. Better yet (and since most guys are visual and manual learners anyway), have the renter / owner of the trailer demonstrate how to hitch, and attach anything to the trailer. Especially if it is a vehicle trailer. Have them do one side, then you do the other and get them to check your work. And before you think, "Ooooh, bonus space in the empty car on the trailer!" check the weight rating, and believe it. Spend the extra money for a heavy duty trailer if you have to load up the inside of your vehicle, or get one that lets the car rest on it's own wheels.

And once you've learned how it is done, you can get all the Guy Cred you want afterwards.

  • PRO TIP: Once you've learned how to balance the load in a truck or trailer, or have had a professional explain it, or even do it for you - DO IT THAT WAY! I have a relative (who shall remain nameless) who insisted on changing how the trailer of our vehicle was loaded. Due to the nature of the relationship, and the fact that the relative in question insisted on overriding my experience and knowledge (over 30 moves at that time in my life), I was not able to gainsay the relative in question. And we all nearly died for it. The moment the vehicle hit 40 or so on a multi-lane highway, it started jack-knifing horribly back and forth across our lane and into both lanes on either side. While a small corner of my gaming mind was gleefully watching all the cars in the neighboring lanes scatter like the wind - even driving on the margins to get away from our wildly fluctuating vehicle - and another small corner was fearfully cringing at the point total the potential life-destroying catastrophic wreck we had suddenly become would tally; the majority of my gaming mind was thankfully on task using every bit of driving experience (in game and in real life, not to mention praying frantically) to gain control of the vehicle. Thanks be to God, I was successful in regaining control, and keeping control, of the vehicle for the rest of that move.


Game Over

I hope you've found this guide useful. Keep in mind that the unpacking at your destination may sometimes be able to use the reverse of some of this information. It is all based on my personal and numerous experiences with moving an entire household. Not only have I personally moved 42+ times, but I have helped countless neighbors and acquaintances pack, move, and unpack.

All of the information presented here is accurate and true regarding the specific situations I was in. Your individual circumstances WILL vary from mine, and not all of my tips may be valid for your unique situation(s). You are ultimately responsible for all of your stuff, what happens to your stuff, and even if you use some of my tips successfully (or unsuccessfully) the responsibility is yours and only yours.

Having said that, I welcome your constructive feedback. I have learned my skills from many people over the years, and to them I give thanks. I hope my tips are useful and successful in all your moves, and I hope that your comments will teach me new things to look out for and to try.

Rate this Moving Guide

5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Moving: How To, Gamer Style.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2013 Nijineko Prismaticpsion


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