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How Moving Day is Like a Fragmentation Bomb

Updated on February 20, 2012

Joly, Joly Moving Day

The Horror of Moving that Begins Weeks Before
The Horror of Moving that Begins Weeks Before

Field Manual

You find you are in a position of having to move -- in a hurry (thirty days or less). First off, don't panic. You can get through this a bit easier than you thought because I've been trapped in this position many times in the past and you may be able to benefit from a few of my tips.

  • As soon as possible book a moving service, preferably one with which you are familiar. From my experience, I've found that the unfamiliar services hire ex-cons, and I've been ripped off from them (more about that later.) This is a primary step, an essential step. It means you have solidified that by a certain date all of your possessions will be moved from point "A" to point "B". Point "B" will be decided wither or not you have someone coming with you on the move. Locating point "B" will have to be a different Hub.
  • At about two days ahead of the move, take out your regular luggage. Pack it as if you were going on at least a weeks' vacation. Insert everything you will need: toothpaste, dental floss, antiseptics, all necessary medicines, bandages, a weeks's worth of underwear, two plain white dress shirts and dull ties, one pair of black slacks, one week's worth of socks (black), your usual dress shoes. If you normally carry a brief case into work, throw that into the car early.
  • Usually there are several days of overlap between the date you've given to move out of your old apartment and into the new one. Even without your matress and comforter, you may want to try to living in the new place -- just to see what you are lacking the most. Usually, this is food. If you have the energy, buy some processed foods -- beef jerkey, potato chips, etc.
  • Moving companies usually will not deal with credit cards, so be prepared to have a minimum of seven hundred to eight hundred dollars cas in your pocket. This will cover the cost of a long/or lengthy move plus tips for the movers (whether they deserve them or not). The movers must be kept on a palsy plateau. They have a million chances of ruining your stuff, so it's better to let them steal a few items in the hope that they will deliver most of the belongings unharmed.
  • You have to decide whether to hire two or three crew members. Decide this (by a few factors). Look at the total mass of your belongings. (I once used two crew members and it took us from five o'clock (arrival time) until (two o'clock -- the next day) to do the move. On another occasion the unloading took so long that the moving manager decided to cut off the work and begin again the next morning (locking up our remaining belongings inside the truck -- would that make you feel comfortable?)
  • Be sure to provide lots of bottled water for the crew. Do not buy beer. This may help the crew (in a sluggish fashion) to complete their job, but you will pay for it in the long run.
  • Step one is to buy boxes -- ten to fifteen -- if you have some in reserve, twenty-five to thirty-five, if you are starting from scratch. (Rule of thumb: You can never have enough boxes.) Assuming you have decent notice, the first step is to move (by yourself) your most delicate items -- this could include any kind of electronics to fragile wine glasses). The moving crew will handle your boxes as if everything inside them is the equivalent to army boots.) Keep this in mind for any fragile objects.
  • Desperation time: You've run out of boxes. Beforehand, buy two boxes of twenty-five garbage-size Hefty Bags. This is a kind of last-ditch effort when the boxes run out. You can put any amount of laundry into them -- huge comforters, blankets, sheets and other bedding. Pillows, clothing that didn't seem to make it into the wardrobe boxes. And, anything that might be categorized as miscellaneous. You may take your chances on the more delicate items getting broken, but if the Hefty bag consists of Tupperware and other plastic kitchen materials, you will be in excellent shape.
  • Marking boxes: This helps to a certain degree, but not as much as you'd like unless you want to mark the box on all four sides.
  • Damage: Expect and accept a fair amount of damage. As I said before the moving company will move your boxes with the delicacy as if if each one contained army boots.
  • Pack according to the worst treatment possible. From my experience, newspaper remains the number one cushioning medium. It will turn your hands black (as well as the items packed). But, you can arrange the wads of paper very appropriately and snugly. Rather than just rapping supper plates. Create a layer of crunched balls of newspaper -- top and bottom, and pad the sides. Do NOT leave expensive items (i.e., jewlery, watches, to the tempted eyes of ex-jail birds. You can count on these items being pillfered, and it may take you more than thirty days to notice.
  • Accept the fact that several of your boxes will be unidentifiable after the move. You'll have no choice but to cut the box open. (this can be a supreme hassle depending on how high your mound of belongings occupies the living room and dining room.)
  • Box cutter: Keep one in your pocket at all times as if it were the keys to your automobile.
  • Major appliances: Forget about them except the refrigerator. Toss everything that can't withstand room temperature for twenty hours. In anticipation of this loss, live off of canned foods for a week or so before the move, or simply eat at fast-food restaurants.
  • Tape: The clear celophane type is sufficient in most cases. Keep track of one or two rolls of tape. You will end up needing them up until the last minute of the move -- and perhaps beyond.
  • Items to leave behind. Do not package a few cleansers, as you will need to come back to the apartment and do some cleaning up -- the same goes for the vaccume cleaner.
  • Sacrificial items: Here comes the time when you may want to decide how important your VHS/CD/DVD/LP/magazine or comic book collection is worth. My recommendation is to move them all despite the cost (even if it is going on a credit card).
  • Huge collections: If you have huge collections of magazines, or comics, expect an extra cost of the moving expense. Each small box of comics weighs about the same as a solid piece of wood. Unless you are young and entergentic, the moving team will take hours to move (the hopefully carefully packaged boxes). There is no doubt whatsoever that each time you move your massive collection of (whatever), you are going to pay for it. The cost of moving, storing, safekeeping your collection of (whatever) will have to factor into the cost of resale at some later date. If you are like me, who has moved 30 times over 29 years, the calculations will not be easy to estimate -- especially in a market where such things as comics are almost rendered worthless unless they date from the Silver Age. This whole aspect may end up being a Hub in itself. The plastic protective sleeves cost money, the boxes cost money, the cost of the space the collection occupies costs money -- how to reconcile this with market rates?
  • With the moving truck ready to roll, you'll probably notice dozens of items that should be on their way. In a panic, use the Hefty bags to toss any and everything into them. You'll have to worry about sorting out these miscellaneous items maybe weeks or months down the road.
  • Have a pre-defined corner for storing your mass collection of books, DVDs, CDs, comics or whatever. Line them up vertically and pack them five or six stacks high. Unless we have a seven point - 0 earthquake, the six stack should be adequate (depending on which way the "p" waves are radiating).
  • Day two: Exhausted, with muscles spent, you will have to go back to your primary apartment, collect your vaccuum cleaner, cleaners, etc. (at this point just use Hefty bags). You have to turn in your apartment keys, the gate key, the mail key, plus a document that releases you from further payments on the apartment, also a forwarding address. With any fortune you will receive a refund. If you had pets, forget it.
  • If you are moving with a significant other (such as a wife) expect NOTHING from them in the way of usefulness. In fact, be prepared for a lot of verbal abuse, as if every little (and big) thing that goes wrong is immediately your fault. This cannot be overemphasized, your significant other will be consumed in a porixisim of doubt, confusion, aggravatation. Their tiny total input to the endeavor might be measured in the negative range. For you, this will be a razor-slash across the face. You started out thinking this was a family move. Uh-uh. The weight of the move is entirely yours, and your significant other will only display the worst side of his/her characteristics. You are alone on this, baby.
  • The best part is that the ugliest aspect will rarely linger longer than twenty-four hours. Try to just accept and regard this as a day in absolute hell and that there will be an end.
  • Despite the best planning, you cannot anticipate the unexpected, e.g., elevators that are not functioning, spillage, theft, uncooperative mates, a fire at either site "A" or "B". Site "B" being completely undready for a move-in, etc. etc.


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