Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fifteenish things to remember the next time I move.

Dear future self.

You've done this so often that you should know by now what to expect when you're moving from one residence to the other.  Apparently, you don't learn by rote (though you'd think, since this is move #28, you'd get the hang of this by now), so a checklist it is.

1)  Insist on 60 days before moving out.  Take thirty days to cry and to look for a good place to move in.  Insist that you move in not at the earliest opportunity, but at the end of that 60 day period.  Twenty-four days between "oh, I have to move out now" and "oh, I've moved in now" is insane, don't do it, you will hurt yourself.  Twit.

2)  During the first 45 days before moving, hit the gym like crazy.  It should be a good 1-2 hour intense workout 3-4 days a week, with a 60/40 split favouring weights over cardio, and no less than 20 minutes of full body stretching.  Focus especially on building up your lower back muscles.  Remember, you're not there to lose weight or to buff up; but trust me, if your body is already accustomed to the hard labour, it'll make your life a lot easier when ready to move.

3)  Eliminate crap like an angry editor.  If I can take a 6400 word story and chop it down to 5100 (including address, phone number, email address and word count), then surely I can eliminate at least 45% of all boxes prior to moving.  If it's dusty, you don't need it.  If it's moldy, get rid of it.  If it's grown legs and fangs and calls you by name (and it never did before), burn it and bury the ashes at the crossroads.

4 a)  Buy/steal/borrow/reuse a crap load of boxes.  This is another reason why it's good to book 60 days.  At the end of the first month, a bunch of people will have moved as well.  Haunt dumpsters and find the best, most serviceable boxes you can.  This saves you elbowing the good looking guy in the eye when he reaches for the same empty boxes you do.

4 b) Wine bottle boxes are awesome for all the particulars in your kitchen.  Small boxes are best for books; see if you can score photocopy paper boxes from offices - those are built for heavy but small loads, and they come built in with handles.  Big boxes should only ever be used for the flotsam and jetsam that you weren't able to eliminate in Step 3).

4 c) Two weeks in advance, box everything until the only way you can go to bed is by throwing the mattress on top of a stack of boxes, and then sleeping on the floor in a nest of blankets and scattered throw pillows.

5)  Continue showering.  Find a way.  Trust me, you'll feel like a new person after you've showered, no matter how tired you were.  And keep brushing your teeth, too, 'cause when you're baring your teeth and hissing little curse words, you want your pearly whites to leave a nice first impression on the new neighbours.  Do not misplace your essentials.  Or your keys.

6 a)  If you're moving in town with a single vehicle, you're going to scratch the heck out of it.  You may even break things.  Beware of parking standards in unfamiliar underground parking garages; they bite.

6 b)  Fill the tank.  The more crap you throw in the vehicle, and the more you drive around in town, the faster you're going to burn through the fuel.  Budget accordingly.

6 c)  Bend and STRETCH and bend and STRETCH.  Lift with the knees - curse if you have to - but you're gonna kill your back if you don't.  (Remember that long, horrible night when Mady and Mike were laughing about your orang-utan walk?)

6 d)  If you're renting a truck and moving outside of your city, budget for twice as much fuel as they tell you you're going to need.

6 e)  Avoid cross-provincial moves whenever possible.

6 f)  If Step 6e is n/a, sell everything except for your lucky underwear, toothbrush and pillow; then move.  Budget accordingly.

6)  Clean everything before moving in.

7)  Clean everything after moving out.

8)  You're going to eat a lot more than usual.  Prepare 50% more good food in advance (especially protein, some salty foods, and a lot of fluids); or, budget for a lot more junk food.  Fortunately, you're in a position to burn all the calories, so enjoy!

9)  Plan to assemble the big stuff first, especially storage units.  This allows you to plot out the room before it's cluttered, and it'll give you a place to put the boxes as you bring them in.  P.S. Yeah, you might be able to do it alone, but you're going to put yourself into absurd contortions and you're at risk of breaking something expensive.  Beg / plead / borrow help.  If you can't, ensure you've done a lot of stretching during step 2.  You're going to need to be limber.

10)  You are not above bribery.  Budget accordingly.

11)  Don't sit down and blog during moving day.  You won't ever be able to get back up again.

12)  Think about the future.  Don't dwell on the past.  You'll lose momentum if you stop and remember the why's, who's and when's of the acquisition of all your sentimental junk-crap, and sadness makes you physically weak.  If you can't be happy, try growling.  The more bear-like you feel, the stronger you'll be!

13)  Plan to move 1-2 days before you're actually required to get out.  This gives you a buffer of time for when you realize how much stuff you didn't pack / eliminate / burn and bury at the crossroads.

14)  Friends who help are awesome.  Feed them generously.

15 - and most importantly)  When you're all packed, psyched, pumped and ready to go, hire professional movers and let them do all the work for you.

1 comment:

  1. You beat me! I've moved 24 times and I hope that I will finally be able to stay put for a least that is the plan but when you're renting it's a crap shoot. This is great advice...true, but humorous. Love "continue to shower and brush teeth." I know it sounds funny, but warm water over tired, dirty bones is always nice, but especially when moving. Also, "eliminate crap like an angry editor" is wise. Keep tossing, just short of family members. BUT, my favorite was sell everything except your lucky underwear! I am printing this out just in case I have to fill those boxes again. You are right about the future...all we can do is keep moving toward it with a positive attitude. I had to keep telling myself that too and will hopefully continue to remember through the years. Good luck!