Sunday, December 15, 2013

Now that I’ve shaken off some of the soreness with aspirin and sleep, I’m able to write once again. Yesterday was eight hours of sweat and work, as I moved a trusted friend and his fiancée out from their apartment to a more affordable living space. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’ve hauled friends and family to and fro more than I can successfully count. If I were to guess, I think the number of times would be in the upper 20s by now. Not many non-professionals can say they’ve done that. I consider it a matter of virtue, and something that should be done more often by others. However, my life is not the only string in the harp.

It has, though, shown me the limitations of my body. I had to stop and rest a few times. Even though I’ve been in places with more flights, the stairs were a killer. No less than 30 times did I climb them, and that was with a team. I’m not as young as I once was. Maybe from my experiences, I could say a few things to people who are keen on moving in the future:

– If you have any considerable amount of books (e.g. more than one tall book case), take time in advance to pack them in lidded boxes. I consider “in advance” about two to three weeks. You can’t read the whole bookcase before then, and life most likely would dictate that you won’t read more than a couple. These are very heavy, but can be quickly transported on an appliance dolly if packed correctly.

– Closely related to the point above, if you’re having volunteered work come and help DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THAT DAY TO START PACKING. I cannot emphasize that enough. If you have a very busy life, start packing months in advance bit by bit. Nothing bogs down moving day like having little to move in the morning while people are fresh. By the time 5:00pm rolls around, people will be tired whether they started at 9:00am or noon. If you’re paying for the labor, then that’s a different story.

– Have plenty of garbage bags on hand. Why? Because you’ll inevitably be throwing something out, whether it be your leftovers in the refrigerator or the college essays you’ve tucked in the corner “for reference.”

– Add at least two trips to the number of hauls to what you think you might need. Over the course of my work, people often underestimate their hauling capacity versus the amount of possessions they have. Closely related to the first sentence, consider the possibility it might take you more than one day to move. If you can, which has happened for me on more than one occasion, start moving non-essential items in before the bulk of the possessions are to be moved. Cleaners, towels, and other housekeeping items will also come in very handy at the new location. Why not have them waiting when you get there?

The over-arching point to take away from this is don’t have your help walking in on an unprepared house the day you’re supposed to move. Nothing starts off a clusterjam like shooting from the hip. You will always run into obstacles moving possessions and will need all the energy you can muster to solve those problems when moving. It’s also a tip of the hat to your help that they’re working on the problems you simply cannot do alone. That’s why you need their help in the first place. The more you can focus their assistance on those problems, I guarantee you the smoother it will be.

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13 thoughts on “Sunday, December 15, 2013

  1. Nicole says:

    I’ve always helped others move when I have been asked to (although I’m rarely much help and usually just get in the way), but I’ve noticed that most friends are adamantly opposed to helping out with such things. Often, when you ask them they’ll laugh sarcastically as if to say, “Oh, you’re not serious about that, are you?” But you’ve helped me move twice, the first time being only two days after we met, so there are officially not very many people as kind as you.

    By the way, it looks like I’m closing on a house at the end of January… I doubt you’d have any desire to spend an entire day moving stuff right after spending an entire day driving, but just in case I’m wrong there will be a lot of pizza and beer afterwards! 🙂

    • There’s little getting around that moving is hard work, both for the occupant and the people that help. Some are simply too self-centered to exert that kind of energy, and while that’s their prerogative, it demonstrates the lack of community Americans are allowing to exist in the country.

      Unfortunately, it’s a bit too far for me to do that. The time and the money involved would be too much for me, especially during the year-end operations for the business.

      • Nicole says:

        I can definitely understand, hehe. But after I get everything in order, you will be welcomed to visit whenever you’re able.

  2. We have moved some 18 times in our 40 years of marriage. A lot of those were done with friends. When we moved to France we paid a well known English moving company £9,000. On arrival in France quite a few things were broken, and several items never made it at all. More interestingly, £30,000 went missing from our account…the movers had loaded my office on a day that I was not present ( even though I had asked them not to do so) and had used all the information that they had found there to perform the scam. The bank refunded us and nothing could be proved. I’d like you to come and do our next move, Nate.

    • It’s hard to trust movers, and I’ve had some moments. There was a company in Charlotte that helped move all my furniture into a storage unit. I had everything that needed to be moved lined up for them. For three extra men, loading the truck would have only taken 30 minutes. They took 2 hours, because they decided to pad and wrap things that didn’t need padding. We only drove the truck a quarter mile to the unit, too. I was totally being hustled, but they didn’t have much to go on.

      I prepare everything for the movers, and make sure they can’t see anything other than cardboard. It’s reasonable to expect they might have light fingers or prying eyes. While it would be an interesting story, I’m not sure flying to France would be cost effective for me. 😀

  3. kerbey says:

    When I had my Ford truck (and a better back), I would help friends move. I assume you have a truck? The rule here is that you give the helping friend a case of beer. Sixpack won’t cut it. I agree w/ all your other rules. If you are kind enough to help someone, they need to be thoughtful enough to have everything prepared before you set foot on their doorstep.

    • I’ve never owned a truck in my life. My sedans would carry quite a bit, but usually someone rents the U-haul for $30.00 a day or has a truck or van. I don’t ask for anything in return, as it’s a matter of virtue. They usually buy my dinner, and I won’t decline.

  4. You are a good friend.

    We moved last year. I was all ready when they showed up. It was pretty easy ordering guys around all day. 🙂

  5. Laura Lynn says:

    Urg…we moved into this house last Nov. 1st and I was 2 months and 10 days away from finding out why I felt so dreadful. So talk about a hard move. Just me, Mom, sis and brother. Not one other person showed up. Moved 2 henhouses, dogs and cats, 3 bedrooms and a shed full of gardening equipment and tools. It was one of the hardest moves I’ve ever done and I LOVED it. Getting out of that horrible damp impossible to heat house and into the one I’m in now? Heaven. I can only imagine what it would have been like being as sick as I was (am?) in that old place. So, even if it was hard and took two days and we had to work hard at both houses, it was worth it. You’re a good man to do it! I would always help, too. But I have to say, honestly? I wouldn’t help any of the people who didn’t come and lend a hand this last time. Most of them knew me well enough to know I was sick as hell, if not why. If they ask? Nope. Busy that day. Forever. Also for drives to airports and late night ferry pick ups. No can do. I call them ‘beer weather friends’ because thats what they’re good for. A beer and some talk.

    • It would be difficult moving under those conditions, but it’s good to hear you’ve improved your living situation. The couple I helped definitely found something more affordable. Moving’s never easy, and I think that has something to do with the amount and physical properties of our possessions. Our minds don’t process the reality, until we’re actually moving the furniture.

      I’ve had a few friends help me before, but often I don’t ask for it. There are times I probably should have, however, I’ve noticed that there’s a prevalent self-serving attitude in America. That whole “what’s in it for me” idea tends to be too big an obstacle for many.

  6. Laura Lynn says:

    I have to disagree. Since I’ve been ill I’ve met so many generous, kind hearted people that it’s completely changed my outlook. I still would help a genuine friend to move and one of the best parts of moving is getting RID of all the detritus of everyday life that drifts into your house and sticks there. The hardest thing to part with, for me, is always the books. I try to get rid of the paperbacks (donate) and keep only first editions and hard to find books. Also clothes. I love all my scarves and hats and purses and they take up a lot of room. I hate to purge my wardrobe!

    • Fair enough. I’ve not had those experiences, but that’s my luck. Maybe it’s a matter of getting it when I really need it, and I haven’t needed it yet. I think there’s a Rolling Stones song in there somewhere.

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