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The Movers.com Blog » Blog Archive » How (not) to move

How (not) to move

Before the madness began...

Before the madness began...

While there are numerous sites and blogs offering tips on moving, there are relatively few sites dedicated to how not to move. From the experiences I’ve had moving myself and helping others with their moves, I have seen, and been personally responsible for, a number of mistakes. However, about a year ago, I was involved in perhaps the most backwards move ever.

I was helping my girlfriend, Jennifer, move out of her parents’ house and into her new apartment. She was moving in with two of her friends, Jamie and Sarah. As Jamie lived around the corner from Jennifer, they agreed to split the cost of renting a van and take their stuff together. Although this may have been a good idea in theory, the implementation of the plan did not work out so well.

For reasons that I didn’t initially understand, Jamie’s parents first came to Jennifer’s house with the empty moving van. All of us (Jennifer, her parents, her sister, Jamie’s parents, and myself) began packing up the van. As the two fathers both had bad backs, I got stuck moving most of the heavy objects myself. I made trip after trip from the garage to the van, carrying handfuls of clothes, a metal file cabinet, and plastic bins of random junk, all the while wondering how my girlfriend could possibly need all of these things.

As I was moving everything, the parents were standing there telling me over and over again to be careful and not to drop anything. I was essentially being micromanaged by four people, none of whom offered much actual help. Perhaps next time I have to help someone move, I’ll use the “bad back” excuse myself and just boss everyone around.

Once all of Jennifer’s belongings were loaded up, we were on our way to Jamie’s house. Upon arriving there, we learned the reason why we had to pack up Jennifer’s things first: Jamie wanted to sleep late.

Anyway, we were then instructed to unload all of Jennifer’s belongings onto Jamie’s driveway. This was so Jamie’s parents could reorganize the van and put the big objects, Jamie’s bed and a couch, in the back. After I inquired as to why we couldn’t have put that stuff in before getting Jennifer’s things, again I was told that Jamie was still in bed and wasn’t ready earlier. Although I was incredibly annoyed by this, at least Jamie’s brother was there to help.So we took all of Jennifer’s belongings out of the truck and piled everything up on the driveway.

The next step was to bring in Jamie’s bed and couch. The bed proved to be no problem, but the couch, a four-piece behemoth, was a different story. Jamie’s parents kept this huge, old couch in their garage and were gladly giving it away to their daughter. Each of the four pieces, the main part with the fold-out bed, the corner seat, and two individual seats with reclining footrests, required two people to carry it. Jamie’s brother and I thus made four trips to pack up this stupid couch, while the parents were still telling us to be careful and not to drop anything.

We then brought in the other furniture: a desk, a dresser, an entertainment center, and a nightstand. After getting all of Jamie’s large items into the truck, we put all of Jennifer’s things back into the truck. Again, had Jamie’s parents woken their daughter up earlier, we could have avoided this grossly unnecessary step. One more gripe: Jamie’s boyfriend, who happens to be in the army and in peak physical condition, had apparently decided to take his time in getting to the house to help out.

After putting all of Jennifer’s things in the truck, unloading them, loading up Jamie’s things, and then reloading Jennifer’s things, we were finally ready to drive up to the apartment. Jamie’s parents drove the van, and the rest of us took our cars along with a bunch of smaller things that didn’t need to go in the van. We soon arrived at the apartment and began the unloading process; although, it was more like an unloading ordeal. As usual, the four parents had four different ideas on how everything should be taken out of the truck and put into the apartment.

As we walked into the apartment with the first batch, we were greeted by the third roommate, Sarah. She had the foresight to hire professional movers, who only took about 10 minutes to bring all of her stuff inside. Meanwhile, it took our group 10 minutes just to decide what to unload first.

As Sarah was already decorating her room with the obligatory scented candles and other knickknacks, the rest of us were lugging everything up the steep, concrete staircase. Jamie’s brother and I had to carry all of the heavy stuff, while the parents again were telling us to be careful and not to drop anything. It was hard enough bringing the large items up. What made it even worse was that everyone had a different opinion of what object should go where. Imagine dragging a big, wooden entertainment center up a flight of stairs. Instead of receiving a hero’s welcome when you reach the top, you have eight different voices telling you where in the living room to put it.

After a couple very long and tiring hours, we were mostly done. The one object that remained behind was the heaviest: the sofa bed. Just as we were ready to conquer the beast, Jamie’s boyfriend arrived. After putting on his weight-lifting gloves, he was finally ready to help. As we were carrying the couch up the stairs, he remarked how it was lighter than he thought and teased us for not bringing it up earlier. This comment made me want to drop the couch on his feet, despite the repeated warnings from the parents. However, since this was the last thing we brought upstairs, I was able to keep my frustration in check.

With the move finally completed, we finished the day by showering off and having the requisite moving-party feast of pizza and beer.

From this experience, I realized several mistakes that were made during this moving process. The following are the top five lessons I learned from this move:

5. If it is your moving day, you should wake up early, so as not to inconvenience your future roommates and anyone helping you move. Also, if you are helping someone move, make sure they wake up on time.

4. Get firm commitments from those who say they will help. Make sure you know who is coming and when they will be able to help. Call them repeatedly to remind them to show up.

3. When moving in with multiple roommates, try to stagger the time that everyone gets there. It’s pretty difficult to unload everything when there are three sets of families in one small apartment.

2. Anyone involved in the moving process should really apply extra deodorant.

1. Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that it is much easier to hire professional movers. Just be sure to supply them with deodorant as well.

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2 Comments

  1. Barkri says:

    Don’t forget the pets! Have their food, dishes, water and leashes available. Since moving day is stressful for pets too, you might want to have a friend, doggie day care or pet sitter watch them.

  2. The Movers.com Blog » Blog Archive » A Moving Story says:

    [...] while back, I wrote about the not-so-great experience I had helping my girlfriend move into her new apartment. Well, two weekends ago, Jennifer once again [...]

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