Sunday, July 10, 2011

An "organized" move

Not our house

A couple times during our move, people mentioned that things seemed particularly well organized. I'm not sure why it felt that way, exactly, but since we put specific effort into being organized, I thought I'd comment on a few things that we did.

I helped a couple people move in the weeks before our move, and noticed a pattern I wanted particularly to avoid. In each instance, there were three classes of objects to be moved:

  • Big, unboxable furniture
  • Boxes
  • Little miscellanea, mostly unboxable

Big furniture is easy enough, provided you have people to help move. We even managed to get the organ and piano out ourselves (I dismantled the organ somewhat in advance, so it would be easier; the piano movers I called couldn't come the day of our move, but while I had them on the phone I asked them for hints for moving it ourselves, and they recommended a piano skid board, which Diamond Rental provided, and which saved us). Particularly useful here is to have several oxen in human form on hand; some of my relatives could probably dead-lift the U-Haul.

Boxes are also fairly easy. They involve lots of trips up and down the stairs, unless you're willing, as we were, to throw some off the balcony to a foolish trusting catcher, and the two missionaries that serendipitously arrived just as I started loading the truck played that role well. Probably half our boxes went the quick way down the stairs, which saved several peoples' legs, backs, and sanity. Given some selectivity about what got dropped and what got carried, we even managed not to break anything.

The random little junk is the killer in all this. You can't box most of it, and it takes up all kinds of space. You can't carry much of it at once, so it requires lots of trips up and down the stairs. Inevitably it gets left for last, and it's at about this stage that most help gives up and goes home, because they figure you can carry all the rest of this stuff yourself. That's true, but it takes a week.

Our plan of attack for this last category had several prongs. First, we were fortunate to have millions of boxes (in fact, we left some behind for our condo's new owners to deal with) thanks to begging them from all kinds of people. So we managed to box a fair bit of stuff that wouldn't normally be boxed. Second, we lived a pretty spartan lifestyle just before moving, so we could put everything possible in boxes. Nothing's more depressing to otherwise willing helpers than piles of unboxed stuff and no idea whether it needs to go out or not, so we boxed everything and lived a disposable lifestyle for a few days. Third, we put up signs telling people what stayed and what went. We left tools, instructions, and little baggies taped to all the furniture that needed disassembly, and Karlyn religiously labeled each box with its contents and destination using color-coded sticky labels.

Finally, I'm not sure how much difference this made, but I decided we ought to move the little unboxed stuff first, instead of last. The truck came with a "Mom's attic" above the cab:

Not our truck

Most people use this space for boxes, but it's perfect for all the random stuff. It's not tall enough that you have to worry about stacking lots of odd-shaped articles on top of each other, it's out of the way of everything else, and it's easy to tie it off or stack boxes in front of it to keep things from falling out. So by the time the main body of helpers arrived, we'd loaded the attic with our miscellaneous stuff, and there were only boxes and furniture left. Which is good, because we still couldn't fit it all in the truck...

Thanks to Flickr user JoeInSouthernCA


  1. Does the sign really say Carmel Mountain Road?

  2. I do believe it does. Do you know the place? :)