Five Recommendations on Moving from a Self-Proclaimed Serial Mover

May 11, 2017

We moved from the tiny house into our rental so that our house construction can begin (read about our tiny house experience here).  This is the only picture I took, because…well, mainly because moving is overwhelming enough without adding the pressure of documenting it with images.

Moving Truck

It was unfathomable to me to pay for someone to move us out of 720 square feet.  Such a small space right? Surely it wouldn’t be terribly complicated or overwhelming.  Not at all – says the woman whose hands and forearms are so sore it hurts to type.  The same woman whose arms and legs are littered with mysterious bruises and scrapes that apparently bled unbeknownst to her.

Super simple.


It is moving. Moving is a treacherous and daunting process even if you pay people to do it for you.

I must admit, I am a little bit of a pessimist when it comes to the whole process of moving. I always think there is more to pack and more to move than there is. I lament about it and wring my hands with worry.  Meanwhile, my husband looks around and determines it’s not so much.  He concluded this time that we could get by with the smallest truck.

He is the optimist.

Ultimately, he only agreed to the slightly bigger truck because they were offering it for the same price, so why not!  Everyone likes a good bargain.

Then, as we neared the tail end of the truck in our packing process, there we were folding our things like origami and slipping them into crevasses like we were competing in a life-size game of Tetris.  And, there were some of our possessions still inhabiting the house welling with tears for fear of being abandoned.

After going through this process for the third time in the span of 18 months I have concluded I am actually not a pessimist. I am a realist. And, my husband is either so spacially challenged I am unsure of how he perpendicular parks let alone why he decided to exit the spacious birth canal 40, plus years ago. 😉  Or, he is Pollyanna.

I am going with the latter.  Even though, I really really want to go with the former.

In any case, here we are on day-one post-move living from cardboard boxes. And, now we have been delayed in our unpacking because our olfactory senses have quickly been alerted to what we knew all along – our tiny and very dilapidated house was musty and the smell has lingered within our clothing.  It is an odor that is reminiscent of a closet that hasn’t been opened in a decade.

Now, we are washing all – I repeat all – of our clothes. Our standby  All Free laundry soap isn’t remediating the smell, so we sniffed our way through the detergent isle of Target and chose Mrs. Meyers Clean Day detergent.  Sure, we had to sell an organ on eBay in order to purchase it, but now our clothes are basking in the aroma of basil. 😉

Perhaps it is the aromatherapy of the laundry, but I am starting to feel a slight pep about doing a massive spring clean of what I have toted from one house to another.  It is a continued path to minimalism.  I actually think I might be on the trajectory to join a nudist colony.  No laundry?!  And, I am swearing, yet again, that I will never own this much stuff, so that I never have to move it (or clean it for that matter).

It is cathartic and freeing to purge things.

Regardless of that optimistic blip, the act of moving your things is never easy. It is actually one of the most stressful things to endure right up there with a major illness, divorce and the death of a loved one.  By comparison, I will take moving any day of the week.  Every day of the week for that matter.

After these three moves, I have learned a few things about how best to manage the moving process to alleviate frustration and stress.  I compiled my learnings in hopes it might help you on a future move. And, not to be a pessimist realist, but no matter how well you follow these 5 recommendations, or how well you plan, you will never quite be as prepared as you would like.

1. Love it or leave it

If you aren’t sure about something, think twice before expending the time, money and effort to smother it in paper and/or bubble wrap and place it into a box.  Set it free from its bondage with you before you subject it to a smothering joy ride in a moving van! This will also save you from lamenting its existence within your possession a second time, when you open the box and sigh after you see what is inside.

If you are still struggling parting ways with your things, really think of the object’s life with you. Is it living a fulfilled life, or would it be better off being appreciated by another human. Be encouraged to set it free to live on! I know that sounds silly, but a professional organizer told me that. Sometimes thinking about it that way can help release sentimental value, as the object deserves a life that is more fulfilled than the one it ‘lives’ with you.

2. Allow extra time and overestimate

Overestimate the amount of your possessions when choosing a truck rental and realize it will take longer than planned. During our first move from the white house, it rained so hard the movers cancelled on us. We moved ourselves the second time from our first rental into the tiny lake house. During that move there was an ice storm and we could not get the moving truck down the driveway of the rental. Yesterday morning it rained. Despite weather, it always takes longer than you think it will and you always have more to move than you thought.  It’s best to plan long and be happy when you finish sooner than expected.

3. Pack non-necessities several weeks early

Simply put, pack in advance.  And, if those things are so unnecessary that you can do without them for several weeks, then consider parting with whatever those things are (see #1).

4.  Pack an overnight bag for each person, plus, plus

In your overnight bag include toiletries, pajamas, underwear and a change of clothes. Also, make sure you have phone chargers, towels, sheets and blankets earmarked for easy access, so that you can shower and make beds (and charge your phone). You are all going to be tired! Speaking of tired, the coffee maker might be a good thing to put in the box with the sheets!

5. Pay a professional mover

If you can, by all means pay a professional mover to carry and transport all of your things for you. Save yourself the physical exertion. After all, moving is stressful enough without having to suffer the bumps, bruises and soreness.  Trust me!

That is all.

Please give me a little grace for not providing you with some sort of fruitful knowledge nugget today. This mama is tired and so is her mama brain…because even after you have moved all day and unpacked into the wee hours of the night, your daughter will still climb into your bed at 5:00 a.m.

Moving - No Rest for the Weary

Journey on and hopefully with the help of professional movers…

Melissa a.k.a. the mamabrain at mamabrains


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