Monday, June 01, 2009

Moving Tips Part 1: Before the Move

This past weekend I helped J. move from his old apt into a new one. The whole process gave me a new insight into moving (very different from moves in college since dorms had fixtures like beds and desks.) I used to know a coworker who always encouraged us to document tasks and come up with lessons learned and quick tips. We made great manuals and training materials. So in writing this entry, I hope to develop my own manual for any future moves. I'm sure there are many guides and tips for moving online but the best lessons are from real experience, right?

Part 1: Before Moving Day
Logistics/Admin Stuff:
Get keys. Call cable company to set up appointment for cable/internet installation for new place. Scope out new neighborhood for libraries (they have internet usually) and internet cafes and food. Reserve a U-Haul a few days in advance if needed. Call all your friends/relatives/classmates to help out with the move. Stress the point that even if they can help out for an hour, the whole process will be easier. Give them directions and instructions (packing, moving, assembling, food run). Don't forget to bribe them with food/cupcakes/whatever. Hopefully you'll have plenty of boxes/shopping bags to put things in.

Furniture: Most IKEA furniture comes apart and the small pieces/planks are manageable even for people who can't lift heavy weight (like me...). J. had the right idea about screws. He put associated screws in small half sandwich bags. I marked them all with permanent marker. (i.e. black book shelf or J's desk). We ended up taping the sandwich bags to a piece of the furniture but I think in the future I may just put all the sandwich bags in one central location (they're already labeled anyway. although one or two did tear through the bag so maybe get better bags or small boxes like altoid boxes?). Disassemble all but one small table before the move. you may need the table to put important things on. etc.

Electronics: Unplug everything and pack away. Leave internet/laptop/printer if you need last minute search for anything. Cover TV with sheet/padding. Leave a radio/boombox/ipod+speakers for music (it's great for morale)

Cleaning Items: You need to clean the apt for inspection so don't pack cleaning solutions/tools just yet. Leave one vacuum around too. A lot of paper towels. some rags for dusting. sponges/wipes for bathrooms.
Clothes: We just carried them on hangers. You can also put them in a box and/or suitcase.
Dishes: Wrap all dishes with sheets, towels, etc. This would have been easier if we had boxes, I think. You can store some spice bottles/light weight items inside empty pots.
Fridge: Empty it but do keep plenty of water/drinks inside and some emergency food/snacks.
Books: This is where my parents step in and yell at me for buying too many books. Books are really heavy so sell back any that you don't need for school. I would recommend boxes and dolly for this. Or if you're really stuck you can use a small suitcase with wheels (pushing/pulling books are much better than carrying books, especially if dictionaries and hard covers are concerned...and flights of stairs too)

Lessons learned:
1. Grab more people to help out. I cannot stress this enough.
2. Prepare more tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers, etc. this helps the entire disassembling process and the eventual assembling process too. Most people have a toolbox so tell them to bring some tools along.
3. Spring Cleaning: If you haven't done this yet, you should. What's worse than wasting energy to move stuff that you don't need? Sell/Recycle/Throw away stuff to make your life easier.

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