03 March, 2012

Moving 101

I’ve started packing. The last time I moved more than 12 miles, I only had three weeks and it was crazy. This time, two months out, where to begin?

As someone who has traveled and relocated A LOT, I will grace you all with my insights as I go which you may or may not agree with. (And if you have enlightenment to share on this subject, I’m all ears!)

Lesson 1: Getting Started
There are a million things to do, and it can be overwhelming. Especially if you start with a list. I’m a list-maker, but in this case, and with this much time, start with boxes! Make the list later; then you’ll feel better to already have a head start.

In my case, I’ve been collecting boxes for months because of my growing discontent. You may need to go get some. But what to pack?

Here’s my big insight for today’s lesson: The easiest thing to start with is books. Let’s face it – you can’t read them all in the next two months, so they might as well be boxed up. There’s a trick to this too: use SMALL  boxes. Books are heavy, and there is nothing worse than a giant, heavy box. Save the big boxes for things like blankets and pillows. Best to have 42 manageable boxes than 8 boxes that require two people to carry…because let’s face it: No one wants to help you move! Plan as if it’s all on you. Because it is.

Rule of thumb (that I just came up with): A heavy box should be no bigger than your torso. Keep your center of gravity centered!

Think liquor-store boxes. These. Are. Awesome. Not only are they the right size, they are designed to hold multiple bottles of liquid – i.e. heavy stuff. These boxes are some kind of reinforced…and it seems common for the stores not to break down the boxes, leaving their strength intact.

But don’t be afraid to use shoeboxes in a pinch – especially for old-school “pocket” paperbacks. And boot boxes are a decent size for most books. There is no shame in a small box of books, but there is pain in a large one!

I've only scratched the surface...

I admit I’ve not sealed up any boxes. I have many, many, many books, and it’s a bit like sealing away old friends. Besides, there are still small pockets of space in these boxes that may yet prove useful!

Key Point! Don’t succumb to the seduction of actually reading as you pack. It doesn’t work. It’s either-or. I did succumb to pull out this cute, funny book I have, called “the rules: a man’s guide to life” by Esquire. I only pulled it out because I thought it might fit in one of the smaller spaces, but it didn’t, and I started flipping through it. It’s just a series of numbered “rules” like “Rule 222: Some women, particularly models, call one another ‘girls’, but you can’t.” SO TRUE! (And not just models, all of us.) Or non-sequitur rules like 176: “The best instrument is the cello.” And 31: “The best force is centrifugal.” Que? I love it! Cracks me up. I know many who agree with 480: “If there is danger involved, it is fun.” And its follow-up 481: “It is more fun if it requires you to sign a waiver.” SO TRUE! I kept a copy of the waiver I signed for bungee-jumping…and went back for seconds.

[Hopefully Esquire, and Hearst Books who published it, won’t be mad that I listed some of these rules. It’s just a book I found in a bookstore somewhere a few years ago, that cracks me up every time.]

But in the “do as I say, not as I do” department: don’t succumb to the temptation to read while you are packing! It is a path to the dark side …you know “easier, more seductive”.

Now I just have to, you know, tell my bosses, and break the news to my best friend, and then the rest of my family, sell some stuff, and figure out exactly HOW to get out of Dodge. Guess I’ll have to write that list soon.


  1. I have moved many, many times as well and can't argue with anything on your list. I do the same with my books. I can't part with them. I had them mailed to the mission field and then mailed them back when I came home.

    For my last move, I had the apartment down to the absolute bare minimum that could fit in my van in one load for the last two weeks we were there. That last day, we threw everything in and hit the road.

    Of course, that was a 100 mile trip. It gets much more complicated when you move 900 miles.

    1. Yeah, I can only hope to be that prepared when the final moment comes. My "list" is already long enough to be its own post.

  2. Wow, I've travelled a lot in my life - but have only had to pack up a whole house once. And we moved such a short distance that it really didn't require much packing.

    I love books too. A lot of people I know get rid of books once they read them - but I just love having them. I'm happy to reread the ones I like - and in addition, just love having them there on the shelf. So pretty! Hoping to go shopping tomorrow and will maybe pick up some more! Hurray.

    Good luck with the packing - I'll try and absorb whatever tips you share. Who knows when I might need them ;-)

    My last post mentions you and Brett - it's sort of an appreciation of the nice couples I'm following online. (Ok, I know calling you guys a couple is taking things too far - but you know what I mean)

    1. I have given up a few books, only if I know for sure I'll never want to open them again. Speaking of "pretty", I once had them organized by color. It wasn't confusing at all, because I know what they all look like.

      I don't expect these "moving" posts to be wildly entertaining, but more self-help. Hopefully!

  3. My books are also first packed, first unpacked. When we moved recently it was 80+ boxes of books alone, but I just can't part with them. I have a kindle, which I love, but nothing replaces a good physical book. When I moved away from home the first time, I packed all of my books in the largest boxes I could find. It took me three HOURS just to get one of them out of the trunk of my Escort(just realized you must capitalize escort or else it makes it sound like a hooker helped me move) and then I had to have my roommate help me get it up the two flights of stairs. Lesson. Learned. When I see your picture, it actually makes me a little tingly because all I can think is, "I wonder what books are there that I have never read?" My inner (who are we kidding, and outer) nerd just had a euphoric moment.

    1. We are the same! I have a nook, which I consider emergency supply: it ensures that I never go out without reading material, because it fits in my purse!

      I'm currently reading a historical-fiction novel called Stonehenge, and Walden by Thoreau, plus have barely started a book about the Salem Witch Trials and another called The Gospel According to Star Wars.

      (I lol'ed at your escort insight.)


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