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Lessons Learned: What I Would Do Differently if I Have to Move Again

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Yesterday we unpacked our last box. Other than waiting for a delivery of new furniture and laundry machines, we’re settled in and starting to find our rhythm here. Brandon and I have moved 6 or 7 times in the last 7 years so I feel like I should be sitting here today with this wealth of knowledge going on and on about how it gets easier but it doesn’t. Honestly, moving is hard and it sucks. I’m over it even though I know that there is at least one, if not two, more moves in our future. Hopefully they are at least a year away. I need a little time to relax where we are before we pack up and do this whole thing over again.

The first two times Brandon and I moved together (to Alabama in 2010 and to Florida in 2011) we sold everything we owned and moved with just our clothes and other personal items in our cars. Obviously, those were our easiest moves. Every time we decide to move again I’m tempted to do the same thing. It’s so easy to advertise a moving sale, put a price on stuff, and let it all go. We aren’t really ones for much sentimental attachment anyway. We thought about trying to sell off everything before this move but realized we had invested a lot of money into building our home when we lived in Atlanta and weren’t quite ready to let it all go. So, we rented a moving truck and packed it all up. That turned out to be a mess! Hopefully, next time we do this, we’ll remember the lessons we learned from this move.

Moving across state lines is a huge deal and even though I've done it 4 times I still find myself making mistakes and learning new lessons. Here are some of the major lessons learned from this move and a few things you can do to make it less stressful on yourself.

Moving – Lessons Learned

These are just a couple of thing that would have made our lives a bit easier…

Hire movers and be sure to pay for moving insurance

We used a local company when we moved from midtown Atlanta to the suburbs and they were phenomenal! They loaded everything we had, drove to the new destination, and unloaded everything in just over 2 hours. I was stunned by how quickly they moved us and they were total professionals. Unfortunately, they weren’t available on the day we moved from Atlanta to Charleston so I hired a company through Hire a Helper. The company I tried to hire wasn’t available on our moving day so I went with a suggested recommendation from the Hire a Helper staff. 

They arrived on time and were incredibly friendly however it took them over 3 hours just to load the truck (remember, our previous company loaded more belongings in far less time) resulting in an extra $75 fee. When we arrived in Charleston we found that almost every single item we owned was damaged. The movers had not secured our belongings with furniture pads and plastic wrap despite the fact that I had ordered it and paid extra to guarantee its use. Fortunately, I had also paid for moving insurance.

The movers were able to do everything much faster than we were and it saved us from the back-breaking work. Had they protected our belongings like I had requested it would have been a great decision. As it was, our items were damaged but the insurance I paid for covered the costs of repairs and replacements. 

Plan for your first week meals

Can you guess what we did on our first night here? We went out to dinner. It didn’t matter that we were exhausted and sweaty because we were hungry! We went out to dinner for the next two nights as well. We didn’t have any of our kitchen items unpacked and we hadn’t been to the grocery store yet but we had to eat. After the heavy expenses of moving the last thing we wanted to do was get in a car and go out again but that’s what we did.

Sure, it was great to look around the area and get familiar with a little bit of what was nearby but I wish we could have settled in at home first. During the move, food just wasn’t really something I thought much about. It’s not like you can easily pack up the items in your refrigerator to take with you nor can you make good meals on pantry staples alone. Next time I plan to take full advantage of Amazon Fresh so I can order groceries directly to my new place (hello Amazon Prime and next-day delivery) or a service liked Plated which delivers ready-to-cook meals to my door. 

We actually have a lot of family nearby but timing being what it was, they were all out of state when we arrived. If they had been here, I’d have been pleading for everyone to bring one meal over to spare me this stress. As it were, I knew we could have relied on delivery (Uber Eats!) but in my stressed and exhausted state that didn’t even cross my mind.

Upcycle and DIY with Pinterest

Even though we downsized and purged the clutter before moving (thanks to the recommendation to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) we still arrived with so. much. stuff. Everything we moved with had a place and a purpose in our old home. There were baskets, storage containers, and other items that were all very necessary when we lived in Atlanta. When we moved into our new place I was astounded by the space! There are walk-in closets in both bedrooms (separate his / her closets in the master) and linen closets in both bathrooms. There are hall closets and an enormous laundry room. I’ve never had so much space and suddenly these baskets and other items we had weren’t quite so essential.

I didn’t want to purge any more items and I was convinced that they could have a use if I got creative. Enter: Pinterest. Suddenly, an old cabinet we didn’t have the space for became a potting table outside on our patio. The bench I thought we were ready to get rid of became a new decor item in our guest bedroom. The cabinet that used to house our movies and books has become a renovated buffet for our dining room. I’m also reusing some artificial flowers and ribbon from an old basket to make a wreath for our front door. 

Not only is this helping us save money on decorating our new place but it’s preventing the stress and annoyance of selling items online or at yard/garage sales. I recommend purging what you can before you move and then using the creative genius of Pinterest-users to re-purpose what you can once you arrive.

Now, just a few more finishing touches and the arrival of our new furniture and we’ll be all set to start building our new lives based right here in Charleston, WV.  This weekend we are planning a day trip to Columbus, Ohio which should be fun. Neither of us have ever been there and Brandon has already found a few record shops he wants to check out so that’s where we’ll be. 

If you’re looking for more moving info you can check out this post about how we moved 500+ miles in 3 weeks and this post about 3 things we did to prepare for our move.