I mentioned before that I’ve moved pretty regularly since I left for college. This last move was smoother than most because I’d already learned a few key lessons the hard way.
1. Do NOT arrange to have the electricity shut off on the day you’re moving out.
This sounds obvious, mostly because it is, but somehow I did it anyway. I’m not great with dates, so now, I don’t make any utilities decisions without a calendar in front of me.
2. If you DO make mistake #1, and have to move out of an apartment with no electricity, move during the daytime.
Not only did I have no electricity, but I decided to finish my move after I got off work at the restaurant around 10 or 10:30. That move came at the height of summer, so I figured if I waited until the sun went down, it would be a little cooler.
So, when I realized that I had no power, I had to find a way to clear the place out in the dark. My only option was to light a ton of candles, which is not only a fire hazard, but all those tiny flames made the apartment even hotter.
3. Measure twice, move once.
I had this really cute red, wooden dining room set. The sides of the table folded down, making it pretty narrow. I figured it would easily fit in my Geo Prism; it didn’t. I’d already carried the table down two flights of stairs with the leaves occasionally hitting me in the shin, so I wasn’t about to carry it back up. I couldn’t get it in the car, and I couldn’t just leave it there. What if someone took it? I loved that table.
My new apartment was about three blocks away, and since I couldn’t think of any better options, I carried it. Picking it up, I managed to grab it by the bottom legs and carry it more or less on my back. Halfway there, a guy saw me, and offered to give me a hand.
“No, I’ve got it. Thanks, though!” I told him. (There is, perhaps, a lesson within this lesson, which is that if anyone offers to help you carry something slightly heavy and totally unwieldy, you should say yes.)
Let me explain: At the time, I felt like I could easily make it. The table wasn’t too heavy. I had a good grip on it. Also, I am not good at asking for or getting help. I feel like I’m imposing. Plus, I am very, very stupid sometimes.
I carried it all the way to the porch in front of my new place. At that point, I couldn’t carry it another step, and I abandoned it there. I dragged myself inside and drank a lot of water. That walk had changed things between my table and me. Just sitting on the couch thinking about carrying it a few more feet, I realized I wouldn’t care if someone stole it to save me the trouble of bringing it in. No one did, and half an hour later, I scrounged up the energy to move it into the dining room.
4. Don’t mess with Mom.
When I left Florida, my parents drove out to help me move. My mother took one look at the living room and gave me A Look. It’s a look that says: “I’m actively keeping myself from killing you right now.”
The problem was that I had spent weeks getting my things boxed up and stacking those boxes near the front door for easy access, but my roommate had not. Her stuff was still scattered about the house, and there were even giant tufts of stuffing strewn all over the floor from a stuffed animal that her beagle had destroyed. When I explained that all my stuff was ready to go, she softened. I stopped worrying that she would try to choke me with the power of her mind, but I have filed that expression away as one to be avoided at all costs. When they came to pick up my stuff today, it was all neatly stacked in three centralized areas.
5. It will get done.
All week, when people have asked about how the packing is going, this has been my answer. Sometimes I didn’t believe it, but I’m intensely deadline driven. Things might not come out the way I want them to, but they will get done on time. I worried Thursday night that I had spent too much time at goodbye dinners and Trivia Night and not enough time packing, but I looked around the room, took a deep breath, and grabbed another box. It needs to get done, so it will. Because if it doesn’t, I have to face my mother’s wrath.
These are the things I can never get right:
1. The food situation.
Moving food from one fridge to another a few blocks away or even across town is no problem. But, for the big moves, I try to plan out meals to eat most of what I have. At some point, though, I don’t want to buy more groceries, but what I have left doesn’t go together. This week I tried to figure out how to make a full meal out of frozen waffles, a can of soup, frozen fruit, a jar of pickles and beer.
At least this time, I conserved enough milk for my coffee, so I didn’t have to steal a handful of creamers from the coffee bar at a gas station.
2. Pack everything you don’t need/I need everything.
Last night, I got to that point where everything I hadn’t packed seemed essential somehow, but there was so much of it, that I wouldn’t have time to pack it in the morning or at lunch. So, I packed all of it, regardless of it’s usefulness. This afternoon, I realized that because I had packed all my silverware, I didn’t have anything to eat my leftover pasta with. I meant to grab a plastic fork from the break room at work but forgot. So, I stopped by Sonic and ordered an ice cream sundae because it would come with a spoon.
After all the moving I’ve done, I’m still not good at it. I am, however, trying to avoid making the same stupid mistakes twice. If I’m going to screw up, I like to do it in new and different ways each time.