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Long-Distance Moving Best Served By Preparation and a Can-Do Attitude

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The congregation was abuzz waiting for the Christmas Eve vigil mass. Families were meeting up with the littlest ones dressed in their special Christmas attire. My mother asked one of the regular parishioners how she was and she said “Well, I am moving.” I quickly turned to her and said “Oh, I know how you feel. I just moved too and I don’t know where anything is!” It was the blank look and the silence that made me realize she was not relocating to a new home like I was. No, she was upwards of eighty and happy to be upright and moving.

It took three weeks, yet in the midst of the Christmas hustle and bustle I endeavored on a long distance move. I do these sorts of things from time to time, taking the harder road less traveled. It always seems to leave me with a good tale. For instance, take the time I moved to France arriving on a national holiday when all the businesses were closed so my first day in Paris was like living in a ghost town. Or when it was time for me to leave France and the UPS man would not pick-up my boxes mere hours before my departing flight due to my fourth floor flat being sans elevator.

My Christmas move was no exception to obstacles. A week out from my moving day the weather forecast was sunny, clear, with mild temperature. Two days out, the forecast was rain. The day before my move, the forecast called for 1-3 inches of snow with my destination getting 3-5 inches of the white stuff. The morning of my move, the forecast was bumped up to 6-10 inches of snow in my destination.

Now, I really enjoy snow. I enjoy its freshness. I love watching how it falls. I like the sugar coating it gives to the trees and the ground. But I enjoy all of this from my warm sofa! I do not particular care to drive in it, least of all interstate driving. But I had hired a fearless moving company that I could not persuade to wait a day, so I was forced to drive. What normally takes two hours and fifteen minutes wound up being a four hour trudge, quasi-ceremoniously single-file from New Jersey, through New York and up into Connecticut. Thankfully, at the end of the day, it all went relatively smoothly and free of accidents.

My tips for a successful long distance move:

  • Start with a list of what needs to be done a month prior to your move, then two weeks prior to your move, one week prior, etc.
  • Trust your gut instinct when booking a moving company. Go with the company you think will get the job done willingly and not necessarily the cheapest.
  • Reduce as much as you can. Make donations of duplicate or unused furniture, home furniture, appliances, and clothing to charitable organizations. Be sure to get a receipt for your donations, and save that receipt for tax time.
  • Purchase boxes and packing supplies from your moving company. Pack multiple boxes at one time – do not get hung up on what will fit in one box. Label your box with the room it should go to in large print to help the movers unpack. In smaller print, list as much of its contents as you can to help you when you are unpacking.
  • Time is money, therefore preparation is crucial. Complete all packing yourself, with the mindset that you are employing movers for all the heavy lifting and moving large awkward pieces.
  • Be kind and personable to your movers. They do hard work in your service, but they are not your servants. Plan to tip your movers, but of course use your judgment to add or subtract your tip based on the actual performance. (For the added burden of a slow and dangerous drive and working in 16 degree temps, you may consider tipping generously.)
  • Unpack a little each day. Since packing consumed my days and nights for a week, I am allowing myself to unpack in half day stints only. You will see progress daily.
  • Roll with the punches. Moving implies motion, and as we all know from those beloved summer days at the beach, it is easier to float with the tide than to fight the current.

Good luck with your next move.

Keep traveling!

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