Recently I embarked upon the dreaded short distance move. Not a town or a mile or even a block away but rather within the same building, from the 1st to the 12th floor at Acoma Luxury Apartments in Denver, CO. Leading up to the move day, I was told many horror stories from people who had also undertaken such a task and one thing was abundantly clear, this was not going to be easy. I had nightmares of carrying one hand full of dishes up an elevator that stopped on EVERY floor. Needless to say I was preparing for the worst until I decided that a short distance move was not unlike any of the countless other moves I had made in the past. The only difference being the distance that needed to be traveled in between. So I decided to put the same care and planning into this move as I had all the others. Below are my tips for how to successfully master the art of a short distance move.
1. GET REAL! Take a good hard look at what you actually own.
I always look around and think, “I don’t have that much stuff”, and then suddenly I open cabinets and drawers and discover the preverbal Jenga game that I so masterfully created when shoving boxes and picture frames and unused nick-knacks into the dark crevasses of my apartment. I have 3 full sets of China including tea cups and saucers that I have never used. I don’t even own a dining room table, and why the heck do I have 1 entire drawer dedicated to cords and charging mechanisms and computer port type things. What do they all go to? Take a mental inventory of your things then multiply by 3 because that’s how much stuff you actually have.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of a box.
Just because you are not loading your stuff onto a truck and risking the chance that it just might come out in pieces on the other side does not mean you should not still use boxes. What is so bad about cardboard boxes anyway? As children we used to love the box far more than the thing that came in it, and if you have a cat, like I do, you will be provided with hours of ‘Guess which box the cat is in now’. Get yourself 5-10 large boxes. Don’t scrimp, you will appreciate it later.
3. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize.
Once you have your trusty boxes, decide what you plan to move first. For me, we hired movers by the hour to come and handle just the heavy big pieces of furniture and all the small stuff we took care of. Since the furniture was going to be moved out on an hourly rate, it was important to make sure that it was all ready to go so everything in, on, or around these pieces was loaded into the boxes first. As there is considerably less risk in moving things from one floor to the next we didn’t feel it was necessary to individually wrap each item carefully, instead we used items from around the house to help buffer the more delicate things from those that are more durable. Using my scarf collection, extra towels, sheets, throw pillows and rarely used clothing we layered the boxes and successfully packed more than just the immediate stuff as now all the filler items were packed too.
4. If it goes in one way, it comes out the other.
Remember when packing that if you put an item in a box first, it is coming out of that box last. So make sure the important things, like the TV remote or your toothbrush are not on the bottom of the box. Be strategic when packing your boxes. Put the lesser used items in first and the more commonly used and needed items in last. Think about what you will want unpacked first on the other side and plan accordingly.
5. Don’t neglect the basic necessities!
Moving sucks. You are tired, sore, grumpy, and if you’re anything like me you have lost your cat for the last 2 hours and are just hoping he was at least appropriately wrapped prior to being packed into one of the boxes and will eventually appear on the other side. Since you know ahead of time how you are going to feel on the other end of your move, give yourself a break. Make sure that the first things you get put back together in the new place are your ability to take a shower, use the restroom and sleep in your bed. You will appreciate having a towel and soap ready at the end of a long day and already having your bed equipped with sheets and a pillow will make the move feel a lot less terrible. Trust me, you will not care how many sets of china are now neatly stacked in their new cupboards when you are ready to go to bed and still have to set the thing up.
6. The second trip…
Chances are if you only got 5 boxes you didn’t have enough to fit everything you own in them so you are going to need to make second trip. This is where planning comes in handy. Is it important that the 3 sets of China go in the first load? No. So leave the unimportant stuff for the second round. Take the necessities and easy to unload stuff up first then come back for the filler.
7. Anything with wheels is good.
We were lucky that our management office provides carts and dolly’s that make transporting boxes and heavy stuff with easy little back-breaking effort. If you are not so lucky, consider renting a few, I guarantee it will make your life easier. Or, if you are moving on a tight budget, use pieces of furniture that have wheels to assist. An office chair makes a handy cart if need be.
I can’t stress enough the need for good planning when embarking upon any move, and don’t assume that just because your only taking a ride in an elevator that it will be easy. Give yourself a break, be prepared and have a plan.
If you follow these tips there is no reason that your short distance move won’t end up being the easiest move yet!