Packing up your life and moving is never a simple thing. For a 14 year stretch, I averaged one move per year. I was young and didn’t have much furniture. My beastly burden at the time was my library. Now I work smarter, not harder. These days, I read my books on a Kindle. Much lighter.
That's something to consider when making a move, especially a long-distance move. It’s an opportunity to scale down and prioritize. Clean house in a literal way. Do you need that key chain collection from the fifth grade? Do you really?
I understand that there are family heirlooms and nostalgic, sentimental, or valuable items. Do yourself a favor and don’t trust those things to a mover. Ship them separately or leave them with someone you trust until you can. If it really matters, no matter what you do, don’t send it with the movers. I’m glad for the things I separated and packed safely into my car or my family’s basement temporarily. When you hear stories of friends or neighbors complaining that the moving company paid thousands of dollars to move their belongings and destroyed most of it in the process, they’re not exaggerating. We’re still picking through the wreckage. Can I get a witness!?
Here’s what I learned. I’d donate or sell everything I wasn’t highly sentimentally attached to and couldn’t live without. If it’s something that would cost more to replace than to move, still give it some thought. Even if you pay for the extra insurance, it doesn’t mean they’ll pay the claim. Sad but true. I don’t care what the website or the salesperson says. It’s mostly relative. Should I have paid to move a cat scratched couch 1200 miles? Nope. Am I bummed they trashed my antique enamel cabinets with beveled glass? Definitely. I should have sold them to a safe home. Now I am out the expense to move them and the items themselves. Live and learn.
In our case, we trimmed the fat before we even packed. I put a few things aside for the trunk, but space was limited I drove south with my sister, a cat, a dog, and the rest of the space full of plants. I don’t know too many people that would even drive over 1,000 miles. If you’re planning on going that route, stay tuned.
Where was I?
The biggest lesson I learned: If something matters to you that much, it’s worth going the extra mile from the beginning. If it’s something you can sell, sell. Replace it when you land. The risk of damage or loss is great. If you sell or donate, there’s a better chance of not adding to the landfill. If you hand it over to movers, it will most likely be one step from the landfill by the time it gets delivered. Don’t waste your money. And anything Ikea? It has no chance whatsoever. And if you have furniture solid enough to survive the trip? They’ll charge you extra for lugging it. Practically nothing we owned equaled the expense of transporting it and anything that was worthwhile arrived damaged your time, money, and expectations. There. I said it.
Perhaps we chose the wrong moving company. However, it seems to be a common theme whenever I’ve had conversations with new arrivals. Beyond missing items, they delivered a few things that didn’t belong to us, hence the T Rex menorah. Plus an empty golf bag. I posted on the local Facebook groups but failed to find the owners. I was hoping they’d have what we were missing. Ever the optimist!
The bottom line, no one will value your valuables as you do. It’s something to consider as you prepare to relocate. Expecting that, and preparing appropriately will save you much heartache. Don't be afraid, be prepared.