Mover Stories: Everything I Learned From My Move Down the Street
Moves are a little like people — no two are exactly alike, but you can always find common threads between them. Here at MYMOVE, we wanted to highlight real people telling their real moving stories, from the mundane to the monumental.
Our first mover story is Maggie’s. She recently moved to a new apartment just a couple blocks away from her old one in Seattle and spoke to MYMOVE about the process. Below is a lightly edited transcript of her story.
- Moved 0.2 miles in Seattle
- Three bedroom house to one bedroom apartment
- DIY move with help from friends
- Mid-June move
- No pets
- No kids
Finding the apartment
Finding an apartment was pretty easy actually, only because I somehow ended up finding the perfect apartment right away. It was the first one I looked at.
But Seattle is so competitive. What I realized is that you basically have to look at Craigslist every 30 minutes. If you like something, you have to be the first person to tour it, or you’re probably not going to get it. I emailed the guy, went and saw it, and knew that at my price range, that was where I wanted to be.
It doesn’t hurt to be persistent
I do have one good tip on this: Don’t be afraid to be overly communicative with the people you’re talking to. This guy was supposed to show me the apartment on Saturday, but then he pushed it to Monday. And I was like, “I’m supposed to see other places. I’m wondering how seriously I should take this, because I like your place the best. Are there other people touring on Monday and you know, do I have a good chance? Has anybody applied?”
And since I asked, he said, “Oh, well, since you’re really interested, I’ll squeeze you in this weekend for an early showing.” And then I was the first and only person who applied. I think people are often afraid to reach out and just have a normal conversation.
What I did right
Got the internet set up early
I contacted the internet company right away because I thought that they had to come and set it up. And they ended up actually saying that they don’t come set it up anymore — they just ship you a box with the stuff, which takes three to five days. I was really glad I did that first because I work from home and would have been stuck for a few days if I’d waited.
Did an IKEA run before I moved
Normally I wait until after I move and then go to IKEA or do a big store run and get everything I need. This time I did it before, which I actually thought was really nice. After you move, you’re so exhausted and you just want to start settling in and putting stuff away — the last thing you want to do is go to IKEA to get shelves. So I went the week before and got shelves and some kitchen stuff and essentials, so then once I moved in, I could just start nesting.
Picked up furniture while I had the moving truck
In the week leading up to the move, I was scanning Craigslist for sofas very diligently. I found one that I liked and then managed to go see it on the same day that I had the moving truck.
We drove it straight to the Craigslist person and chucked it in the U-Haul and took it straight to the new place. That was really nice because on any other day, I would have had to rent a truck separately to pick it up. So if you know you need a big piece of furniture, I think it’s a good idea to try to pick it up when you already have the moving truck and an extra pair of hands.
Grabbed some groceries the morning of Moving Day
Another thing that made me really happy was that before we started the move on Saturday morning, I went to the grocery store and picked up some snacks and beer for my friends who helped me move. And this is huge — toilet paper and hand soap. And ice trays if you like nice cold ice water.
I dropped them off at the new place so that once I was moved in, I didn’t have to sprint to the grocery store. I already had the basics that I needed to just chill for a night. The move is already so stressful. You don’t want to have to do more when you’re already wiped at the end of the day.
What I would do differently
Inspect the moving truck before I drove off
If you’re renting a U-Haul, check the dashboard lights. Because if the check engine light is on, your U-Haul might die. They give you all this paperwork and they tell you to look at the gas levels and the mileage but if you’re like me, you don’t just look at the whole dash, because that would be a wise thing to do. I just looked at the mileage and the gas.
So we picked up the U-Haul, went over to my old place, parked it, and filled up the whole load in the back of the truck. Then when we go to drive it to the new place, it wouldn’t start. We ended up jumping it, which went way more smoothly than it could have — we were lucky the parking space in front of the truck was open.
Then when we dropped it off at the U-Haul place at the end of the day, we turned it off and told the U-Haul person about the battery issues. And when he tried to turn it on, it was dead again. So we kind of just scraped by. We got very lucky.
Account for the size of my new place
When you’re downsizing, you’re going to feel like you have a lot more stuff than you thought you did in your new place. We had a three bedroom apartment with a big dining room and a big living room and a big kitchen. I was thinking, I have so little stuff! I’m just rattling around and this house is basically empty.
Then I took my furniture into my new apartment, which is a small one bedroom, and it’ felt like it was overflowing with furniture. If you’re moving to a smaller space, think carefully before buying more furniture ahead of time.
Want to share your own moving story with MYMOVE? Email us at [email protected].