Moving Tips

Well, I’m all settled into my new apartment in Chicago. I’ve been here for about a week and a half, and I’m finally catching my breath long enough to report here on how the move went. I had hoped to post some photos of my apartment, but I seem to have misplaced my digital camera’s USB cord in the move, and have yet to replace it. In any event, this post will take the form of a list: my tips for having a successful move-in day, particularly for relocators.

1. Enlist generous family members to make the drive with you (I especially liked the part where my dad paid for the gas for my 750 mile journey).

2. Beg, cajole, and bribe any friends in the area to help with the heavy lifting. My sister and I had to do all of the lifting until a friend of hers showed up and carried the heaviest furniture in. He saved our backs and our sanity.

3. Be sure to thank the people who help you, both with sincere words and a small token of your appreciation. A simple way to do this is to treat everyone to dinner.

4. Pack books in small boxes. No, really. Very small boxes.

5. Make sure all necessary utilities are turned on before move-in day; I had my electricity activated a day in advance to avoid any problems.

6. Have bathroom essentials ready so that you and your helpers can relieve yourselves and shower after you’ve gotten all sweaty moving in. I, personally, forgot to pick up toilet paper. Bad idea.

7. Remember this: it will take longer than you expect. Much longer.

8. Don’t try to move in all of your belongings, purchase furniture at IKEA, and assemble said furniture all in one day, especially if the move is preceded by a 12 hour drive. At some point, your helpers will turn to you and say “I hate you,” and they will mean it, and it will be deserved.

9. Make sure you have a basic tool kit, cleaning supplies, and refreshments on the day of the move.

10. Know where your helpers can park, stay, and eat in the area if they are from out of town.

11. When you start unpacking all of your boxes, you will realize how small your apartment actually is, and you will be very glad you threw away half of your belongings in order to fit everything into a minivan.

12. The sooner you finish unpacking, the better. You do not want to come home to an apartment full of boxes and half-assembled furniture long after you’ve started your new job. It will exhaust you, but just suck it up, and get it done. Even if it means spending the first weekend in your new city cleaning, unpacking, and hammering.

13. Give out your new address to friends and family a couple of weeks in advance, and order yourself something small online (like a used book from Amazon). The sting of loneliness in an unfamiliar city will be vastly improved when you open your mailbox to find letters, postcards, and packages waiting for you.

14. And, finally, a bonus tip: Never ever send a cashier’s check covering your security deposit through regular mail. Send it overnight with a certified signature. Because if you do send it regular mail, it will be the one time in your life that something you’ve sent gets lost in the mail. And then your bank will tell you that there is a 30 day waiting period to replace lost cashiers checks, and then you will have to beg your landlord to let you move in anyway. And even if he does it, you will feel like an idiot.

This will be my last installment, so thanks for reading. And happy apartment hunting!

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