Moving a Household—Then and Now

By Laura Abruscato
Contributing Writer

The last time my husband and I moved was 12-1/2 years ago. I was four months pregnant with our first child, and since we didn’t have too much stuff in our one-bedroom apartment, we didn’t hire movers.

We asked a couple of friends to help us on moving day. We thought my husband’s friend would bring his SUV, but he came in his sedan. So, we had help but no big vehicle for moving.

Fortunately, we were moving two blocks away in West L.A. We managed to get everything into our cars. I remember walking in the street next to the trunk of a slowly-moving Corolla, watching out for the sleep sofa sticking halfway out.

Empty packing boxes become a “spare” room for kids.

Our most recent move, on Labor Day weekend, now with two children, 12 and 7, and much more stuff was going to be different. Again, it was just two blocks away, but this time we hired professional movers.

Starting to pack was tough. We were renovating our new place so we didn’t have an exact moving date which made it hard to get going on what felt like an overwhelming job.

For $10, I bought used boxes and packing materials from a neighbor who had just moved who advertised on Nextdoor. A friend whose children were over for a playdate helped me get started by focusing on things we wouldn’t need for a month.

The post office was a great source of ad- ditional boxes, and I went three times to get different used ones straight from the loading dock into my car. Trader Joe’s has boxes that are also free for the taking.

Where to store the packed boxes was confusing as we were still living in our old condo for a while, but eventually we just got used to living with little areas of packed boxes in each room.

I had lofty goals for packing. I was planning to number all the boxes and keep a list of what was in them. However, we eventually got our moving date and I needed to get going. Getting it done perfectly made way for just getting it done and though the boxes were labeled, there were neither numbers nor lists.

When moving day came, it turned out that our neighbors on the same two-unit condo floor were moving the same day. Luckily nothing got mixed up between our two trucks (that I know of )!

The first evening in our new home, we had planned to order pizza for dinner. We picked up pizza and a salad, but since we couldn’t find the boxes with our plates and utensils, we ended up using napkins as plates for the pizza, and passing around the plastic salad container and sharing the one plastic fork it came with. For an elegant touch, we drank water from wine glasses, the only glasses we could find.

We had de-cluttered and pared down our stuff a bit while packing, but we were also able to do quite a bit of de-cluttering on the other end while unpacking. Some things we thought we still wanted while packing just didn’t seem as attractive or useful when they came out of the box.

Six weeks later, we again are used to living with little areas of packed boxes. The problem, as a friend who helped me pack told me, is that though moving day gives you a deadline for packing, there is no deadline for unpacking.

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