March 31, 2009

Curious George: Moving Day I might be moving from the East coast of the US to the Pacific Northwest in four months with the SO. Although it's a ways away I like to plan things ahead of time, and I wondered if any of the monkeys have attempted something similar and have any advice they would like to share.

My biggest internal debate; we have almost all of the furniture/household things we need, is it worth it to hire a truck and bring it all with us? SO thinks we should just sell the furniture and buy replacements when we get there; being just out of college I don't think we will get that much for the furniture.

  • Finally, a question I can answer with authority! I love the PNW so much, I've moved here (long distance) three times. You are correct - you will not get that much for the furniture, unless it's antiques. Here's what will happen if you go that route: you will spend up to a month fielding calls and dragging furniture out onto the lawn for a yard sale. At the end of the month you will have converted all of your furniture to about $500. You will then spend YEARS gradually re-buying everything. In the mean time, you will be sleeping on an air mattress, calling cardboard boxes "end tables," and storing your socks in a plastic milk crate. Ask me how I know. A truck will run you about $3-5,000. Considering gas prices, it's probably best to have your stuff shipped cross-country ($5k), rather than renting a U-Haul ($3k plus gas - the trucks get about 10MPG). Please crunch the numbers on this yourself, since my last move was 4 years ago, and costs may have changed. YMMV, literally! If you ship, be prepared for a wait of up to 2 weeks on the other end before your stuff arrives. Bring an air mattress with you in your car, or be prepared to buy one once you get here. That being said, before you move, get rid of anything you don't really like. There's nothing like staring at your least favorite end table and thinking, "I can't believe I shipped that across the country." If you have accumulated ugly hand-me-down furniture, this is a GREAT opportunity to free yourself of it, guilt-free. The same goes for everything you own. Go through it with a critical eye. Be honest. De-clutter like a mad woman. Without knowing you at all, I recommend reducing the contents of your home by at least 50% before you move. Just as a rule of thumb. You only specifically asked about the furniture, but I imagine a lot of other stuff will come up as well. Feel free to email me - I think it's in my profile - it's my Mofi username at gmail.com. Big hugs and deep breaths - you're in for a long six months, but exciting!
  • Evrn moving from northern California to central (400 miles) cost a bunch a few years ago - probably more than the furniture itself cost. If I had to do over, I think I'd try to do the minimum, mostly stuff I couldn't replace or couldn't give up. The best move I ever made was packing the few things I couldn't bear to leave behind in the trunk of a hatchback, leaving a collection of about 700 books behind, among other things. In a way it was really liberating. (My daughter wouldn't agree, but we're very different people.) You do need to plan for what you'll sleep on and eat off of/cook with/amuse yourself with through those long evenings till you can replace the comforts you are used to, but not all of that needs to travel with you. Next time, I'll take my 3 cats, the Tifany-style lamp which was a gift, the antique desk with 15 hidden drawers, a few small kitchen appliances, and the books I treasure the most.
  • You might look into PODS. I've never used them, apparently they are not cheap and apartments don't like them left in the parking lot. But I really like the concept!
  • Back when I was moving around a lot, unless a company was paying the tab, whatever didn't fit in my pickup didn't go. I was a great way to simplify one's life and, as path said, rather liberating. Aside from the necessities and things that have meaning for you, it's just easily replaceable stuff. If the two of you find that you have more stuff than can fit in your vehicle(s), you could think about buying a truck, van or trailer for the move then selling it when you're done with it. You may lose a little on taxes and bureaucracy but it would still be cheaper than hiring a mover. And welcome to the neighbourhood!
  • My experience is very much like mechagrue's. (And I'm another Pac Northwesterner! Beautiful part of the world.) Furthermore, I too would recommend keeping what you love, and selling/donating things you won't mind replacing or not having around any more. While that may sound obvious, it really hit home for me when I lost everything I had five years ago (nasty break-up, sigh). For instance I was surprised to no longer have the closet and futon. Expensive to replace, yes... but I was so glad never to have to look at them again. (They weren't ugly, I just always felt "bleh" about them.) However, I was particularly sad to have lost the beautiful wood-frame bed and my bookcases. Since then I've been much more choosy with furniture purchases, only buying and keeping things I really love, with a few rare exceptions on more minor items for necessity. Look at all of your things, and really think about how you'd feel if you lost all of it: what would you miss? What wouldn't bother you to lose? Then hire a truck to haul what you want to keep across the country and you'll find you won't regret the expense! If it's the same as in Europe, price estimates are done by cubic foot (meter here, of course) and/or pallets. When I moved from Finland to France, I paid about $1200 to move a full pallet of stuff. As regards restocking on furniture, there are Ikeas near Portland and Seattle, if I recall correctly! You could use their site to do mock-up calculations of how much it would cost to replace certain items. Knowing they're low-priced it would give you a decent idea of the minimum investment.
  • Er, small clarification to my obviously Freudian slip, hehe: "For instance I was surprised to no longer have the closet and futon" means "I was surprised that I didn't miss the closet and futon." :)
  • Lots of good advice guys, thanks a bunch. After some research it looks like we might be able to do the move for between $2,500-$2,700 by renting a truck and driving our car (this includes gas). I will check out Ikea's website though Fraise, thats a good idea. Next question: neighborhoods to avoid in Seattle? Disclaimer: Won't know for sure if I'm even moving for a week or so. Gotta get accepted first.
  • Howdy from Seattle! Or at least the Seattle area! I can give you any info you need on neighborhoods, renting, transportation, etc. So when you say neighborhoods to avoid, define "avoid." Do you mean which ones are the rough neighborhoods or which ones are the super pricey neighborhoods? ;) There is an IKEA, it's about a 20-30 minute drive south of downtown Seattle proper, depending on traffic.
  • Hehe I suppose that's a good distinction. I'm looking for a neighborhood that would be low cost, safe, close to public transportation and with places to jog. If I move it will be because I got into a program at Seattle University, so the closer to there the better.
  • Avoid that neighbourhood where islander lives. I hear he's a terrible neighbour...
  • *sharpens hedge clippers*
  • That's what we all want, cl-assy neighbors.
  • Your neighbors: Mr. ans Mrs. Dover and their son, Ben.
  • If I were going to Seattle U, I'd look into something just the other side of the 520 bridge. Kirkland gets a bad rap for being Suburbs-Ville (and it is). But the suburbs have nice jogging trails, affordable apartments, and Park-N-Rides. You can still find some deals in the Eastlake neighborhood, which is the last neighborhood I lived in before I abandoned ship for Teh Woods. It's perfectly nice during the day, but it can be a little sketchy at night. Car prowls are very common (my car was broken into twice in the year I lived there).
  • Good to know. I will find out by the 15th, fingers crossed!
  • Are you on the road? Are you exhausted? Have you eaten more than one meal consisting of Doritos and bland sandwiches from a gas station cooler? UPDATES PLEASE!