Moving Tips for Academics: Planning, Planning, Planning

by | Jun 11, 2018

Did you land a gig in a new city for the fall? Is it a tenure-line job, so this move might be permanent? Or is it a one year visiting position that you know is temporary? Are you wondering how to balance moving with finishing up your dissertation and dealing with the anxiety of leaving a place that has come to be home?

Moving almost always sucks. Talking through options and making a plan can make it suck a little bit less, however. Here are our best moving tips for academics, whether you are headed across town or across the country, for next year or the next decade.

In this webinar, Dr. Kate Drabinski—Ideas on Fire coach and itinerant academic with many moves under her belt—teaches about moving companies, shipping services, rental trucks, and how to get from here to there as painlessly as possible.

Video transcript

Kate Drabinski [00:02]: Hi everyone, my name is Kate Drabinski and I’m here with today’s webinar, Moving Tips for Academics.

I’m really looking forward to this. I’m not moving this summer, but I have moved at least every year or two since 1993. I’ve moved in almost every way you can possibly move and I know how stressful it is and how many choices there are to make. So today we can talk about some of the choices that are on your mind and about some strategies for moving. We’ll also talk about how to manage some of the stress that comes along with it.

So the way this webinar will work is that in a moment I will disappear from the screen, but I will still be here and I’ll pull up the slides for the presentation. The presentation will take 30 to 45 minutes or so. Then I’ll come back. If you have questions as the webinar is progressing, please type them in the box that’s on the right side of your screen and I’ll address those at the end of the webinar

All right, so let’s get started.

On tap today

[01:20] I’m going to start by talking about coping with moving anxiety, which is a very challenging part of any move. Then we’ll talk about deciding where to move and if you haven’t figured out what to do with your stuff as you wait, where should you look? Should you fly out and find an apartment first? What should you do? So we’ll talk a bit about that.

Then the bulk of today’s webinar will be about deciding how to move. There are a bunch of different ways to get your stuff from here to there. So we’ll talk about what some of those different strategies are.

Then we’ll talk about selling or not selling your stuff. The worst part of moving is getting your stuff from here to there. So should you just sell it all and start over? And if so how?

Then we’ll talk about packing tips and moving day. Then we’ll wrap up with a few final notes on unloading and settling in because we often don’t talk about those things because the hard part is getting there. And then also some final tips and resources to help you with your move.

Coping with moving anxiety

[02:25] Most of us find moving to be an incredibly stressful event emotionally, logistically, and financially. It is just is the worst. So know that upfront and know that you’re not alone.

That said, moving anxiety is best coped with when we do the things that can make it be not quite the literal worst. This includes planning ahead, cleaning the house, getting everything in order, and also asking for and accepting help. Moving, especially if you’re moving on your own, is incredibly daunting. So getting help can temper some of that anxiety.

The importance of backup plans

Also, building backup plans will definitely help with moving anxiety. A lot of the anxiety around moves are things like what if the movers don’t show up? What if the company I chose ends up being scammers?

Some of these worries about what could go wrong can be helped if you have some backup plans in place. You can ameliorate some of those anxieties.

Give yourself time to mourn

[03:36] It’s also important to give yourself some time to mourn, especially if you’re leaving town you’ve been in for awhile. If you’re leaving the place where you’ve been in graduate school, for example, it can be really emotionally difficult to say goodbye.

The hardest move I’ve made was moving from my postdoc in New Orleans to a job in Baltimore. I wondered, would Baltimore become my home? It was really, really, really difficult. So give yourself time to sit with that difficulty.

Keep your eye on the prize

That being said, keep your eyes on the prize. You’re moving for a good reason. Most likely to be closer to family, to be in a town you’ve wanted to live in, or to take a new job. There’s good reasons to move. So if you remind yourself of those going along, that can take care of a lot of the anxiety. That being said, there’s no way around it. Moving is just probably one of the three most stressful things to deal with, so know that you’re not alone.

Deciding where to move

[04:29] All right, let’s get down to the practicalities. So first is deciding where to move. I won’t spend a lot of time on this because I’m guessing if you’re attending this webinar, you already know where you’re going. But just in case, if you’re moving inside of a town, don’t forget that it’s still a move. I think sometimes if we’re moving from one neighborhood to another, we think that it’s not as stressful. But it’s still really stressful. So recognize that that’s still going to be a move and spend time deciding where you’re going to go.

The out-of-town move

[05:15] I think the harder part is the out-of-town move. How do you know where you’re going to stay? If you are moving from graduate school, for example, you probably don’t have a lot of liquid cash to go flying around trying to find a place to live. It can be a really stressful time and if you don’t have a place set up to live, where do you move your stuff? It’s really, really stressful.

So my tips for this, is to use your connections. Those might be in the place of your new employment. They might be fellow graduate students who’ve moved to the region. They might even be friends from college or high school who are not academics, but who live in that area. Use those connections to find a place to stay. Your new colleagues can be a really great place to start because they might know someone who’s taking a sabbatical and needs someone to take their house just for nine months or something. That kind of situation can be really ideal because you can get yourself set up, get to know the place, and then decide where you’re going to live.

[06:07] Next, use the internet. This is a sort of a common sense thing, but, Craigslist housing listings are a really important to check out. You can often find a place and if you know people in the town, have them go check it out for you if you’re unable to fly out yourself.

Also see if there are Facebook groups for neighborhoods that you know you want to live in. That’s a really good resource as well. Try and use as many internet resources as possible to scope out places before you get there. Keep in mind that pictures, especially professional ones, are often taken with a fisheye lens and can make housing look a lot bigger than it really is. So it can help to get a sense of square footage and then think about square footage of where you live now so you have some comparison.

[06:57] If it’s at all financially possible, making a short visit is the best way to find a place to live. If you were moving to Baltimore, for example, housing changes from block to block and it can be really hard to get a sense of where you’re located and whether or not it’s close to bus lines or grocery stores or whatever’s important to you until you go and actually see a place in person. So if it is at all financially feasible, make that visit.

But if it’s not, don’t worry. It’s absolutely possible to rent a place sight unseen and show up and have it work for you. I’ve done that when I moved to Portland, Oregon, for my first move to New Orleans, and also to Baltimore. It worked out. So you do what you have to do.

Get excited about your new town

[07:49] I think one of the best ways to ease the panic of moving is to get excited about your new town. So these are just a few tips from my experience of having moved to many, many different places.

Read about your new town. Find a public history book about it or if there’s something related to your research that is located in the city, that can be a great way to start getting excited about where you’re moving.

If you’re a sports type of person, go follow the local sports teams. Become an Orioles fan before your big move to Baltimore.

Start reading as daily paper, which you can do online. Start to get to know the goings-on happening about town so when you get there, you’re already prepared to settle in and have some opinions about things.

Also, a very practical tip: do the setup things that you can do from afar in advance, like setting up utilities in your new place and making appointments at the DMV. Get the bureaucratic things about moving done in advance and set an end date for your utilities, cable, etc. where you live now. Even though you’re not actually moving yet, those things can help you feel like you’re doing something. And that can help a lot with the anxiety.

And then finally, make plans to say goodbye to where you live now. That will help as you decide where to move.

Deciding how to move

[09:20] Now this slide will be up for quite a while because we’re going to talk about deciding how to move. There are so many options.

The most important questions when deciding where to move are the obvious ones. How much time do you have in between saying goodbye to your stuff and needing it on the other side? What’s your budget? If you’re one of those rare birds getting a moving allowance, keep in mind that it will take six to eight weeks to get that reimbursement on the other side. So how much access to credit or cash do you have in the immediate present? And then also, how much stuff do you want to move? If you’ve lived somewhere for a brief period of time, you might not have a lot of stuff and that changes your moving options. I think it makes it a lot easier.

Moving by mail

[10:07] I’m going to go through now a list of possibilities and talk about some of them. So the first often overlooked way to move is by mail. I’ve done several moves by shipping almost everything, either USPS or UPS. You can pack up your belongings and you can even have a place like a UPS store (if you’ve got the budget for it) pack some of the harder-to-pack belongings like pictures or vases or glassware that is important to you.

Then you can just take everything to the post office. You can even set up a pickup with EPS or with the USPS to come and pick up things. If you’re moving, say, from an office, you could have them come pick up all your boxes from your office and ship them to your new one. This can be a really easy way to move if you don’t have a lot of stuff and it fits in boxes.

[11:00] Even if you’re not going to move everything with the postal service, I want to put in a plug for moving your media and books through Media Mail. Media Mail is very inexpensive and it can be a great way to move books, especially if you’re using a moving company that measures by the pound.

If you’re not budget conscious in this way and it makes more sense with your time and energy to have everything go one way then that might be worth it, but for those of us who don’t have a lot of cash lying around, this can be a way to bring down the cost of using a bigger moving company. I actually did one move where I shipped via UPS everything except what could fit in a tiny Hyundai Accent.

[11:51] It ended up being I think 68 boxes of things that all arrived on the same day. I had to carry them all the third-floor walkup but ended up being probably my easiest move. So this is something to consider if you’re not moving furniture. That’s where shipping things gets a little more hairy.

Moving by train or bus

If you have a bunch of boxes to ship, another cost-effective way to do it is to ship them with Amtrak or Greyhound or another bus company. You can go to the websites of these transit companies and see about bulk shipments. Those can be really a really cheap ways to move things as well. It’s often not as fast as moving things by UPS or USPS, but it can be a great way to get a whole bunch of stuff all the way across the country.

Researching and hiring moving companies

[12:44] If you’re moving furniture or you’re being reimbursed, a moving company makes the most sense. A moving company will come in, pack all your stuff in their truck, drive it to a new place, and unload it. This can sound great but once you start trying to find a moving company (and if you Google moving companies), things can start to feel really scary really fast. The internet is awash in horror stories of moving companies that take your stuff and then charge you double on the other end and hold your stuff for ransom. Stories like that are really scary and it can make you never want to use a moving company at all. It can seem not even worth it. The thing is, though, is that it is worth it if you can afford it.

[13:34] As I say here on the slide, research, research, research. That’s absolutely true. The more research you can do on companies, the better. Check with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure the ratings for companies you’re looking at are good. Don’t forget that a big moving company name doesn’t mean that the local branch of that moving company has anything to do with it. So search for their franchise name. Better Business Bureau records can be complicated because it may not apply to the company that you’re using in particular. There are a bunch of things like that to consider.

My suggestion is to contact the school that’s hiring you and ask them what movers they use or ask people who have moved from your town recently what movers they used and if it was successful. Word of mouth is often the best way to hedge your bets and make it more likely that your stuff’s going to show up on the other end.

[14:37] Remember that when you use a moving company, unless they’re packing for you, how you pack things will have a lot to do with whether or not stuff ends up broken on the other side. So we’ll talk about that in a second. But know that some reviews on the internet complain about moving companies breaking things but sometimes that has to do with how people have packed it themselves. If you are in a fantasy world where you’re actually getting paid enough for your relocation, then you can have the company pack for you as well as move everything. That’s wonderful.

And again, finding a company that others have used to do that will make your life so, so much easier. That’s actually the one way I’ve never moved because I’ve never had quite that much liquid cash. But if that’s you, I think you’re in a really good position to have a lot of the hard work of moving taken care of for you.

Moving by detachable pod

[15:38] The next way to move, and I think this a very convenient way, is by detachable pod. These you can get from companies like ABF. There are a number of cubed storage solutions where they bring the cube to your house, they put it in the driveway or on the curb. You fill it up and then they come pick it up, move it to the next place, and you unload it.

This can be a great way to move. It’s usually cheaper than a moving company that’s moving all of your stuff. The pod can be great.

[16:24] A couple things to keep in mind. First, pods are often very small. So be honest about how much stuff you want to move. What you don’t want to have happen is on moving day, realize your stuff can’t fit in the pod and you don’t get to get out of there. So really be honest with your measurements about your stuff and how much space you think you’re going to need.

Secondly, if you live in a city or you’re moving to a city, pay attention to permit requirements for leaving one of those things on the street. Taking the time to go actually get a parking permit for it can ease a lot of your anxiety about what happens if there’s nowhere to put it or what if the parking’s all taken up. Just having a permit means the city will help ensure that you have a spot to put that pod. In Baltimore, I think it was something like $200 for a permit to put a pod here. In New York City, one of my colleagues just did this and the New York City permit was $300.

[17:28] So it can be a big expense. But that’s one of those things that just is what it is. If you use a moving company with a moving truck, they may also ask you to get permits so that they can have reserved parking for your move. Remember that their full-time job is moving. You’re just doing it this one time or the 10th time, but they move everybody all day every day and they’ll be able to figure it out. But with the pod, you have to be in charge of permits.

Moving by rental truck

Another way to move things is by rental truck and this is especially good, I think, for regional moves—places that are not incredibly far away. Trucks can be intimidating to think about driving them, but keep in mind that people use them all the time. People with absolutely no experience driving trucks do this. That might be you and you can do it too.

[18:33] Trucks give you a lot of flexibility in terms of time and space and it can be a great way to move your stuff.

Some tips for that. I think people automatically go U-Haul, because that’s the truck name we know, like Xerox or Kleenex. Penske is also a great truck company and they often have lower rates.

Be sure to reserve your truck in advance, especially if you’re moving towards the end of the month. When you’re reserving trucks, make sure you get the size that you want. If it’s possible, try and get a guarantee that you can get a truck that size because a truck that’s too big or a truck that’s too small, either of these are a really big problem. This is the thing that keeps your stuff safe when you’re moving so to have the truck packed almost completely to the gills so that things can’t move around because things break when they move around isn’t good. So getting a rental truck that’s right size for the amount of stuff you have is a way to make sure that the move stays safe and that your stuff is intact on the other side.

[19:24] If you do decide to move by rental truck, make sure that your car insurance covers that rental truck. If you don’t have car insurance (I don’t have car insurance because I don’t have a car), you might have to buy insurance from the company. Just make sure that you have the proper insurance also.

Also, this is a small thing, but if you’re driving across the country in a rental truck, you don’t have go through weigh stations. You’re probably thinking, who would think you have to do that? I did it. Turns out you don’t. So that’s my tip.

Moving by car

[20:10] The last way to move that I’m going to talk about today is by car. If you can pack everything in your car and go, that’s the definitely the easiest way to move. If you are moving by rental truck, you can ship your car. A lot of companies will do that. Or you can tow your car behind. So the issue of how to get your car there.

To summarize, these are a bunch of different choices. All of them work. I have moved in every one of these ways, and I’ve often combined them. For instance, I have mailed books and materials and anything that’s easy to mail and then packed the rest of the stuff. For one move, I packed the rest of the stuff in a car and a detachable pod and also moved that way. It’s really convenient because you can just smash everything in that pod and then somebody else takes care of getting it there.

[21:18] I’m not a fan of driving giant trucks but have also moved that way and it’s not anywhere near as hard as you think. So again, any of these are really good options. It really is just a matter of time, budget, and how much stuff you have to move. Furniture is the hardest stuff to move. So if you’ve got furniture to move, then a moving company or a pod are going to be, I think, the ways you’ve got to go. I’m happy to talk more about any of those options. So if you have questions about them, go ahead and type them and what we can talk about them after the webinar.

Downsizing your stuff

The easiest way to move is to not have a lot of stuff. Every time I’ve moved, whether I’ve lived in a place for nine months or for three years, the last days of packing are always the worst because there’s just so much stuff. We just want to burn it all and start over because it is such a hassle. So I’ll spend a little time talking about getting rid of stuff and this question of should you sell stuff and buy it on the other side or should you move it?

[22:11] The first thing to consider is your budget. Sometimes it makes more financial sense to get rid of it on this end and buy it again on that end. Especially if we’re talking about cheap things like particle board dressers and bookcases and things that you could get just as easily from the thrift store in your new place as you got it at the thrift store from where you’re now. So think about how much it would cost to ship the thing versus how much it would cost to get it again on the other end.

[23:04] If you don’t have an emotional attachment to your furniture, get new furniture when you get to the other side. That said, sometimes our furniture is important to us or it is too expensive to buy in a new place. In that case, ship it. If you’re hiring a moving company or using a pod, it’s not going to be that much more to throw in another dresser for the move. So depending on how you move and what makes financial sense, decide whether or not to sell things.

Deciding what to get rid of

[24:00] Then there’s the part of deciding how to get rid of stuff. One of the good things about moving is that it’s a great opportunity to get rid of a bunch of stuff that you don’t need or you don’t want, and to downsize. It can be emotionally challenging to do this but it’s also really liberating.

My advice is to get help. It’s often hard to make decisions about what to what to keep and what to throw away all by ourselves. So first, be honest about what you need. And I mean this in two senses. You’ll face this when you’re moving. People have a lot of tips for you, like throw everything away. Just take a picture of the card from grandma and then throw the card away. You don’t need that. People have a lot of tips like that.

[24:55] If it’s important to you, keep it. If it is, do you really need it? Look at stuff and try and decide if you really need this thing. If you don’t get rid of it, one tip that I have is for things that you feel emotional attachment to is to take pictures of things and then let them go, if that works for you. Keep in mind that if it’s gone, you don’t have to pack it.

When I’m purging and even if I’ve only lived in a place for a few months, I always seem to have more to purge. Either I get rid of it or I’d have to pack it. “Get rid of it or pack it” has helped me get rid of a lot of stuff. I think for moving, the more stuff you can get rid of the better.

Where to sell your stuff

So how do you get rid of it? Well first you can sell things. You can sell furniture, books, kitchen appliances. There’s all kinds of things you can sell. You can sell online through Craigslist, Ebay, Etsy, any of the new online selling apps, or through Facebook. These are all fine ways to sell things.

[25:56] I will just note that selling your belongings can sometimes be a full-time job. Craigslist is very challenging. Sometimes you think you’ve got to stay around, then the person doesn’t show up and you’re managing so many people’s flightiness around buying things. So sometimes selling things can be more work than it’s worth. But for bigger ticket items, that can be a good way to get some money towards the move and have somebody else come and pick up and move that mid-century modern dresser that you’re not taking with you to Florida.

Donating your stuff

[26:52] Another thing you can do is give your stuff away. This is, I think, probably the easiest thing to do. You can take things to your local thrift store. Make sure things are clean. Don’t use the thrift store as a dumping ground. Be real about it. Is anyone gonna want this thing that you’re getting rid of? Sometimes I go to thrift stores and I see old worn out sneakers. Who thought this is something that people would want? Think about whether or not people actually want it. But overall, thrift stores are a great place to take your stuff.

Friends might want stuff, but a word of warning: your friends often don’t want your stuff. Being the person moving who’s trying to get rid of their things by giving them to your friends can sometimes make you the least popular person at the party. So make sure people would actually want your stuff. Giving away things is a good way to purge without having to go through the hassle of selling.

Some stuff just needs to be thrown away

[27:45] Finally, be willing to throw some things in the trash. Not everything. We want to be responsible and not fill our landfills with our crap just to buy the same crap on the other side.

But it is okay to throw things away like that tape dispenser with just a few rolls left in it. It’s okay if you don’t want to move that and you want to toss that.

I remember moving from New Orleans and asking myself how many bags of Mardi Gras beads I was going to move. It turned out none. They were all either given away or thrown away. It’s really okay to throw some things in the trash. The more stuff you can get rid of, the easier moving will be. Alright, let’s talk about packing. ,

When to start packing?

[28:24] When do you start packing? Some people want to start early and be packing for weeks, every night doing a box or two. That kind of slow pack. Other people want to do it in a really concentrated amount of time. It depends on your personality.

By the time the movers get to your house, you don’t want to be putting anything in boxes while they’re there. That’s a recipe for moving disaster. So be honest about your schedule and how long you think it will take you.

Moving boxes

[29:10] The first thing you need for moving is boxes. People have a lot of tips about where to get boxes. Here are some of mine. First, ask for them next door or on sites like a neighborhood Facebook group. See if anybody has boxes from their move. Especially if you’re moving, say, at the end of July or June. Ask on those sites if anybody has recently moved in and if you can grab their boxes. The worst part of moving is all the cardboard. So often people will be so relieved that you’re coming to get rid of their cardboard for them. So ask other movers if they’ve got boxes.

Also ask at liquor stores. Liquor stores often have strong boxes because bottles of liquor really heavy. Ask at your local liquor stores when they get rid of boxes. Usually they have days where they get deliveries and they can let you know and set some aside for you.

[30:14] Sometimes, newer boxes can be worth the money if you’ve got it. So you’ve got the budget, go ahead and buy some boxes. If you’re moving with a pod, for example, having all boxes be about the same size can make stacking that pod so much easier so it can actually be worth it to spend some money on boxes. U-Haul stores sell them.

If you just Google “cardboard boxes,” you’ll find lots of options of places that will sell you boxes. Having most boxes be around the same size is good. But having some that are assorted sizes also can be really helpful as well so that you can pack those odd sized things. For instance, when you’re packing the kitchen, what you’re packing is probably really big and you’ll need a big old box for that.

[31:10] I want to end this riveting discussion of boxes with books. Often places will sell book boxes. If you fill a book box all the way to the top with books, for most of us, it’s going to be too heavy to carry. So keep in mind that a book box doesn’t, for most of us, mean just fill it with books. Half books, half clothes is a good way to deal with all those books.

Other packing materials

You’ll also need other packing materials, especially to wrap pictures and dishes and things like that. Old newspapers work, though those are getting harder and harder to find as more and more towns close their newspapers. But if you can find stacks those, that’s a great place to start.

[32:04] Bubble wrap. It’s worth investing in a roll of it. You can also gather it from your friends. So many people get so much shipped to them from Amazon and places like that and they come with packing materials in them. If you’re planning ahead, you can save some of that stuff.

If you go to the UPS store and have them pack things for you, they will always pack it with a Styrofoam peanuts, which are the absolute worst thing to deal with on the other side. So that’s my warning. They work really well to keep things safe, but they’re terrible for the environment. And you will be cleaning them out of your house for as long as you live there.

There’s also stretch wrap. You can buy it in office supply stores and it comes in these big rolls. It can be really helpful for keeping things together and keeping things safe.

[33:02] There’s also furniture wrap, which your movers will have. Or you can buy furniture wrap separately if you’re moving by yourself. Use it to wrap the edges of dressers and beds and things like that. It will keep them safe and keep the rest of your stuff safe from heavy furniture falling on them.

So boxes and packing materials, those are some of the things you’re gonna need. Oh and one last tip: if you’re moving picture frames and pictures with glass in them, using masking tape to make an x across the glass will protect the glass from breakage.

How to pack your stuff

[34:00] So now onto the literal packing of things. The first tip might seem obvious: pack things from the same room in the same boxes. So do your kitchen all at once and all in kitchen boxes so you can have one box of that kitchen stuff. That’s that stuff that you need right away so label it as such. That box should have things that you’ll need immediately. For me, that would be my coffee pot and my tea kettle. All I need right away is a place setting for one or two people. Put that in a box that you can open right away.

It makes it unpacking a lot easier if all the same room stuff is in the same boxes. Also, if you’re using movers or you’re hiring people to help you move the boxes from the pod into your house (or vice versa), it makes it easier to help those people know where to put your stuff if you label it. So get your sharpies and label both the top and the side.

[34:57] Depending on how it’s stacked, it’ll help you when you’re unloading. Have one box that’s the “immediate box to open.” That one will probably have your bedding in it. The stuff that you pack last will also be the stuff you want first. So have those boxes separate.

And then finally, accept help when you’re packing, even if it’s just people to come over and be in the room with you while you do it. Packing is really hard work and it’s hard to stay motivated. Having folks around who can help you can be a lifesaver. So those are some of my packing tips.

What to do on moving day

[35:43] All right, now we’re going to talk about moving day. You’ve made your plans, you’ve got a backup plan, you’ve reserved the truck, and you’re ready to go. The big day is here. First of all, breathe. It’s going to be okay. People move all the time. It feels like a crisis and it feels so stressful when it’s happening to you. But this stuff happens all the time and everybody gets through it. So breathe.

Keep in mind that will likely take longer than you think to actually get the move completed. So many times people have said to me, “Oh, it’ll just take a take an hour or two. We’re just moving a couple pieces of furniture.” And then it’s all day. So keep in mind that it might take you longer than expected,

[36:31] Make sure you’ve got your backup plans and permits in place. This will help ease the anxiety and make sure that you’ve got the space on the street to actually do the move.

The next thing is to remember that you can’t move everything yourself. It’s just physically impossible. If you have friends and colleagues willing to help, get them to help you. It can be hard to ask because we fear that nobody wants to help anybody move—except that we do. It’s something that we do for each other in community. And it’s okay to ask. You have to trust that people will say no if they don’t want to help. So it’s okay to ask people for help. That said, if you’ve got the budget for it, hiring people to help you takes away so much of the stress of asking your friends to help you.

[37:20] If you think about how much beer and pizza you’re supplying people with, it also might actually be better to spend that money on actually just hiring people. Sometimes student or a student group on campus will offer this help in the summer. You can also look on Craigslist for movers. Again, you want to make sure to check their background and see if anybody’s had help before. Labor organizations will often have folks who are looking to make a little money during the day with this kind of labor. So asking around those places can be a really helpful and also move you into this new echelon of movers who do not demand that their friends move all their stuff.

Regardless if you’re hiring people or your friends, have snacks and water ready. Moving as hot work and people need to stay hydrated and full.

Cleaning your old place

[38:23] Remember to save time and energy to clean the place you’re moving out of. This is one of my least favorite parts of moving because you think you’re done. Then you go through the house and you realize that it is a mess and you’ve got to clean it all up.

Two months ago, I had to paint the whole apartment after a full day of moving. It was incredibly stressful. I actually hired some friends to help me paint and it made a huge difference. So if you’ve got any room in your budget, using some of it to pay folks to help you clean is absolutely worth it on that moving day.

Remember that it will be over and it’ll be over soon. Moving day is, I think, one of the most stressful days on anybody’s life calendar. So just remember that it will end and you will get through it. The more help you can get, the better.

Revel in the golden hour of moving

[39:23] So how, what do you do with all your stuff on the other side? First, you’ve just spent so much time putting it in boxes and getting it packed on a truck or pot or to the post office. Enjoy the time with that. It can be the most liberating time of the entire move when your stuff’s in transit. I remember for one move, it took two weeks to get my things from California to Connecticut and I was so relieved. So enjoy.

If you’ve got time for it and you’re driving a car, stop at national parks on your way. If you’re flying, stay with friends. Spend some time just being a tourist in the city without having to worry about moving. That is the golden hour is the time between your stuff leaving and arriving.

Unpacking and settling in

On the other end, you will need as much help unloading as you needed loading stuff. You will have had friends where you were but sometimes you won’t know anybody wherever you’re going. That can make unloading a little more tricky. If you’ve got a limited budget, the place to put it might be hiring people on the other end to help you move your stuff.

[40:34] When you got your stuff into your house (I’m remembering right now walking 65 boxes up the stairs), unpack the boxes that you labeled to be unpacked first and let the others wait. You don’t need to get your whole house set up in a day. That said, don’t wait too long. If it’s three months later and you’re still living out of boxes, you’re not really settling in. You’re not actually moving. So don’t let it sit too long, but be patient with yourself. Moving is really hard work.

When you’re done with the boxes, give them away. You can post on the same sites you used to find boxes to find people to take them and get rid of them. If you know you’re going to be moving again in a year, if you have a visiting position or something like that, then keep your boxes because you’ll need them again and keep all that packing material.

[41:29  ] I want to note here that it’s important to just roll with the punches. Things will wrong. Things will get broken, no matter how you move. A box of books you sent via Media Mail will get lost or will open and books will have fallen out. Something will go wrong when you’re on the move and you just kinda gotta roll with it and remember that things are going to be okay. You will soon forget any of the moving happened until you have to do it again, which is amazing but true. I’ve had so many cross-country moves and though they’ve been stressful, I don’t really remember them now that I haven’t moved in two whole years, so just roll with it. You are almost done. Once you’ve got your stuff, you’re unpacking, settling in, and making a new home.

Tap local resources

[42:22] I want to end with some final tips and resources. There are a lot of online moving checklists, some sponsored by moving companies and others by other people in the moving industry. Regardless, they can be really, really helpful to give you a sense of the timeline. They also have some great tips. USPS offers a mover’s guide that will remind you to change your address and get your mail forwarded.

It’s also really important to ask for advice from other movers in both locations. People who were in the town you’re moving from and in the town you’re moving to, people who have moved recently, have the best and most specific advice.

[43:18] In this webinar we’ve talked in a general way, but if you’re moving to New York City, there are a whole host of particular tips and regulations there that New York City movers can help you with. You want to research moving companies thoroughly.

I also wanted to remind you to tap university resources. They often will have a board that will help people find housing or moving assistance or get to know neighborhoods—that kind of stuff. Universities, if you’re moving for a job, do this all the time they’ll be able to answer a lot of questions. So don’t be afraid to ask.

Moving as an itinerant academic

[44:18] Be realistic about how long you’ll be staying in this new place and plan accordingly. If you’re moving for a visiting assistant professor position that’s across the country and it’s one year nonrenewable, believe that. Believe that it is nonrenewable and that this will only be for one year. Consider that when you’re making that move. Would it make more sense to leave some stuff in long-term storage where you are right now and get it when you settled into a place for longer than a year? That’s a decision that only you can make, but it’s worth thinking about long-term storage if you’re going to spend some years as an itinerant academic.

I got very lucky and was able to leave a whole library of books in a friend’s garage for several years while I bopped around the country. If somebody can offer you that, like a parent or somebody in your family, take them up on that. As academics it can be hard because we’re so often moving to places that we know we’re not going to stay, so it’s hard to get invested.

Get to know your new city

[45:16] That being said, I do think that it’s worth investing in a place once you’re there and getting to know it—learning how to make it your home. It’s really good practice for the next time you have to do this.

I’ve gotten a pretty good at figuring out how to settle into a place. For me, that means finding the local bike group and arranging to go on some bike rides with other people to get to know the town. I also find activist groups working on issues I care about.

Find the places you like. Find a place with the music that you like to listen and go there. Digging in, enjoying, and exploring your new town makes the moves that we have to do (even those we might not want to do) a lot more pleasurable.

[46:30] It’s really fun to move to a new place. I think sometimes the stress of moving a can make us forget the excitement of it. So hopefully you will be having a good move. All right, well I’ll go ahead and end the webinar for now, but happy moving and happy packing. Get rid of as much stuff as you can and enjoy your new home. Thanks for joining us today and we’ll see you at our next webinar.

Author: Kate Drabinski

Kate Drabinski is the education director at Ideas on Fire, an avid bicyclist, and a senior lecturer in gender and women's studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

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