Sunday, February 26, 2012

Logistics Management and moving long-distance

For the past three weeks, my partner (who needs a nickname!) and I have been getting ourselves together for The Big Move. As the more organized of the two of us (and the one who manages the household finances anyway), I have taken on the responsibility of a lot of logistics management. This is something with which I have a great deal of experience in my personal life and especially my career, so it comes fairly natural. "Natural" doesn't make it any less stressful or exhausting though, and it's been a struggle to keep everything together. Still, I have learned a few things that would be worth sharing for anyone trying to move longer distances.

  • Set a date and stick to it. The best piece of advice I ever received was from the friend who helped me decide to move to Seattle. He told me to set a date, make myself financially (or socially) responsible for it if I can, then just stick to it. It helps to relieve the uncertainty of The Unknown, and a lot of plans can't be made until you make this step. It also goes with the whole theory of inertia, that you have set that ball in motion and will now need to do something intentional to stop it.
  • Truck vs. Trips. Depending on how far you're moving and what your time-frame looks like, you may not want to rent a moving truck. But it's worth the hour or less of your time to do a cost/benefit analysis of the situation. Ask yourself: How much would a rental truck cost with and without any coupons? How many trips would it take me to move everything in my personal vehicle (if you have one!) and how much does that cost*? Do I have any friends with trucks who would be willing to help move furniture, and is our relationship in a place where I'm willing to ask them? (* A good rule of thumb for cars is $1/mile when you include insurance and gas and maintenance, more if you don't typically drive a lot, have really high insurance, or a gas-guzzler.) Don't forget to include the hassle!! Some people prefer to move things over slowly, a few boxes at a time and unpack them as they go. That can be great in an in-town move, but less so long-distance. But if renting a truck and moving all at once is a hassle for you, then factor that into your calculations.
  • To Do Lists! You're going to think of things you want or need to do and can't accomplish the moment you think of them. Making one to-do list can make it seem very overwhelming. Assuming we were not moving anything until my partner got hired in our new town, we have separate lists of things to do FOR job hunting; things to do WHILE job hunting but before moving; the actual moving-day/week process; at the current apartment after we move; projects at the house after we're moved in; places we need to find (the most convenient/preferred grocery store, church, storage unit, bus routing, library, etc.). This way I don't need to sort through things like "find the library" and "update resume" when I'm trying to remember what to do during crazy-time on moving day.
  • Join some groups online. I feel comfortable saying this because you're already here, online, reading this. Whether you join a LiveJournal community, check out some Meet-Up groups, find the local church you want to join and sign up for e-mail lists, or whatever else you can think of, it's always good to start meeting new people first, and finding out as much information as you can. If people have already seen your name on the e-groups, they'll be even more excited to meet you in person when you show up.

These are my tips for today. What do you like to do to get organized before a big move?

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