Sunday, June 28, 2009

Moving day(s)

After two years in Park Slope and another two in an adjacent area only realtors refer to as such, I'm ready for a change. After some very glamorous time abroad, my boyfriend and I will move to Manhattan, where, thanks to the recession, the Police Building - the whole of it - will be available to rent at less than the price we'd paid per month to live in an alleged one-bedroom located far, far too close to the Food Co-op. Or, failing that, we'll move to a studio within walking distance of NYU. Or failing that, Queens, Wyoming... whatever.

Here are some of the things I've learned while moving, that could potentially be of use to others.

Dos

-Pack what you actually use first. Clothes you never wear and extra wine glasses for that dinner party you'd always meant to host (when at the only party you actually hosted, dinner was not served and plastic cups were the order of the day) should not be boxed before the coffee maker, muffin tin, rain boots...

-Pack everything before the movers arrive, accepting that their combined strength and truck-ownership beats your strength plus the Brooklyn public bus. On our post-movers 'one last thing' trips on the bus, we had the same driver four times. He seemed amused.

-Do get rid of as much as you possibly can before shoving all that you plan to keep, first meticulously and, 12 hours later, haphazardly, into boxes. In my own case, this would have been easier if the neighborhood thrift store hadn't just closed, but luckily most of what needed getting rid of was more a question of whether it went in the trash bin or the recycling.

-If your move takes you anywhere near Brooklyn Heights (ours barely did, but I was determined), be sure to stop at Tazza somewhere along the way, and to splurge on an iced cappuccino (which I reserve for such occasions) and an Italian jelly-donut-type pastry whose name I've since forgotten. I've already decided that, if by some miracle we do live within walking distance of school next year, I will nevertheless return to Brooklyn for the occasional Tazza-Sahadi's run.

-A final Do: Do try to put a positive spin on everything horrible about moving day, including its inability to really just be a one-day event. The best way to do this is to think of the whole thing as one giant trip to the gym. If you live on the top floor of a walk-up and find yourself taking the stairs, with heavy items, more or less continuously for hours on end, this is particularly straightforward: If female, pretend that this is an innovative cellulite cure - perhaps it is just that. And if male, think about how huge your arms will be by the end of it.

Don'ts

-When exhausted at the very thought of the packing to come, or perhaps from having returned full-backpack-plus-bursting-tote-bag loads of library books via the subway, do not attempt to send emails in languages that are not your own. Accustomed to sending emails in French mainly to my adviser, who is female, I was about to send an email to another professor, who is male, beginning with Chere, rather than Cher. Caught it just in time. Argh.

-Not sure if this counts as a 'don't', but bear in mind: very cheap storage is that way for a reason. Booking a 10x10 storage space does not actually allot you a 10x10 space, or anything close. The only way to get something closer is to ask to see all the allegedly 10X10 spaces, and to get known as The Bitch by the entire storage-space staff (because apparently not everyone complains when "10x10" is actually 6x6 with a column in the middle). Or maybe it's just this storage space - one of the place's rules is that you can't live in your box, but it's clear enough when you visit the building that those not living in their boxes are in the minority.

-Do not stay up till 5am packing when your movers are scheduled for 8:30am, particularly when you've hired these movers before, and you thus know that their 8:30 is closer to 7:45.

-Moving requires food, and home-cooked meals are not an option when the dishes must be packed. Still, when you read on the Health Department website that your otherwise fine local Chinese restaurant has an insect problem, don't figure, you're tired, it's nearby, all buildings in NY have bugs, whatever, if you don't want to risk a live (non-flying-type) one emerging from the dish when you're midway through, swimming through the grease that makes vegetarian beef with broccoli so palatable. (That insect is to be distinguished from the many buzzing around our meals - these are a fact of life and not to be complained about.)

5 comments:

Nick said...

um, happy times ahead, at least!

come baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Matt said...

This post is not making me look forward to my impending move! (I've moved lots of times, so I know it will suck, but I always try not to think too much about that...)

In my quite limited experience it seems that mis-stating the size of a storage space (almost always somewhat, sometimes a lot) is pretty common. It's good to take a measuring tape with you.

I don't understand the "pack what you use first" idea. Don't you want to save that, so you can keep using it until the last minute? Maybe I'm missing something.

Phoebe said...

Nick,

You'll be on vacation soon enough, no?

Matt,

Obviously you don't pack things you need-need, like a toothbrush, but dishes and other kitchen stuff you use regularly, shoes you wear often (this is assuming you have multiple pairs fitting this description, and thus do not have to pack in your socks), clothes... same deal. All of this should be packed before things you're holding onto because you're not ready to get rid of them, because you use/wear them sometimes, etc. It's best to save that stuff for last, because if you decide you've run out of space/boxes, that gives you a chance to make a final thrift-store run. My pre-packing thrift-store run thus did not involve as much stuff being brought in as would have had I ordered this correctly.

Matt said...

I'd not thought about the "I can now get rid of this" aspect, but that makes sense. I'll hope to thin out my closet some myself, maybe some other things, too, so that's a good point.

PG said...

I've been adding an item a day to the pile for Goodwill since I decided to have ALL of my clothes washed and dry-cleaned at once. It turns out that my clothes could fit in my share of the closet and drawers only when many of them were in the laundry hamper. Still half a hamper of dry cleaning to go, too.