Our new place with our crazy red ceiling.

Our new place with our crazy red ceiling.

If you’re settled into your home and are not moving out unless it is in a pine box, skip reading this one. For others, let’s talk about the topic of MOVING. Ugh. The reason I dropped off the grid is that I participated in three moves over the last month or so. I want to take a sec (before I go organize my closet) and tell you what I’ve learned.

Some of you probably love to move, picking paint colors, buying some fresh furniture, having something “new” to decorate – I am not one of those. When I think of moving, I think of packing and unpacking a million boxes, a dozen trips to Goodwill, and throwing broken things into hastily found dumpsters in the middle of the night (so I won’t get caught). I do like the feeling of getting organized on the other end but we will get to that.

Move 1: Jay and I moved from a tiny apartment to a slightly (only slightly!) larger condo here in Charleston. We moved a short two blocks away but when it comes to moving, the distance makes no difference. It could have been California instead of around the corner. My first and most important advice is to bite the bullet and hire movers. I guarantee it is worth it. I know it is tempting to save that money to buy a new sofa and you almost believe your husband when he says he’ll get his buddies to help – no problem, but don’t do it! I planned to move all the little stuff myself since I was going to have a few weeks between closing and moving but plans changed and I ended up boxing everything up and having the movers take care of it.

Other advice from my move:

·        A two inch square paint sample is NOT going to give you a true sense of what the finished product will look like.  Recently, our youngest son called to lament, "I picked grey but my room looks blue!" To try paint colors before committing to a whole room, buy paint sample sizes which are about $4 each and get a 9x12 inch watercolor paper book from the art store. Paint the sheets with your sample colors. Then you can tape the sheets up to see if you like them. You can also move them to areas with different lighting, different rooms, etc.

·        Designate one tote bag for the most important stuff – chargers, medicines, laptop, your kids’ binkies and blankies, wallets, keys (to everything), your makeup bag, a brush. Keep it visible and with you at all times! I spent days looking for (you’re not going to believe this) my toothbrush – I used Jay’s – I know that sounds gross but we do kiss after all – kinda the same thing.

·        Make friends with your movers the minute they step in the door. Learn their names, ask their advice (do you think this chair will fit in that tiny room on the third floor?), give them cold drinks along the way, take pictures of them, tell them they are awesome, buy them lunch – trust me you will want to give them that big tip at the end of the day because they will be your pals by then.

Move 2: Moving Olivia out of her dorm room for the summer.

·        Find a storage place and rent a space. If it is too big for what you need, get your child’s roommate or another friend to go in on it.  If you live nearby, sure, you can schlep it all home, stuff all of it in your garage, give the bugs a happy new home for the summer and then schlep it all back but running stuff a mile to a storage facility and getting it locked up until move in day in August is sweet.

·        Olivia’s dorm room was smack in the middle of a looonng hallway. The thought of carrying all of that stuff all the way down and then quite a ways to our car (because every parent at the school had gotten there early to get the good, close spaces) was a daunting task. But guess what? We were on the ground floor and I realized someone had parked on the grass outside. No, I did not ask permission, and yes, the girls looked at me with fear and amazement in their eyes, but I just popped the screen out, told the girls to pull their cars up to the window  and proceeded to cut our moving time by hours as we started passing things right out the window. I told the girls to hustle because if maintenance came by, they might put a cramp in our style. Worked like a charm.

·        Don’t question what is being moved or saved – that tiny cactus in the itty bitty pot is important to your child for some reason, just go with it.

Move 3: I helped one of our sons and his wife get settled in their new apartment in Brooklyn. They went from a one bedroom, one bathroom, third floor walk-up to two bed, two bath, fourth floor with an elevator and a balcony! Yay! Since I was there for the settling in instead of the actual move (thank you, God), my tips have shifted a bit.

·        Have a well-stocked toolbox, which includes an electric drill with all possible drill bits, including the ones that make it into a screwdriver – some of you are probably scared to touch an electric drill but don’t be! It is so fun and handling a power tool just makes you feel powerful – no kidding. Seeing my daughter-in-law, 7 months pregnant, deftly wielding the power drill gave me such a sense of pride.

·        Measure every closet, wall and cabinet and and write it in a safe place, so when you head to IKEA or Bed, Bath and Beyond, you will know what will actually fit where. The three of us braved the rainy day, Brooklyn traffic to take the hour to go three miles on a Friday afternoon, only to find that we had actually left the little green book with all the measurements at home (I thought you got it? No, I thought you had it!) – no worries, we will eyeball it – which we managed to miraculously do pretty perfectly.

·        Take breaks. We encouraged our little Mama to get snacks, things to drink, jobs where she could sit often. At one point we even watched an episode of SNL in the middle of it all – so fun.

·        Our son and I even put up a new light fixture in the kitchen. AFTER TURNING OFF THE POWER AT THE SWITCH BOX, and quite a few youtube videos, we were delighted to see the light come on – we were holding our breath!

Final words: Take time to appreciate the progress you are making. Admire one another’s abilities and efforts. Try to have fun. Play music. Tell each other how much you love the new place! Go out for dinner.

p.s. My Brooklyn folks used a company called Gorilla Bin*, who, for $150, delivered 30 big plastic boxes with interlocking lids, which you use to pack all your stuff. They give you a week in your new place to unpack them, then they come pick them up. No cardboard boxes to deal with – better for the environment, WAY easier than all those boxes and tape, much safer for Aunt Myrna’s antique platter.

The fun Brooklyn purchase - astroturf on the balcony!  *Gorilla Bin is only in NY but check out Bungo Box or just google "reusable moving boxes."

The fun Brooklyn purchase - astroturf on the balcony!

*Gorilla Bin is only in NY but check out Bungo Box or just google "reusable moving boxes."