Because my father was in the Navy, my family was used to moving – a lot. And it never failed – the day we were moving from one location to another, it would rain. During one particularly rainy move to Florida, my mom, standing in the sudden downpour surrounded by water-stained cardboard boxes, threw her hands in the air and said with great disgust, “It always rains on moving day!”
Taking those words to heart, I always prepare for the rain – both literally and figuratively. Here’s what you need to know about moving and the things that will probably go wrong:
Things will be lost. No matter how carefully you pack, how many times you circle through your home one last time before locking it up, no matter what you tell the movers and how carefully you label each and every box – something is going to turn up missing or broken. Plan ahead for it by knowing you’ll have to replace something. And if you have something so valuable to you that it is irreplaceable – keep it with you and don’t pack it.
You’ll open endless boxes looking for necessary items. Sure, the coffee maker is in the box labeled “Kitchen,” but not the mugs. You may find that you desperately need a screwdriver to put the bed back together, but you have no idea which box it wound up in. It is dinnertime and everyone is hungry – just where are the plates and silverware? Your child needs his favorite toy or nightlight – right now. Why isn’t it in the box with his name on it? During the packing process, things may not end up where they should – the box you were packing in the living room had just enough space for something “about-this-big,” so you searched the house for something that would fit. Or you wanted to put something soft in with your porcelain collectibles to create a cushion between the breakables, so you used your kitchen towels. Try not to panic – you’ll find what you are looking for, but you may have to open some boxes first.
Something will need fixed or replaced. You will arrive at your new home and discover a cracked floor tile. Or the air conditioner doesn’t come on. Or there’s a stain on the carpet you didn’t see when you looked at the house. Perhaps the screen door is ripped, or the garage door won’t open, or the kitchen window is broken. It never fails – something will have to be repaired or replaced on move-in day. Set aside some money before you move for these emergency issues.
Something won’t fit. Doors or windows may have to be removed to get big furniture inside the house. Maneuvering furniture around tight corners is more difficult than you thought it would be. The dining table is so heavy that you’ll need five people just to lift it – let alone carry it up the front staircase. Or you have your grandmother’s antique baby grand piano and no apparent way to move it into your new home. You may need to do some creative jostling, some quick thinking, and some disassembly. Keep the toolbox handy and if necessary, call in an expert.
Your new home will suffer a few injuries. Even if you cover the carpets, attach corner protectors, take furniture apart, and remind everyone to be careful – there will be dings, scuff marks, scratches, and maybe even a few gouges. Yes, it’s your new home and you want it to be perfect, but that isn’t often possible during a move. Try to stay calm – you can fix your home’s bumps and bruises after everything gets moved in and situated. If you are truly worried about damage (they could drop the giant plasma television trying to get it through the narrow doorway to the living room), consider getting some moving insurance.
You didn’t notice everything. When you did your walk-through, you probably noticed room sizes and the general layout. You may not even remember that much beyond the fact that you liked the house (especially if you looked at so many houses they all started to jumble together in your mind). Now that you are trying to get all of your belongings into your new home, things begin to become apparent. The pantry is small. There’s no downstairs coat closet. The upstairs hall closet is too narrow to fit your vacuum cleaner. And, wow, is that all the cabinet space you have in the kitchen? Don’t panic – you will learn to deal with your new home’s little quirks in no time, and you can always do some remodeling if necessary.
Despite all of the planning, labeling, and list-making, you can’t prepare for everything. Moving is a chaotic and exhausting experience. Knowing that unexpected things will happen and preparing yourself for the little mishaps will keep your stress level in check and make the day go that much smoother. Because it’s true: there’s always a little rain on moving day.