In my elementary school word history class, we studied nomads. We learned that they lived in a place for a short time, and then packed up and moved when they got tired of it. I thought this was wonderful. A lifestyle of impermanence, not tied to anyone or anything. Free to blow in the wind…I had no idea my life would turn out that way.
I have lived in about thirty places. It may be more. I sat down and made a list one day, and arrived at twenty-seven. I have long since lost the list, and moved a handful of times since then. There are different reasons for each move. Money, different jobs, bigger/smaller/better place…all of the standard reasons…
But, in these years, I have become an expert mover. I can complete the task in a day…within a few day’s notice. I can quickly prattle off the top priority phone calls that must be made…electric, cable/internet, water…
I also know a number of handy moving tips and tricks. So, here it is, how to move nomad style. Notice I don’t use all of the proper moving advice you find on Internet moving checklists. I honestly don’t know who moves like that. I’ve never moved by the books and always get there just fine…and a lot cheaper.
- If you go to Wal-Mart after 11pm, the stockers are in full shift. They will gladly let you take any of their freshly emptied boxes off their hands for free. They’re just going to shred/incinerate them anyway.
- When you pack, include a small suitcase with two-three days worth of clothing and toiletries. On moving day, NEVER lose track of it. Keep it with you like a purse, and bring it over with the final load. There’s nothing like showering after a long, exhausting move, and having to unbury boxes to find clean underwear.
- Toilet paper should go hand in hand with the keys. The day you get the keys the new place, install a roll in each bathroom. Leave TP in the old house until the day you surrender the keys. (Or, simply leave it as a donation to whomever may follow).
- Leave an arsenal of cleaning supplies around until the absolute last load…the day you surrender the keys and grab the toilet paper. This is especially important if you’re aiming to get a deposit back.
- MAXIMIZE the space. Whether you’re using a U-Haul or a caravan of SUV’s, if every single vehicle on your property doesn’t look like a final round of Tetris, you’re wasting trips–which equal time and gas.
- On moving day, the first load should include: paper towels, case of bottled water, and trash can or hanging trash bag. (A stock of these things should remain in the old house as well). You will also need to buy disposable paper goods right off. You will probably eat out the first few meals, but it still may be a day or two before you can get your dishes unpacked and settled. And, even then, who knows where to find the dish cleaning supplies?!
- Don’t split hairs trying to notify everyone who sends you mail of your new address. If you need to ensure timely receipt of materials like checks, by all means, notify the sender. But, generally, a postal forwarding request is all you need, and this can be quickly filed online. From there, all of your mail will be forwarded to you for several months. All of your magazines, bank statements, catalogs, etc. will receive an address notification from the post office and they will update their records accordingly.
- For less expensive glass, skip paying for bubble wrap. Go to your local grocery store, and grab several handfuls of those free newspapers in the lobby. Not the daily newspaper. I’m referencing those local publications devoted entirely to classifieds. It’s where people sold their ten-inch rims and twenty-year old cars before Craigslist. Those papers still exist, they’re absolutely free, and no one ever reads them. But, they are great for stuffing mugs and vases and wrapping plates and knick-knacks.
Tomorrow, I move on. It’s been almost a year since my last move, and my memory has failed me a bit. So stay tuned in the next few days, for the Nomad’s Guide to Moving Volume 2.