We’re done with moving! Thank goodness. We’re exhausted and we can’t lift another box. This move has been a long process. I began moving boxes about 2 weeks ago. Every time I dropped our son off at school, I’d drop a load off at our new home. Then, we hired a mover to move all the heavy stuff last Friday. Luckily, Mrs. RB40 took the day off and we had a 4 day weekend to get everything over. This move was on the President’s Day weekend. Even then, it was a close call. I had to go back a few more times to throw stuff out, patch some holes, clean out the balcony, and grab a few more things from the basement storage area. I am beat! Moving is tough.
It’s pretty amazing how much stuff we crammed into a 960 square foot condo. It was endless. I think the big problem was that we only moved a few miles. And the new place has a basement. The extra storage space gave us the license to keep stuff. But that means we have to move it. Mrs. RB40 is a very sentimental person and she wanted to keep 90% of her stuff. RB40Jr picked up on this habit and he kept 90% of his old toys, too. I’m a bit better, but I still kept more stuff than usual this time. I would have been a lot more ruthless if we didn’t have a basement.
*Disclosure: Today, I’m partnering with HireAHelper to introduce their service. You can compare prices, read reviews, and hire a local moving company through their website. It’s a very convenient service. This post is sponsored by HireAHelper, but all opinions are my own.
Why does it seem like moving gets harder every time? When I moved from California to Oregon, I only had enough stuff to fit in a car. Of course, that was when I graduated from college and came up to Portland to start working. Every move after that became more and more difficult. Like most households, we accumulate stuff and can’t let go.
The last time we moved was in 2007. We downsized from a 2,000 square foot house to a 960 square foot condo. Back then, we downsized ruthlessly and only kept a few nice things. Also, we were younger and our backs were in good shape. We rented a moving truck and did everything ourselves. That’s a great option if you can handle it. Now, we’re in our mid-40s and the furniture became much heavier for some reason.
That’s why we went with a hybrid move this time. We moved the light stuff by ourselves and hired movers to load all the heavy stuff like our beds, couch, and bookshelves onto the U-Haul. This is more expensive than a DIY move, but it is way better than getting hurt.
Of course, we spent more on this move than our previous ones. Fortunately, it is easier to compare prices now. Here is a helpful guide on estimating the price of different ways to move.
Your moving options fall into 3 main categories.
- DIY Move: As the name implies, you do everything yourself. You pack, load, drive, and unload. We did this with our previous moves. This is the cheapest option, but it is also the most labor intensive. If you are young and don’t have a lot of stuff, this is the way to go.
- Hybrid Move: You do the easy part and rent a moving truck, but then hire helpers to do the heavy lifting. This is what we chose this time. We packed and moved all the light stuff ourselves in our minivan. Then, we hired a mover through HireAHelper and they moved all the heavy furniture. I drove the moving truck because it was a very short drive.
- Full Service Move: Ahh… This is the dream. I’d love to hire a moving company to do everything. However, a lifetime of frugality prevented this. A full service move is very expensive. I’m not quite ready to spend that much yet.
I checked HireAHelper for the date we wanted to move and they had many companies available to help that day. However, we had a piano. This reduced the number of moving companies to just three for that date. The piano cost an extra $100 to move. That’s not a bad deal. I think we paid more than that the last time we used a piano mover. We decided to go with Oregon Trail Moving due to the good reviews. All in all, it was an easy process to hire a mover to help us.
Moving day arrived and it was a busy day for us. First, we dropped our son off at school and went to pick up the moving truck. The movers arrived at 9:45 am and they got off to a good start. They were very professional. They wrapped up the nicer furniture and tetrised them into the truck, one elevator load at a time. I thought they did a great job here. I’m not very good at protecting things and usually just throw a blanket over the items. Normally, this is good enough, but sometimes things got banged up.
The movers were doing a great job, but the move was taking a long time. I booked them for 4 hours for both loading and unloading. That timeframe was way too optimistic. It took the movers a little over 3 hours to load the truck. I was sweating a bit because I thought it’d take about as long to unload. The movers get paid by the hour so the price of this move was increasing by the minute.
Once they were done loading, we headed to our new home. Surprisingly, unloading went by much quicker. It took less than 90 minutes to unload the furniture and unpack them, except for the upright piano. They saved that beast for last.
The piano problem
Our new home has 5 steps leading up to the front door. Apparently, these steps are steeper than usual and the movers had a lot of trouble getting the piano over the last step. They heaved and heaved, but it kept getting stuck on the moving dolly’s wheels. Eventually, they got it over the edge, but it was hairy for a while there. One guy heaved so hard, he threw up. The other guy was afraid for his life. Luckily, no one was hurt. Next time we move, I’ll ask for a ramp so the piano will be easier to move. It’s too scary to risk injury going up these stairs. (This is Mrs. RB40’s childhood piano. It’s a solid walnut Wurlitzer. IMO, we should sell it and get a really nice digital piano. This beast is too much trouble to move and takes up too much room. I told you she is sentimental.)
All in all, the movers took 5 and a half hours to load, drive over to our new home, and unload. My initial estimate was way too optimistic. We went over by 90 minutes, which isn’t as bad as I feared. The movers let HireAHelper know the total hours. Then, HireAHelper called to confirm it with us and we made the payment for the extra hours. The whole process was simple.
I tipped the movers $20 each. That’s the biggest tip I’ve ever given anyone, but it’s probably too small in this case. They were really struggling with that piano. (Mrs. RB40 agrees – should have tipped more).
I hope you’re not moving anytime soon. It’s a huge pain to pack, move, and unpack everything. We still have to change our address with everyone. Anyway, I have some tips for you if you plan to hire a mover.
- Disassemble everything before the movers arrive. It’s pretty easy to disassemble furniture, but it takes time. You don’t want the movers to spend their valuable time with that. Let them concentrate on packing and loading.
- Check reviews for the local moving company. Oregon Trail Moving has many great reviews so I trusted them to do a good job.
- You should know where most things will go. We planned it in advance and I was able to direct the movers to put the furniture down exactly where we wanted them. We’ll do some minor adjustments, but it won’t be much work. If we didn’t plan, the movers would have put everything in a big pile. It’d be a lot of work to arrange everything then.
- Bring plenty of blankets. The movers brought a big pack of blankets, we rented some from U-Haul, and we had a few lying around. They were barely enough. Blankets are your friends on moving day. It’s better to have extra than not enough.
- You have to be ruthless and throw half your stuff out. I thought about chucking a few boxes in the trash, but I knew Mrs. RB40 would kill me if she found out. I couldn’t do it, but I hope you can get rid of a bunch of stuff before moving.
Our stuff filled the basement already. It should be better once we finish unpacking.
We’re never moving again
Mrs. RB40 said she’s never moving again. That’s probably a common response after moving day. I’ll agree to whatever she says right now because she still has to unpack everything. She’ll be busy over the next few weeks doing that. Hiring movers was the right choice for us this time. We don’t have as much time and we couldn’t really lift the heavy furniture anymore. If we ever move again, we’ll have to consider the full service move. Alternatively, we could sell, donate, or trash all our furniture. They’re not worth the trouble. We can get nicer stuff later, right?
Have you moved recently? What was your strategy? Did I tip the movers enough?