The belongings that we amass over the course of our lives come in a variety of sizes and shapes. From the 8×10 framed pictures of your senior dances to the oversized colonial hutch you received as a wedding present, our possessions are often an eclectic representation of our lives. So what happens when a move is on the horizon and it’s time for these items, big and small, to be relocated?
Each time I get ready for such a move, I am immediately aware of how much time and effort could have been saved if I would have put a little more thought into the logistics of it beforehand. Perhaps I wouldn’t have had to toss out an assortment of couches I’ve abandoned over the years or single handedly maneuver an oak armoire down two flights of stairs. We’ve all had the deflating experience of opening the box containing what should have been my computer but was instead a jumbled assortment of wires, a computer tower with a busted CD drive and a monitor with two huge gashes to the screen. Planning ahead for moving some of your belongings that are bulkier, more cumbersome and just plain awkward can make your moving day much less stressful.
Moving a piano requires seventy people with super-human strength and the precision of no less than three neo-natal surgeons to ensure that the instrument makes it from point A to point B with no hiccups.
In all seriousness, moving a piano is no easy task. The average piano often surpasses the 800 pound mark, and depending on the model, most will present you with a complex series of maneuvers and turns in order to get it out the door. Pianos are also very temperamental and even the slightest collision with a wall or doorframe can alter the pitch and tune of any number of the keys.
It is because of this that moving a piano should often be covered by an industry expert. To start generating a list of options, consider calling a local music shop and asking them for suggestions. Most will be happy to supply you with a list of names and numbers of trusted movers who specialize in the transportation of pianos. Call around and inquire about rates, protection from accidents and available dates.
Armoires, Hutches, Credenzas
Out of college, my first apartment that I rented came with the added amenity of not having a functional closet space. In lieu of a traditional closet I instead had a half-door that was probably more suited for a leprechaun than a human. Because of this I found myself to be a proud owner of a large, hollow, wooden rectangle known as an armoire.
Armoires pose an especially tricky dilemma. Most of the times, they come in pretty narrow boxes thatare easy to bring into your home, but once assembled all that changes.
When a move is on the horizon and an armoire, large hutch or credenza is in your possession you might be forced to make some tough choices. If you are feeling ambitious and your new location has the space to use the item effectively, you can of course disassemble the beast and take it out of your home in the same way that it was brought in. Another useful tip is to take a look at the windows in your current place of residence. I have my share of friends who have taken out windows to avoid a maneuvering nightmare that would otherwise be moving it through the home.
For some, the need for an armoire might not be as pressing at the new location as it was beforehand. For those that fall into this category I recommend speaking to the landlord or the homeowner. They should be able to help you and it’s a more proactive approach than just leaving it there for them to deal with.
If an apartment or a home doesn’t have adequate storage space, chances are the landlord knows about it and chances are it’s a source of contention when prospective tenants are contemplating a move onto the premise. When I was in this situation, I gave my landlord a quick phone call and asked if he would be interested in purchasing it from me to keep in the home for future renters. He obliged and I found myself with a few extra bucks in my pocket than what I would have had otherwise.
Carefully Packing Electronics
Electronics can be the most fickle of items to deal with in a move, with antiques edging them out slightly. Arranging electronics in a box is like a scene from The Hurt Locker, one false move and something is fried forever.
I made the fatal mistake of putting all of my computer equipment in one box during one move. In the time the box moved from home, to U-Haul to new home, I had lost the ability for my CD drive to function properly and my new 22-inch monitor was sporting two freshly procured battle wounds.
Best practices for moving often suggest you try your best to put the electronics back into their original packaging then into the box. However, if you’re like me, those Styrofoam packing materials are thrown away the moment the box is opened. If that’s the case, don’t worry, there is a lot of other things you can do to protect your expensive electronics.
If you are worried about damage to a monitor, consider wrapping it in a series of towels. I once took an international flight where I needed to transport my monitor. In order to avoid repeating history, I wrapped my screen in several towels, making sure to pack extra around the monitor portion. The screen made it safely overseas with no knick or dings whatsoever.
As for the tower, consider purchasing a small roll of bubble wrap. These items can often be procured at popular packaging stores like UPS or Kinkos and are usually pretty inexpensive. Once you have a roll of this stuff, put it around your housing and place it in a box. Fill the space around the tower with packaging peanuts or, for a less expensive alternative, use more towels, making sure the computer has no wiggle room and no opportunity to ding up against something that would cause it to break.
Making Moving Easier
While the actual event of getting an object from one point to another can be one hurdle to overcome, often times moving large, bulky items within the home as they make their way to the truck or U-haul can also pose a challenge. To deal with this, I also suggest a little more forethought.
Create handles. This is a simple, cost-effective way of moving a large piece of furniture when you don’t have access to enough people to physically lift the object. Handles can be made from ropes, electrical tape and a number of other items. Using a handle in this way can give you that leverage edge you need to transport that tricky object to the truck waiting outside.
Use moving pads. Never in the history of time have I annoyed my friends more than when I got these four little discs at a department store. In total seriousness, I could have been the company’s spokesperson for a few weeks. The little magic plates work by having a smooth rounded side and on the reverse side, a non-glide pad that adheres to almost anything. To move a big object (in my case, a rather cumbersome four-post bed) you simply lift up each leg and place the small disc on the point of contact with the floor. Once all the discs are places, moving huge objects like these is as easy as pushing a skateboard.
Anticipate, Anticipate, Anticipate
Like with the armoire scenario, it’s always best to anticipate which objects are going to give you the most trouble during a move. Make a note of these things, see which ones aren’t as necessary as the others. Perhaps you can get a head start at disassembling them, finding them a new home or perhaps sending them on over to a storage unit for safe keeping until a better option opens up down the road.
Whichever choice you make, think it through, adding a broken, damaged or knicked up item to the moving stress is a completely avoidable scenario. Do you have any other great tips? I’d love to hear them below.
Jenn Young is freelance writer working with Uncle Bob’s, a storage unit. When not writing about storage units, Jenn can be found beautifying her home with organization projects.