September and October were overwhelming months.
To up and move across the country is a big deal. And after the excitement of securing our new place and setting moving dates wore off, the reality of the required work ahead set in.
Sell the car; see as many friends and family as possible; clean the corners of the house that had never been touched; find a tenant; transfer utilities; cancel internet services; organize; pack; care for Piper; work full-time.
Each day felt like a giant to-do list: one that accumulated new items, just when you thought you were ahead of it. It was satisfying ticking items off, but it was definitely a task that required patience—something I’m not very good at.
But one thing we figured out early on was that we wanted to hire a moving company to help make the move more seamless. Between the heaps of stuff accumulated over the years that felt daunting to load and unload, our desire to make the drive with Piper in the truck without the hassle of renting trucks or towing trailers, and the reasonable price tag for a massive load off our shoulders, hiring Quality Move Management was a no-brainer.
As the weeks climbed leading up to the ‘big moving day’—when QMM would come load our life’s contents away—we had our work cut out for us.
From large furniture pieces to the more time-consuming but less obvious contents of a drawer—paperclips, receipts, half-used packs of gum, two-year-old chap sticks—we took time to evaluate every item in the house. Do we need it? Love it? Use it often? And even then, can we forsee needing, loving and using it in the new place?
In the weeks leading up to loading day, we sold $650 of stuff at a garage sale, donated tons to the Salvation Army, delivered valuable/sentimental items to my parents to care for, and threw out enough expired goods, inkless pens, nothing paperwork and scrap renovation materials to fill a dumpster—a small one, but still.
In the middle of it all, the ceiling in the basement bathroom flooded from the toilet above due to a faulty wax ring which called for a drywall gut and update, and we still each worked 12 hour days, filling spare moments tying off loose ends.
It was a lot of work, but it was going to be worth it. Like most stresses in my life, it was self-inflicted, resulting in growth and good change. And through it all, packing became a welcome, meditative task I grew to really enjoy. (I’ve shared all of my packing tips at the bottom of this post.)
Although we hired QMM to move us, we chose to pack ourselves—and I’m so glad we did. Not only did it save us roughly $1,200, but we had so much culling and organizing to do anyhow, that after we had our hands on each item, packing it in a box was just as easy as putting it back on the shelf. It also gave us a way better understanding of what specifically went into the box labelled “kitchen random glass and tin thing,” in the hopes of making unpacking easier.
Because of all this prep work, loading day was a breeze. QMM’s truck and crew arrived at 8am sharp with hot breakfast and coffee. Over hash-browns, we met our main driver/mover, Jeff, along with his two-person team. We also got to satisfy our curiosity and check out the moving truck itself.
Complete with wood floors, skylights and all of the packing/moving accoutrement you can imagine—and some you can’t—it confirmed our decision to hire QMM all the more.
The movers were careful, quick and efficient. Instead of securing padded items with tape, they used massive rubber bands which snap off in a breeze at unload versus struggling with twisted packing tape.
By noon, the house was completely emptied, save for two oversized bean bags, an air mattress, our essentials bins (ref. tips below) and all of our plants.
Over the next 10 days, we still went about normal life—though it felt different. Coming home from work felt part nostalgic, part restless. The excitement and anticipation of change to come blanketed each meal we shared at our borrowed card table, and each show we watched while plunked in bean bags. We triple-checked that the truck was safe and ready for its cross-country trek, and that we were too.
And while we were anxious during those ten days (Piper included), they flew by quick. We enjoyed time with family and friends, we wrapped up work with a bow, and we slept well knowing we had made the right move hiring QMM.
All there was left to do was wait for our new life to start and for the westward journey across Canada to begin…
If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my Sunday newsletter and stay tuned for my next post, all about our experience driving across Canada. And check out all of my packing and moving tips below:
- Packing paper is your friend—not bubble wrap. It allows you to protect items while packing/stacking them tighter. And, crunched up loose, it’s the most economic and earth-friendly way to add padding and fill empty space.
- Choose box size based on the weight of items going in it, and then fill them to the brim starting with heavy items lining the bottom. The worst thing you can do is fill a big box with heavy items only half-way. And if you do find yourself in that situation, fill the remaining space with light goods: cushy pillows, lightweight furniture or decor. The best box? One lined with a few heavier and stiffer items along the base (think books, cutting boards, filled baskets) then mid-weight, then light.
- Think Russian Nesting Dolls, now pack and stack your goods that way within eachother. It’ll save space and protect items from clanging around loose.
- Pack for the unpack. Think of your new rooms and the floor plans on the unloading side of things and pack boxes based on where you want things to land there, keeping adjacent rooms in mind. For example, our powder room in the new place is beside the laundry room, so if the powder room items box wasn’t full, I’d toss in things for the laundry room like an iron, dryer balls etc. It just ensures that you won’t have to travel far to unload anyone box in its entirety.
- QMM boxes rule. Perhaps this goes for all boxes provided by moving companies, but the QMM boxes were far superior to any other hardware store brand. Other boxes were thinner and weaker. They crushed easier from above and gave out sooner on the bottom and sides. QMM provided boxes specifically for dishes (a dish barrel), wardrobe (with a clothes rack built in), and a simple but intuitive labeling system on each box.
- Keep it together. Choose a room in your home that doesn’t get use—or even the garage— and make it the dedicated home to your packed boxes. As you finish taping a box, carry it into that space and shut the door behind you. Living without your decor and art on the walls is one thing, but seeing the boxes that contain them cluttering your rooms is not fun or necessary. We were still able to enjoy and use 99% of the home like normal without the constant reminder of the inevitable move—the brown box.