I am giving unsolicited plugs here to Angie’s List, brightly colored sticky notes and Staples 14″x14″x14″ cartons.

The Angie’s List website was truly invaluable when it came to tackling the problem of finding a mover.  The cream does rise to the top with the companies getting the most “A” ratings right out at the top of the list.  It’s also very helpful reading people’s (usually very detailed) postings, because you get an excellent sense for whether your move is similar (big vs. small; complicated vs. easy; etc.)

I set up 3 appointments, with 3 companies, for an estimator to come and see what I had and to give me a quote.  The last time I’d moved was in 1981, 31 years before, almost like the Jurassic Period in the moving industry.

My plan was to try to pack as much as possible myself and leave the movers to pack all the fragile things (anything in a frame behind glass, dishes, glasses, lamps), weirdly shaped things (pots, small appliances), the books, and furniture.  I would tackle everything else.

Lamps Waiting to be Packed by the Movers

The move was complicated by the fact that some things (books, pictures) were going to each of my two children and the mover’s would need to know who was getting what.  The best advice I was given was to “think like a general”.  Since I couldn’t be everywhere in the 4-story house, I would need to leave things clearly labeled. Brightly colored sticky notes (on which I subsequently wrote each of our names in black marker) would make it pretty fool-proof, one of them told me.

Sticky Notes on Everything

The biggest issue after interviewing all 3 was the matter of storage, since I was still struggling with whether to move all my stuff into the new apartment, around which the contractor would have to work.  The big living room could accommodate it but it would be an impediment.  Ultimately, I decided on a storage warehouse.  It would cost more for the per month rental and the double move, but it would, in theory, make the renovation go more smoothly and quickly.

When it actually came to starting the packing of  linens, clothes, etc., I went to Staples and bought (60) 14″x14″x14″ cartons–a size I thought I could easily handle and that would accommodate most of what I was packing myself. It was a good size. My one recommendation is to get the best, and strongest, tape you can. Some cartons initially packed with some tape Staples was discounting started to become “untaped” in about a week.  Repacking them was no fun.

In the end, I wound up packing the books myself.  I’m glad I did because it turned up some real treasures.