Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Ten Rules of Having Your Friends Help You Move

Yes, this post comes a little of you left-field. Recently I left a comment on Jessica's The Lovely Side website and she rolled it into a whole post. I personally haven't moved in a while, but I have racked up a lot of experience with it in the last few years.

Since I'm in my late twenties (that hurt me to type), I've helped my friends move quite a few times now. It's like weddings, every couple of months, a friend promises pizza and beer in exchange for moving their stuff across town. We all do it. We're too cheap for movers and you can't say no to friends.

I haven't moved in over three years now, but here's a lovely picture of me from that day. It was August in Arizona. I got an asymmetrical sunburn from how the boxes pulled my shirt neckline down. It was a terribly hot and long day, but it would have been much worse if I hadn't coerced all my friends to help.

In the years since, I've returned the favor numerous times. Just like weddings, there are good moves and bad moves. Here are the ten rules of having your friends help you move so that they will still be your friends by the end of the day.

  1. HAVE YOUR STUFF PACKED UP BEFORE YOUR FRIENDS SHOW UP. This is first and in all caps because it has happened to me waaaay too often.  Your friends don't want to help you pack or clean, they just want to move boxes in and out of vehicles. Don't be that guy.
  2. Clearly label on boxes and furniture what room you want it put in. On a sofa, it can be as simple as a piece of painter's tape with 'LIVING ROOM' written on it in marker. The less people have to ask you questions, the faster everything will go. 
  3. Have a truck/trailer/moving van ready. Again, this should be pretty much common sense, but don't try to make all your furniture fit in people's cars. 
  4. On that same note, have a spatially aware person in charge of fitting all the furniture and boxes together. Having to unpack and repack a moving truck because the mattress doesn't fit is miserable. designate a person to tetris everything into place to keep people from just throwing boxes in the back of the truck. The more stuff you can fit in each vehicle should minimize the amount of trips you'll need to take. 
  5. Pack boxes with breakables and fragile items you couldn't stand to lose in your own car. Don't put that pressure on your friends. Let them take big bags of clothes and boardgames and books and anything else that they probably won't damage. 
  6. Give a piece of paper to everyone with the address of the new place. Asking people just to follow you is not OK. They should have the address, general direction on how to get there, and maybe a description of what the house looks like. Helping a friend move, he transposed two of the numbers in the address, wanted us all to follow him, proceeded to pull over for things falling off the back of the trailer, and lost most of us. I refuse to speed through a yellow light in a crammed car full of your belongings.
  7. Have food ready and waiting at the new place. When we moved, I sent my sister ahead to pick up pizzas and sodas. That meal midway through should give you a good second wind to unload everything. Trading food for moving doesn't count if it's some future promise of food another day.
  8. Just like weddings, you get one, maybe two, moves tops our of your friends before they refuse to help you anymore. I have a friend who moves roughly once a year. Once his lease is up, he's sick of his place and he's out. If you choose to move that often, calculate the cost of movers into your budget because your friends are over it. 
  9. Make sure the utilities are turned on at the new place. When I moved into my first apartment, my roommate hadn't gotten the electricity turned on yet, which she did not tell me until I had arrived at the apartment with all of my stuff. She thought I was being whiny because there wouldn't be AC. I was upset because I didn't want to move in in the dark. We had roughly 30 minutes to unload four vehicles before night fall. Then, I had to dig through all the boxes to make an overnight bag to stay at Dan's place. There needs to be electricity, water, and working heat/cooling. Also, toilet paper.
  10. Try to make it fun. Play some music. Dance around. Jump in the pool for an impromptu pool party at the end of the day. It will be a long day, but it can be a great memory with your friends if you smile through it.
Moving is so incredibly stressful, just make sure to follow these rules so that you aren't stressing everyone else out as well.

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