The Tao of Moving

The Tao of Moving - how hard can this be?
The Tao of Moving

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

So Winnie and I have successfully finished moving into our new old house. As it’s been 15 years since I last moved housing, this most recent experience re-taught me old lessons. With luck, I won’t need to re-use my re-learned lessons again.

This all comes under the heading of “The Tao of Moving: How to Move Gracefully.” As opposed to “Dear, where the hell is my other slipper?”

Definition of Tao

The process of nature by which all things change and which is to be followed for a life of harmony.

Moving Tao

So, when we started packing we had a plan. Pack up everything in one room, mark the boxes. Move boxes to new house and place them in the room the contents will be located. Pack up more boxes, move. Repeat until one house is empty and the other house is full. Settle into new home rejoicing in a move well done. How hard could this be? We’re only going across town.

Not Moving Tao

So the first thing that went wrong was…we couldn’t actually pack everything in one room all at once. We were still living in one house while moving stuff across town to the other. Then not unpacking at the new house on account we were in a hurry to move out. Another casualty of our plan’s hitting the cold hard wall of reality was that, in our rush to move out we didn’t take the time to mark the boxes. Which wouldn’t have mattered anyway as the boxes we used were mostly the boxes we used to move up here from Mississippi, and were already marked.

Yes, believe it or not, we saved all our packing boxes from our Mississippi move back in 2006. We could do this as we had plenty of attic space in our former house just begging for stuff to fill it up. Which we did, in ample quantities. So marking these boxes again would have just created more confusion when it came time to unpack.

Next was the process of packing boxes. Winnie was doing a lot of the packing while I worked, and didn’t see the necessity of using cardboard boxes. We have a number of large plastic totes (storage bins), so Winnie started just filling these. Then carrying them over to our new house, dumping the contents where ever and returning to fill again. While this saved on boxes, it made unpacking with organization problematic.

The Rhythm of The Move

We got into a daily rhythm of weekday moving, followed by a different weekend rhythm. On weekdays; we’d have breakfast and I’d head down to my basement office for work. Winnie would start the day’s packing and loading up a car. Once she had a car load (either her Nissan or my Jeep) she’d head over to our future home and unload. Then head back, and get a late lunch going. We’d have lunch, and I’d finish out my day while Winnie cleaned up.

Once my workday was over, it was part two of our daily routine. I’d hitch our utility trailer to the Jeep then start loading. With the trailer we would haul the large stuff like furniture that wouldn’t fit inside a car. We’d load up, then make a second daily trip back across town. Given the short days this meant loading the trailer and arriving at our new house in the dark.

On weekends we’d make two trailer-trips each day, interspersed with loading/unloading the trailer. At least we’d be loading the trailer in daylight on both trips.

A Challenging Trailer Unload

I’m fairly good at backing trailers into driveways now, given the number of years I’ve been doing this. But our new home presents new challenges. First, the driveway access to the street (curb cut) is narrow, just a bit wider than one car/trailer width. While I don’t really mind running over curbs, there’s no curbs here. Instead, we have a drainage ditch lining both sides of a relatively narrow street with culvert running under the curb cuts. So, missing the curb cut means dumping the trailer tire into a ditch with the accompanied risk of twisting the hitch or breaking an axle. Given the narrow street, this means making a sharp nearly 90-degree backing turn to get in.

Then, the driveway itself is narrow, barely two cars width, with trailer-unfriendly stuff on both sides. On our neighbor’s side, there is a chain link fence running the full length of our property line. On our side; the first 25 feet of driveway is lined with a wooden picket fence enclosing our front yard. After that the driveway is lined with the brick wall of the house.

So backing the trailer off the edge of the driveway on either side is not an option.

To add to the fun, the road past our house is a connecting road with regular two-way traffic. This road is barely two lanes wide. Backing my small utility trailer into the driveway means temporarily blocking the road to thru-traffic. Some drivers are ok with this and, once they realize what I’m doing, will patiently wait until I’m in. Other drivers – not so much. They will attempt driving around behind me – while I’m backing up – if there is enough space between back of trailer and ditch to get around.

A Moving Success

But, we managed to finish moving with about three weeks steady work. However, we’re a long ways from being unpacked. Given we moved into a smaller house with less storage, we need to part ways with some of our belongings. So we’re looking at a springtime yard sale(s), with listings for specific items going on Craig’s List in the meantime.

I’m just happy to be done hauling furniture and boxes.

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