The Very Best of a Very Bad Moving Experience
If you are looking forward to reading a how-to-article, stop right now,,, because this is a certain how-not-to article, based upon a recent personal experience of mine.
The background story
Last week my old university mate I and her boyfriend R had to relocate to another flat in the same relatively big city. I was among the people gathered for help on moving day. The entire experience was a disaster, so much so that it felt surreal most of the time. Take a look at what happened, and don't ever try this at home!
The day and time
I should probably start with the setting, right? Here we are - it was last Tuesday around 9 in the morning... There are reasons why people move on weekends and start moving early! In our case however, most of the helpers weren't available during the work day, the traffic was terrible, and we seemed to be in someone's way all the time. Plus, I and R had said that they would call each of the first shift of helpers when they were needed. But I and R overslept, so most of us volunteers decided they had something else to do, or just went to work, because they assumed that I and R must had given up somehow.
Now I know for sure: packing should be done methodically, it should start at least three days before the moving day, and there should be loads of moving boxes and other packing material supplied in advance. R drove to the hardware store to get some more things, or buy something missing (tape, for instance) three times before I stopped counting. One of the many conclusions I came to from the packing process was to never pack heavy and light items in the same box. That came after seeing books and vases in one, and a DVD-player and a car-repair toolkit in another.
Loading and thinking?
What we had was a bunch of people packing using one method, and another bunch of people taking the boxes, even if they were half-empty, out of people's hands, and loading them onto the borrowed van. When there weren't any boxes in sight, they carried big electrical appliances around. Surprisingly it turned out that even a van so big could not accommodate everything, so we had to find ways to stuff the remaining furniture and boxes in our cars.
I still cannot recall how it all started, but in one particular moment I saw several of the cars of the rest of the helpers drive away, so I hurried to follow them. Two hours and five phone calls later I managed to find the new building. The directions on how to get to their new place, given by I, felt very vague to me, but everyone else just rushed in, so I thought I should just follow the pack. Yes, you guessed right, no one - and I mean no one - knew where we were going, except that it was only 15 minutes away.
Nobody bothered to explain what he or she was doing, and why. So I had to carry a huge box with DVDs out of the living room three or four times because it took too much space, and I couldn't roll the rugs out of the room, but each time someone to put it back in! And that was just a drop in the ocean of misunderstandings, which could be easily have been conquered after a five-minute discussion of allotting tasks. What a pity!
Moving in, in order
There should have been some labels on the things indicating what goes where. Because there weren't, and because I and R seemed to have ever-changing, but always different, opinions on the subject of how each room should look, lots of sweat was poured and even more swears were heard. For example, in one room the following happened: we moved the bed frame in and out four times; R finally gave in to I and agreed this would be the living room; we moved in the enormous old couch; we tried to place it alongside each wall; we left it on the opposite wall between the windows; we moved in the table; we moved it around a lot; then I decided the table should stay in the middle of the room; we managed to manoeuvre the TV stand around the table; we had only the bookshelf left to carry in; there was not enough space to do this, so we had to carry everything out and start again.
A place for living
Since there were three other rooms to settle, the day went by, and we were approximately half-way done. It begun to get dark outside and inside. And then R discovered the lights were out of order! A thorough investigation showed that the electricity was disconnected. As well as the water and the gas, if you are curious! And it was too late to arrange them to be connected that day. So it was dark, dusty, dry and hot - not exactly a place for living, as I imagine it. From now on I will always make sure that the utilities are connected before I move in, I promise!
Remember they are human
R's and I's moving day ended around 2 in the morning. And we, the brave helpers, after many hours of stress and heavy labour, after we had been yelled at and exploited, we were just sent home. No thank yous, no goodbyes, nothing to eat and nothing to drink! Helpers are human, not work horses!
The lesson learned
Afterwards the only positive thing I could think of was that, well, everything is possible. Like I's and R's moving. Astonishingly, it worked!