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Here's what I've learned after moving 20 times (that I can remember, including one hellish year when I had to move 9 times) in my life:

1. Books are heavy. Some people say that a Kindle isn't as good as real books. Some people are pretty women who don't have trouble rounding up help on moving day.

2. Getting rid of books you can't give away and have no justification for keeping is traumatic.

3. You have more small, difficult to pack, useless crap than you realise. It unfolds like a kind of malevolent, multidimensional quantum origami when you move.

4. For local moves, rent a 3-ton truck for moving day. Accept that this probably means moving on a work day because said trucks are booked on weekends for months in advance. Loading and unloading for a single trip is really unpleasant -- but there's something much, much more soul-sucking about doing lots of trips back and forth.

5. Long distance moving changes the work from a single day into multiple days. On paper it should be easier. Paper lies.

6. If you're moving long distance, don't bother with furniture or whitegoods. Ditch them and rent or buy at the other end.

7. Help your friends move.




Absolutely agree on the 1&2 (books). Description of 3 is great wordsmithing! On 5 I rarely need a truck, just multiple taxi rides (no furniture/whitegoods, see 6). Actually once or twice I had some, but used a load-bearing Chinese peasant tricycle (oil begone!). On 7, I help people move when asked or it seems useful to offer, but personally do not deal well with other people 'assisting' due to the wont to dispose of useless things and be fully aware of what's packed in what going where. Moving should be a spiritual process, like a sort of postmodern ritual cleansing of objects. The reproductive stage of the malevolent, multidimensional quantum origami of things that leads to still more beautiful future generations or the long suspected as looming, but never acknowledged, sudden and outright genocide of its entire genotype.


People do sometimes like to display their pop spirituality by throwing stuff away when they move. There was a blog post on the front page a few days ago about it.

I don't really have a deep California buddhist-slash-Fight Club reason for it. I just bloody hate moving.

Anyhow, as the saying goes. Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.


With you on the pop spirituality... the posted article was semi-neurotic in tone. My own decade-long international itinerance leaves no option for 'stuff'. I used to cycle tour a lot, which is a great way to get stuff-conscious (eg. slogging it up a hill at 2000m... it really "weighs" on you!). These days I nearly always travel with a 20 liter backpack out of minimalist habit.


Earlier this year with the help of my (rapidly slowing down) grandparents, I moved out of a shared house in Santa Clara I'd been in since 2007, back to Washington.

I dumped everything "big", including dresser/desk/bed, and most of my books had never left the family home in Washington.

It took a week (in Santa Clara, not counting driving to WA and unloading), in no small part due to #3. We were in no great rush, mind you, but holy crap. It's incredible what ends up fitting in a ~12x14 master bedroom and a little corner of a garage. And I'd been used to moving with plenty of big, strong, healthy family and friends around.

Hiring movers seems to be a complete crapshoot, but it's probably what I'm going to end up doing if I have to move again.


All great points. For my last move from NYC to Seattle, I ended up selling just about all of my books (amazon is amazing for reselling books). Made enough to pay for my flight to Seattle. Selling all my furniture (mostly craigslist) paid for shipping what few things I kept.


As someone who has moved books across the country, 1 and 2 hit home. Well put - but I'll still take them (irrationally) on my next move.




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