The Old, the New, and the Boxes: My Guide to Apartment Moving

We got lucky when when we moved.

We couldn’t have picked a better day. After waking up to an uncharacteristically warm, spring-like day in February (60 degrees and sunny) our friends arrived to help us load our moving truck.

Between all of us, we found moving the furniture was surprisingly easy; the couches were quite light and actually fit through all the doorways without too much maneuvering.

Fortunately, we had taken the time to organize and neatly stack our boxes, which made loading and unloading much more efficient. Also, thanks to my roommate’s handy color-coded labeling system the boxes were even unloaded into the correct rooms, which has made unpacking significantly easier. The moving process itself was over by 3PM!

WAIT! That’s not what happened AT ALL.

I don’t even know where to begin describing the truly harrowing experience, but I’ll do my best. Here’s what really happened.

After waking up early to get a jumpstart on the day, my roommate, Amber, passed by our other roommate Sarah’s door and noticed it felt a bit drafty. Sarah had already moved out the previous month, so the room was unoccupied. Amber opened the door, thinking the window might have been left open by accident to find this:

What a great way to start moving day with a hole in our window

What a great way to start moving day!

Apparently 60 mph winds and cheap window panes will do that to you. Here’s another photo so you can fully appreciate our confusion and shock.

That's Amber sticking her hand through our broken window so you can see the extent of the damage.

That’s Amber sticking her hand through our broken window so you can see the extent of the damage.

How do you even react to this? Perhaps Lorelai Gilmore can relate?

We tried taping trash bags, a tarp, a piece of cardboard, anything over the hole, but the strong winds thwarted our attempts. After a couple of tries we gave up and just closed the door. (If I can’t see it, then it doesn’t exist, right?) We placed a phone call to the emergency maintenance line pronto…but the cold still seeped in.

Anyway, after the window situation, the day just got progressively more…complicated.

The high-speed winds that had cracked the window continued all day and temperatures remained frigid. It was so cold a frostbite and wind warning were both issued. I wore two pairs of pants, two pairs of wool socks, under armor, a fleece jacket, a down coat, Gore Tex gloves, and my snow boots to keep warm. Unfortunately, I did not have a balaclava or ski mask to cover my face, and after a few minutes of being outside my face kind of went numb. Amber fashioned a makeshift ski mask by wrapping an infinity scarf around her head and face and securing it with a hair tie. As the winds howled around I had a mind blowing revelation: Maybe this is why people tend to move in the summer?

The poor weather emphasized our ineptness and unpreparedness in moving. To put it mildly, we had not done a great job of planning or packing and the cold made our situation seem ten times worse.

Somehow we decided that my dad, Amber, and I would be able to load up everything at the old apartment into the truck without anyone else’s help. Why did no one warn us that this was possibly one of the STUPIDEST IDEAS EVER?

After attempting to transport two “light” couches several feet from the apartment into the truck we realized that light for couches DOES NOT MEAN light. They were still really heavy. Really, really heavy. Somehow we persevered. Between two twentysomething women and a 70-year old man (thanks, Daddy!) were finally able to load both couches into the truck.

We encountered another problem: Not all of our furniture would fit into the truck. Due to our lack of spatial skills and poor planning we would have to come back for another truckload.

The one bright ray of hope to hold onto was that two of our friends were coming to the new apartment to help us unload the truck. David and Alex were both men in their 20s who were willing and able to help us move! (David is over 6 feet tall, broad-shouldered and was a swimmer).

When they carried the “light couches” out of the truck, my roommate offered to help.

“Absolutely not! You’re NOT helping,” David said.

They acted as if we had insulted their manliness. Perhaps they were that strong…the couches really weren’t that heavy…and we were just weak?

However, two other guys who were moving out the same apartment complex at the same time also offered their assistance. At first I thought they would refuse…after all they had refused our help because lifting the couches was a breeze.

But, after pausing for a second to think and making eye contact, they shrugged their shoulders and said, “OK.” As Amber says, that’s how we knew that the couches were REALLY heavy and it wasn’t just in our minds or because we are weaklings.

Together all four of them successfully moved the ENORMOUS couch up three flights of twisty concrete stairs.

The doorframes presented a whole different set of challenges. If you’ve ever seen the famous friends couch pivot scene, you’ll understand our feelings.

David played the role of Ross: “Before you decide to sell it on craigslist let’s try angling it one more way.” Fortunately for us, unlike the Friends episode, the couch arrived in once piece safely in our apartment.

The last episode of the day involved returning to our old apartment to load up the remaining furniture. Our friend Iris and her husband, Teddy joined us. Teddy and Iris couldn’t be any more different. He’s a big guy, over six feet tall, while she barely hits the five foot mark, however, both are incredibly sweet and encouraging.

Today was no different, despite the freezing conditions.

Upon arriving at our apartment, Iris commented that we were much more organized than other people whom they had helped move. “You’re much better off than others. Some people haven’t packed anything by the time we arrive to help.” She was too kind. The truth was we WERE NOT ORGANIZED. No matter how you looked at it…(A week later I’m still looking at boxes…)

Teddy was equally joyful and willing to help load the furniture.

“Do you have any blankets?” Teddy asked, a huge smile on his face.
“Not a problem. Not a problem. What about some twine or ties?”
“OK…not a problem. We’ll figure it out.”

And he did, despite our stupidity. Somehow under his guidance the remaining furniture was loaded into the truck and safely transported without a scratch.

In conclusion, as you may be able to tell…moving was a truly HORRIBLE experience. The weather was awful, we were unprepared and disorganized. Moving from an apartment or house is not at all like moving from a college dorm. You have all this furniture and tons of stuff that you’ve managed to accumulate. Somehow you have to move all of it to a new place.

I learned that I NEVER WANT TO MOVE AGAIN. EVER. It was the worst. By the end of the day I could barely feel my face, my lips were raw and chapped from the wind, and my muscles ached. For some reasons my forearms really, really hurt from gripping boxes in weird positions. (They still feel sore as I’m typing this blog post now.)

The only thing that’s true from my “ideal” story is that we did get lucky when we moved. Despite the arctic tundra temperatures and 60 mph winds, we had help from our amazing families and our friends. So thank you to everyone who braved the awful weather!


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