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Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 05/08/2012

Moving: Expectations vs. Reality

This is the second post from our relocation blogger, who just moved to a new home in Carderock.


Now that the moving process is behind us, it’s obvious that the reality of it was a far cry from my expectations.

My husband and I like to consider ourselves planners. Weeks ahead of the move, we started a detailed spreadsheet. One tab listed the anticipated expenses that would come with new furnishings and renovations of the house. The next tab listed each piece of furniture in our apartment, and the room into which that piece of furniture would go in the new house. A third tab is where we kept a list of all the places (banks, websites, DMV, etc.) that we would need to change our address.

The first line on the “Expenses” sheet was the cost of hiring movers. We chose one of the top-rated moving companies on Angie’s List, and the estimate that company gave us was for six hours of labor. Both my husband and I agreed that surely we wouldn’t need the entire six hours. After all - we would do such a thorough job of packing boxes that all the movers would need to do is load and unload the truck. What we didn’t take into account was a) the meticulous wrapping of every non-boxed item (hence the high rating on Angie’s List), b) the fact that the moving truck wasn’t allowed on George Washington Parkway (which meant Route 50 and a very congested 495), c) having to disassemble (then reassemble) pieces of furniture that had fit through our wider apartment doorways but wouldn’t fit through our house doorways, and d) having to order an impromptu pizza dinner for all the movers because the whole process was taking far longer than we anticipated. After all was said and done, it was a more than eight-hour move for just a two-bedroom apartment! This pattern of wildly over- and under-estimating the complications and expenses involved would repeat itself (albeit maybe not so dramatically) with many of the other items on this tab. And once we moved in, we discovered that many of the furnishings and repairs we’d anticipated turned out to be needless, while others we’d never expected needing became essential.

The second tab of the spreadsheet – our careful master plan of which furniture would go into which room - ended up completely useless, other than serving the purpose of making us think we were great planners. Our initial idea was to print the sheets out and give each mover a copy so that we could focus our efforts on unpacking boxes and getting our toddler’s room ready. We quickly learned that three large men trying to unload a truck as quickly as possible don’t actually care to navigate their way around a spreadsheet and map of your house’s layout. If you’re not standing in front of them to tell them where something goes, they’ll put it where they think it should go, which can turn you into the moving company later on.

The third tab of our spreadsheet - the list of all the places we needed to call or write to change our address - that actually worked exactly how we hoped it would, so it made the overall moving process about 1 percent easier.

So, a good lesson learned from our experience is that when moving, make sure to leave a good chunk of money, a little more money on top of that, and a few extra lines in your spreadsheet, for the unexpected. Thankfully, my husband and I strongly believe that our new house is our “forever home,” so with any luck, we just completed our last major move in life, and I’m hoping that expectation survives reality.

By Amy Moore  |  05:30 AM ET, 05/08/2012

 
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