Need help moving from Kalamazoo, MI to Minneapolis, MN. Advice
March 13, 2013 11:38 PM   Subscribe

I recently got a job that pays well with Medtronic (contract first, good signs for the future). I'll be paid handsomely and I need to start work on April 1st 2013 (or sooner). I have an apartment in Kalamazoo, MI until 5/01/2013. This is a 10 hour drive move, I have slightly less than 2.5 weeks to make it happen. What's the recommended way to do this, some combination of measuring, U-haul, gas cost, driving out there to check places out, figuring what to take, getting rid of the other stuff.... All that. I'm thinking (based on Ask.Mefi post searches, along with friends and family, as of now). Input?

I need to be living somewhere in Minneapolis MN, dressed and ready for work as of April Fool's day 2013. There are a million variables floating around my head (should be addled brain) and each one depends on the others. Here we go:

The final compensation rate agreed upon got me so I need to start working on April Fools Day. I've done some research and it looks like if I find a place in NE Minneapolis, like Marcy-Holmes, Dinkytown or St. Anthony West then I'll wind up very happy with where I live; theaters, music, culture, and that would be 10-15 minutes of commute to my work site.
However, the apartments that I see online ( mostly, based on recommendation, please revise) are pretty much no vacancy until about May, they'll call me if that changes. I'm thinking that if does what they say, namely put a pod in my extra parking spot here in downtown kalamazooo, I fill it up, they pick it up, it goes to Minneapolis and I call when I'm out there and get the pod dropped off to the place I find, that would be wonderful. Any experience with that?

I'll call them tomorrow but if that's real (nearly all bad reviews, but it's the f*()&^ general internet, people write more when they're pissed than when they're happy hu-ha, that's why I Ask.Mefi. Rarely I do, gotta get the question right in your head or wait a week) then I can go up north this weekend, do the brakes on my car, introduce my girlfriend to my parents, then order up a pod, get my friends to help me move my stuff into it...

Yeah, there's also this girl I love. Love may not be the right word, I can't call her girlfriend, but I do want to plan all future endeavors such that she's with me in within 6 months... then all the married babies things that would make us officially adults. She's got a great dog...

So, gotta narrow this down to a place that allows dogs and then fundamentally figure if I move once or twice. Clearly I need to set up show in the new town and make a place for her to come visit and move to.

So, the plan is, I get a Pod delivered to my Kalamazoo place, get help to fill that up and make a call to have it moved, I drive out to Minneapolis (after doing all the brakes on my car this weekend) and some place to stay, while I do the ground work figure a good place for me to make a phone call and say "pod should get delivered about here, at approximately this time" etc. Then with some planning my friend Dan up in Brinkley drives his vacation taking ass on down to Minneapolis and helps me unload that pod at the place I'll specify. And we'll have a fun weekend :-)

So will that work? I would appreciate any advice whatsoever, I'm just making this up, and one of you must have tried something like this at some point...;-) Right?
posted by ender6574 to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I moved to Chicago from NYC with one weeks notice. You really need to look at the cost of a Pod and its storage until needed versus getting rid of all your shit and buying a bed, couch, tv etc when you get there. I ended up just taking personal items such as clothes, pictures, and whatever small stuff could fit in my truck. It would all depend on the quality and condition of your furniture. Sell it or donate it for tax write-off and buy new may be worth it versus the hassle of moving and the cost of the Pod.

I would try to find a short term sublet which will allow you time to go apartment hunting and find the right place.

I don't think there are any tricks to this. If you're not willing to travel light, your plan sounds like it will work ok as long as Dan up in Brinkley is not too stoned ass to come down and really help.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:48 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thank you JohnnyGunn, that's essentially my plan right now. I moved from MI to CA once before, lived there for four years, wound up back in MI. A MI to CA, or say WA type move means burn the lab and buy all new stuff when you get there. I've been in this MI apartment for about 3+ years, and I've kept things pretty tidy. The thing gets difficult with the fact that it's only 10 hours away, so the relative cost of getting rid of everything buying new things vs moving everything is a lot closer calculation than a CA or WA sort of move. That's why I'm thinking move my stuff into a pod, get that delivered to Minneapolis, get myself to Minneapolis, from there lay the groundwork and then have the pod delivered to the place of my choosing. Sounds too good to be true.
posted by ender6574 at 12:23 AM on March 14, 2013

I used these guys for a recent move and was happy: upack Same idea - you pack something and they deliver and can also store it, but with some cheaper options. Ummm... but besides that, sounds like it will work??? Any reason you are not just using craigslist? I did a short-term sublet when I did this myself.
posted by munichmaiden at 12:27 AM on March 14, 2013 No way. That gets you just the [expensive] big apartment buildings and skips the duplex/triplexes and small apartment buildings that dominate the rental market in those neighborhoods. Get yourself to Craigslist, especially if you're looking to sublet close to the U of M. I found all of my past Minneapolis/St Paul apartments on Craigslist (5 of them between 2006-2012).

I did a Madison -> Twin Cities move back in 2006 and did the sell all my furniture/get a furnished sublet for a couple months/move with my hatchback route. It worked out even better than I could have imagined. I furnished my new apartment quite well (and cheaply) with Craigslist and Ikea and ended up with better stuff than I had in Madison.

Also, don't discount St Paul, especially when subletting. It's not as hip as the Minneapolis areas you're looking at, but areas around the St Paul campus of the U of M (St Anthony Park) and St Thomas/Macalester (Merriam Park, Grand Ave, etc.) are worth checking out. You just need proximity to Highway 280 to get you up to 35W toward Medtronic.
posted by Maarika at 1:00 AM on March 14, 2013

Apartment vacancies are apparently really tight right now, especially for places that allow dogs. (according to my apartment-dwelling, dog-owning coworker--it took her several months to find a place. Not sure if she's extra picky.) So you might need to plan on moving twice. I have had good luck with Minneapolis landlords letting us break leases early; probably because there are renters lined up to move in.

NE Minneapolis is indeed close to both Medtronic and everything you're looking for. I second the Craigslist suggestion. The specific neighborhoods you're looking in have a lot of college students which might be why nothing's available til May. if you broaden it slightly, you might find more openings.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:34 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

The reason you're not seeing any apartments until May in those neighbourhoods is probably the concentration of students. (Dinkytown is dominated by students. Marcy-Holmes less so. St Anthony perhaps not so much, but it's probably still influencing the rental market.) Given that you appear to be a real adult with a real job and all, you probably want to stay out of Dinkytown. Unless you have a burning desire to spending your evenings watching people falling over drunk. (As in I've had entire conversations with people from elsewhere about how they'd never seen so many falling over drunk people before spending an evening in Dinkytown.) Do note that I made a decision not to live near campus when I moved here for grad school, so obviously I'm at least a little biased against living near campus to begin with. But I'm really glad I don't live in Dinkytown.

Funnily enough, I believe I found my apartment on However, that's not a recommendation of that strategy, just coincidence. I mostly used Craigslist and the Star-Tribune classifieds (which are online). The recurring theme was that places wouldn't phone me back.

If you're at all interested in taking the bus to work, you should be using the MetroTransit Trip Planner with approximate times of your commute and the route map. There are any number of buses that run to major employers during rush hour. (I didn't figure out that there are express buses to the U of M, which cut down the neighbourhoods I could look to live in drastically. Of course, a lot of those buses don't run in summer, so you basically had to know they exist to find them via the Trip Planner.)

(If your dog is small-ish (I don't know anything about dog sizes) and you're having problems finding a place that takes dogs, me-mail me. My neighbourhood is neither NE nor has a ton going on, but it is full of buildings that allow (small-ish) dogs and has freeway access. Basically, I live the other side of downtown to NE.)
posted by hoyland at 5:38 AM on March 14, 2013

Yes, use Craigslist, and be careful about renting in Dinkytown. Also beware buildings owned by They have been fairly recently bought from a guy who was notorious for being the worst landlord ever and may not be up to code yet. A couple of property management companies I know to be decent are Hornig, Gremar-Colonial, and Lauren Management.

And when you get here, post in IRL and we'll have a meetup!
posted by clavicle at 5:51 AM on March 14, 2013

When looking at your timeline, it's not really 2.5 weeks to make everything happen - you only need to be at work in that timeframe. If you are planning to pay out the last month of your current lease, you still have the whole month of April to work on moving all your stuff.

So if you think about a temporary living situation for a month - something on AirBnB or a vacation rental or a residence hotel or a craigslist sublet - you can buy yourself some extra time to move your stuff. If the pod doesn't work out, you can also spend a weekend or 2 driving back to pack stuff up and then move part of your stuff at a time, maybe rent a small uhaul for the big stuff, and move in the middle of April.

All this driving back and forth and the higher cost of a temporary stay might make life shitty for a few weeks, but if you can't find an apartment and are freaking out about your start date, it's another way to think about the big picture.
posted by CathyG at 6:43 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh! If you're going to be paid handsomely? Consider looking at Prospect Park. It's cute as hell, near 280 and the U but insulated from undergrads somewhat, and with a new light rail line running alongside it next year, I'll bet it's going to blow up.
posted by clavicle at 7:24 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

As for packing and moving, call a big-name mover and see what they charge for the service, they can even store your stuff until you're ready for delivery.

I've used Bekins, they take a credit card.

It will be a lot less stressful! But a bit more expensive. At least get a quote.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:11 AM on March 14, 2013

We moved from Lansing to Mpls (by way of a few months on the east coast) in 2007. We used ABF UPack instead of Pods; the UPack shipping containers are solid steel, the Pods are wood frame with sheet metal. Not nearly as sturdy.

You'll likely need a permit to drop the container on the street to unload, so if there is no parking lot or driveway to dump it, check with Hennepin Co. to see if a permit is necessary. We pulled one just in case, it was only about $10-15.

Dinkytown and nearby areas are basically prime college housing, with all that implies: No vacancy until school is out, major traffic on weekend game days, and be aware that the noise level may be more than you prefer. If you want to get away from that, check Uptown; same kind of vibe (culture! stores!) but a crowd more in line with your status as a working professional rather than a student. My impression is Uptown is where an awful lot of people in the 20s-early 30s seem to live, right up until they get married and have kids and move out to the suburbs.

But don't neglect other parts of the city, away from the busy areas near the U and downtown. For anything along the light rail corridor, downtown (nightlife and culture!) is only a train ride away. Housing is cheaper in say, South Mpls where my wife and I live or Crystal where her cousin resides. Do some exploring if you can, and definitely if you get a chance don't commit to anything long-term until you know what you're getting into. From experience I can say that there are a lot of pockets of mini-downtowns around; even in our more residential neighborhood, we have a fancy little coffeeshop, a nice restaurant, hardware store (open Sundays!) and grocery within a 5 min walk of our place.We're 3 blocks from the crosstown highway, 10 mins from downtown. And proximity to lakes is a huge plus if you bike or run; the extensive bike trails here are one of our favorite parts of the city.

Mpls will be generally colder than Kzoo, but if you're used to Michigan winters you might like these better. Most of the time, it's cold enough to have snow instead of slush on the ground. Winter is so much more enjoyable when you don't have wet feet and gray puddles. And you can still buy Bell's here. So there's that.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:47 AM on March 14, 2013

PS: Open Google Maps. Look at Mpls. Check live traffic info during rush hours (when you will be driving to and from work). Use this to inform yourself on what the actual traffic patterns you will have to deal with really are. We're lucky enough to be able to use public transport + short drive on surface streets (~1 mile each way) so don't hit traffic, but I have friends who work in some of the local biomed companies and they say it can be brutal at times.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:49 AM on March 14, 2013

Thanks for the advice everyone. I've updated my plan a bit, the PODS quote was way too high and after thinking about it decided I'm just going to sell all of my furniture (found some people that are likely to buy it too) and just get out there. I've got a Pontiac Vibe so not a lot of room, but enough for clothes and computer. I'll be selling things and packing all this week, then early the next week my parents will come down with a truck and maybe trailer to load up anything I want them to store for me, then I'll close down the michigan apartment and head to Minneapolis. Probably stay in a hotel or vacation home at first and then see what I can find, either something furnished for the first while, or I'll get an unfurnished place and buy stuff off Craigslist or from used furniture shops.

I'm watching the live traffic right now, and so far it does look like the difference in drive time from work to Uptown vs. Marcy-Holmes is only about 5 minutes. Of course it's four minutes to 5:00 right now in MN, so I'll keep watching. Thanks again everyone :-)
posted by ender6574 at 2:56 PM on March 16, 2013

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