I want out of this house! How soon can I move?
August 21, 2014 7:32 AM   Subscribe

I have to move soon, and I've found a place that's available starting this Saturday. My question is this: how much time should I budget for packing/moving? I have a small amount of furniture as well as the usual clothes and other belongings. I've packed about half of my stuff, and will pack the rest on Friday and Saturday, with the intention of moving on Sunday. Is this feasible?

I've already packed up my storage items (from the basement), but have yet to pack my small bedroom, my bathroom items, a few kitchen items, and some miscellaneous stuff throughout the house (including pictures on the walls etc). I am planning on packing on Friday night and most of the day on Saturday. Best case scenario I'll move this Sunday, but I think I may be underestimating the time it'll take to move everything.

Difficulty: my bedroom is on the third floor of a house and my new place is also up a flight of stairs. Bonus: no couches or other bulky items (save for my full mattress). I'm planning on renting a moving truck for this Sunday or next weekend.

My roommates have become increasingly distant and don't talk to me anymore. Plus their pot smoking, clutter, and general messiness is really getting to me. I generally come home from work, fix myself some food, and retreat to my tiny bedroom for the evening. As such I'd like to get out as soon as possible, but I don't want to get in over my head with what I can accomplish in one weekend.

How many helpers should I enlist for Sunday, or would it make more sense to pack this weekend and move next weekend? I know you don't know how much stuff I have, but are there any helpful tips or metrics I can use to estimate moving time?
posted by cabbagesnkings to Home & Garden (19 answers total)
I can tell you from recently moving a fairly large sized house and also my mother's small house, that no matter how much stuff you got, it will take longer to pack than any estimate you make. With motivated movers, that part can be done easily in a day. I suggest you get off the internet and resume packing so that you can move this Sunday.
posted by 724A at 7:39 AM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

Get two people, budget five hours. Since you say "helpers" rather than "movers," it sounds like you're getting manpower for free; if that's the case, do try to be fully packed before they come as a courtesy. It's a hassle to waste your weekend on someone who's not ready to move. If you're paying them, feel free to pack while they move.

Are you planning/physically able do your share? If not, I'd consider getting three people.

Moving is a bear. Good luck.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:41 AM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would add that I would enlist 4 helpers. An even number seems appropriate so that two people can move the bulky items. Also, if it were me, I would power through the packing and be gone this Sunday, but that is because the situation seems untenable to you and because no matter when you plan it for, it is never "ready".
posted by 724A at 7:41 AM on August 21, 2014

If you have two heavy lift-capable helpers you should be ok.

A few protips from someone who has moved more times than I would have liked to in the last decade:

-If you're renting a U-Haul, call them several times (including the morning of the move) to make absolutely certain they have a truck for you. U-Haul is like that Seinfeld sketch: they take your reservation, but they don't always have a truck for you (especially if you're moving at a high-popularity time like a weekend that's also a 31st of the month). It's bananas. U-Haul is fantastic when it actually works out but an absolute nightmare when it doesn't.

-To pack clothes on hangers, leave them on the hangers and hanging in your closet. Take a kitchen garbage bag, shimmy it over several items of clothing from the bottom up, then loop the drawstring over each end of the hangers. Then just take those and drop them into boxes. Makes it super quick to pack and unpack, no unhanging or folding and minimal wrinkling.

-Be kind to the friends helping you move. If they're helping you pack and you're an absolute mess and something gets broken, don't yell at them. They're trying to help you. Likewise, make sure they're fed and watered and beer'd.

-If you suspect trouble with your shitty roommates, make the actual move out as quick as possible and do it in one shot. No multiple trips if you can avoid it. Also, if you can do it at a time when you know they'll be out of the house, that would be for the best. When I moved out of a shitty roommate situation I did it at 6 in the morning before my roommate was even awake, had the movers rush everything out the back door, and left a wad of cash with a note to hire a maid since I didn't want to stick around and vacuum or clean any longer than I absolutely had to, and anyway 95% of the common area mess was hers and I didn't want to get into A Thing with her about it.

-If you are very very pressed for time, go to home depot or whatever and buy yourself a pile of storage bins like this. Just chuck your life into those, close the lid, and go. Easy peasy.
posted by phunniemee at 7:51 AM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks all! Great tips so far. I am planning on moving things myself, and have 1 strong person to help so far. Will try to enlist 2 more.
posted by cabbagesnkings at 7:57 AM on August 21, 2014

You have one bedroom? Yeah, you can do it in a day. I always budget a couple afternoons to move and I agree that it generally takes longer than you think, but it doesn't sound like you have much stuff. I like to pack as quickly as I can as a game with myself. The time that you are looking at is likely not mostly in moving boxes so much as putting everything into the boxes, all the odds and ends and random clutter. So to that end, have everything completely packed and sitting in the boxes before your friends show up. If you think you're 80% packed you're likely only 50% of the way there. The actual moving of the boxes is a snap, especially if you have help.
posted by geegollygosh at 8:20 AM on August 21, 2014

I've found that the most time-consuming parts of moving for me aren't the actual moving boxes and furniture parts, but the packing tiny items into boxes parts. Look at your progress by mid-Saturday and see if you've gotten to a place where you can be 100% packed when your helpers show up on Sunday. If not, postpone it till the next weekend to avoid the stress of hurrying. Moving stuff with other people can be pretty fun, as long as there's no rush and somebody's ordered a pizza.
posted by Pwoink at 8:21 AM on August 21, 2014

My daughter and her roommate recently did a full move from one complete 2-bedroom apt to another. Here is the schedule that worked for , and exhausted, them...
Sat, Sunday-packed everything but the fridge, a little food and cleaning supplies.
Monday- made 3 carload trips with small stuff. Rented a zip van.
Tuesday-took half a day from work. Moved the big stuff, couch, beds, shelving, big boxes. Down 4 floors. This was the day the elevator was broken. They had a helper at the loading end and another at the unloading end. Up two flights. Returned the van, late. Slept at the new place.
Wednesday, worked, then cleaned the old apartment and Bob's your uncle.

They are young and can do shit like this.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:23 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know - one bedroom plus cookware for one plus miscellany sounds totally packable in a day to me unless you have large collections of comics, crafting supplies, etc. How many boxes of books will you have? Those take longer to pack and longer to carry. How many two-person items do you have? (ie, mattress, boxspring, frame if large, bookcases, large chairs, dresser).

My feeling is that if you have a big van and one strong person, you can get your stuff moved in a day pretty easily. It has never taken me more than a day to move a bedroom plus a couple of chairs and bookcases and so on.

The most time-consuming aspect of packing for me has been running out of boxes. You will need way more than you think you will, and you don't want to be racing out to get them at the last minute. Get lots well in advance.
posted by Frowner at 8:31 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Packing is one of those activities that expands to fill the time available, so I'd expect to be throwing the last bits of crap into boxes as your helpers show up, but 2 days should be plenty of time to pack up 1 bedroom plus assorted things. Three helpers is probably plenty, but the more the better for stair-intensive moving as it's not the heavy stuff that is the burden in this case, it's the repeated up and down trips, so more people means fewer trips per person.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:34 AM on August 21, 2014

Response by poster: Frowner, I have very few books... and while I have some craft supplies, they are already packed in bins like phunniemee suggested. Not a lot of kitchen stuff, either. Two person items: mattress & boxspring, one ikea dresser, a library card catalog (which comes apart into 3 pieces), some small furniture like bedside table and small desk etc that one person could move. Thanks all - this is super helpful.
posted by cabbagesnkings at 8:36 AM on August 21, 2014

Packing is one of those activities that expands to fill the time available

So true. I like to get myself invited to a party or something and then I can only go if I've finished packing within a reasonable time frame (ie not still packing at 1am). Otherwise I end up wasting hours looking back through photo albums and things like that.
posted by geegollygosh at 8:41 AM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Movers may be less expensive than you think. Check yelp to see if your city has movers who specialize in SMALL moves and have low rates/no minimums. I recently hired movers in LA who charged $85/hr, no minimums, and rounded to the quarter hour = HEAVEN.
posted by acidic at 8:50 AM on August 21, 2014

acidic: "Check yelp to see if your city has movers who specialize in SMALL moves and have low rates/no minimums. I recently hired movers in LA who charged $85/hr, no minimums, and rounded to the quarter hour = HEAVEN."

Google "<college near you> movers" FTW
posted by Rock Steady at 9:10 AM on August 21, 2014

I just moved. I was entirely packed (that took about a week for me because I am a meticulous slowpoke about everything) and had 5 helpers. We loaded and unloaded the 14-foot UHaul in less than 1.5 hours. I live in a 1-bedroom apartment that's 650 square feet and have several items of large furniture.

You should be fine. Be all packed before your friends/helpers arrive, though - there is nothing worse than showing up to help someone move and being met with a giant ball of chaos.
posted by sockermom at 9:47 AM on August 21, 2014

I'd hire local movers in a heartbeat. If you have You Move Me, use them, they were GREAT. They just humped it all out. Got us out of our 2600 Sq Ft house into our 1400 Sq Ft apartment in 5 hours. It was miraculous!

They could do your move in about 2 hours with time left over. All YOU do it point. They do the truck, the gas, the insurance and the guys. By the time you fuss around with a U-Haul, they'll come, do and leave before you scrape the side of the damn thing on the mail box.

When packing, get a fat Sharpie and mark what's in the box. Super helpful when trying to figure out which box has the toilet paper.

If you can avoid it, leave the shit in the fridge for your roommates, start over with fresh in your new place. Save time, hassle and pickle juice from getting all over your comforter.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:40 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

You'll have no problem packing on Friday/Saturday. That's plenty of time, assuming you have enough boxes/tape and don't get distracted. Do you have a car or a friend with a car? If so, it might be worth doing a load of breakables and small stuff that's irritating to pack on the Saturday. Then the Sunday people only have to do the packed boxes and furniture.

As for the moving itself, the stairs are going to be the killer. Honestly, with that many stairs, I'd ask friends to help with the packing, and get movers. My sister's movers took three hours to move a similar amount from the ground floor to the third floor. If that's not in your budget, I'd definitely see if you can get at least one more person, if not two. Anymore than four total though, and you're just going to be continuously bumping into other people on the stairs. Have everything packed!! If possible, get as many boxes to the ground floor as you can before the helpers come. If you really want to get out ASAP, I'd move all the stuff out from your bedroom first, then you (or a helper) can do a quick vacuum and wipe whilst the others do the stuff from downstairs.

Oh, and remember to save some energy for unpacking. It's worse than packing, in my opinion.
posted by kjs4 at 7:20 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Totally feasible. I had to do an in-town move in a hurry almost exactly like this a few months ago. Because of the circumstances surrounding my move, I managed to pack everything in about 4 adrenaline-fueled hours. The moving itself took 2-3 hours. It was great! The only difference between my move and yours is that I was moving from a 2nd-floor bedroom into a 1st-floor bedroom so my move time was likely shorter than yours will be.

Do you have a landlord with whom your lease is ending? Schedule a meeting for them to come and "check you out" of the house. This meeting will be a few hours or the day after all your things have been moved into the new place, which allows you cleaning time. (Also, I'm assuming you've signed a lease and have a key for the new place. If not, that's priority 1.)

Step 1: Reserve a 10-foot UHaul. I also rented furniture pads. They came in handy for protecting the furniture from the bottom of the UHaul, and I used the extras as makeshift bags to throw stuff into.

Step 2: Pack. You'll have more kitchen stuff than you think. Big easy-to-carry boxes or plastic totes are your friend. I thought I'd need 3 or 4; turns out 6 large plastic totes (I got mine from Target) were needed for kitchen items, clothing, bathroom stuff, and books. Like you, the biggest/bulkiest thing I had was my mattress. I also have a very light computer desk. Use duct tape to tape the drawers shut on the desk. All of this fit very easily in the 10-foot UHaul.

Step 3: Request the help of two friends capable of lifting heavy stuff. Three friends might be perfect; four will be overkill.

Step 4: The day of the move, I picked up the UHaul and arrived back at my place at the same time my friends showed up to help. Because I was fully packed, moving my things into the truck took about 45 minutes. Move the biggest/bulkiest items first. The mattress can be propped up vertically against the side of the UHaul. After a 20 minute drive to the new place, unloading took another 45 minutes or so, then we were done. Time for pizza and beer!

After you've returned the truck, that's when you go back to the old place for the last time. You'll return the key, and if you have a formal lease situation, you'll deep-clean your room and common areas before going through each room with the landlord. I started the cleaning process during packing so that on move-out day only a quick sweep with a broom was needed. Both you and your landlord will sign a little hand-written agreement that you left your rented area clean and free of damage, and that you can expect the return of your full deposit.

This cost me $63 for the UHaul stuff (rental + furniture blankets), ~$15 for gas, ~$40 for the totes (which still come in handy), and the cost of pizza and beer. If you have more available funds for movers, by all means go for it, and enjoy.
posted by nicodine at 10:23 AM on August 22, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all! Ended up renting a 14 ft truck on Sunday morning. Thanks to your help and suggestions, I was all packed up on Sunday morning and ready for my friends to help me move. Had 4 strong friends do the heavy lifting, and 2 of us organized what stuff to load and on the unloading end, where to put things. Had a cooler of drinks and a bunch of snacks, and after the move we went out to eat. All in all, a low stress move.
posted by cabbagesnkings at 7:42 AM on August 27, 2014

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