How can I find someone to help with packing?
September 13, 2020 11:52 AM   Subscribe

I had to leave the Bay Area unexpectedly. I was already planning to move in the future, and now that I've been forced to travel, I want to stay in place rather than risk more COVID exposure. I have a tiny apartment in Oakland with minimal belongings, but need to figure out how to deal with them from a distance. Unfortunately, my closest friends in the area have also recently moved. I have family in the area that can't help for health reasons. I don't have a big budget, although as moving jobs go, this is very small.

I just don't quite want a regular mover- I want to be able to talk with someone as they're in my place and explain which things can go out on the curb to give away, and I also was hoping to sell a couple of things, including an air purifier, which I'm sure someone else could really use right now. I also have some things that would need to be packed in boxes (books, clothes, etc, but again, very little compared to most people.) Help!
posted by pinochiette to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We just used a moving company to do more or less exactly this in June, moving my wife out of her old apartment and formally in with me up here. It cost about $2k to move one bedroom worth of stuff from Orange County to San Jose, including "movers go in and box everything up" on the front end. We saved some money by having the movers do our stuff on a flexible schedule. They let us know what day would work for them, then they packed her stuff into the truck, then packed some other peoples' stuff behind it, and drove it all up here at once a few days later, and did the reverse to unload. Took a couple of weeks to finally arrive, but was cheap. In our case, my wife was renting one bedroom in a condo, and her landlady was able to let the movers in. Her brother is local and was able to go in first and handle some small valuable stuff separately.

Unsure how this would work with a literal 1br apartment. Given the current times, it might be simpler and lower-stress to hire a moving company, and then deal with the things that can go on the curb later. Of course, if the things that can go on the curb are large or bulky, then they might add to the cost of the move.

Is there anyone you are friendly with in Oakland who can do the first "go into the apartment, retrieve small valuables, put out things for donation, sell the air purifier, open the door for the movers" part? I know you said your closest friends left Oakland, but if there's someone local you can mail a key to, who can do that part, you may have better luck. Then again, you may be able to find a moving company who would be willing to do at least the "put stuff on the curb/take to a donation center" part for an extra fee (I don't know about the legality there, you might have to ask around).
posted by Alterscape at 12:08 PM on September 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This sounds like an excellent use of Mefi Jobs.
posted by Mizu at 12:12 PM on September 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

You could try taskrabbit too.
posted by tinymegalo at 12:25 PM on September 13, 2020

I would reach out to everybody you know in the Oakland area and ask if they know of someone who'd like to do this -- it sounds like a great job for a college student or very responsible high-schooler even. Or adults, even. Feels like it's a time when there are a lot of people unemployed or underemployed who might jump at this.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:02 PM on September 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: A professional organizer can make this happen. The right person can take care of all the details via phone + FaceTime. See their national association: There's a very helpful MeFite organizer who may be able to help you with a referral, if she sees this thread. ETA: see below.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:30 PM on September 13, 2020

You can connect with The Wrong Kind of Cheese at this link.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:35 PM on September 13, 2020

Heh, Jim2TAW beat me to it. (And hey, thanks!)

Yes, one of the specialties in professional organizing is packing and/or unpacking for relocations. Professional organizers who offer relocation services will be able to address the various issues you've raised and give you guidance for any tricky/quirky aspects.

Last year, I gave some recommendations of a few of my NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) colleagues to one of our fellow MeFites; I got a lovely email from her saying that she went with Isabella from Bella Organizing and had a great experience. (Weirdly, the web site isn't coming up in Safari for me today, but is fine in Chrome. You may want to look at their FB page, too.)

But again, that's just one of my colleagues. Not knowing your zip code/exact location, I'd just direct you to the NAPO organizer search and then suggest you put in your zip code and select "Packing for a move" from the residential service drop-down option. Some organizers work solo; others have teams. For a "relo" like yours, you'll probably want a small, two-person team. Interview at least two or three services by phone and they'll walk you through all of the aspects of the process, including rates, options, scheduling, etc. Happy move!
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 2:45 PM on September 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

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