Moving Tips

I do not consider myself an expert mover.  I did not grow up with a parent in the military, nor was I in the military myself.  However, I’ve moved six times now since I was 21 under a variety of conditions — having a leisurely month to pack, finding out a house has been sold out from underneath us and we had to move immediately, combining a three person household into a six person household, having to move 8 months pregnant, finding the right house on a whim and having to move in two weeks, moving 500 miles, moving seven blocks….

I find these damned moving advice sites to be worse than useless.  I have not once used professional movers, and have bought at the most six specialty boxes for odd items.  I do not buy enough boxes to move.  I cannot think of a more useless expense except under the most unique of circumstances.

While I do not color code boxes, yes, the advice on making it very clear what box goes where is only smart.  However, that seems a little obvious to me.  If you’ve enlisted some husky friends, and are feeding them beer as a bribe, ya need to make things short and obvious.

Another thing on the blisteringly obvious list — loading the truck so that things that need to be unpacked right away are the first things to leave the truck.  Oh and that thing about not loading a box to weigh more than fifty pounds?  Again this falls into the “no shit” category.  A big, strong guy can lift fifty pounds and carry it (hell, so can I), but if you’ve got a copier paper box, don’t load it up heavier than the eight reams of copy paper that is supposed to go into it.  The box is only designed to take that much weight.  Filling a banana box full of textbooks is mean to the people helping with your moving, even if they can lift it.

The thing about having services switched on before you get there?  Again, DUH!  I don’t know about you, but I do not want to live out of a cooler for longer than I have to and battery powered lamps just ain’t gonna cut it for light when you’re unpacking after dinner.  (If you’re moving a fridge, you might have to for a day or two.  You do want to make sure the confounded thing is clean before you move it).

It’s the esoteric stuff that’s more useful.  Things like —

  • Dust the damned bookshelves and other display cases  before you move ’em.
  • If you’re moving an item with drawers, tape or tie the drawers shut or remove them entirely.
  • For a short distance move, it is perfectly okay to move clothing in the drawers.
  • If there’s something you haven’t touched since you moved moved to your new place and you’ve been there more than three years, just get rid of it. That goes double for anything still in a sealed  moving box from the last move.
  • Don’t move any clothing that doesn’t fit.  It ain’t worth it.
  • Those ugly afghans and ratty towels you’ve got stuffed into the back of your linen closet make great packing material for things like glass fronted picture frames.
  • Paper plates, napkins and plastic cutlery can be your friend. You can make perfectly healthy quick meals of subs and sandwiches loaded with veggies.
  • If you clean your trashcans, you can use them as moving containers for things that are not easily breakable.
  • Have your toolbox be one of the things you pack last and unload first, you’re going to need it.
  • Hiring someone to move just your piano is probably a good idea
  • Clean out deep storage, and cabinets first. It will give you a clearer idea of how much there is to move, and will ease making a packing timetable.
  • Do make a packing timetable. If you don’t pace yourself, you’re going to make yourself sick.
  • Take breaks.  If you have to, use a timer.  Work for 45 minutes, and then take a fifteen minute break.  Drink a big glass of water.  (Yes, FlyLady is right about this, and trust me, you’ll be able to get stuff done faster than if you drive yourself nuts with no break and working until one in the morning).
  • Get as much sleep as you can.  If you have down time where you’re gonna be waiting, a nap is not a bad thing.  It doesn’t make you a slacker.  It makes you more efficient.  Power naps really do help.
  • If you have any sort of reaction to dust, make sure you have a non-drowsy antihistamine on hand.
  • Be meticulous about taking your vitamins. Same goes for your meds.
  • Check expiration dates on boxed and canned food. Don’t move anything that’s expired.
  • Spices don’t have a shelf life of more than a couple of years (less if you’re a foodie). Toss, toss, toss.
  • Things that might leak can be contained in ziplock bags. Make doubly sure that they are sealed well.
  • For your tupperware, no liddie, no movie. Toss ’em. Do the same with those fifty margarine and cool whip containers.
  • FlyLady’s concept of an office inna bag is a good one when you’re moving and might lose needed paperwork.  (I have a zippered notebook with some plastic folders inside and pockets for pens and stuff).
  • When I am doing tedious, repetitive work, I like to listen to music or audiobooks.  It makes the time go faster, and I am less likely to procrastinate on what needs to be done. (Harry Potter books have been my friend lately).
  • Force yourself to have a time to stop work in the evening and do something that will relax you.  You do need your sleep and if you go hammer and tongs at this, you’re going to be too spun up to sleep well.  Did I mention you will need your sleep?
  • Accept offers of help.

This is the kind of thing I find more useful than color coded boxes!

D'Une Certaine Age

I’m 36 and am rapidly approaching that stage in life where I can be une femme d’une certaine age. I’m looking forward to it.

Oh sure, we live in a culture that worships youth –and young was good. I liked the fact my breasts didn’t sag, that I had that smooth, soft skin. I liked the energy of youth and the lack of stretch marks on my belly. The wide open possibilities were fun and exciting. The lack of responsibilities that made it easier to concentrate on my obsessions. It was good. I won’t claim that I did not enjoy those advantages. I mourn them some.

But only some.

You see, at a certain age, your directness stops being offensive and personal power is accepted. You stop being a domineering bitch, and become a force to be respected. The elegant manicure stops looking vain and and the good jewelry no longer seems pretentious – like a girl playing dress-up. An understated style stops looking plain and starts looking elegant. A lifted eyebrow and smile can speak volumes that are actually listened to.

Those possibilities of youth become more real. You have the resources to accomplish them. You have more shading to your life, perspective and a latticework of structure from which to view and create your world. Life has almost certainly knocked you to the ground at least once, and you know in your bones that it doesn’t matter, because you know you can get back up every time. “Ma’am” becomes a badge of honor rather than a jab that tells you that you’re getting old.

You’re less patient with nonsense, more compassionate with real trouble. You have the wisdom to know the difference. You’re not so easily suckered by a sob story and you have the resources to help out when you really can make a difference.

There’s a balance that you get when you’re of a certain age, and it’s fun. You understand the ebb and flow of life better and don’t take everything so damned seriously. You understand that the cup of coffee after the hard labor is important – that the job is not really done until you’ve relaxed and enjoyed yourself after the labors. You understand that the silk scarf is just as important as the good kitchen knife, that life is too short for bad chocolate and that the youthful energy out there with the youngsters playing in the grass is as much for you to savor as for them.

Coping with Adult ADD

Dealing With ADD You’ve got a friend or a co-worker. Sometimes this person amazes you with the concentration he pours into his work, producing prodigious amounts of material with seeming ease and fluency.


He might be late a lot.

He nearly always forgets details. If you ask him to bring wine, salad dressing and croûtons to a gathering, chances are good that you’re going to be croutonless that evening – though the wine will probably be of some special vintage and he’ll entertain you with a story about it.

If he has a task to do – like mailing checks… Don’t count on him to do it. He might get them out on time, but if you’re out of stamps, he’ll know he cannot do the task until he gets stamps. He’ll either forget the stamps or forget to mail the checks AFTER he gets the stamps.

When you talk to him, chances are good that he’s jiggling his leg or playing with the change in his pocket or doodling. You wish he’d stop that crap and just PAY ATTENTION. Screw what’s on the damned radio, and LISTEN TO ME! You might often want to shout.

If you are dealing with someone with Attention Deficit Disorder, chances are good you are going to want to choke that person. It’s a pain in the butt to deal with, no question.

The thing is, it’s not hopeless. Really, it isn’t. It’s just that the person with ADD needs to be able to cope. Here’s some things to keep in mind:

  1. Ohhhhhh SHINY!The person who has ADD can make his natural tendencies work FOR him. I use a PDA with an audible beep to remind me when I need to do things. I make extensive use of color coding to get things done at work, as well. Make the “oooh! SHINY!” response work for you. You can only blow off a reminder if you’re giving first aid! You’re allowed to reschedule, if you absolutely cannot do something at that moment, but do not refrain from taking action on your reminder.
  2. Eliminate clutter as best you can.ADDers are not known for being very orderly. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but on the other hand, do eliminate clutter. The very last thing you want are distractions from what you are supposed to be doing.
  3. Timers are Your FriendHonest to goodness, no kidding, I schedule my day in 15 minute blocks. I do not even TRY to work on a project for more than 15 minutes at a time without taking a break. Because of my hyperfocus abilities, I can get a LOT done in those 15 minutes, so I make the most of them. By then, my brain does need a context switch, but that’s okay.
  4. LJ, Email and Chat Notifcations are Spawns of the Devil Don’t leave them running when you are trying to concentrate. Turn them off during scheduled task periods.
  5. Schedule playtime. Allow yourself time for breaks, where you can have unrestricted fun with ferret shock. Your brain actually needs it. You can run your email and chat notifications then. Enjoy!
  6. Screw verbal instructionsADDers suck at verbal instructions. I mean, REALLY suck. Badly. If you have to give them, let the ADDer take notes. If you can, give written ones. My own family indulges me by sending me emails about things and lets me copy them into my PDA. This really works wonders.

    I work in a fairly laid back office as a secretary, where email is the backbone of communication. I discovered that the people who sent me emails for task requests where the ones who got the most attention. I finally had to break down and explain to people who made requests of me verbally that I was not being inattentive by taking notes, but was actually doing my best to be as attentive and cooperative as possible.