Monday, February 04, 2013

Lessons Learned from the Move

I learned a few things about moving - some the hard way. I'd like to share those with you now.

1. Don't buy boxes. Boxes are expensive. If you haven't moved in a while, you may be shocked to find out that a single box - which presumably you will packing your stuff in - costs anywhere from $2 - $20 depending on the size. Just buying enough boxes to pack all your stuff in could cost upwards of $400.

But have no fear! For you have friends that just moved and want to get all those empty boxes out of their new house. You also have a workplace that is littered with empty boxes. You think all those toilet paper rolls just rolled themselves in on their own? No! They came in a giant box which is now folded up alongside the outer wall of your office, along with tens of other empty boxes. Take them... take them all. Take more than you can possibly imagine that you'll need. You'll use all of them, and more. Just make sure to give them away to the next needy person.

Oh, and make sure to label your boxes in several places. Labeling your boxes on the top doesn't work well if you stack another box on top, ya dig?

2. Pay for movers. Instead of paying for boxes, use that money for movers. We used Two Men and a Truck and I've never been happier to watch someone else move all my stuff out of one house and into another. My back feels great, too!

I just cackled when the movers lifted our heavy couch, followed by our heavy dresser, followed by our next twenty progressively heavier objects. That could have been me doing that! How stupid would I have looked! Paying someone else to hurt their backs moving that stuff around was one of the best things I did.

3. Buy your cables in advance. Are you mounting a TV on the fireplace? Good for you! Before you get too excited, go buy some CL2 or CL3 rated "in-wall" HDMI cables right away. You see, you can't run regular wires through the wall - they may cause a fire if they get too hot due to virtually no insulation within the walls. This is even more important when you mount a TV on your fireplace. And even if the wires don't cause a fire, if your house does catch fire, your insurance company will point to your non-insulated wires as a potential flaw and deny your insurance claim. Same for speaker wire. Buy everything you need in advance, because if you don't, the Geek Squad guy will refuse to mount your TV and you won't have your TV up in time to watch the next big event - Super Bowl, Puppy Bowl, whatever floats your boat.

4. Get your Homestead on. If you live in Louisiana, file for Homestead Exemption. It's free, and once you file, you are exempt from paying property taxes on the first $75K of your house's worth. I filed for homestead exemption the week after moving in. It took literally 10 minutes, including the drive to the tax assessor's office.

And last, but not least...

5. Get more than one estimate. Don't worry that it costs money to just get the guy out there to give you an estimate on whatever needs estimating. Get more than one, especially if the first estimate seems too high. Also do research on the company before you hire them. We had a need for an electrician and a plumber, and found a single company that did work in both areas - but got burned on the electrician's costs. We didn't do enough research up front on what it would cost to install an outlet on our fireplace, and paid way more than we should have. Our harsh lesson is your lesson learned - pay for an additional estimate if the original seems too high.

I have other tidbits of life lessons, such as, "Don't let the overzealous caulking scare you away," but that's a blog post for another day.

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