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There is nothing to investigate or study up on, really, when it comes to moving and storage tasks. At the same time, I wish I had the knowledge of the best, most accessible, and most affordable moving and storage facilities twenty years ago, before I moved a hundred timesómany times into places that would not hold all my 5,000 books or into homes where I could have used some moving and storage experts.

And it wonít do you any good for me to tell you about the best, nicest, safest, and cheapest moving and storage company out here on the West Coast, in California, in Marin County, in San Rafael, if you are on the other side of the map. So what can I do to help alleviate your moving and storage stress or prevent your possible moving and storage nightmares? I can tell you about the types of moving and storageóthe u-pack/we carry long distance containers; the rental truck prices for a cross-country move; or the warnings about the few movers who use a name similar to a well-known name, take your stuff for you to the new place, then claim you owe another grand or two or they keep your stuff.

Fifth Street Highway was empty Thursday, but U-Haul workers were busy this week helping college students — who unexpectedly ended their spring semesters early — store their belongings in lockers.


Instead, I could give you a few of the most rudimentary moving and storage tips I have come to discover/learn about by trial and error keep in mind, this ìadviceî is for the first-time mover who may not pick up on the logistics of moving and storage as anything other than pack and haul ass from point A to point B.


Get free boxes (instead of paying ridiculous prices for them) online at such classifieds boards as, outside behind strip malls (being respectful of the dumpster sites, of course), or by collecting those empty cases of beer Uncle Hugo churns out by the tens.

Pack books (and/or other heavyóyes, paper is hella heavy) items in low, small boxes. Those alcohol boxes are ideal. The first time I moved and had a bunch of friends help, they were laughingly disappointed in the giant pape towel boxes filled with booksÖas I had been thinking, ooh, bigger box, more books, fewer trips to the truck kind of thinking. Duh.

Tape doors, drawers, and cords closed/down to their bases. Dangling electrical cords and swinging cabinet doors are a hassle or accident in the making.

And though this may seem like a speed-freak or control freakís goal only, it is really a hugely helpful suggestion, especially if much of what you will move will sit in boxes for awhileÖuntil you get around to them: label all 5 sides of every box. (The sixth side, of course, is facing down, anyway.) When you go to look for the toilet paper or your vibrator or the cat food, and the one side written on in facing away and forty-two feet behind fifty stacks, you will not find it (in time)Öunless you have more time than we mortals do and have the energy and heft required to spin and flip each and every box until you find the desperately needed item. I promise you, the logistics you plan for, having person x take all bathroom items in his car while person q takes all cellar items will not happen as smoothly as you hope. I am still, after masterfully orchestrating a three-vehicle move, pre-packing and special stacking, AND five-side labelingÖlooking for shit. One friend couldnít fit all the soft items in his van, then decided he could take more, then unloaded without my autrhority (ahem), so stacks and rooms and inhalers and homework are anywhere out there in those boxes.

Oh, yes, that reminds me. Put IMMEDIATE needs, paperwork, medicines, deodorant, toothbrush, address book, and the like in one container in your possession at all times. Friends are a Godsend helping us move, but they grab everything and anything to get the endlessly endless moving and storage job OVER with.


Pack the truck carefully, tightly, and by weightóthe way a grocer packs eggs on top, for instance, you should pack mirrors (in blankets) where they will not be crushed or slammed into.

And drive, or have the driver driveÖSLOWLY. Contents rearrange themselves in transit, and when you finally get to the driveway of your new place and open that rolltop door on the 19.95 a-day truck, you will find clothing and coat hangers and dresser goodies a flying at youÖ.

Or you could just pay the moving and storage (and even packing!) professionals to do it for youÖif you can afford it or if you can let go of being in control for a few hours.