Tag Archives: Moving

[Adulting 101] Stressless Guide to Moving States

Standard
Image may contain: sky and outdoor

The last year has been an exciting, invigorating – but trying year; there were a lot of changes, a lot of gives and takes – but most of all there was growth out of the little cocoon that I called my former life, giving birth to the butterfly of now. There were step backs and set backs, but they were all but beyond necessary for the growth I’ve incurred over the last few months. You see, a writer through and through – I’ve more or less bypassed writer’s block over the past two years and have gone straight into a mental cryogenic freeze. Sure, there’s output – but it’s been bland, boring, unsentimental and void of any emotional quality I possessed. All the while – in tandem – my husband and I have been seeking the unknown in search of a better life. Until recently, I honestly hadn’t paired the two together though I understand now they’re forever tied together – moving, changing, adapting, evolving, repeating. The more we’ve moved, the more I’ve caught us shedding the layers of our former selves as we get rid of our excess baggage, both figuratively and literally.

Until this year, and aside from moving to and away from college – I’ve only had the mental capacity to imagine a move within the same city. Fast forward to now, and over the last six months, we’ve moved states – twice; and to boot, we’ve done it with five cats in tow.

The why is equally interesting, but this is (mostly) about the how: how did we seamlessly transition from a big city, to a small town and then back into a big city; how did we stay on top of the bureaucracy of moving and updating the right sources; and how did we make sure we had all our ducks in a row? By keeping an organized, open mind about our future; by making lists and listening to our parents and peers.

The House Hunt

About once a day, if not more frequently, I catch myself praising the internet; I’ve never had to look for places to live without it, and I surely can’t imagine doing that now. Moving up to Oregon, we lucked out with a family friend and didn’t have to pay much thought to being on the housing grind; needless to say, our move to Seattle was quite different. Though incredibly similar, we were finding suitable digs on a bevvy of sites from Zillow to Trulia, Redfin and Apartments.com; and thanks to phone notifications, we were virtually checking out new places every other hour. The most useful of the above for us was Zillow – with ample metrics to search on, ways to draw your search area instead of using a zip code or the polygon method, and a beautifully ergonomic way of laying out their website.

Once you have a handful of winners handy, get your schedule out and make a day or two of it. While you’re there, find a restaurant or coffee shop in the neighborhoods you’re considering to eat at and muse to yourself on if you could see yourself being a regular, stride into a bar to grab a quick drink and soak up some local lore, or take a walk around a park or through the downtown area to really get a feel for living there. However, if you can’t make it in to see the area before you move – don’t throw yourself into a lease without loving it! Airbnb for Work offers a new way to acclimate to a new city, with pre-furnished locations that can be rented for extended periods of time; which gives you the mental space to find the right place to call home.

Caution: One thing we noticed while house hunting were some Craigslist Scams, with places we’d found on Zillow or Trulia for half the market price; and we learned that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You’ll get an email with a sob story or tale of altruism, either way it will feel so intimate that you also let your guard down. Then then’ll ask for the money via mail because they are ‘no longer‘ in the area; never ever ever ever send someone money without a formal lease and receiving your keys. Beyond paying for your background screening, money for rentals should never be exchanged until the final walk-through.

Pack It Up, Pack It In

Packing can seem overwhelming – but that’s because we can’t all be like Merlin from The Sword in the Stone. If I could just Higitus Figitus my belongings in under 3 minutes, I would have moved halfway across the world seven times by now; once again Disney is at it with the unrealistic expectations of life, but – I digress. However, with a step-mother who was a professional organizer and a childhood life that had me switching houses every week from the age of 3, one could say I’ve gotten pretty damn good at this part of the moving puzzle.

The first part is the easiest: snagging boxes. For most of your items, bankers boxes do just fine – and since lot of big box stores throw away the packaging, your can get a handful for free (but, make sure you ask!). For item specific, your local U-haul store has exactly what you need in any size you could imagine; glassware, dishware, TV boxes – you name it, they can protect it. As a general rule, the more boxes you have the easier this will be – you can prevent return trips to the store and trying to shove too much into a single box; plus, you can always return your boxes for cash, or donate them to U-haul’s free box bin. Along with the boxes, make sure you have the following: a few rolls of packing tape – it’s the brown one, and it’s twice as strong as the clear tape; a tape gun (you’re welcome); a handful of giant sharpies; and finally twine for when you’re keeping boxes in place once you’ve loaded the car / truck / whichever.

Image result for moving boxes

Now that we have the boxes, we’re on to my favorite part; I like to call this ‘The Purge’. Let’s start by marinating on this: not everything you currently have needs to be taken with you, and you don’t have to keep everything that you end up taking with you. Throw a little Marie Kondo into your chaotic life and use this as an excuse to downsize and minimize your belongings into things you need, use or love. If it doesn’t fit in those categories, or as Kondo would say – if it doesn’t inspire happiness – there’s three new categories you can put it in: donate, recycle or trash.

Once you’ve whittled down your wares, it’s time to quite literally pack your shit up. There’s a familiar old adage that the ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ – and that’s doubly true when it comes to packing up your personal belongings. For every box you pack, make sure to write in clearly and in big letters on each and every side of the box; that way, it doesn’t matter how you load it, you’ll know what’s on the inside by the outside. If you want to level up your organization even more, put an itemized list on top of each box so you know what’s in it when you open it, and keep a second copy of that list on you so you know which box is which as you’re unloading on the back end.

Image result for moving

Spread the News

Once you find that perfect pad – tell your family, tell your friends, and then you should tell the post office so you can set up your mail forwarding. It’s incredibly simple, and their website has everything you need to get it set up. Beyond USPS, you should also alert the following institutions and businesses to turn on, turn off, or transition your user information. Car Insurance varies from state to state depending on where you live, and each state has their own sales tax; to boot, some places like Oregon have no sales tax – while Washington state doesn’t have a state income tax.

Transfer or Forward Current Services to New Location:

  • USPS
  • Insurance: Car and Renters / Home Insurance
  • Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

Stop Service at Current Location, Start New Service at New Location:

  • Gas / Power / Electricity
  • Water / Sewer / Garbage
  • Internet: Did you know that most states won’t let you bring in equipment for other states? Moving to Washington, I didn’t – and had to do a little do-see-do with XFinity to return my Oregon modem and get a new Washington one.
  • Drivers License and Registration: educate yourself on the driving rules of your new location; though they aren’t going to completely change, it’s important to be up to date on what’s happening.
Image result for images new city

New Kid on the Block

So, now we’re here – wherever here is; but here isn’t there –  you left, uprooted yourself and have replanted yourself with grace, care, and probably a bit of ambient anxiety; because – what now?! You left creature comforts behind for broader, more colorful horizons; maybe you left family behind, a group or two of ambient friendships or maybe just a few amazing friends – either way, you spent your time investing in yourself in your last city and guess what, you developed friendships that made saying goodbye difficult. Good news, saying hello to new friendships and strangers is a lot easier than saying goodbye! Pick 3 to 5 things you enjoy doing, whether it’s going for hikes or finding craft breweries, a nightclub where you can shake that ass all night long to some groovy beats or a gym where you can join a zumba, spin or yoga class. The key is to be honest with yourself about your passions, and you’ll undoubtedly find others who share in them with you.

What are some of your tips and tricks for moving to a new state?

Let me know in the comments below!

Advertisements

[Shifting Seasons and New Adventures]

Standard

Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror.  It’s passing, yet I’m the one who’s doing all the moving.

[Martin Amis]

20140402-091330.jpg

Bye, bye Mid-Wilshire!

For almost four years now – it’s just been my and my fur babies, Sake and Stella; we’ve been living near The Grove, enjoying leisurely walks and the menagerie of urban art the area has to offer.  Living alone was exhilarating, liberating, freeing …. and lonely. As a social creature, I thrive when I’m surrounded by a supportive community – and doubly so when that community is comprised of close and dear friends.  And don’t get me wrong, because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my independence; but, life has a funny way of letting you know that you deserve so, so much more.  I’ve never lived with a significant other – or even an insignificant one; so when my boyfriend and I started whimsically discussing moving in together – my heart skipped a beat, and then another…and then I found myself in a strange inexorable state somewhere between pure elation and an anxiety attack.  But without a question, was going to be the easiest decision I’d ever made; yes, yes and a thousand more times yes! Though we’ve only been together for a little over a year, we’ve been friends for four years and have the most amazing connection and to boot, he’s the easiest person to be around – and my best friend. So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been sorting, packing, unpacking, resorting, throwing away and donating almost 60% of my belongings (and, ignoring my blog…); granted, lots of it was either from college and severely run down, or from my first year of Los Angeles and incredibly inexpensive – but regardless, it’s all gone!  And what’s more, is that I’m 99.5% moved into the new place already – and I’ve never, ever been this happy.

20140402-091312.jpg

That new ish!

20140402-091609.jpg

Don’t think we have enough pilllows… #cohabitationproblems

20140402-091617.jpg

The last graffiti at my old apartment


20140402-091638.jpg

The kitties all getting along =)

 

That said, it’s been a strange hiatus from writing but now that I’m settled in, expect to see much more from this Bouncy Kitty; including knocking out more Bucket List items – I just canceled cable (so thank goodness for HBO Go and my addiction to Game of Thrones!) and I’ll be able to develop more time to reading, yoga and exploring the East Side of LA.  So stay tuned and stay weird my friends =)

[Life Hacks] Moving On Up

Standard

20140319-101138.jpg

There are thousands of reasons to move, but only one important one: you. It sounds selfish, but who else is going to make your adult life their priority?  Whether it’s a new job, a new development in your relationship or your lease is expiring and you have the itch to jump neighborhoods, a move is (or should be) 110% about what’s good for you as an individual; I know mine is.After I graduated from UCSB in ’08, I had an executive decision to make: apply to grad school and pursue a career based on my field of study, or listen to that voice in my head that’s never stopped dreaming.  So I packed up my troubles and followed my heart to LA, which led to an incredibly hectic, and admittedly not very well thought out, move to my first apartment in Koreatown by myself.  And please believe – I say that not to harp on myself, but because I should have had more of a plan. Between my lack of income and unfamiliarity with the city, it might not have been the best choice – but it did a beautiful job of reminding me to define my intentions and embrace the reasons why I live my life. Every damn day, I wake up blessed that I listened to that small tinge of inspiration that I’ve always held onto, because it’s brought me exactly where I am today and I couldn’t be any happier.

As I prepare for fourth move in five years I have a snazzy mental inventory that I can refer to –  I know what I love having around (people, amenities like bars, markets and a gym within walking distance, and last but definitely not least freeways) what I’m willing to deal with (like volume, messiness and a general level of respect), what I’d like to avoid and what I really consider a priority (my relationships, my profession, etc) – 

 Work Life: Even though I do most of my work from home, one of the perks to my move is the decreased travel time to the office.  Because it’s Los Angeles, it doesn’t make sense to give you the mileage so just know that currently – the drive time ranges from 30-50 minutes depending on traffic, and the second I move that’ll drop down to a mere 15 minutes. Oh, yes!

Social Circle: The majority of my social circle resides out of Southern California and is mostly scattered up the Western Coast of the United States; but for the friends that I do still have in Los Angeles, most of them are living pretty on the East Side of town and I cannot wait to join them!

Love Life:  First things first, I’ve never lived with a significant other; this is the first time my love life has evolved to the point that it simply makes sense to live together.  We spend pretty much every waking moment together, and lately we’ve both felt like we just have a really well furnished storage unit on the other side of town.  Don’t get me wrong, it was all fun an games until we factored in travel time and traffic.  Los Angeles is one of the few places where you can actually be in a long distance relationship with someone who lives in the same city as you, and I can’t wait til we start a new chapter in the relationship.

Moving is like an earthquake: you can prepare, prepare and prepare for it but there’s simply nothing as chaotic or physically draining as an actual move.  So here are a few tips to help =)

(1) Before things start getting crazy, review your lease and get your “30 Days Notice” to your landlord ASAP to ensure a seamless exit

(2) If possible, try and get a small overlap of time where you have both places; moving out and moving in are a lot less stressful if they don’t happen simultaneously

(3) Consider the pets – are you combining furry, four legged families? If so, get a strategy together for how the animals will get acquainted.  Another idea to consider is shampooing or deep cleaning the carpets to get any layers of pet hair out before you bring more in.

(4) Submit your change of address form to USPS to get the mail moving to your new abode

20140319-100655.jpg

(5) Color code your furniture so you know what’s moving, what’s getting stored and what you can toss; personally, I’m a huge fan of the Stoplight method

(6) Give your closet a heavy dose of reality and finally get rid of those capris/bellbottoms/high-waisted shorts/crop-top that you one time could have worn to that strange party but you never did so now it’s just staring at you with an ostentatious look, taking up precious closet space.   Limit the nostalgia items to five or fewer and get into the groove of getting rid of things – it’s good for the soul, I swear!  I love donating mine to friends, because at least I can still get some vicarious enjoyment out of the object, but if you’re feeling adventurous – try your hand posting your duds on Tradsey for some serious cash.

(7) Whether you’re moving with friends, or in with a significant other, take a few moments to make the new place your own.  Maybe that means hanging up brightly colored tapestries, or covering the fridge with drawings from friends – either way, make sure you put your mark on your spot, both early and boldly.

(8) Last, but certainly not least, get lost.  Maybe not literally, but take some time out of your day and explore the neighborhood – find a new bar, some yummy hole in the wall food, an art gallery or a park fit for a picnic; you never know what’s just around the corner!

My New Hood
=)

Our fridge is an ode to our creative friends; I love it.