Friday, September 18, 2020

Moving to a New Condo Made Easy


It’s spring, and our thoughts turn to — moving. According to Google, eighty percent of the 40 million people who move each year in the United States do it between April and September with June, July and August being the busiest months.

Although it was April when I began looking for a community where my future needs would be met, it was October before I could move into my new condo which needed updating after its July purchase. I found the right place with a Naples- based company that works with seniors. This followed many visits over the years to senior communities when my late husband needed assistance, so I knew what I didn’t want and with guidance, found what I did want very quickly.

Searching for a new home can be exciting and fun, imagining oneself there in various scenarios. But once that new place is chosen unless you have zero possessions, the moving process will follow– yuck!

What images come to mind when you think about moving? Perhaps all the stuff you’ll have to get rid of, the packing of boxes to cut down on moving van expenses, the boxes and boxes that will fill your new space till you have time to unpack them all. Then, the hunt begins for the lap top’s power cord, the detergent to wash the dishes, your favorite t-shirt, the picture hangers you bought to hang art in the new place—all in a box — somewhere.

Having moved eight times as an adult, I remember weeks of sorting out and preparation, the work of packing at least the good china, the stressful day of the moving out and moving in and then the boxes and boxes that took days to completely unpack. There was always help from family and a few friends, but the bulk of the work was mine to do.

That was true in the first six moves. For the seventh move to Marco Island from Pennsylvania when my husband could no longer help because of his dementia, I hired a moving specialist, Karen. This came after a friend’s insistent recommendation that Karen would be a gift and I had to call her. Karen packed and labeled all the boxes headed for Florida or elsewhere and took what we couldn’t use or didn’t give away locally to her home church’s resale effort. She earned my husband’s admiration for bringing ice cream or pie to satisfy his sweet tooth each time she came and she was a real gift to me for the moving- out work. But Karen’s work was done prior to the moving- out day. The moving- in again was boxes and boxes everywhere with some help from family and new friends from our Marco Island church.

But the easiest move by far was the last one from Marco Island to north Naples: easiest because a senior relocation specialist helped on both the moving- out and the moving- in ends. I recommend it if your budget will allow.

Several months before my move, I sat down with the relocation team to find out what they offered and the cost and decided I’d like to work with them. On that initial visit, Lucien and Garrett, a father/son team measured all the furniture and tentatively helped me decide what would not be moved .We met again closer to the move and with the measuring of wall space in the new condo, a floor plan was created making concrete the choices of what would fit and what wouldn’t.

Several weeks before the moving date I started to go through all my clothes and belongings and set aside what I did not want to take. With a son’s help, discards went to St. Mark’s Church for their annual flea market and to the Bargain Basket, the United Church’s thrift shop on Marco Island. Later, on moving day a kitchen table and chairs went to Guadeloupe Resale Shop with the moving company and Habitat for Humanity received a pull-out sofa and my treasured dining room table set that was too large for the new space. This was traumatic but necessary.

Then, on the first of three moving days, Lucien and Garrett arrived with three staff members. They took pictures of kitchen and bathroom drawers and other spaces to help relocate items similarly to where they’d been and then packed everything in boxes. My job was to answer questions and remind the team about what was going and what was staying. After five hours work, all boxes were packed.

On the second day, the moving truck arrived early at 8:30 AM. Garrett unplugged all the electronics, bundled those to be returned to the carrier and ensured that the loading of the trucks was beginning as planned. I conversed with a friend, answered questions and watched boxes being packed into two smaller trucks (as big trucks were not permitted at my new community.) The loading was finished and the trucks were on the road by 12:30 PM. I followed the team’s advice to not follow the trucks to the new condo until about 4 PM. This allowed me to enjoy lunch with a friend and get a massage. Could this really be my moving- out day! WOW!!!

When I arrived at the new condo a little after 4 PM all the furniture was in place, the kitchen and bathroom drawers had been filled, and the few remaining boxes were all in the walk- in closet. Lucien was hanging art and my job was to approve or disapprove his suggestions. (He’d worked in interior design previously so his placements were better than mine would have been.) At 6 PM Lucien and staff left with just a little work to be done the next day.

Garrett arrived first on the third day to plug in all the electronics and work with the tech representative from Comcast. Lucien and a staff member hung the last of the art with all leaving before noon. My new condo looked great with everything in its place. There were no boxes, all my clothes were arranged by color in my closet, shoes were on shelves and the kitchen drawers and cabinets had the right contents. It was amazing. It was wonderful.

Although this move was easy because of all the help, the adjustment to a new place is taking some time. I really love my new condo and am making friends in the community. But the move took me to a new neighborhood in north Naples which meant finding the most convenient place to buy groceries, fill any prescriptions or cash a check. It took some time to settle on the right ones. And emotionally, I’m still in transition after leaving Marco Island because I miss my friends, my church, my favorite Y class and instructor, my massage therapist plus the convenience of having the grocery, drug store, bank, post office, the library and YMCA all within minutes of home. Although I do feel settled and happy in my new neighborhood after six months, the emotional part is taking a little longer. Fortunately, I’m close enough to Marco Island that I can drive back frequently to get my island fix.

You may be wondering about the cost for the extra service when moving. It is extra but not extraordinarily so. The relocation team had contracted with the moving company, so I paid less for them than if contracting for their services on my own. And as a senior citizen I appreciated the help and felt it was worth the extra cost.

Whatever your age, if you plan to move, at least check out relocation specialists online. What you’ll find is a number of moving companies and a few relocation specialists. The latter do the extra services. My suggestion is to go local and check recommendations. Who knows? You may just decide that getting moving help is more important than new spring clothes or that quick weekend getaway, especially if you never again want to have to search through boxes and boxes and boxes to find your pajamas and toothbrush.

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