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Old 09-07-2015, 04:59 AM
 
131 posts, read 166,812 times
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I have about three weeks before I'm due to move cross-country, and I'm having anxiety that's keeping me up at night. It mainly has to do with how on earth I'm going to reduce all my things to what I can take with me in a car (with a cat and a few cameras), as I'd planned.

I moved across town a year ago, and had movers with a full-sized moving truck for furniture but also clothes, lots of papers, old photo negatives...then just regular kinds of stuff. Papers especially are a problem...I do a lot of creative writing, and I have critiques from a writing group I don't want to discard before I go over them.

Anyway...I'm wondering how people do it, move across country using just a car. I had a friend who did it, but she moved into a furnished apartment and was really a minimalist (which I'd like to be!). I'm going to sell all my furniture, of course, but I can't see how everything else will fit, even after I cut way down.

In terms of other options...I don't feel comfortable driving a U-Haul cross country. I've thought of PODS or something like them, but they're expensive and I don't know if I have that much stuff. I'm planning to ship my books (two small boxes of them) to my new landlord because I'm moving to an apartment not in a complex...and I'm now doubting that, wondering if I should have picked a more standard complex that could accept packages. (She didn't seem to want to hold more for me, and said it wouldn't be a good idea to ship to my empty place.)

So yes, I'm a mess...I hope once I decide on a solution, I'll rest easier. I've lived here 10 years and just accumulated so much. Thanks for any ideas, and sorry so long.
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Old 09-07-2015, 05:17 AM
 
131 posts, read 166,812 times
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OK, sorry...freak-out calmed. I'll figure it out (with advice, of course, I hope!) Yes, I tend to have anxiety, but I know it will work out.
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Old 09-07-2015, 05:54 AM
 
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When I did it, it came down to:
-how replaceable is this?
-when's the last time I used this?
-is this really sentimental?

It's amazing how we can be attached to things that are literally, worthless, junk, etc. It is hard to break the habit of being owned by your possessions, but it's liberating when you do break those chains. TV's, furniture, dishes, etc, this stuff is all replaceable. Books? if it's not a book I read often, out it goes. I've met people that cling to outdated books or books they never read as if they were worth thousands of dollars.

For the things you need or want to keep, try to take the time to organize or find a way to store it to take less space. I still keep DVD's because I watch a lot movies repeatedly. I was able to put the ones I wanted to keep all in one media binder. The rest I got rid of. Little things like that. Photos, papers, try to organize them in a way to take up less space if possible.
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:40 AM
 
131 posts, read 166,812 times
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Thanks, that really helps. I've been trying to do some organizing of the (massive amount of) papers, and I've given away a lot of kitchen stuff and am working on selling furniture and odds and ends I don't need. But yes, I need to cut much more, and that sounds like good advice. Maybe I can do it! Kind of the start of an adventure, I guess...
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Kansas
21,622 posts, read 18,284,903 times
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This might not work for you but this is what we did. There was a postal business, one that takes in mail and UPS packages, makes copies, has some mailboxes available to rent and it was run by a local woman. She offered to hold the packages for 7 days past when we left the area and then ship them out. It works perfectly.

This was not an inexpensive thing to do. I knew the cost per pound so I went through my items and if it would be cheaper to replace then ship, I tossed or donated the item. Not precisely figuring it but just quick estimate.

If you ship, look at both UPS and USPS and compare rates. Depending on the size of the city where you are shipping one can be less expensive, much less sometimes, than the other.

If shipping and going straight there, check and see how long the packages will be held by the carrier as that buys some time.

Start by looking at only the items you NEED.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 7,688,286 times
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OP, try to calm yourself. Perhaps get more sleep or cut back on caffeine or sugar if you are getting more of those than normal. Both can make you feel anxious and cut into your sleep. You'll make better decisions if you can remain calm.

Approach the problem logically.

1. Decide on a standard unit. For me, it's a paper copy box, as those are free for me. For you, it might be an affordable plastic container from Walmart, Target, or Lowe's. Watch for back to college sales. It's your decision.

2. Measure the space available in the car and truck for the containers. Don't forget to leave room for the cat carrier, and do not stack the containers so high that you can't see out the windows all around.

3. Also measure the space in the containers.

4. Measure the space that the papers, etc., take that you want to keep. Start comparing the two. How much do you need to get rid of? Or how much can you keep? If you need a visual, use masking tape and mark out that area in a clear spot on the living room floor (or elsewhere).

5. As a last resort, you may roll clothing, bedding, and towels into clear garbage bags (called "contractor bags," available at places like Lowe's) and put those on the floors of your car or first in your truck with containers on top, as long as the trunk closes. USE CLEAR BAGS. Almost always the dark ones will get tossed. I lost my winter parka and boots this way when I broke my rule. ):

6. Also, as a last resort, you can get several boxes pre-weighed and leave them with a friend -- have him/her mail/UPS those to you after you move.

Here's a specific example. My vehicle can safely hold:

- 12 paper copy boxes
- 4 contractor bags full of clothing
- 2 "small" duffle bags
- 1 "small" cooler (around 5" x 7")

If I use a cargo bag on my vehicle roof racks, I can carry the same as 3 copy boxes or a mattress or a bike.

In an emergency, I could cram in some more stuff, double-bagged in garbage bags, but I still want to keep the level below the windows, and I would toss a blanket across all that so no one knew what all I was moving.

Now that you have some idea of what space you have, OP. You can make better decisions about what is going.

I understand about having to go through the papers! I tried to spend 90 minutes each day doing that first thing. I cut down 4 file cabinets down to 3 copy boxes and then started scanning those into the computer once I got moved. I'm now down to about two file folders full of documents that I feel I need to keep as hard copy.

But do calm down! This is merely a logistics problem, and you have several solutions.

Last edited by Meemur; 09-07-2015 at 09:21 AM..
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 7,688,286 times
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Also, if you are taking furniture, again think in terms of the "standard unit." For example, if I were loading a non-folding table, I'd think, "How many copy boxes am I taking up?" Also, can I tuck a garbage bag full of clothing between the legs of the non-folding table?

People good at loading laugh at that, but it works for me. That's how I pack a car without overloading it.

PS . . . this is why I move with 3 - 4 folding TV snack tables. I use those to eat on, as night stands. Very useful! But they fold up and take little space. Ditto two folding lawn chairs or plastic chairs. I can have chairs and tables that basically fit behind the front car seats.
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 7,688,286 times
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Last point: if you find when you have gone through everything that there is still stuff you want to keep that doesn't fit in your car, then look into alternatives, based on how much you have. At that point, you may find it's something like two copy boxes of paper/photos and that beats half a room of furniture and boxes!

And if you do have half a room left, then deal with it at that point. Don't worry right now. Focus on culling.

I did it, and you can, too! (:
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:50 AM
 
13 posts, read 16,883 times
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Before UHaul most people moved in their car. That is how UHaul came to be. So the answer is sell everything and then buy when you get where you are going. They call them moving sales. It is much easier to money in you car than a couch or bed. I have done it and found that I sold more stuff than I bought. I could get a new couch and bed and used other stuff. Then still have money in my pocket. But yes there are some things I take with me.
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:17 AM
 
2,732 posts, read 1,868,773 times
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Dollar yard sale. Everything is a dollar. Try to get the word out to the immigrant community and your stuff will fly out the window. You'll make a few hundred bucks too..

Ship via USPS a few boxes of essentials you can't live without. Cram the rest in the car and go.

We did this as a couple, moved 4000 miles in a compact hatchback.
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