There are no Star Trek teleporters to magically transport your furniture and clothing from your current home to your new one. It all has to be moved. Hence the invention of the moving industry with its army of big, bulky guys who know how to wrap, carry, and stack all your stuff so it squeezes into a truck like a three-dimensional puzzle.
Moving companies buy lists of people who have houses on sale based on the logical conclusion that these are people who will probably need moving services. After listing our home, the 5 by 8 inch glossy flyers soon started arriving in the mail. They were filled with photos of gleaming white trucks and promises of no hassles.
The CLW (Cute Little Wife) did the calling and got estimates based on the number of rooms times the number of years we were in the house times the distance we were moving. That’s not the exact formula, but you get the idea. Oh, and don’t forget the garage we’d been filling with that “extra” stuff all those years. That bumps up the estimate.
Since we didn’t have a new house to move into, we also got the storage fees. That’s moving your stuff out of your house, getting it to a warehouse where it will be unpacked, sit around for a while, then be repacked when you are ready to deliver it to your new home. All that moving worried us. Too many opportunities for lost and smashed items, we thought. And the estimates for moving! How could it cost that much to move a few pieces of furniture?
The moving companies assured us they knew their business, but in the end we decided to go the POD route.
I am not getting paid by PODS to use their name, but the substitute term, self-contained storage and shipping box, seems awfully long and the acronym, SSS Box, conjures up evil men in black trench coats from WWII. So, although there are other self-contained storage and shipping box companies, for this piece I’ll call a POD a POD.
A POD is…well, a self-contained storage and shipping box. Think 3 sides of corrugated metal with some interior 2 by 4s against the sides, a sliding door for the fourth side, and a hard plastic shell on top. A simple box into which you load all your stuff.
A POD is delivered to your driveway. You pack it and lock it. They pick up the box, put it on the back of a truck, then drive it to the warehouse where it’s stored, as is, until you’re ready to move in to your new place.
We had a clever POD strategy. We would fill POD 1 with all the stuff that we knew we’d need at the other end, but wouldn’t need for staging the current house. The stuff that was left would be used for staging. After the house sold, all that stuff would all be loaded into POD 2 and away we would go.
Oh, what a clever strategy. Oh, what fools we were!
I’ll discuss staging later, but basically it means making 90% of your stuff disappear so it looks like you live in an almost empty house. Unfortunately, 90% of our stuff would not fit into POD 1.
We returned to our previously discussed Sell, Give, Donate, Dump strategy. This was followed by the POD 1 arrival and loading.
If you hire a moving company, their storage box on wheels will arrive along with some bulky guys to move your stuff. The POD arrived in our driveway with no wheels and no guys to move stuff into it.
So CLW was on the phone again, looking for local movers who just wrap and move your stuff into the POD, but don’t drive it away. Turns out local movers have become familiar with this self-contained box concept and are quite willing to fill them up for a fee.
Days later the crew of three large Russian men showed up and began filling the POD up. They lined the side walls with the long items, such as couches. Then filled cardboard boxes were put in, snuggled together to resemble a Rubik’s Cube. Then odd-shaped, unboxed items, and items that only fit on a diagonal, such as a tall ladder, were used to fill in spaces. Finally, soft, lightweight stuff that could morph its shape, like blankets, squeezed in on top.
The end slid down, a lock put on, and the POD was picked up, put on the back of a flatbed, and driven away. POD 1 was done.
After staging it was followed by POD 2. Ultimately, this was followed by POD 2½. That’s a half-size POD for people, like ourselves, who realize they have incorrectly estimated how much stuff they have left even after selling, giving, donating, or dumping as much as they thought possible.
We truly realized the error of our POD strategy when we did the Ginger Rogers and backed our stuff out of the POD and into our new home. That’s when we finally understood that downsizing to a smaller house means less storage space is available. We were left with about a half POD of stuff that wouldn’t fit unless we turned our new garage into a storage room. But the car refused to live in the driveway.
This time we went straight to Donate and called in trucks from three different charities to haul it away.
So whether you choose PODS or a moving company, here’s the lesson we learned: Base you moving estimate on where you are going to be living rather than where you have lived.