By Dan St. Yves

Back in 2006, I had a column appear here entitled The Zen of moving, wherein I suggested that to casual onlookers, our moving caravan may have resembled the semi trailer trucks required to keep Fleetwood Mac out on the road.

My wife and I recently moved again, and at an age where most couples are downsizing and living simpler, it appeared that as far as our moving seemed at least, The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney had joined forces to hit the road with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as an opening act.

Okay, so you tend to accumulate a few things after a few dozen years together. As you can imagine, that gap between accumulations and our last move might prove to be a bit more expensive than in earlier years when relocating, especially if you are crossing a few provincial borders.

May I humbly submit a few words of caution when it comes to what you might expect with a large load, and a considerable distance to travel when considering hiring professional movers?

1. You have called a few well-known national moving companies for an estimate and while trying to appear stone-faced and inscrutable, you are nonetheless stunned by said estimates. Should you have been surprised?

a) No. The first representative literally pulled a paper lunch bag out of his pocket as he hyper-ventilated repeatedly in uncontrollable excitement. “This year’s bonus is gonna be spectacular,” he exclaims.

b) Maybe. While appearing nonchalant as she inspects each room for her estimate, the agent keeps muttering “cha-ching” under her breath, followed by a long whistle.

c) Yes – while your own wage has somehow progressively rolled back to 1973 levels, how could a national mover charge more than a few hundred dollars for a four-level split and a four-car garage move clear across the country?

2. You have taken great pains to mark items “fragile” and seek assurances from the agent that these particularly delicate treasures will arrive safely in their new home. Have you done enough to protect these irreplaceable items?

a) No. The hired hands are literally bulls fresh from a china shop, assisted by gorillas agitated by something bright and shiny. Your belongings will arrive with a plethora of breaks, bangs and bruises.

b) Maybe. Although shouldn’t they have been carrying those boxes out to the van right-side up?

c) Ha! Like the post office or a courier, fragile seems to mean “bouncy” in Latin…

3. You decided to pay for the movers to pack your home, as that will make the move-in far easier. Was that money well spent?

a) No. Despite having multiple levels and a wide variety of clearly marked rooms in your new home, the packers will only have identified “inside” and “outside” on the boxes. And most of those will be marked wrong.

b) Maybe. There’s a pretty good chance though that to fill some boxes they will have to grab random items from different rooms in your old home. That will make for some fast talking when your sister (a nun) is helping and you come across your S & M devices in the kitchen pantry box.

c) Yes. In a perfect world, everything will be lovingly packed, plus clearly and properly identified for unloading in the new home. No tired mover (or disgruntled mover angry at their spouse that day) will have dumped the contents of a drawer into a shoe box, then shaken it and secured it with duct tape before jamming several shoe boxes just like that into a five-foot-tall box heavier than a concrete driveway lion.

Wait, did I say “perfect world”? Who am I kidding? Increase your line of credit, buy plenty of insurance, and cross your fingers – the fun begins when you’re unpacking!


  1. Hello Carolyne – thanks for commenting, and yes, what great tips on your end – very much the opposite of my typical “advice” :-)

    We need all the help we can get to make this process smoother! Now if I can just find my blender…


Leave a Reply