Our move date is August 11th. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Get estimates from three movers. We have a two-bedroom apartment. The first estimate came in at $6,300, the second $7,100 and the third $5,200. All three had great reputations. (By the way, when I told the first and second movers we were going with the least expensive, both were happy to meet the lowest price. Also, moving in the middle of the month is cheaper than the beginning or end.)
Movers will not take your plants. They won’t survive a cross-country trucking trek and movers won’t take responsibility for them. Read The Secret Life of Plants and blow your mind. They know more than you think they do. Talk to them. They’ll understand what’s going on. (I cried when I said goodbye to Minty. Jack’s barber has been slowly taking all of our plants and she’s wonderful. Still…how I miss them!)
Don’t use bubble wrap when you’re packing. I was feeling so good about myself. I’d already packed almost thirty boxes. I bought a huge roll of bubble wrap from Amazon and felt so smart. It made tightly-packed boxes a cinch! Then a few nights ago, when I was falling asleep, I thought about what might happen to those gingerly bubble-wrapped pictures, framed posters, porcelain elephants, etc. in a storage unit when it’s 115 degrees outside and my eyes popped open. I did some Googling and sure enough, it is NOT advised to do this. The next day, I had to re-open all the boxes and replace the bubble wrap with crumpled newspaper. Quelle drag!
You can’t rent AZ storage units prior to two weeks before you take possession. If you’re in Chicago and want to rent a unit in AZ, you can do it “remotely”, going to a local sister storage facility with your I.D., etc., but not earlier than two weeks before you’re out there in AZ getting the lock, etc.
It’s been extremely difficult finding an AZ landlord to hold an apartment longer than two weeks before we have to start paying rent. Renting in Chicago since 1980, I always signed apartment leases six weeks to two months before moving in and didn’t begin paying rent until then. Not my experience in AZ. So far, the rule seems to be they’ll give me a lease, but only hold it two weeks before I have to start paying. Très bummer.
Apartment room sizes tend to be smaller in AZ than in Chicago. Although the total square footage of the apartments we like are close to what we have now, that s.f. includes one or two patios or balconies, so the actual room sizes are smaller. Downsizing is kind of fun. It’s a good feeling to get rid of stuff you don’t need anymore. I’m sure if you have time, you could make money selling your stuff, but we don’t have time. We’ve given our extra furniture to people who needed it. Good karma.
AZ has lots of gorgeous houses – some with pools — that rent for less than “luxury” apartments. The only problem for us is we can’t get out there to do a walk-through. There are lots of great photos on Zillow or Trulia, but unless we do a walk-through, who knows what we’re getting into. Gots to make sure there’s no troubled ghosties!
No sales tax on groceries in AZ! Loving that.
AZ will tax our pensions. (Illinois doesn’t). Not loving that.
If you make a reservation with United Airlines early enough, you can get two first-class tickets from Chicago to AZ for under $600. I’m so happy to have gotten these seats. (I reserved them in May I think.) Jack is eighty-eight and although he’s in fantastic shape, he had heart surgery in December and I know our move day will be taxing. This way, we’re in the first row of the plane and he’ll have a little more space for his legs.
Preparing to move cross-country can be exhausting. I’m too pooped to pop. I’m tired most of the time from PTSD symptoms anyway, so you can imagine this move has added to my fatigue. I’ll have two great days of activity and then need two to do nothing but rest, watch good movies on TV and read. (Been watching Catfish. Love that show. Nev and Max are such great people. Read The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal. Absolutely riveting non-fiction about a conman who convinced so many people he was a Rockefeller.)
Living in an apartment filled with boxes and empty of familiar furniture throws me. It’s just weird. I feel unsettled. Sometimes I’m thrilled and excited. Sometimes I’m sad. I’m put to mind lately of my decades in this city and making unhelpful melancholy assessments of my life in general. Plus, I’m having all these dreams I’m going to die soon, which really bum me out.
Gosh, I’ll be glad when this move is over.
We do have a fabulous vacation rental for a couple weeks in August while we wait for our furniture to come. It’s in the mountains and so gorgeous. Only twenty more days. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!