What I’ve Spent to Move Into a New Apartment

by Alex Baca

I lived in a studio apartment for two years. I tell people I moved because I found a place with twice the space — and an awesome porch — for what I was paying previously, but the real reason was because most aspects of my life (family, job, relationships) went absolutely haywire this spring. I thought a move would be a good thing to channel my energy into. Unsurprisingly, I channeled a lot of money into moving, too. Here’s what I spent:

$800: Security deposit

$100: Deposit for movers to move five pieces of furniture and five boxes of stuff. My new unit is the top floor of a row house. The staircases have tight turns. My friends who have moved before assure me movers are the best thing I could possibly spend my money on. My preferred moving day is Sat., June 30. Because Sat., June 30 is the last Saturday of the month, there are zero movers available anywhere in the D.C. area. I schedule movers for Thurs., June 28 instead.

$104: Ceiling fans. I ask my landlord if I can buy ceiling fans and have them installed by his contractor. He says yes. When I come back to measure a few weeks later, there are ceiling fans installed. “We thought that was a good idea,” my landlord says. Because it was! But now I have two ceiling fans, which I ordered online, and no way to immediately return them to Home Depot.

$10: Four big and four small cardboard boxes. The liquor store is out — “When are you moving? Come back Friday. The recycling guys just came” — but I find a moving-supplies place a block away. The guy doesn’t have the right amount of change for the initial total, so he knocks two bucks off.

$66: Five hours of a Scion xB Zipcar rental. I want to preliminarily move some stuff — boxes of books, sheets and towels, magazines, and a few light pieces of furniture. My landlord is out of town, so I call the contractor to arrange to pick up the keys. “We haven’t finished the floors yet. Isn’t your move-in date July 1?” he says. Slightly miffed, I tell him that though my lease begins July 1, I have to be out of my current apartment on June 30; additionally, my landlord had encouraged me to move things in gradually. The contractor says he’ll work around it. My ex-boyfriend seems quite eager to assist me. He’s better than anyone I know at packing and lifting things. I take him up on his offer.

$0: No-longer-being-used air-conditioning unit, obtained from my ex-boyfriend’s place of employment.

$101: The rest of the payment for the movers. I realize far too late — as in, when the two guys are toting the five pieces of furniture and five boxes out of my apartment — that I should have just paid them to move everything. I offer to pay them to move everything. They decline.

$27.50: Lunch at Adam Express for my friend and I. He has graciously sacrificed his Thursday afternoon to help me carry small pieces of furniture, records, and kitchen accoutrements. We schelp two loads of stuff in my other friend’s Toyota Camry. I order the bulgogi, and he orders the kang pung gi.

$160: Dining set, bought off a friend who also just moved. I have a kitchen that’s big enough for a dining set. This is a novelty.

$35.02: Half a tank of gas for my friend’s car, which I had borrowed. I didn’t use half a tank of gas, but I never borrow anyone’s car and so am overzealous in my compensation. I flip through her CDs and find Liz Phair’s whitechocolatespaceegg, put it in, skip immediately to ‘”What Makes You Happy,” and have a moment singing along that is worth at least $10.

$13.81: A labneh platter and kale-apple smoothie from Tryst. It’s too hot in my apartment, and because I skipped out on work to haul boxes I have a ton of things to do. I need an Internet connection, and I’m starving. The kale-apple smoothie is probably the healthiest thing I’ve eaten in a month.

$49.99: A one-time moving and installation fee from Comcast. At least I’m allowed to keep my promotional deal of Internet for only $39.99, which the (admittedly very nice) lady at the Comcast call center initially tells me is going to increase.

$5.18: Clear packing tape, zip ties, and a three-prong outlet adapter from Dollar Star, Mount Pleasant’s premier dollar store.

$5.32: One copy of my set of keys, two little red key caps to differentiate between my front door and apartment keys, and four screws from Old School Hardware.

$77.91: Zipcar Ford E-150 van rental. I employ two of my friends to help me move whatever miscellaneous stuff is left. There is a lot of miscellaneous stuff left.

$32.64: Extension of Zipvan rental so that I can drive unwanted items to Goodwill and return the ceiling fans to Home Depot. Home Depot is unable to process my return because its power was knocked out by the previous evening’s derecho. Goodwill won’t take a wool rug that for the past five years has been the bane of my vacuum’s existence because it hasn’t been deep-cleaned. At least six traffic lights are out along Rhode Island Avenue. Boston’s “Rock and Roll Band” comes on the radio. I turn it up.

$73.10: The tab at Don Juan’s, where in my absence my friends have ordered a few chicken burritos and Coronaritas.

$139: Flat-rate fee for an apartment-cleaning service from Maids in Black. No, the apartment wasn’t fastidiously cleaned when I moved in. Yes, I will try to get the landlord to compensate me for this.

$62.14: A gallon of Indian Necklace (ugh, paint names), a quart of something-I-can’t-remember-that-looks-like-whatever-I-painted-my-old-apartment, and a kit with a roller, paintbrush, and paint tray from McCormick Paints. I test the colors out when I get home, but it’s too hot to think about painting. November sounds like a good time to get started.

Alex Baca will pay movers to move everything next time. Photo: Shutterstock/Everett Collection

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