How To Get Our Belongings of Questionable Worth Across The Country

We are moving to Portland in less than a month pretty much because we fell in love with a sublet on Craigslist, emailed them late one night on a whim, and then the owners were so nice and the place was so nice and well, I asked Logan what she thought and she wrote in all caps that we should do it. If you ever need help justifying something like this, I recommend asking Logan.

I’m so excited about it I can’t tell you.

Anyway this is about how to actually get your things across the country. Or how we will get ours. If you would have asked me how much this would cost before I looked into it, I would have guessed probably $1,000. I would have thought one of us (guess who) would drive a U-Haul of our stuff and the other of us and the kid would meet him there after hanging out with family in Florida over the new year.

You can’t take a baby in a U-Haul. I can’t, or won’t, will not take a baby on a week-long road trip, much as I love the idea of a transformative cross-country road trip.

Also as it turns out, renting a U-Haul and dropping it off elsewhere is somewhere (far) north of $3,000. Plus gas. Plus lodging and food for the week it would take driving out there (42 hours of driving at the minimum).

Then there is the holiday factor. Our lease ends 12/31, the sublet starts 1/1. We fly to Michigan for Christmas 12/21, and Florida for my family’s Christmas 12/26. We’re moving, we decided, to Portland from Florida. Dustin could have flown back to New York, packed up a van, then flown to Portland but that’s another $400 in a flight at this point.

So now we are moving in less than a month. We are using one of those pod-like things, where you pack it up and it shows up a few weeks later (allegedly????). While we hang out with our families over the holidays, a semi-truck full of these pods will be making its way through the Badlands or whatever. It kind of works out! Famous last words?

One pod from U-Haul — excuse me, a U-Box — is $1900 with tax and with 30 days of storage ($184/mo). But we live in New York and cannot be having a pod parked on our street so we have to rent a U-Haul to take our stuff to this damn U-Haul box ($40 for eight hours with insurance) and we’ll need to do the same on the other end. Though in Portland we won’t know anyone so there is no one to help us move, and we have this baby, so we will probably have to hire movers, or make use of the storage and move things slowly.

At first we decided to get two pods so we wouldn’t freak about fitting everything, but a second pod is $1,000 and we paced around the house / snapped at each other trying to decide how much the not-panic was really worth. Not $1,000 we decided. I love getting rid of things and I love packing challenges so I was all about playing Tetris with everything we own and trying to get it all into one. Dustin instead got out a measuring tape and measured more or less everything we own and added up all the cubic feet — which will include about 30 boxes of books, lord almighty.

You start looking around and side-eying your belonging, thinking, Well I could just buy that side table again from Ikea for another $40 you know? I don’t like it anyway. Maybe now’s our chance to have NICE THINGS. To start anew! We want to get rid of our bed and our kitchen table and all of the various street furniture we have collected in our time here and outgrown. Really we have two nice pieces of furniture — a couch and the baby’s dresser. The rest, some of which I love, is not really worth the cost of buying another pod to fit it in.

And if it doesn’t all fit? I just sighed out loud. We give it away. We probably have a snit or two at the U-Haul place and one of us declares what a huge mistake this was and possibly question why we are leaving in the first place. Then we say fuck it and load it up and throw shit out and get on a plane.

Things I have read about on the internet and would love to hear if you have any direct experience with: shipping stuff on Amtrak? Mailing things a certain way (books) so that it’s about volume and not weight? Are the pods cool?! What kind of bungee cord strategies do we need? Can I sell all of our spices on Craigslist?

Mostly I am so excited to start over with spices. Does anyone actually replace their spices after the recommended six months? I’ve had some for five years. I’m so stressed out but as an Army brat and an almost-New Yorker I love moving so much. I love change even though I hate it, even though I can’t even fathom this as it’s happening.

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.