The big move North

The time to move on from Atlanta has finally come! The lease on my Midtown studio runs out on August 12th so I moved out with a couple days to spare. This was not been the most thoroughly planned out move, but it’s not as though this is my first time packing up my life into boxes.

About two and a half years ago I was in a similar position trying to leave NJ in order to move down to Georgia. I was downsizing from a one bedroom to a small studio which forced me to take a critical look at what went with me and what stayed behind. My couch, my aquarium (sadly no fish allowed in the new building) and about 75% of my books did not end up in my Atlanta apartment but happily they all found new lives somewhere else. Most of my books were given to friends, donated to the local library or put into donation boxes and I was able to find a new owner for my ridiculous pair of clownfish.

These were the books that were cut in the first round. They found new homes either through friends or donation bins. In the later rounds of book-Hunger Games, I put in place a rule whereby if I had it in NJ and moved it to GA and still hadn’t read it yet I had to get rid of it.

Anyways, having done this whole song and dance not too long ago I felt like I knew the drill: get the number of boxes you think you need then add five more, don’t pack anything you can’t lift and definitely don’t skimp on the bubble wrap (for someone who lives alone God knows why I have so many wine glasses that obviously all require being wrapped individually). One big difference though between this move and my last move is that I don’t have an apartment to go to next. I’m not quite sure where I’ll end up job-wise at the end of this adventure (it will be fun to look back on this post in a year) so I made the decision to keep all of my things into a storage unit in Georgia while I’m travelling. The damage in terms of cost came out to be ~$30 a month for a 6′ by 12′ unit plus renter’s insurance (this website was helpful in aggregating all the options and allows you to reserve online without entering in credit card info). And while my current studio is small, it’s not ’72 square feet’ small, meaning another round of “does it stay or does it go”.

Organized chaos – even if it doesn’t look like it.

Moving from studio to storage unit (as a step-by-step process):

  1. Acquire one 16 year old cousin for free labor (…well not completely free – paid for a flight and had to feed the kid).
  2. Put in a word with several of your coworkers that you’re looking for moving boxes and start amassing your cardboard fortune.
  3. Attempt to fit said cardboard fortune into a MINI Cooper with varying degrees of success. Use as an opportunity to expand your very colorful vocabulary.
  4. Buy a roll of packing tape and what is very clearly not enough bubble wrap for all your fragile kitch/glasses. Use liberally until you see the end of the roll is near, then start single wrapping glasses because you’d rather be picking intact wine glasses out of a box of broken glass than make another trip to Home Depot.
  5. Try to convince yourself that you can move everything in the MINI by making several small trips because you are too stubborn to go to the UHaul rental office even though you know you can’t close the hatchback with your table in there.
  6. Open the lost bottle of champagne that was hiding behind six packages of unsalted butter (because you promised you would bake more this year but then life happened) because packing is hard and the bottle has got to go into the recycling bin empty anyways.
  7. Acquire one UHaul van and have your 16 year old cousin help you back the van into the narrow loading dock.
  8. Get out of said moving van and depend on your own judgement for backing into the dock once you realize said cousin cannot legally drive yet and has no idea how to give coherent directions for backing into a space probably because when you’re playing Forza you don’t have to pay for damages.
  9. Load said moving van using your Tetris skills, then load it one more time when you realize you won’t be able to throw your mattress in the dumpster without getting your self nice fine from your building.
Moving van trip #1 – sans mattress. The big gray chair probably should have been a donation in hindsight. May still be when I get back to the States.

Moving from storage unit to Jersey (another numbered list to be consistent):

  1. Carry items up to your 2nd floor storage unit because stairs didn’t seem like a big deal when you rented the unit.
  2. Drop the one piece of real solid wood furniture you own on your shin due to the stairs. Throw out any plans to wear shorts for the next few weeks while the bruise heals.
  3. Reorganize the contents of the storage unit multiple times because you’re convinced you can stack the boxes at least one higher and free up a small piece of floor space forgetting that there’s a box of fragile stuff in the middle of the column.
  4. Put a lock on the unit and cross your fingers that it’s still there in 8 months (if not, you may be seeing a blog post about fighting with renter’s insurance).
  5. Return UHaul. Don’t top off the gas because you’ve driven a total of 40 miles and you’d rather just be billed the $5/gal than spend any more quality time in the van.
  6. Pack MINI with clothes and important documents that renter’s insurance can’t replace. Pat yourself on the back because you carved out a canyon straight down the middle of the car so you can see out the rear window. Hooray you!
  7. Drive 14.5 hours. Stop for barbecue in South Carolina at a place that looks like a shack but has a packed parking lot. Get brisket. Silently judge cousin for getting chicken. Determine that by the time you find a decent radio station it’ll start breaking up. Switch to podcasts because yay educational time. Find gas stations for filling up and cross your fingers that the bathrooms don’t look like something you’d find at a Cambodian truck stop.
  8. Pull into Jersey at 1AM. Release cousin/hostage. Realize that cousin has taken your Happy Meal toy from the McDonalds you stopped at in Maryland and be a little sad.
  9. Tell the MINI that it was a good car and promise to detail it the next day as a reward (also because you noticed the ungodly amount of break dust on the front wheels and are a bit embarassed).
Long live the MINI. I was good with strategic packing until I realized I still needed to load the Playbill binders. Then I kind of phoned it in.

Last thing – There was a charity on the way to my storage unit that took all of my books. It’s called Lost n Found and their mission is to end homelessness for LGBTQ+ youth in Atlanta. They have a thrift/consignment store right off of I85 (Chantilly Road) and the profit from those sales goes to their cause. If you have anything you’re ready to pass along to another person you should check them out here. They have a drop off bin outside but you can also walk in with donations and get a receipt for tax purposes.

Lost N Found – A charity supporting LGBTQ+ homeless youth in Atlanta that takes donations. Please consider them next time you’re cleaning out your closets.

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