Moving Cross-country via UPS / Fedex

I moved cross country from Minneapolis to San Francisco in February 2010.  I arrived to an empty room with 3 bags, and a debit card that Wells Fargo thought was stolen.  A few days later UPS delivered the rest of my life, mostly intact.  Learn from my mistakes:

  1. Throw it away
    Anything you haven’t used since you last moved.  Remember that you’re paying shipping for each pound.  This helped me toss the extra crap.
  2. Number your boxes
    I labeled each box with a number then made a google doc of the contents.  Then when you’re looking for one specific thing you don’t have to tear through all your boxes.
    I had one box that had those huge metal staples on the bottom, and it was one staple away from tearing open when it arrived.  This was holding my main computer and one LCD monitor!  I got lucky.  Tape every single edge of your box.
  4. Greyhound Freight for Heavy, Unbreakable Stuff
    Greyhound offers a super cheap, super slow shipping service.  If you’re moving to a city, there is a good chance you have a greyhound station close by.  Ship your heavy non-fragile items on the bus.
  5. Carry Your Hard Drives
    If you have a desktop computer, take out the hard drives and pack them with you.  Everything worked when I arrived.
  6. Move in with Randoms
    I moved in with 3 other people, none of whom knew each other beforehand.  I’ve had some friends who’ve moved in with people who already lived together for awhile, and they became ‘the new guy’.  If you’re all new, you’ll be more willing to go out, meet people, see the city, and get to know each other.
  7. Tell your Bank!
    Wells Fargo decided some bum stole my debit card and headed west.  Turns out that bum was me, trying to buy groceries.
  8. Clean Up, Take Pictures, Sublease
    Right before you move out, do your best to clean your room and take some pictures.  I got about a 5x higher response rate on craigslist with pictures in my listing.
  9. It’s Not Hard
    Once you do it once, you’ll get rid of your crap and keep only the essentials.  At that point you could sell your furniture on craigslist and be moved out within a week.
The second shipment of stuff

My Room after Picking up my Bed:

My 3 bags

Making Coffee on Day 1:

A minimalists french press
Made damn good coffee!

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