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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Tuesday
Apr262011

Noah's Ark

Serge and I are in the midst of trying to coordinate the details of our great pilgrimage across these United States. With our excellent communication skills and stellar track record of moving without hassle, this should be no problem, right? Except anyone who has read this blog for more than two minutes knows I am being SARCASTIC.

Moving has, is and always will be a nightmare of epic proportions. Can you imagine two dysfunctional, confrontational, emotional and irrational assholes such as us packing and loading a moving truck? Exactly. Oh God, I'm hyperventilating. Just one sec while I breathe into the paper bag I keep in my nightstand for just this kind of situation.

Those times we've moved in the past? Just me, Serge and Max. Now - two cars, two kids, two dogs - it's like Noah's Ark, you guys. Except we could really use a giant boat to get us and all our shit to our destination: Green Acres. Not only is the actual move looming on the horizon, dogging us like a serial killer honing in on his victims, but we have yet to figure out exactly how we're going to make this move happen.

Here's where you guys come in. I need your help. I really, really do. There are several different options for moving long distances. Here's what we're mulling over:

1. We rent a moving truck which Serge drives, I drive our SUV with the kids and dogs and we enlist a relative or friend to drive our car. This option means we pay for gas for three vehicles.

2. We rent a moving truck which Serge drives and tows our car. He is a bit leery of this option, what with driving a moving truck and a trailer through high traffic areas like Chicago, but if it's our best option, we'll do it. Incidentally, Serge would like me to let you know he's not a pussy, he just doesn't want to drive a "battleship" across the windswept plains of Kansas for we will surely be blown off the road and killed, our belongings scattered across the highway for hillbilly highway troopers to mock our taste in furniture. (I added that last bit about being killed). (But I'm sure Serge was thinking that very thing, it's how is mind works). Has anyone ever done this? Was it a huge pain in the ass? This seems to be the cheapest option, what with not having to pay gas for a third car.

3. We load our stuff into a moving truck (or pod) and someone from the company drives it. Serge drives the car with the dogs and I drive the SUV with the kids. Have you done this? Did they nickel and dime you to death? We've heard the horror stories of movers getting your stuff and then refusing to deliver until you pay more money. While seeming like the easiest option, this is also seems like the most expensive.

4. We drive our stuff to Roswell, New Mexico, which is relatively close, and pray to god The Mothership beams us to Green Acres.

Oh my God. We're never going to make it, are we?

Please comment! Tell me your moving stories. Which company did you use? Who do you recommend? Who should we avoid? Can you help us pack and load our truck?

Reader Comments (48)

Ugh, I hate moving as well. Espcially since my husband's idea of packing involves throwing all his shit into those lawn and garden sized trashbags. I would personally choose option 2. Serge is manly, he can do it! As far as rental truck companies, I would suggest using Penske and staying away from U-Haul. My husband is a mechanic so he's very picky about vehicle maintenance. In his opinion, most of the Penske trucks seem to be maintained very well...not so much with U-Haul. We've had some bad experiences with them, including a blown out tire on a trailer. Also, our friends moved from Virginia to Las Vegas last year and paid for a company to move them (you know, using one of those giant semis). I think they had a positive experience but it cost them around $4,000 total! And they were just married and living in a small apartment, so it's not like they had a ton of stuff.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElle

I made a move across country about 8 years ago, and hired a moving company. They'll come load your stuff on the truck and drive it to your destination. It was a huge stress reliever for me, and I remember it being much more affordable than I thought. I would get estimates from 2 or 3 moving companies. This way you and Serge can split up the kids and pets in your vehicles as well!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermagf

My experience has taught me that moving fees that you pay to 'avoid stress' is money well spent - divorce, chiropractors, etc turn out to be more expensive all-in, if that's of any use. I'd be paying the removals guys to load, drive, and unload the truck...whoever your readers can recommend.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdawn

I agree with Dawn. You'll have enough on your hands between the pups, kiddos and the emotion strain of moving. I think it would be a good investment to have one less thing to worry about. Just be sure to pack a weeks-worth of clothes, toys, etc. in the car so you don't have to rush to open boxes because inevitably, the things you want are always in the box at the bottom of the stack, in the back of the room and turned so you can't read the label.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

My folks moved last summer about a thousand miles, and the company paid for one of those semi deals with hired people packing. It was quite expensive but I think worth it. They never would have gotten moved out by themselves. We have moved using a u-haul truck about 400 miles (twice... blech) and once with a baby. It was no fun, one car broke down 40 miles from our old place at 3am in the middle of nowhere (we drove overnight to try to keep the baby sleeping), and on the whole I'm not sure the cost savings was worth it. I'd concur that if you rent a truck, go with Penske. The trick is that a u-haul is lower so it's slightly less miserable to load/unload. Option 2 or 3 seems best to me, and it really depends on if you can afford the movers. Get several quotes and ditch those with weird fees. Two of the three my mom got quotes from seemed pretty shady but the regional company she got was pretty nice and packed the stuff well. The other thing is that if someone else packs your stuff, you won't find it again until every box is unpacked. If you'll have help unpacking, it's no problem. If you won't and will immediately be swamped and it will take months to unpack, it may be better to pack your own stuff so you can label it.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

This might sound crazy, but why not just sell the car? Serge drives the truck, you drive the SUV. You can always buy another used car once you're out there and settled. It's not like you're both commuting to work where you NEED two cars.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

If you have any money at all to spare, hire packers and movers. It will save your sanity. If you don't want to hire packers, let your friends and family do it for you. And have them toss out anything you don't actually need before you move. We have twice used a really good moving company. They charged us way below their estimate because they didn't need as many packing materials/man-hours as originally projected. Getting several quotes from places that people you know recommend is a good idea.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnika

we were lucky to have the military move us three times. they sub out to moving companies, and the only problem we've had in three moves was a broken champagne flute. if you go with a company that has a good reputation, you'll be fine. do whatever is going to take stress off both of you. i would so go with the POD idea and see how much it is to have one of your vehicles sent over. it might end up being the same or just a little more than it would cost in gas. that way you'll be together and can switch up driving. good luck!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjen

by the way... my first choice for you would be annika's idea. it's expensive, but if you can afford it...best thing ever.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjen

I'd vote for packing your own stuff, but having a moving company load, drive and tow, and unload. If you can possibly swing that financially, I'd say it would be well worth it in saving your sanity. I think you'd really want/need two adults in the vehicle with the kids for that road trip.

I've only used a moving company once, when I was moving all my stuff into storage. Overall it was a good experience, but they were paid by the hour, and they DEFINITELY stalled. They spent FOREVER wrapping the furniture in far more plastic than was strictly necessary; I think I got charged for the plastic itself, too. If you use a company, find out every single possible charge, and get guarantees in writing for damages, delays, etc.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPinkieBling

Just moved from Toronto to Ottawa (two major cities in Canada, five hours apart). We rented a U-Haul for $500. An hour into the trip, we realised the truck was leaking radiator fluid. We popped the hood to find the truck was MISSING A RADIATOR CAP!!! Aren't these trucks supposed to be checked before being rented?!

The heat inside the cab hardly worked and the truck rattled so much, I thought it was going to fall apart and we were going to die. The roof also leaked and half our boxes got wet. We submitted a claim, but don't expect anything to come of it. Gas was also almost $350 for the trip. They kindly (ha!) reimbursed us $19 for the radiator cap.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristine

We rented a PODS for a local move (20 miles) and loved it. We had it for over a week before our move and hubby was able to pack it very strategically to pack it to the hilt. That is one advantage to having it in your driveway for awhile- not as much of a rush in loading it. It was picked up on time and delivered on time without issue. The interstate nature of your move may make it too pricey. Worth checking on to compare to the moving company idea.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterali

"We drive our stuff to Roswell, New Mexico, which is relatively close, and pray to god The Mothership beams us to Green Acres." Ha! I love that one! :D

I have only moved 3 times (this is Europe after all, we tend not to move around as much as Americans) and only within Vienna, but I did it differently each time so it's not like this is uninformed advice: GO FOR THE MOVERS! seriously.

when we moved in 2010, two weeks before christmas, we went all out and did not regret it (especially since I was seriously sick and on all sorts of flu meds while we moved). we packed the boxes and dismantled most of the furniture. we did move carloads of small and light boxes and our bunnies ourselves but but the heavy lifting was done solely by the movers. and thank the gods, because we swore never to carry that damned ikea ektorp pull out sofa ourselves ever again. and I think so did the movers after they'd gotten it up 3 flights of stairs...

the way I see it a move already means enough stress and schlepping so you really want to minimize where you can. even if it means paying for it. we had the moving company have a look how much stuff we had to move so they could estimate and give us a flat charge plus a fixed rate for any hour they would go over the allotted time - so if you can get something like that, it really helps estimating the costs.

And if selling one car is an option, hell, go for it.
good luck and don't let it stress you out. if you get organized it'll work out just fine :)

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermccutcheon

I think is it a monumental task no matter how you go about it. My husband and I have moved cross-country a couple of times and have done some variation of all of the above. I think the pod option might be the best bang for buck, if you can get a little help with child care while you pack and unpack. My husband drove his truck towing a Uhaul trailer when he moved out west (ahead of me), in the middle of winter, and he ended up in the ER with acute anxiety and panic attacks! When I followed him, I got rid of as much stuff as I could and moved the essentials with a pod-type service. I had to do the packing and loading myself but it wasn't too bad (of course, it was just ME and my cat back then). When we moved back to the midwest a few years ago, we had become parents and we hired professional movers (that the company paid for). It was awesome how they did it, and I really didn't have to do much. The disadvantage is that you may end up taking along a bunch of crap you don't really need at your destination (local hiking guides, etc) and as noted by a previous commenter...you have little control over how things get packed and no knowledge of where anything is. They label the boxes, but very generally. I had to go buy tampons and umbrellas our first weekend back in the midwest, because I had no idea where those things were packed and needed both immediately! And we actually donated our used car to charity and just bought a new used car when we arrived, because we didn't want to drive 2000 miles with a toddler and pets :) Best of luck to you!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErica S

I moved with my family last summer from CA to MN with a 3 yo, 15 mo old and 2 Boxers. Oh, and my husband left two months before I and the kids did and the 3 yo needed surgery three weeks before the move. So it was awesome as you can imagine.

Luckily it was a job move for us and so it was on the company dime. We used Atlas and they were so incredible. It was a husband-and-wife team that did the packing and loading/unloading and I cannot speak highly enough of them. If there is any way possible you can afford it, DO IT. We shipped the cars on the truck with our stuff and flew with the kids - it was summer and the airlines wouldn't fly our dogs so they flew on their own pet airline. Also completely awesome and can't say enough good things about them, and it was not much more than the commercial airline would have been.

I didn't have too much trouble with the packing/labeling, I thought they did a pretty good job and hell, it all has to get unpacked at some point so you'll find everything!

Good luck to you...the move itself was a colossal pain in the ass but we couldn't be happier to have moved our little family out of the insanity that is SoCal.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaida

ABF--the company that drops off a trailer which you load with your own stuff--was great when we moved from NC to ID last year. You need a couple of friends/hired workers on each end to help load and unload the truck, but they are fast, good customer service, and more affordable than a regular moving company. it was about $2000 for the cross-country move, which isn't much more than a u-haul and MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH easier.

i also second the suggestion that you sell the car, and the whole family ride in the SUV. that would be a much more enjoyable trip! or, can the SUV haul the car? then you can be the same vehicle and only pay gas for one car.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteriris

I used ABF to move my stuff. They bring you a pod or a tractor trailer, you load it and lock it, they drive it and drop it off. It was $1700 to move my crap from Colorado to Tennessee. I was really pleased with it.

Good luck!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSadie

Another vote for hiring movers. When we moved last year, we priced out a few and then got a recommendation from a friend for a local company, who charged roughly half of what the larger companies did.

We were set up in our new home, with much of our belongings unpacked the day after we moved in. They carried our stuff in and out with EXPERT precision--not so much a bump against a door frame. It really was amazing.

Its worth it. If you can find the cash anywhere, and you can justify it in your budget, its really worth it.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah B

My mother-in-law moved from Wisconsin to Arizona a few months ago and she used a POD. They came and dropped it off in her driveway, myy husband, kids and I all went over and helped her pack it up, and she drove herself and her two cats to Phoenix. Once she got to Phoenix her youngest son and his friends helped her unpack. If we ever had to move across the country, (we are curently moving down the block, 7 houses to be exact), using PODS, or some variation of them is what I would use. Just make sure that you read the contracts carefully, expecially the fine print. With your situation, this is what I would go with. Easiest, and less stressfull way. She is newly retired and raves about this. She is on a fixed income and it didn't break the bank for her.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

If you can't afford movers, I would go the Pod route. Driving a rental truck long distance blows, and towing a car will be unpleasant and add a lot to gas mileage as well. The great thing about the Pods is that you can load them over the course of a week or so. And since you are moving near family, you will have help to unload on the other end!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersabah

two words: college students.
they will pack for you, drive for you, unpack for you. if you know anyone who works at the local U, ask them to recommend some reliable students. my sister moved across five states, single mom with a baby and a dog, and those college students saved the day. it was pretty seamless. She paid to fly them back to their city of origin after the move, too.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermeara

I've had two family members do it two different ways:

1. Used "LTL Freight" (less than a load freight); they packed everything themselves into the trailer, the freight company moved it, they drove their kids and cars and when they got to their destination they unpacked the trailer. I found a company to start your research (I do NOT know anything about this particular company!!): http://www.packpro.com/self_service_moving.html

2. Drove to their final destination in one car (with two kids under 2), parked it there and flew home. Packed everything in a POD, POD company took POD and moved it. Mom and kids flew to destination, Dad and pets drove 2nd car to destination. POD company delivered POD and they unpacked themselves.

Ultimately, both did lots of research and were happy with their choices!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreenInOC

I say option #2. We moved from FL to TN with kids, dogs, cats, turtles and a full business. We had 3 trips, a 26 foot moving truck each time, 1 time towing a car and another time towing a Harley. It is a lot of work but it is not only cheaper but you know how and where things are packed and it is a good bonding experience :)
I dated someone who worked for a moving company, they gothrough your stuff sometimes take stuff that you wont realize for a long time that it is gone, they do not pack well and always break stuff, DO NOT DO IT!
Let me highly recomment numbering your boxes and keeping a list of what is in each box. Sound anal? It was a huge bonus for us as it took us a while to unpack and if we really needed something I could go to the list and know where to find it!!! You can do it. Good luck.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTRodgers

when my friend and I moved across country, we towed her car behind our moving truck. we were two small, 24-year old girls at the time, and we dealt with it just fine (it was only a 25' truck, so that might make a difference, mind you). we even knew how to hitch & unhitch the trailer onto it. that wasn't super easy, but we could get it done. the one main problem is that backing up is a bitch, so try to always look for big giant parking lots so you can pull straight forward when you leave.

also, we drove through los angeles and other big cities, traffic was no big deal. the only thing that was scary at all was when we were driving through the mountains of california, on very long downhill slopes and we needed to worry about the brakes functioning properly.

good luck! and congrats on the big move. your house looks adorable!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercarrie

edit: although we had an easy time with our moving truck, we were two single girls riding together with no kids.

my sister did something similar to what you're doing (one moving truck, one car, two young kids) and she brought me along to help. her husband drove the truck and the kid, and I stayed with my sister in the car to help out with the baby and to keep her company. all she had to do was pay for my food!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercarrie

I used ABF when I moved from Boston to Colorado and would highly recommend them. There were no hidden fees (I was worried!!) and they were very professional. My stuff even arrived when they said it would! I have recommended this company to other friends and I have never heard any complaints.

Good luck!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I have moved with a storage pod. the price was not too bad, and it was easier to load than up a huge ramp on a moving truck. It's the best for long distance moves in my opinion. The POD brand isn't the only one out there, so check around for better prices with some of the other companies. I went with a different one and was happy. http://www.upack.com/lp/moving-containers.asp?refnum=googlestor&c=G%2FSTORAGE%2FUS&g=P%2FPORTABLE_1&m=phrase&k=portable+storage&ad=6589813516&gclid=CMPa4N-Mu6gCFcO8Kgodc0CKFA

Also, my husband and I used hired labor to load and unload our rented truck on our last local move. It was relatively inexpensive and a GREAT help. Laborers are hired by the hour, you can also hiring cleaners and laborers who will pack your boxes. It is much less expensive than hiring a moving company since all you are hiring out is the loading/unloading. They are web based referrals and are vested in keeping good "feedback" scores. We were very happy with the guys that helped us.

http://www.movinghelp.com/

good luck!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwindylou

Add my vote to the "sell the car, hire a mover and all drive together in the SUV option." Minimizing your stress= more enjoyable experience and "fresh start" for all of you.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkate

When I moved across the country from NY to CA, we shipped our stuff freight (by weight) and then drove a rental car with a kitty in the back. It was expensive ($2,000 or so), but it totally worked. You just have to make sure not to bring stuff you may ultimately give up. Cheap furniture can always be replaced once you get there. We made the mistake of taking EVERYTHING. Ended up chucking a lot of stuff after we got here. They loaded and unloaded our stuff for us (hiring pan handlers to haul the stuff up the stairs in Berkeley, once it got here). I hate moving. Just moved a mile away after not moving for 8 years and it totally sucked! How did I end up with so much crap? Never EVER moving again.....I hope.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

Ugh, moving. We just moved across the country a month ago, from WI to AZ. After much research and hemming and hawing, we went with ABF. You load the trailer, they drive it, you unload it. It was VERY reasonably priced for that distance of a move. They came on time to both the loading and unloading points and were very easy to work with. I would suggest on reading up on how to pack a truck though. They charge by how many feet you use, so the better you pack, the less $. We packed a 3 bedroom house, with a basement, and came in right at their estimate. Worked out great.
Good luck!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

One of my friends is a mom of three. When she and her husband moved 1200 miles away with two kids and a bun in the oven, they went with your option 1. They did the same on the move back with three kids. It worked out pretty well for them, but it is a lot of gasoline to buy and use. It's what made sense for them taking into consideration money + time + hassle. Maybe option 2 is a better deal in the long run, depending on the circumstances. Moving sucks, any which way you do it, really. :)

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

another vote for trying to sell one of the cars. good luck!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

My advice is a mix of financial good sense and sanity saving: 1) Hire movers. It will preserve your sanity and your marriage. There is no glory and romance in driving an overheated Uhaul through Chicago. I live in lovely Chicago and driving anything on those expressways can suck (if you decide to go it alone, do yourself a big favor and time your trip through the city late on a weeknight - and check for major league games!). 2) Pack yourself. Packers are for those with 30 years of junk in their basement and a few thousand dollars to spare. Best to know where you put your stuff and inventory as you go. 3) Keep both cars and caravan. You can split cranky kids/crazy dogs. And, financially, you will never recoup on the private sale of a used car. Unless your car is on the way out already, you are better off keeping what you have in terms of investment in an automobile. Shopping for a used car when you get there will just be another hassle and you run the risk of trading your reliable automobile for a lemon.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I should add: I have had TERRIBLE experiences with U-Haul. And I would recommend getting quotes from moving companies that have SALARIED workers (they do exist!) or who get paid per job, not per hour. When these guys have a steady income, they tend to work fast and because the income is steady, there is less turnover. Thus, they really know what they're doing and do it fast. Also, even if you pack up almost all your house yourself, I would try to hire professionals to pack up the kitchen. The kitchen is a major pain in the ass to pack yourself, it will take you 10x longer to pack than a professional, and you will break stuff.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnika

My husband has driven a moving truck (cant remember which size but it was big) (thats what she said) with a car trailer attached between states twice now, including driving in high traffic areas such as Los Angeles. Not sure if this matters but he is 24 (and not a macho type whatsoever) so I think that if my husband can do it, yours can too, easily. I've always assumed he was miserable during those 10+ hour drives but he's made it seem like it wasn't so bad. He says gas pumps, surprisingly, aren't too tricky. Hope this helps, and good luck! I am looking forward to continue reading about your next adventure.
P.S. Moving for anyone is stressful. My husband and I always end up at each others throats each time we move and its only the 2 of us, no pets! So I would expect a meltdown or 2 but you'll make it!

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAce

I have done this trip several times and will be moving cross country again this fall. We are using U-Haul, and I am flying back to pick up the other car later. In my case, the bottom line dollars are what counts the most. I have friends who have used ABF you pack the truck (very high bed, though) they drive. With the cost of gas, it is almost a draw,

In addition, route your trip through Indianapolis rather than Chicago. By the computer, it shows only 2 hours difference, but when you do a reality check, it really isn't much difference and much easier on your heads. I always try to avoid the congested cities, especially in the summer. Just bite the bullet and get it done. Fly Dave out to drive the truck. He owes Serge anyway, you know he does.

But moving with 2 babies, one nursing, won't be any fun in the least. You should try to be a passenger rather than a driver if that is at all possible.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSouthernMan

I've done two big moves in the past three years (more than 800 miles both times). The first time, we did it by ourselves, it was a lot cheaper, but I lost all of my wine glasses (brother #1) and my bed broke (dad and brother #2). When I did my last move, I did it in less than two weeks. I hired a moving company. It was fantastic. They loaded and unloaded everything for you. They even put the furniture where I wanted it even though I was being extremely neurotic. I'll never move again without hiring movers. As for the car, if you decide to hire movers, see how much more cost you'll endure if they tow it. Or you can caravan, that way you can split up the kids, or you can trade off depending on how your nerves are handling it.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina

We're in a very similar situation - in 26 days(!) we're moving two cars, three cats, an 8wk old, and an apt full of crap from Austin to Detroit. We're going with the he drives the truck towing the small car and I drive the big car w/ the newborn and cats option. Suffice it to say neither of us is going to have an easy drive.... But when we moved here it was paid for by my husband's company and they had Steven's Worldwide move us. While I never saw the bill I can say that they were completely professional, wonderful to work with, and, after going through your house give give a "will not go over" estimate. If we hadn't just had the baby and all the related costs that are associated we'd definitely be using them again for this move.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I have moved A LOT. Let's just say I went to 5th grade in three different states.
1) pay a moving company to truck your stuff to PA. A professional company will go to your home, see what you have and THEN give you a price.
2) make sure the estimate include packing & unpacking of the big stuff (beds, sofas, tables, etc.)
3) DO NOT let them pack the small stuff...YOU do that in the boxes they provide (for a fee or if you haggle they will sometimes include them) and label them so you know what room it goes to
4) take advantage of packing by throwing out the TON of stuff you no longer use/ need/ want
It's easy to hire a reputable company if you ask around for references.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMariY

Option 3 is your only real option. Our last move we "splurged" and hired movers and I can't stress it enough... it might have SAVED my marriage. it is worth every cent and I will NEVER pack a uhaul or box again. I will go into debt on a credit cards to have someone move us... no doublt.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjill

Congratulations on your next big adventure. For what it's worth, I agree with WindyLou & Kate. Try and breathe deeply and often through this transition. All the hassle will be worth it.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSaffoula

sell the car. hire movers. have serge drive the truck with the dogs. you fly with the kids. if mamma ain't happy, no one's happy.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranna

We moved 500 miles to South Carolina and the first time, we used a Pod. It's pricey and does not afford very much room if you have a lot of furniture but it was easy.

We moved 500 miles back from South Carolina and I drove the minivan with howling kids and dogs and my husband drove the moving truck and towed our Honda Civic all the way up i-95.. He would also like you to know that he is not a pussy but he did NOT relish the experience. It was quite the circus train and difficult to control - also crossing the Potomac River bridge, the crosswinds were moving the towed car into the other lane and he was envisioning death and destruction and basically freaking out. In a very non-pussy way.

I think if you could possibly sell your smaller car and buy another when in PA, that would be what I'd consider.. I wish we'd done that.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDayna

hmm....OK I like the idea driving one moving truck and following him with the SUV.kids, and one dog. (the other dog rides with Serge). Is it possible that you could sell one vehicle prior to leaving, or store one vehicle and have it shipped later?
This is another scenerio:
1. Rent the truck. Penske is good. ( I just recently paid about $420 plus about $150 gas, for a 16 foot Budget Rental to drive 350 miles one way, My friend paid about $1300 for a 22 foot Penske to go 1200 miles). Make sure the truck is big enough ( 22+ footer?- my friend had to RELOAD his truck after the first one was over packed and could'nt move more than 30 mph. Oi). Try to get rid of EVERYTHING you don't need or want. Saves on gas and less to carry off of truck.I gave away most of my stuff and put the rest into a smaller storage space in Va. for 1/2 the price of my old one). Don't get rid of anything that is too costly to replace.
2. Load it up with everything in one day. Lock it up ( Philly people generally fear getting robbed at night).
3. Serge sleeps for a day. Tomorrow he rides ( got that from you).
4.Leave behind an air mattress ( cheap at Walgreens if you don't have one already), a pack and plaything/clothes/ supplies. This is for you because you will be staying back, cleaning the house and getting ready for his return.
5. Serge then drives with one dog to Pensy and then, with help of brother and friends unloads it all into house. He returns the truck and gets a ride back home where he rests for 1-2 days. 6. Serge rests for a couple of days, then gets ride to airport and flies back to get you. See if anyone you know has free airmiles and get a free ticket to Utah.
7. Serge returns, rests for a day and then you and he drive the vehicle(s )with the other dog to your new home.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

or just follow behind with one SUV and be done with it. Amen!

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

Avoid the Russian moving companies. Seriously. Anyone I know who was scammed (belongings held hostage, rate doubled when they arrived to the city after forcing people to pay for their hotel rooms overnight) had gone with a Russian moving company because they were the lowest bidders.

April 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrobyn

I've done the moving in a U-haul with a car attached and that was really tough. Twice now my husband and I have used ABF U-Pack for our cross-country moves (and then each driven our own cars) and have been completely satisfied with the service.

May 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary

We have done a similar move two ways (but without children only two cats) We moved from New England to SLC and towed our car behind the U-Haul. Going through Chicago was not a problem but we did blow a tire on the trailer right after the city. That was a huge pain. The hardest part is driving through Wyoming because it is so hilly. The truck will definitely overheat.

In 2002, we moved from SLC to Northwest PA. Instead of towing the car, I drove the Subaru with THREE CATS AND A 170 POUND IRISH WOLFHOUND and my husband drove the truck. It sucked but it's doable. I think your issue will be the two children added and having them entertained. Even though I said I would NEVER do it, we travel anywhere far with the portable DVD player. Our two year old can be entertained for a quite a while and it makes travel much more tolerable. I won't say enjoyable.

Good luck and welcome to my new-ish state!

May 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrumptastic

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