As of last night we're officially not homeless! Hooray! We got the approval for an apartment in a fun little town called Tualatin which is a few miles southwest of Portland, aka the 'burbs. The apartment is within walking distance of lots of stores (including a grocery store and farmer's market, top priority obvs) and is centrally located to a lap swimming pool, 3 (count em, THREE) parks and 2 hot yoga studios. I'm pretty pumped to say the least.
But back to the moving thing.
The easiest way to move your stuff across the country is to not have a lot of stuff to move across the country. Seriously. Read any moving blog or website or whatever and they will tell you to sell your shit. Or donate it, or whatever you have to do to get rid of it because hauling it all is expensive and the farther you go the more expensive it is. I can't remember which of the many moving tips posts it was, but I really liked their idea of the 2 year test. Look at what you're considering taking with you and if it's something you will probably replace in 2 years or less (whether or not you were planning to move) toss it. The Colonel and I have crappy furniture. It's not terrible but it's still early 20s stuff that was all bought from some kind of discount/clearance store which we were hoping to upgrade anyway once we became adults. We clearly aren't adults yet but what better way to give yourself the push to grow up than by trying to do a hugely expensive thing on a budget?
Whatever won't fit in our cars or in a box to ship is getting a new home. And speaking of cars, we have 2 of them that both need to get to a new home. Driving 2 cars means filling up 2 cars and since we aren't in a Prius and a Tesla that will cost money. We calculated the costs and decided to ship one car and drive the other. Aside from me being a snot and not wanting the miles on my car, we decided to ship mine because it's an SUV and can fit a lot more stuff than The Colonel's sedan. Why does this matter? Because another fun money saving tip is to load the shipped car to the brim with your stuff and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. *tip: make sure the company shipping your car will allow that. Some companies require additional insurance or have guidelines regarding what type and how much of your personal belongings can tag along for free.
We also got a few big moving boxes to send things like blankets, winter coats, sweaters, movies, books and wedding dresses (ok, there's just one) the old fashioned way. Those things tend to take up a lot of space since they're so bulky but aside from books they're pretty light which makes shipping them pretty inexpensive. It also helps we're moving in May so we don't immediately need winter wear and blankets.
If at all possible, sell your stuff. I'm a big fan of donation (hello nonprofit employee) but there is that small matter of arriving in your new home with no furniture and potentially no money to buy new stuff. Also, if you're moving to an apartment, see what amenities they already have. Most apartments have some version of overhead lighting so lamps may not be necessary and check out the appliance situation. Is a microwave built in? Washer and dryer hook ups alone or will you have the actual units? Knowing this information will keep you from dragging along extra items for no real reason.
Renting remotely is hard by the way so don't get discouraged
like me and stay positive. Explore all of your options and make a plan B in case you get out there and are in fact homeless. Find someone you trust and who likes you a lot to hold onto those boxes you plan to ship until you have an address. Pester the crap out of your potential landlord. Yes, it is probably annoying for them but if they can keep their cool and help you during an incredibly stressful time, they'll probably do the same if you have a major disaster (i.e. your basement floods 2 feet and ruins your dryer and furnace and leaves the floor covered in smelly mud...not that anything like that has ever happened to me). That is the kind of landlord you want. Ask for pictures and video if you can. Clarify EVERYTHING and make a list of all of your questions. Some people place a lot of emphasis on reviews and I read them but don't necessarily take them to heart. In my experience, people one write reviews when they're really angry or really happy. Otherwise, they don't waste their time.
So there's where we are now. I have 8 work days left, will be on the road in 13 and *hopefully* in the PDX in a mere 18! Time sure is flying!