Moving? Follow my Advice for a Smooth Transition

I moved from Argentina to the US 14 years ago, and later moved 8 times within the US (even cross country!). I learned a lot in each and every move. It was hard and liberating at the same time. My motto: “A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss”.  If you prepare mentally before the move, you will have a much more pleasant experience and actually enjoy the move. Here’s what I learned: 5 moving tips that can help you in your big transition:

Do the packing yourself.

I know some people who cannot deal with the packing, and hire a company to do it. But believe me, once you detach yourself of your possessions and move into a new space, you really need to select what items are worth bringing along. A lot of our stuff is no longer needed, old and carries a stagnant energy if not used in a while. You don’t want to bring that kind of energy into your new space, since every time we move is a chance for a fresh start. By doing your own packing, you can select what deserves to come along, and what’s already done its job and now needs to leave your space.

Have a garage sale before the move.

Once you decide which items will follow you on your new journey, you need to find a way to get rid of all the stuff that is no longer needed. The best way to do this is to have a garage sale. It can be fun, profitable, and even educational if you have kids. On my last move from California to Florida,  my kids had their own table set up on the driveway. They had to decide on their own which toys were worth keeping, and which ones were going to be sold. They understood that detachment is a good thing, and that selling what is no longer needed provided them with money to buy new treasures in the new location. All part of the adventure of moving. It was also therapeutic, since it was hard for the whole family to say goodbye to California after having lived there for 12 years. But in some way, the garage sale helped everyone understand that by letting go, we were making room for new adventures.

Donate everything else.

All the items that are not sold at the garage sale, need to be donated. You can take everything to your local Goodwill, or in my case I would call the Salvation Army and they would come and pick everything up from my very driveway. Even big furniture. Keep those receipts. They will help your tax return. You can also help countries in need and donate your items to Planet Aid, and Humana.

Save money by moving some items in you car.

If you are moving within the same city or area, it is very wise to use your car to move everything you can on your own. Moving companies charge by weight. In my last cross-country move, not only did I use my car for carrying stuff, but I also saved a lot by driving the car myself. This was a hard decision but totally worth it. I saved around $2000 by driving the car myself instead of having it shipped. I also saved around $900 by taking my dog with me, and probably saved his life too. And I saved around $1000 in items that I carried with me such as a couple of mattresses, valuables, documents and essentials needed to survive until we got our stuff from the moving company. (It takes about two weeks to get your stuff moved cross-country using a moving company.) I also had the experience of a lifetime. Just my dog and me, on the road. It took me 5 days to complete the journey, and it changed my life completely.

Do your research before you get to your new destination.

It is not easy to let go of friends, neighbors and familiar places. Make some time to do your research. If you can, visit in person and scout key places such as school options, parks, malls, and even grocery stores. As humans we usually create our own little village or tribe within a larger city. If you cannot visit in person, do your research online. Some helpful resources are

Kiplinger,to find the best City for you.
Find your Spot, to take an online quiz that will provide you with a tailored list of the best places that fit YOU.
Sperling’s Best Places, to find out where you would like to live, work or retire.
Cost of Living Tool, to compare what your salary is now, to what it could be around the corner or across the country.
Cost of Living Calculator, to find out how far your salary will go in another city by comparing two different locations.
StreetAdvisor, for very helpful neighborhoods reviews and information.
CityData, for a wealth of information on cost of living, average home prices, and even local attractions or famous destinations in the area.
Google Street View, for a virtual walk around your new neighborhood.

Moving can be very stressful, but also liberating. If you approach it the right way, it can become a learning experience and a unique chance to start fresh and grow. Each place I lived in provided invaluable experiences and lessons, as well as became part of who I am. Every time I move , I always say to myself, “This is it! I’m not moving anymore!”  But somehow after a couple of years I feel the yearn to move and start all over again. Somehow moving becomes part of your culture and your way of life. Is this secretly inherited from our ancestors? Who knows. I might have some gypsy blood running through my veins…

Consuelo Lyonnet


One comment

  1. Great advice on how to make moving better. But I’d like to point out that just as one should, as you say, research before arriving at one’s new destination, one should also research before donating, including dropping one’s old clothes into one of those collection boxes around town. Some of the groups behind them are outright frauds, in my view.

    Your blog suggested Planet Aid’s yellow bins as good places to give clothes to, as they “help countries in need.” But sadly, the company has faced a storm of media criticism for disturbing reasons. For starters, research shows that very little of the funds Planet Aid generates actually go to the needy in Third World countries.

    The Chicago-based CharityWatch gave Planet Aid an “F” grade after analyzing its 2012 tax form and audited financial statements, determining that Planet Aid spent only 27% of its expenses on programs.

    Google search:

    CharityWatch Debunks Planet Aid’s Recycling Program

    A charitable spending ratio of 27% is certainly too low, but the actual figure may be far lower than even that. In 2009, WTTG News in Washington DC examined Planet Aid’s then most recent tax records and noticed many of the overseas charities Planet Aid claims to support have the *same address*. A list of South African charities was shown in example. But the South African Embassy told WTTG those groups are *not* registered charities.

    WTTG’s investigation found that all of the charities listed in Planet Aid’s most recent tax return are controlled by the same parent organization — a group called International Humana People to People Movement, which, according to its own web-site, also controls Planet Aid. (Humana People to People is not affiliated with the American health insurer called Humana.)

    Worse, Danish prosecutors link Humana People to People and Planet Aid to an alleged cult called the Tvind Teachers Group. Five leaders of this group are Interpol fugitives wanted in their native Denmark in connection with a multimillion-dollar tax-fraud and embezzlement scheme.

    Google search:

    “Kindness into Cash” – exposé of used clothes company Planet Aid – pt. 1

    [More info is in the above report’s description box; click ‘Show more’ while on that page.]

    Thanks for the chance to express my opinions. Again, research before you donate.


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