5 Tips for Moving Across State Lines

Friday, September 23, 2016

In the middle of August we made the move from our little apartment in Chicago to a little yellow house in Dayton, OH. This was the first time I’ve packed up an apartment without my momma’s or my brothers’ help (although they couldn’t get out of the unpacking), but George and I developed a pretty good system and survived a move across two states.

As we were moving, we kept a list of all things we want to remember for the next move. Because moving doesn’t have to be the worst thing ever!


  1. DIY, but not everything. If you can hack it, don’t fool around with those crazy-expensive “all-inclusive” movers. When we first started looking for movers, we were quoted $6,500 for our move. Heck, no, we won’t go. We decided to go for the much cheaper option of renting a truck and hiring help on both ends. We still hired professionals to help us load and unload the truck, and although we had to drive the truck ourselves (read: George drove the truck himself), we saved over $5,000.
  2. Get more than you think you need. More tape, more boxes, more truck, more furniture pads. When you put in your house size on Uhaul, it gives you the estimated size truck you’ll need. DON’T TRUST IT. We got the next size up from what they recommended, and our stuff juuuuuust fit. Also – I ended up running to Walgreens mid-move to buy more tape because our movers used to wrap all of our furniture in the furniture pads (we rented more of those than we thought we needed too, and used all of them).
  3. Craiglist. We got tons of free boxes from Craigslist and bought some super cheap wardrobe boxes and Rubbermaid bins that saved our lives. There are always people on Craigslist trying to get rid of moving boxes either free or much cheaper than fancy new boxes that you just want to recycle anyway.
  4. Clean as you go. Wipe down cabinets as you pack, keep out the vacuum cleaner so you can vacuum a room as the movers clear it, put a bin full of cleaning supplies in your closet so it’s the last thing to go out. After our movers finished loading the truck, we didn’t want to leave it in the alley for long. I finished a quick run through of the house and then we were out of there! Cleaning as we packed and moved saved us so much time in the end.
  5. Prep. Before the movers came the morning of our move, we moved all of the boxes into a central location in our apartment (which, I know, would be totally crazy if you lived in a larger house/had more stuff than we do). We also took apart big pieces of furniture (like disassembling our bed frame and taking off our dining room table legs) the night before so we didn’t have to worry about the frustration/time suck of doing that the same morning.

Bonus. Tip your movers! Get cash beforehand and make sure its accessible. Our movers on both ends of our move worked so hard to get everything done quickly and make sure all of our stuff got there in one piece. If they do an awesome job like ours, make sure to put their names in your phone so you can write a review later!




Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My  hometown is notorious for speeding tickets. The police know exactly where to sit so they’re just out of sight and can nab you going 35 in a 25 at the bottom of a hill, or coming around a corner. When I got my license, I learned pretty early on to only go a couple of miles per hour over the speed limit, and where the traps were. I developed a subconscious understanding of the boundaries of Oakwood, so I knew where I could push my speed a little more without getting pulled over.

When we moved back to my hometown a few weeks ago and George started driving, I found myself giving him the reminders that my mom gave me when I learned how to drive – “It’s 25 here,” “They’re usually sitting at the bottom of this hill,” “Here’s the school zone – they’re ALWAYS here during lunch.” And I could tell him (even on roads without city limit signs), “You can go 40 now, we’re in Kettering,” or “The right side of the street is Dayton, but the left side is still Oakwood.”

I don’t have very distinct memory of how I learned all the boundaries of my hometown. I guess it just comes from 18 years of living there. So, even though the boundaries were really obvious to me, George is just learning them. And when I tell him the speed limit or give him a heads up of the cops’ favorite hangouts, I don’t mean to be a backseat driver, I just want him to understand those boundaries that feel so clear to me.

Street Double Yellow.jpeg

This got me thinking about people’s personal boundaries. We spend a lot of time thinking about our own boundaries, our limits that we’ve developed over many years. They seems to clear to us – we know all the ins and outs – we know where to tread lightly and where we can speed up a little bit. We know that during certain times the boundaries may be more flexible.

Sometimes it’s hard to share those boundaries with others. Maybe it’s because we aren’t even aware that we’ve set them, or maybe it’s that they seem so obvious to us. It’s hard because we don’t want to seem pushy or passive aggressive. We want to give people the benefit of the doubt. But it’s not always so clear. Sometimes there isn’t a city limit sign.

So, have a conversation. Talk about limits. Respect someone else’s. Push your own.

When You Don’t Share a Last Name…

Monday, September 12, 2016

  1. You get back to the hotel after your wedding and they say, “Ah! Mr. & Mrs. Drake!” You laugh it off and say, “Thank you, but no, I didn’t change my last name,” and then get a card 10 minutes later sent up to your room with complimentary champagne that says, “Congrats, Mr. & Mrs. Drake!”
  2. The woman at your honeymoon resort’s front desk says, “You didn’t change your name?! That’s the whole point of getting married!”
  3. You have to creatively add another monogram to wine glasses you got as a wedding present.
  4. Decor around your house mostly just includes the initials of your first names.
  5. Calling utility companies require an awkward dance of making the customer service representatives go back to another screen and change your husband’s last name because they automatically filled it in as the same as yours.
  6. You had a little trouble depositing checks from your wedding because they were made out to a person who doesn’t exist.
  7. You contemplate adding your husband’s last name so you can write letters of recommendation for your brother without it looking like nepotism.
  8. When filling out volunteer forms online, you have to explicitly state “George Drake Jr. is my husband” so you’ll get placed together.
  9. You use a lot of ampersands as decoration because they don’t judge you.
  10. The woman at the DMV tells you you’re awesome for keeping your last name because it’s super cool and you agree with her.

I wrote about my decision to keep my last name in this post, and two months into being married, some strange things have happened that I definitely didn’t predict. Even though I sometimes get frustrated, I hope that I’ve dealt with all of the weird situations with grace and understanding and started some valuable conversations.