Sunday, August 29, 2010

Random thoughts on moving

I try to keep references to my personal life at an arm's length in this blog--both to protect my privacy and the privacy of my friends and loved ones, and also because I don't think people inclined to read this blog are necessarily interested--but I will say that over the past few weeks, my girlfriend and I have moved in together. This post will be random thoughts on moving, but I will say right here how happy I am to be living with her. There were times in my life when I thought I never would experience the opportunity to live with a partner who I love and care for. I am indeed a lucky guy.

Some observations about the moving process:
  • As a general rule, you'll use all the time you'll allow yourself to prepare for and execute the move. I've allowed myself one month, and that's pretty much what it took (I'm rounding out the last week of that month now). If I had allowed myself only two weeks, I probably would have taken only two weeks. In short, moving is a great way to procrastinate doing other things.
  • I've noticed that the process of actually finding a place and a landlord through regularized channels (i.e., through an apartment finder instead of through informal grad-school contacts, which is a different process altogether) is easier for a (heterosexual) couple than for a single guy or a gaggle of grad students looking to move-in together. I think it's a combination of the fact that the couple is dual income, but it has more to do, I think, with the fact that a couple seems to suggest, rightly or wrongly, that they are "stable" and won't tear up the place. In places I had to get as a single guy, I had to often overcome the view (perhaps most of this was in my head, but I think some of it was real) that I was somehow suspicious. I had one landlord who inspected our (my and two fellow students') place on a regular basis probably because she just was suspicious of students.
  • Moving is hard financially, especially if it's pursued through regularized channels that involve credit checks and large security deposits. Fortunately, both my girlfriend and I have excellent credit, so that part of the process was almost worry-free. Our security deposit was very large, the equivalent of one and one-half month's rent. Also, we each ended up paying double rent because the lease to our old places overlapped with the start date of the lease of our new place. (Although this was expensive, it did make the move itself very easy.) We hired movers, and this was the first time either of us had done so. It made moving itself very easy and less stressful (neither of us is comfortable driving, and it was a relieve not to have to be the ones who put the square pegs of the couches into the round holes of the doors that seemed twice as small). But for this convenience, we paid a lot.
  • Moving brings to light the importance of simplicity: it makes you (or, at least it makes me) realize how much happier one can be with fewer "things," especially when one has what one cannot possibly need or even use. The fewer possessions one has, the relatively easier it is to move. (Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy has made a similar point a while ago, but I have trouble finding the actual post. I think he is right, but he uses this point to make what I see as an argument that is much more problematic than he appears to acknowledge: that the poorer one is, the easier it is to "vote with one's feet.")

No comments: