What I Learned Packing For My Move From NYC to San Francisco

You’re never prepared for moving out. I ran into so many things that would have been useful to know ahead of time, so I cataloged them while pounding delicious chicken wings at LITM. (In retrospect, I should have gone to that bar more than 3 times in 5.5 years.)

I remember Dody used to write these wise list posts. Here’s an ode to the Dode.

Packing took me 3x as long as planned.

Home Depot medium boxes are a good size. Anything bigger is hard to carry when full. The medium box will very likely be over 70 pounds if full of books. Do it about 3/4 full, or better yet use the small box size. Media mail only charges you by weight.

Wrap dishware in clothes. Cups can go in socks.

Buy 3x as much packing tape as you think you need.

FedEx won’t be ultra careful with your boxes, even when you’re standing there and specifically request it. Pack appropriately. Home Delivery is priced decently and needs to be scheduled a few days in advance. There appears to be no way to schedule even a 4 hr window for pickup time, though.

If you can’t decide on an item, get rid of it. You won’t remember.

Buy a box of trash bags ahead of time. Makes it easier to carry stuff to recycling and trash.

Buy small spice bottles. You go through less of most spices than you think. Same for oils, sauces, etc.

Many electronics can be recycled at Best Buy and similar retailers. Here’s an example way to Google around to see what’s available. Same with batteries and light bulbs.

Media mail is best way to ship books. (See Home Depot note above for book packing tips.)

If you’re next residence requires a flight, Southwest let’s you check 2 bags for free, which will save you shipping money.

For something like a table, you can wrap it in a moving blanket and/or bubble wrap. FedEx doesn’t seem to care. But it will matter if you want it insured properly. You can also wrap it in a tarp. I shipped my table top and will get a new stand in SF. I should have measured the stand so I knew how to replace it. When the table arrived, it had a good size piece knocked off and a few dents. Shipments have a lot of machinery to go through, so be extra careful.

Get a tape measure ahead of time. Probably a drill, too, for taking stuff apart.

Having many small grocery bags is useful for keeping sets of small things together. Gallon and sandwich ziplocks are, too.

Get masking tape for incidental stuff, like wrapping a knife in paper towel.

Get a scale, especially if you’re doing media mail. They will refuse anything over 70 pounds.

And here’s a bonus Seinfeld + Fallon video:

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