a moving target

On Wednesday we had our first in-home estimate for the move. After walking through the condo, making ticks on his PocketPC while I noted which items were being moved and which weren’t, the representative from the moving company connected wirelessly to his small printer and printed out an estimate. Yikes! 5,100 pounds to move at a cost of around $5,000 to do so.

I asked why the weight seemed so high, since we’re not taking much furniture with us; 5,000 pounds is at the upper end of what (according to the Internet) the full contents of a 2-bedroom apartment might run. “Books,” he replied. “I noted a lot of boxes of books, and shelves still to be packed, and books are heavy.” This was after we’d already donated 1,000 or more books to the library.

The estimate would be a little high, of course–it’s provided as a “Guaranteed Not-To-Exceed” estimate, meaning we wouldn’t pay any more than that if the actual weight turned out to be more than 5,100 pounds, but we would pay less if the actual weight turned out to be less–but $5,000 just to move our few remaining belongings came as quite a shock; I think I was expecting no more than half to three-fifths that amount.

So Jeff and I hit the books again, going back through the boxes for another, harder-assed culling. We donated another six or seven bags of books to the library, and have another twenty or so bags still to deliver. We probably reduced our remaining books by an additional third; and have decided to get rid of some other things, too (like the breadmaker, vacuum cleaner, humidifier, and now that I think about it, I’ll probably try to get rid of the microwave, too, as there’s already a small one at the Daly City house) in order to reduce the weight even further.

In the meantime, Jeff and I both separately started to have conversations or do research about using the USPS’s Media Mail rates to mail our books to ourselves. Turns out that one can mail a 50-pound box of books (and/or videotapes, DVDs or computer media) for about $20, which is about half the per-pound cost of transportation with the rest of our belongings. So we’ll probably send any remaining boxes of books that way right before we leave.

4 thoughts on “a moving target

  1. Moving is always twice as expensive as you think. Still, I’m amazed that you thought it would be in the $2,500 range — my move, with so little stuff that it would easily have fit into a decent sized van — cost a little over $4,000. And that was before gas cost more than $3 per gallon. Still, when I did the math, it was cheaper than renting a van and driving myself. It also took longer — my stuff didn’t arrive until almost 3 weeks after I got here, so keep that in mind: you will be without that stuff for quite a while, pack the essentials for a month and bring it in the car with you.

  2. Leaving personal stuff behind is so tough… my only consolation (with respect to books, anyway), is that the local library here is great. (I even managed to find a copy of Grim Fandango!).
    Hurrah for the Santa Clara County and Peninsula Library systems!
    (Now if they only had a toaster and a laundry basket…)

  3. Too late for this piece of sage advice, but when I moved I had to plan things a little quicker than I wanted because the rates go up in mid-May for the summer season. I moved May 10; if I had moved just a few days later my rate would have gone up by $1000! This may explain why your rate was that much higher than mine…

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