Moving: A Big Expense and All Risk

Lindsey Novak on

Q: Everyone moves at least one time in life, but did you know that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, people move 11.7 times in their life on average? I just moved, and my move was a nightmare. I spent days and weeks collecting and comparing prices, conditions and requirements, but no matter how much I compared customer reviews, I was the one who had to take all the risks.

If I packed my things, the mover wouldn't guarantee that anything would have a safe delivery. If I bought the boxes and the packing tape, the mover wouldn't guarantee that anything would be delivered safely since they weren't the ones who packed it. If I made the list of items, the mover wouldn't guarantee that those were the items actually packed. It was ridiculous. They made sure that if I wanted anything insured, the mover had to control every item.

Well, I wasn't going to be controlled. I decided to take my chances on doing everything myself. It's not like I had museum-quality furniture. What I didn't realize is that nothing would be guaranteed; so, what was the point of hiring the mover to move me? I wondered if this was a tactic of all supposed professional movers to hike up the price. What I should have done was to find and hire college kids and rent a truck. They would have been more responsible and more reasonably priced.

What did happen was that every item they touched had a chip in it, or a scratch or a cut. All the movers' stated warnings and conditions moving made the expense of using the mover not worth it. I couldn't imagine going through this nearly 12 times. The moving process made Goodwill furniture more appealing. In fact, maybe it makes more sense to donate all my furniture for each move and buy all new. Not new, that is, but used. I'd like to start a trend of dumping furniture every time a person moves. It goes well with renting. And if I ever buy a house, that may be a reason to buy nice furniture. But if people must keep renting, I hope they understand the senselessness of owning and moving furniture.


A: I'm sure there are renters with stories similar to yours who now live in apartments filled with Goodwill items. Ironically, humans at all financial levels like to collect things -- items they drag from place to place for the purpose of surrounding themselves with the things they like. When they move enough to be irritated by damages to their things and other inconveniences associated with relocation, they may adopt your ideas of buying and selling furniture with each move. Until then, staying away from movers sounds like a practical activity.

Email career and life coach: with your workplace problems and issues. Ms. Novak responds to all emails. For more information, visit and for past columns, see




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