In the past two years, I have moved a total of three times. The first time into the Big City, the second time into a new apartment since the first one went into foreclosure and a third time into my new studio apartment. Twice I rented a huge UHaul truck and twice I've hired movers. Needless to say, the hired help was more reliable. Not that my family and friends don't love me and I them, but really, who likes to move? No one, not even themselves, which is why moving services are such rackets.
Being in the city I've learned that it is quite a luxury to not have to move from place to place year after year. Being able to stay in one spot means you have a fabulous rent controlled apartment, live in an illegal structure, pay under the table or have crazy, mad dirt on your landlord which prevents him/her from going up on your rent. If you do not fall into any of these categories, chances are every year or other year you've moved into a cheaper or better apartment time after time. Which means time after time, you've hired movers or have asked friends to help you move, and probably more of the latter. Living in the city, no matter how much you make, is expensive.
That's just life. A friend that needs help moving is indeed a friend in need. But there are rules of etiquette to be followed on both sides whether you are the friend that is moving or the friend that is helping. Here they are:
The Friend Who is Moving:
1) Be organized. Pick the day(s) you are going to move at least 2-3 wekks ahead of time and ask your friends to set aside that day and the estimated hours it may take to move your things.
2) Be packed. Have a packing party with wine and pizza if you must, but have your boxes and bags packed ahead of time. I'm guilty of not following this rule. This WILL result in people not being "available" to help you move the next time and if you live in NYC, there will be a next time.
3) Offer compensation: Offer to feed your crew WELL in addition to returning any needed favors. Yes, you may have to housesit, doggy-sit, and help run errands over the next few weeks, but you will save lots of cash and honestly, if they are your friends, you would do the favors anyway. Which brings me to my next item:
4) Only ask your close friends and family to help you move. Moving can be rather intimate situation and honestly too huge of a favor to ask random co-workers, acquaintances or associates to assist in. What makes for an awkward situation is when you do not know which people fall into which category. Believe me, when you ask them to help you move, you will find out! Don't get bummed if someone says no if you ask. Most people have a strong desire to help others, but due to legitimite reasons, simply cannot. But if someone simply doesn't want to do it, respect that and move on. Again, the response will define for you where you are in their life and where they should probably be in yours.
5) Say THANK YOU. Your friends and family do not owe you one thing, not one iota in the world. Even with pizza and beer and lining that skirt like you promised for your best friend will not excuse you from stating your gratitude to each and every person who assisted you in moving. Say it loud, say it clear and say it often: THANK YOU!
The Friend Who Is Helping
1) If your friend asks you to move, SAY YES! Unless you honestly cannot make it for reasons out of your control, do not turn your friend down when they obviously need you. Yeah, who doesn't want to to spend their Saturday morning or afternoon laying around on the sofa or taking care of much needed errands, but a good friend will, even if reluctantly, be there to help. Remember, asking for help, even with close friends, can be difficult for some people despite what you may think. And honestly, you should be flattered. I'd be hurt if I found a friend moved and didn't think to ask me for help. A friend in need is a friend INDEED.
2) Show up on time. If the move is scheduled for Noon, be there at 11:55 a.m. or earlier. Nothing makes a situation as horrible as thinking no one or not enough people will show up to help you. Renting trucks, cars, vans or even worse, borrowing other people's vehicles to do the move means you have a very limited amount of time. Taking the attitude of "I'm not getting paid" or "They are lucky I'm coming" shows a lack of respect for your friend and your relationship.
3) Come ready to work. Moving is a lot of work that needs to be done in a finite period of time. Coming in a "lazy haze" does not help. Picking and choosing what items you will or won't carry only makes for a difficult situation. Unless you have a bad back or knees, pitch in where you fit in and don't stop moving until everything is moved out and then ultimately moved into the new place.
4) Be as pleasant as possible(no griping). As I mentioned before, no one wants to help someone move, people do not want to move themselves, again, who does? But if you are going to be there for your friends and family members, then leave that attitude at home. Moving is already a crazy, fast paced event, not to mention leaving a place can be quite emotional. Do not add to the crazy by being Mr/Mrs. Grinch. Don't remind your friend that you're only there for the pizza/liquor/dinner being served every 5 minutes, because believe me, THEY KNOW.
Well, those are my main etiquette rules for moving. I will be assisting in a well-planned, well thought out move for a friend this month. I appreciate her OCD level attention to detail, especially in this endeavor. My shift begins this Saturday at Noon and I'll only say it once and here in this blog to keep in accordance with my rules: I'm SO looking forward to the booze and food afterwards,lol! Happy moving!