Move 2: DC to Denver
We had moved half of our things from DC to Denver by rental truck. Now we needed a container to ship the rest while we drove across.
Everyone has heard of PODS (Portable On Demand Storage), which was my first call. I asked for a quote, which came to $2900 + tax. $285/month for every month beyond the first one. The guy I talked to wasn’t unfriendly, but he was certainly indifferent to my business. I said I needed to shop around, and he was fine with me doing that. My good friend, Len, had just moved from Austin to Portland a couple months before, and he and his wife had used PODS, and the delivery was several days later than they were expecting. Len and his wife were vocal about it, as you would expect, on Facebook. That didn’t deter me so much from PODS, as we had used them when we moved from Denver to DC six years before without issue, but it did make me plan for a later delivery–no matter who we went with–than was originally communicated. Things happen. It’s a cross-country move. I get it that a company can’t just move our stuff; they need to move several people’s containers to make the costs work. I’m reasonable.
1-800 Pack Rat
I called 1-800 Pack Rat and got almost exactly the same quote. $2900 including tax, so a little cheaper and $279/month for storage after the first month, so again just a bit cheaper. I talked to a guy named Roger Jackson, who just all-around felt like he not only wanted to help me, but also wanted my business. When I said I needed to shop around, he asked what he could do and what I was looking to pay.
They ended up offering the same service to us for $2355, all-in, when all said and done. They were going to charge $500 when they dropped off the container. Then most of the balance to deliver. Then $170 or so to pick up the empty container. So I would see three separate charges. Very cool. I went with them right then on the phone.. Roger even gave me his personal number in case something happened. Thanks, Roger.
Back in July, I had done some secret shopping and stored some things with Closetbox. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this and went through the system undercover. Sure, like a spy, but I like to think it more as ninja work.
Now we needed our things returned. I went into the dashboard, entered the date, and then I learned something new about what we do.
Typically, the WOW factor for our customers is the pickup. Sure, sure everyone likes to get things for free, but it’s really just the pickup–not having to do all this work yourself, not having to leave the house, regardless of cost–that amazes people. We are still a fairly new concept in an old paradigm where self-storage companies expect you to do everything yourself and their only job is to hand you a key and charge your credit card. Those rascals.
But I went into our online dashboard, requested my return delivery at 700p eastern one night. The next morning at 800a, my delivery date/time was confirmed. A few days later, I was loading things into the Pack Rat container, and our local moving partner, Bayshore Moving and Storage, showed up and literally removed our things from their truck and placed them into the container.
I just watched. Like a bum.
This Time in Our Lives
The container was dropped off in our driveway on Friday November 4. Our plan was to load everything, drive away on Thursday, and then Pack Rat would pick it up on Friday. If you haven’t connected the dots yet with this time, the Election was on Tuesday. We lived in DC. It was just added pressure to an already pressure-cooker of a situation. It was a tough time.
We were steady with packing the container each day. We would put in a few hours, lock down a room completely, then hit it again the next day. Everything went smoothly. There were a few more trips to Home Depot for tubs and other packing supplies.
One genius piece that we discovered was something called plate sleeves. (I can’t find the exact ones but those are close.) They are expensive, at $1/per sleeve, but it made packing the dishes fast and easy. In past moves, we usually use our tea towels and pillowcases and such. I still hold this to be a fine option. My mother-in-law claims “you’ll just have to wash them all when you get to the next place.” Yes, I know. Thank you for your feedback. It is appreciated. (grits teeth. punches wall off camera.)
Here are some photos of the process. Pay particular attention to the the last ones. There will be a test later.
What you’ll notice is that at the very end, there is just stuff that doesn’t fit. It doesn’t go in a box. Things that defy category, like the platypus or Russell Westbrook. Things that you think “I’ll find a home for that later” as well as stuff, like the vacuum, that you just need right up to the bitter end. We have now moved six times in the last 17 years and not only has the same thing happened each time, but we have boxes from previous moves that are just full of stuff that we couldn’t toss and couldn’t find a better home for. So expect this. If you find a way to avoid it or what to do with these few boxes of random junk after, I’m all ears. Kids called me Dumbo in school. I’m…I’m better now. Mostly.
I won’t bore you with the rest of this, as it was just packing a box with all of our stuff. It wasn’t fun. Wasn’t a good way to spend time, all things considered, but it went fast and the tubs helped make it go faster.
In our next exciting episode, follow closely as I narrate our Drive Across Country.