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When friends ask for my advice, I repeat what
is for me the first and most important principle of relocating anything:





Moving Tips for
Moveable Minds

by joe coleman 

I've just about finished moving from Washington DC to Miami. Miami is so far south, it's not really The South, which is not a completely bad thing.

A lot of people see Miami as a smaller version of New York, but in the tropics. That's not so far off since the Tropic of Cancer (delineating tropic from sub- tropic) runs right between Key West on the north and Havana on the south.

But it makes it sound like there should be coconuts outside my window, when if I didn't know how humid it was outside, I could tell myself I was in New York.


Perhaps the best biggest Positive Thing about this move is that I did it deliberately, not impulsively. I understood - pretty much - what I was in for. I knew there was going to be real blood, sweat and tears from moving at all, and that's before we mention moving to the almost- tropics at the end of May.

Now it's September and I think I may be truly beginning to settle in.

How I survived:
When friends ask my advice on moving, I repeat what is for me the first and most important principle of relocating anything:


Avoid moving anytime it is possible to do so. That's particularly true of course for bouncing brained people like me who love the new but hate the change one usually goes through to get to the new.

That is to say that moving, for people like me and perhaps thee is, to put it mildly, unsettling. Anyone who lives with a lot of loose ends is in great danger of Losing It.


After there has been a more or less thoughtful decision to move, I think what we need is to adapt somebody else's schedule. Someone who has been through it all and thought it through. Someone else's list of all the things the world thinks need to be done as one gets ready to move - and then <gasp> actually moves (with expected regression to not functioning much at all, especially as a putative adult) - and then graduates, somehow, to Demoving.

Moving is not complete, of course, until you are done Demoving, which is yet a another stage that follows the moving itself. As I keep finding out.

Enter the Wizard:
If you must move and you seek such a list it may help to know that after searching the Net, I found a free "Relocation Wizard"... the URL was and maybe still is:

Be sure to include the @ sign at the beginning. It's not like any other URL I've seen, but it works. For some reason.

If you find the Wizard and want to use it, just try to relax <!!!>. If you don't have a real moving date yet, pretend.

Make up a date for the Wizard. Then you will have this arbitrary and capricious moving date in *their* System and you can fool the Wizard who doesn't know you are seriously disorganized and, more important, capable of performing only some of the items on their list.

The Wizard's list has about 50-60 "basic elements" (what every fool but you knows) about what has to be done. Or undone. And because you have put in a date, the Wizard gives the things within a schedule. It looks like a reasonable time frame, but what do I know.

Oh, I don't know if this is important to you, but the list didn't seem to be composed by someone who wanted most of all to sell me something (real estate, moving services, whatever).

Helpful self-delusion:
When I first got the list and printed it out, I had talked myself into the fantasy that I was much more mentally sound than I used to be. So, 50 or 60 things did not bring on my usual instant nervous breakdown.

I sort of realized then, and I do now, too, some of the time anyway, that whatever I did from the list would put me me ahead and way beyond any other move I had ever made. In all my past moves I did nothing but hope and then beg.

Anyway ...... because I got the list only a week or so after the time line for an end-of-May move, my new found stability permitted me for some wonderful few days to not only read the list all the way through, but to actually <gasp> do many of the tasks on the list.

I kept thinking about the people I usually think live in the real world, more or less, who already know all this stuff. I caught myself thinking I was behaving rather like them: Someone Who Knows.

But I didn't know and don't know and neither will you.

Get a list.

Early Bird for a Change:
List in hand, I got such a great start, my landlord was shocked (and mysteriously not entirely pleased) when I gave him my notice around the first of April for an end-of-May departure.

He thought it was awfully early.

Moving did turn out to be a disaster as usual, but it was less bad - probably - than any of my past moves. I fairly often bordered on being ready to do and undergo, and I was sometimes prepared for some of the endless number of things that I really had to do - and even for the more endless number of things it would have been civilized and decent to do.

I performed so well you (or at least I) could almost say it seemed I was, and I probably was, going from my usual extreme to another extreme this time. I behaved like an orderly doer. I hesitate to say that to those who know me, but I actually can be an Early Bird.

Once in awhile.

My normal moving routine would leave me without a phone in my new "home" for days or weeks after arrival. This time I had two working phone lines installed and operating and billed for about a month before I moved in (not to mention before the two months it took to actually figure out how to set up the second line for computers and peripherals).

On balance, I must say relocation doesn't have to be completely disorienting, even for the hopelessly disorganized.

Just don't ask if I can find my pen.




When I first got the list I talked myself into the fantasy that I was much more mentally sound than I used to be...

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About the author: The recently relocated now Floridian Joe Coleman was a denizen of the Beltway until last May, when, after taking early retirement from the State Department, where he specialized in the resettlement of refugees, he took refuge himself in the Further South. Joe's slices of wry will be a continuing part of the rotating features appearing here in Meandering Minds.