Moving Houses Expectations vs. Reality: Experiences of a Nomad

moving houses

Mary Moreno from Silver Spring, Maryland has been a nomad almost her entire life. Her parents are missionaries, which requires them to move across different states (sometimes countries) every three or five years. There are times when her family would stay in one state for only six months then move on to another. Thus, by the time she’s about to graduate from college, she’s lived in at least 12 places.

Unfortunately, they are not subscribers of full service cross country movers. Here are what happened:


Mary’s parents are supporters of DIY-ing everything to save money. This includes moving. So as expected, they did the packing by themselves. There are six people in the family, by the way. Each person has his or her own closet full of clothes.

Each person has at least three 28″ x 28″ x 28” square boxes for their clothes. They also have shoes, beddings, linens, mattresses, and the bed itself.

The appliances include a fridge, an oven, a CRT television, electric fans, air-conditioning systems (window type), washing machine with a separate dryer, and component speakers.

There’s also the furniture—bedroom, kitchen, living room, patio, and dining room. Then there is everything in between. To make the long story short, they have a ton of belongings. But they thought they could do it in one day or two days. Three days, tops. In reality, it took them about two weeks.

The bad part is that they are packing stuff one by one but are using this and that every day. So they keep on pulling items out their boxes from time to time. This took their packing even longer.


a team of movers

So the packing is done, and obviously, they have a lot of packed belongings. You would think that they would rent two or three trailers for that, but (again) no. They rented one. They thought one is spacious enough and there are items such as clothes they can squeeze or compress to fit in the tiny spaces in the truck. But the trailer size is just not enough. They were then forced to take three trips to move all the belongings to the new house. As a result, they have to pay more than twice as much had they chosen to rent three trailer trucks.

Other dilemmas

The disastrous moving out events did not end at packing and getting a trailer truck. Loading and unloading their belongings were a problem as well. There were only three persons in the truck: the driver and two porters. Although there are six people in Mary’s family, four of them are girls. Consequently, it took the porters, the driver, the boys in the family a really long time to load and unload all the items successfully.

When asked her why they did not hire professional movers instead, she responded, “because it’s expensive.” Then she added, “but it’s really tiring and inconvenient. Plus, if you include the expenses we incurred while waiting for all the bit and pieces to be packed, I think it costs the same if not more.”

The takeaway

All of these dilemmas could have been avoided if Mary and her family asked help from movers. The idea of DIY-ing moving is indeed more cost-effective than hiring help. However, this does not apply to individuals with several belongings. If your items can fit in a bag or two, go and move houses on your own; otherwise, rent a moving service.

Take Mary’s experience as an illustration. The three-day deadline they set for themselves is far from reality because they have a lot to pack. Cross country movers may sound expensive on the outset, but if you sum up the expenses and inconveniences you get for moving on your own, the latter is even more expensive.

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