It was 4 a.m. on a warm May morning in Dallas-Fort Worth. Why did I know that? Because I was awake. Mine was the only apartment with a pool for several blocks and the neighbor kids didn’t have school in the morning. Ah, to be young again. It was that exact moment when I decided to move from my current shoebox apartment to another shoebox apartment across town. My lease was up in a few months, and now was as good of a time as any to start that process. I just completed my first week in the new place, so I thought I’d take time to share my experiences.
Apartment hunting is still in the stone age.
I spent the better part of a month just looking around at places. Between work, Xbox, and staving off depression with various alcohols, I didn’t have much actual time to truck around and find a new place to live. I had a friend who was a realtor and promised to send me places, but he only sent me one which was entirely out of my price range (Thanks, [redacted]!). You have work “friends” who can send you referrals to their places. But let’s be realistic, you barely want to see them while you’re at work. Not to mention I was the youngest person at my office by roughly eight years. Everyone else has houses, families and kids. They hadn’t heard the word “apartment” in a decade.
There is however, a relatively new tool by which the vast majority of commerce happens over called “The Internet.” Too bad nobody ever told the apartment managers. Half the places in my area weren’t listed on any major site, the other half either didn’t list rent or didn’t list pictures. Despite all the modern conveniences the internet has provided us, I still had to drag my ass around every Saturday during the three hours that most places were actually open and find a place. Once you’re there, take what little information you had from the internet and watch as the leasing agent lights it on fire. On at least three separate occasions, the online quote was vastly lower than the “current market rate” (read: that salesman’s ass). They don’t give a shit about any prior information you have because once you’re there, their word is law. Comparable rents in your area, offers at other locations? Fuck you, you’ll pay. You always pay.
Of course, once you find a place…
Moving is expensive as hell.
Think back to when you first moved to your current address. You probably had to pay a deposit on your apartment and the utilities. That sucked, right? Now you get to pay all those things again, while currently also currently paying your existing rent. You can’t just stop paying rent at your old place just because you found a new place. You still have that lease you owe money on. Take your first check of the month and put it entirely towards rent. Take the other check and put it entirely towards a slightly higher amount. How much are you left with? Yeah, enjoy paying your bills and trying to eat this month. I seriously don’t even want to look at my credit card bill this month.
Of course, once you have a place and all those bills are paid, you have to notify your current apartment. They will be overjoyed to hear that you’re moving, because every mark you ever made on any surface is straight cash in their pocket. Splotch on the wall, gotta repaint everything. Wine stain in the living room, gotta get new carpeting. I had a small indention in the wall from where the headboard would repeatedly smack against the wall during my more vigorous bouts of drunken masturbation. $100 to caulk the indention, $200 to paint the wall. All in all, I limped away wondering if it would have been cheaper to get a lawyer and dispute the charges.
That’s not even considering the costs associated with the actual moving. Do you have friends? Like “friends that will help you move” friends? I thought I did too. Here’s a tip: pay professionals to help you move. I know this is a weird stance to take in a section of my post about how expensive it is to move, but seriously, pay the money.
You have way too much shit.
How many boxes do you think it would take to pack everything in your apartment? Now double that number. That might get you close. In a perfect world, the rules of Tetris would apply and everything would have a place. It doesn’t. Besides, once you shove everything into 8-9 boxes, it’s only then when you figure out how heavy everything is. Time to repack. You now have everything parceled out into 18 different boxes. Take a look at your kingdom. This is your entire livelihood. God Bless Capitalism.
It wasn’t until I watched my mother, God bless her, carry all my clothes to the moving truck over several trips before I thought “I’ve got too many fucking shirts”. It was about that same time that I was carrying a solid oak coffee table with my father and two “best” “friends” (read: the guys who showed up to help me move) that I thought “Why do I have a 300 lb. coffee table?”
Moving is a great opportunity to figure out what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of. Obviously there’s stuff you want to keep, but do you still need all your DVDs when you have Netflix? Do you still need all those oxfords that are a size too small because you still tell yourself you’ll lose the weight? You don’t, and you won’t. Sell your DVDs at Half-Price Books, throw your old clothes at the nearest homeless person, and celebrate your new apartment with beer and a four-hour binge of Forensic Files. Start counting the days until you get to do it all over again. .