Tag Archives: moving

Moving Sucks, But Especially If You’re a Geek

Moving Legos is hard. Moving Legos in large plastic containers? Not as hard.
Photo: All Images (Germain Lussier)
Toys and CollectiblesAction figures, statues, exclusives, and other merchandise. Beware: if you look here, you’re probably going to spend some money afterwards.  

If you thought moving was hard, try to do it with a 7,000 piece Lego set.

Recently, I moved out of a Los Angeles apartment I’d been in for six years to a house in the San Fernando Valley. It’s a big deal, of course, and something my wife Jayne and I had been planning and saving toward for a while. And yet, as exciting and grown up as the whole prospect was, when we began the actual, serious business of house hunting I almost didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do it because it meant I’d have to move…a lot of stuff.

It’s not a revelation to talk about how much moving sucks. Because it does. Moving. Fucking. Sucks. But on top of that general dread was the fact that I’m a bit of an obsessive collector. Posters, Lego, various toys and prop replicas, DVDs, books, you name it and I probably collect it. So to move them all was more than a daunting task. It was a nightmare. And I mean that literally. I had nightmares about it.

You may be wondering what could be so bad. It’s just moving. Throw the stuff in some bubble wrap, write “Fragile” on the side and call it a day. Well, you see, that would be okay for normal people. However, my wife and I are not normal people. Our entire apartment was covered in framed art. And I do mean the entire apartment. You can watch a tour I did at this link right before we started taking things down to move. It’s literally hundreds of frames expertly puzzled together in a manic look most people hate. But we love it.

Plus, if you’ve seen videos like the one above of me building the largest Lego set ever created, you can begin to imagine how many fully constructed Lego sets are on display. So moving those, as well as framed art, as well as a 50-inch wide flat file filled with hundreds of pounds of posters, on top of everything else a normal person would move was, as I said, scary. It was ever scarier when we got hit with a massive penalty.

Quick aside to explain: Everyone told us buying a house in the Los Angeles area was damned near impossible. But it wasn’t for us. After about three months of looking, the first house we put an offer in was eventually accepted. The whole thing happened months before we expected it to, which was great—but also bad, because we were in a lease until the end of the year. So, to break that least, we had to put in two months notice and pay a $4000 penalty, which sucked almost as much as moving. However, we then knew we could stay in our apartment for two months and, in that time, slowly move everything into the new house, which is exactly what happened.

Just a small fraction of the frames waiting to find a new home in our new house.

Twice a week, at least, for two months, Jayne and I took two cars full of crap to the house, which is about 20 minutes away from the apartment. The majority of those trips were framed art and fragile collectibles like Lego sets. Now, if you look online about how to move Lego sets, most people suggest taking them all apart and putting them back together. To me, that was not an option. I love my brick creations but they take hours, days even, to put together. I’d rather them stay intact, thank you very much. So it became about figuring out ways to move not just those, but also hundreds of framed posters and works of art.

The art was relatively simple. Take them off the wall, carefully line them up on a newly-purchased handtruck, bring them to the car, neatly stack them on top of each other separated by towels or sheets, wrap the piled-up frames in towels or sheets and then put a few heavy boxes up against them so they wouldn’t move. Sometimes those boxes were also filled with smaller frames, also stuffed with things to make sure they didn’t scratch. Then it was a matter of driving slowly and carefully to the house and unloading them. Done and done.

I can’t imagine what the process would have been, or what it would have cost, to move further than 20 minutes away, but luckily that’s not a story I’m able to tell.

Legos in plastic containers were a lifesaver.

The Lego sets were, actually, a similar story. My friend Jonathan suggested large plastic containers to move them. This way, if something fell off, it was contained and easy to find. So we bought a few of those and very carefully moved them into those containers. All went well until we got to the massive Lego Millennium Falcon. We couldn’t find any container big enough for it. We found one that came close, though, and it moved to the house with only minor hull damage. It was its very own version of the Kessel Run.

So over the course of the two months, Jayne and I moved all of the posters and Lego builds to the house. We moved other stuff too, but we concentrated mostly on things we knew movers would struggle with. Then, as the move date approached, I realized that my poster-filled flat file was going to be more of an issue than originally thought. This thing is seriously massive, seriously heavy, and filled with lots of very easily damaged limited paper.

My flat file in the new house. Tissue box inserted for scale.

An artist friend suggested moving each draw individually. However, you can’t walk through a doorway with a drawer because it’s too wide. You have to tip and angle it. To do that, he suggested applying pressure to keep the posters from moving when it was being tilted to get through the door. There was some huge risk in that, though. So, over the last week before the move, every trip to the house came with a stack of 30-50 posters, flat, in the back of my car. It turned out that you could stack flat posters pretty high on the handtruck and, as long as you didn’t nick the corners going through doors, it was fairly painless. With the flat file eventually empty, the movers moved it with ease, not having to worry about damaging the valuables inside.

Oh, and as for all the action figures, Hot Toys, Master Replica lightsabers, and more…we had been renting a storage unit to keep empty boxes in for most of those items. So it was just a matter of picking them up, repacking each item, and then moving them normally. It took some foresight but it worked out.

All of which is to say: moving is really hard. But it’s even harder if you have geek shit to think about—valuable, fragile shit you love and trust no one else with. Our movers were great but I think they would have been less great if we told them they had to move 300 framed pieces of art when they arrived.

So that’s my story. What’s yours. Do need tips? Hints? I’ll answer some questions below. But also, feel free to chime in with your own stories.


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Source: Kotaku.com

The Sims Changed How I Think About Moving Apartments

Screenshot: The Sims 4 (EA/Maxis)
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

My brain is so poisoned by video games, that while I was recently moving my furniture into my new apartment all I could think about was The Sims.

My move, from one New York City apartment to another, was expensive and complicated ordeal. I’m so, so close to finally being finished with it. I’ve got my keys, a place to sleep, a couch in the living room and almost everything I need to cook. Unfortunately, I still have to figure out why we don’t have gas, I’m trying to get us Internet that isn’t the dreaded Spectrum, and we don’t have any pots and pans. I’ve started to put together and arrange my bedroom, though I need a dresser first to put away my clothes, and a bookshelf for all my books.

As I measure the remaining space in my room and continue to unpack, I can’t help but think of it as a game. It’s a little bit like Tetris, where I must fit blocks of furniture into a small apartment. Sometimes it feels like Dwarf Fortress, where I’m constantly juggling new tasks to accomplish in order to not lose my mind. Mostly, though, it’s like The Sims.

In The Sims 4, decor has an effect on Sims’ moods. They get a boost to their mood if they’re in a well decorated apartment. If they sleep on a cheap bed, they wake up sore. Having access to tea and coffee can change their mood or keep them awake. And as I’ve learned from watching Sims YouTubers, if there’s ever any empty space in an apartment, you should fill it with plants. That’s why I’ve covered my windowsill with plants:

The Sims was also on my mind as I placed my furniture. Originally, I had my desk facing the wall, but then I realized that I wanted to be able to look out the window. In The Sims, that’d be a pathing nightmare, so I was leery of doing it and had the reflex to lay my apartment out like it was in the game. The allure of a window view was too strong, though, and I’m better at pathfinding than a Sim, so I turned my desk to face the window. I could make this work.

What The Sims mostly taught me was that there’s a real benefit in making your personal space pleasant. Your Sims don’t always need the most expensive thing, but a slightly more expensive couch and upgrading to a flatscreen TV can make it easier for them to relax. I used to think of the mood boost that Sims got in the game was just a mechanic to give you an impetus to continue to buy them more things. As I get older, I also discovered that I’m just happier in a place that looks nice and feels nice, that has my art on the walls and is arranged in a way that feels cozy.

I used to be a lot more utilitarian about my furniture than I am now. I had stuff that wasn’t fancy, but was functional. Back in Chicago, I had a couch, but it was missing its back cushion, so I threw a body pillow on there so it’d be comfortable. I had a bed from Ikea that I’d been carting around from apartment to apartment for years. The rest of my apartment was furnished from Craigslist, and while everything was kinda sticky, it worked. I was also the most depressed I had been since my teenage years. I was surrounded by my own garbage because I felt like garbage and everything I owned was garbage.

Now when I look at my mint green desk, I feel happiness at the prospect of working at it. My bed—made of solid wood and not particle board—offers a pleasant reprieve from the rest of the world. My side table is actually a vintage military war table, that was a gift from a friend. Not only is it a very cool thing to own, I think about my wonderful, generous friend every time I look at it (love you, Max!). Just being in this room surrounded by things I actually like and aren’t from a Swedish furniture company makes a real difference in my mood.

I know my Sims are just lines of code, but I wonder if that’s how they feel when I meticulous decorate their rooms, giving them high quality furniture and a mountain of plants. I hope it makes their brief lives a little easier, especially if they’re unlucky enough to get caught in a save where I’m doing the 100 Baby Challenge.

Source: Kotaku.com