In the past year, I have moved. My sister-in-law has and is again moving. My best friend’s mom moved, and my best friend moved. In the past six years, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law have each made significant moves, I have moved 4 more times, and my aunt moved. Moving costs a ridiculous amount of money and time. I think I have observed moving enough to see some good come from the number two stress-causing life-change.
Most people look for any excuse to avoid helping out with a move. This is a financial unsavvy move as they come. What most people fail to realize is that helping with a move usually comes with a number of financial perks that makes volunteering well worth your time:
1. People who are moving are dying for ways to say thank you. If you help people move, they buy you lunch. Or better, coffee.
2. You aren’t spending money on the movies, or some other form of entertainment. I have way more fun helping people move than I would have renting a video game or something else equally normal. It also gives you valuable time with someone you may not see again for a while.
3. Some things shouldn’t be taken, or necessarily finished before the final night: partially consumed bottles of liquor, frozen meats from the bottom of the deep freeze, propane tanks, cleaning supplies, baking chocolate and who better to take them off of their hands than you? You’re right there, peering into the pantry with them so you usually get the freebies.
4. If it’s your mom or your sibling, you may end up with some great stuff that were going to be yours / you always wanted anyway. I got some wonderful kitchen supplies, a matching living room furniture set, some lamps, and other sundries this way.
5. The overwhelmed tremble at the sheer volume of their wardrobe which means part of their wardrobe may go to you. A great way to cut down is to pass less-frequently-used things on to you, the moving helper. For one, you’re conveniently located: “Hey, stop packing that kitchen box and try on these pants!” And two, I still love the face on my friend when she saw me wearing her clothes. I could tell she was happy it was I who was wearing them and not some random person who bought them at the thrift store.
6. Some well-established people have remarkable garages filled with remarkable things they had always intended to do things with, but never got around to. Project cars, bicycles and bicycle parts, an anvil, yard tools, paintsthings you may be able to make a great offer on. It’s like first dibs at a yard sale, and something they won’t have to worry about not getting bought. My family is filled with artists, so this is an excellent way to acquire fodder.
7. People buy site-specific furniture: in other words, they really don’t want to take it with them. It was just convenient at the time. Many times, these things are overlooked as something to put in a yard sale, or were too useful: “I’m still going to need a table for my last two weeks!” By this math, I am now proud owner of five large bookcases and some deck chairs.
8. The out-of-time E-bayer may stare at a pile of things currently or that should be listed on the Internet for sale, or the rained-out yard sale items, and the idea of tossing or giving them away gives them creepy-crawlies. In this case, you can offer to run the sales and send the money to your friend. Many times, they’ll give you a cut for your troubles. Included in this category are delayed delivery packages: I got 2 bags of coffee for picking up and forwarding the package delivered a day after my friend was gone.
9. When it comes to crunch time, there are many movers who begin to show signs of the pressure. “I still have to move all this stuff!” Things that are less valuable or even frivolous in someone’s life may appear as hassles. The best thing you can do is help take last minute stress items off their hands. You can then freecycle what you can’t use, or sell, and there are probably plenty of things you can use. Wrapping paper, notebook paper, a plant, some cat-5 wire — random and perfectly good, but totally stressful things, fall into this list.
10. Finally, if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. If and when the time comes when you move, there will be ready and willing helpers to get you on your way. Each person saves you time, and when you have a deadline, time is money.
So the next time you hear that someone is moving, take the initiative and offer to help. You’ll get to spend some quality time with friends, have an IOU in place and you’ll likely walk away with a ton of great stuff, too. Your finances will thank you for it.
Image courtesy of Seb Przd