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The Move: What I Did Right, and What I Did Wrong

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movingboxesWell, I did it. I moved from one home/office to another, and it went pretty much as expected. Which is to say, it was a harrowing experience whose effects are still being felt, and will continue to be felt for at least another week or two, if not longer. I followed my own advice from my previous post, and I’m happy with the place I chose, but I learned a few more lessons about how complicated the moving process can be when your work is on the web.

What I Did Right

First and foremost, I prepared for the switchover of Internet services. Since this was key to me keeping up my income stream during the moving process, it was a top priority from the very beginning. I also took the opportunity to do a little comparison shopping among Internet service providers. What I found out shocked me: I was paying double what I would if I switched to using a smaller but highly recommended ISP. The new provider had a fairly broad window for when my service would become active, though, so I arranged two back-up solutions in case I didn’t have access when I first moved in (which I didn’t).

Both of my back-up solutions were actually already in place. First, I have 3G mobile broadband subscription from Fido (a Canadian wireless provider), which I signed up for just before finding out that the upcoming iPhone 3.0 firmware supports tethering. It came in handy this past weekend, though, so that took some of the sting out of the two-year subscription. My other Internet back up was actually my girlfriend’s apartment, where I knew I’d be welcome to spend a couple days working undisturbed. I could’ve also always opted for camping out at Starbucks for the day, but generally I prefer something more private if I can manage it.

I also tried (and succeeded, I think) to make the week leading up to the move much more productive than usual. I worked longer hours, spent a lot less time outside of the house, and just generally tried to get more done. The idea was to build up a buffer so that if I needed a little extra time before or after the move, I’d have it, and I wouldn’t sacrifice anything professionally. There’s also the added benefit that even if I hadn’t needed to make use of the buffer, I’d have got a whole bunch of extra work done, which is never a bad thing.

What I Did Wrong

I was so focused on the web working implications of my move that I forgot about some very key things. Like whether or not all the light fixtures in the new place were working. Or whether all the plumbing was OK. Or whether my landlord, who’s not very handy, had hooked up the brand-new stacked washer/dryer correctly. As a result of those and other oversights, many of my first few days in the new place were spent putting out fires. Luckily, my landlord is well-intentioned, just a little clueless, so each issue was resolved very quickly and without much inconvenience.

The lesson here is to remember the oh-so-crucial “home” component of “home/office” when moving. If you’re moving to an older place, especially, you’ll want to make sure that everything is actually working. Don’t just take it on faith that a landlord would never show an apartment that wasn’t in good working order. I’m a trusting person, but in this case that turned out to be quite the flaw.

I found packing and other pre-move preparation easy, but I unfortunately forgot to consider unpacking in any real detail. I went in with a vague idea that it would take roughly the same amount of time to get things set up in the new place as it did to take them down in the old. This turned out not to be true. Things like laying out the new space, accounting for all the extra room, and recognizing and planning for unusual outlet placement are all things that tripped me up that I could’ve planned for in advance.

Instead, I spent the days following the move living out of boxes, trying to find things, hyperventilating because I thought I’d forgotten to pack a USB hub, for instance, and just generally being disorganized. This probably hampered my work as much as any temporary Internet service outage would have.

Final Thoughts

Planning is definitely crucial to any successful move, but even more important is making sure that your plan covers all the bases. Don’t just plan for before and during, plan for after, too. And make sure your plan includes “home” elements as much as it does “office.” Being able to work in your new space is great, but only if you can also live there, too.

Share your moving tips in the comments.

3 Responses to “The Move: What I Did Right, and What I Did Wrong”

  1. Green Guy

    Man, I forgot to stick each of my cables in a zip lock bag when I moved.. I spent more time unravelling cables then I did setting my hardware back up and plugging the darn things in.

  2. A great friend and fellow blogger moved at the beginning of the month and was offline for nearly a week … it almost killed both of us so my vote? In the future, I’m going to double check and do a walkthough of everything.