A poignant reflecton on how much shit you have.

I think most of you know by now that I’m moving from Montana to Gerogia in the next few weeks. In earnest preparation–going back several years in fact–I loaded up my pickup truck and newly-bought trailer (a 7x12’ at a steal of $4,400!) this afternoon. The entire endeavor took me all of an hour and a half. And this, my friends, is a double edged sword . . .

See, when you do a DITY (Do IT Yourself) move, Uncle Sam will pay you to move yourself, to the tune of 95% of what it would have cost them to move you. A lot of people take advantage of this and earn a few bucks in the process, myself being one of them. Going back a few weeks, I’ve had to mentally tally up how much stuff I had left in storage by weight, and buy that new trailer around it. Figuring all of the tools, guns, gear, clothes, books, DVDs, CDs, kitchen krap, and other miscellanea, I figured it wasn’t too far off the mark to figure I would max out the GVWR of my truck (roughly 13.5 kips*). I moved the stuff into the unit, so I think to myself that I’ve got a relatively good estimate going here. Deducting about 6 kips for the truck, maybe 1 for the trailer, this leaves me with 6,500 lbs of raw cargo that I’ll be hauling down to Georgia. Through discussion, I’ve learned that the trailer’s weight itself counts toward the weight of your household goods, so my total “raw cargo” load is back up to 7.5 kips: well within the rated capacity of my F-150 XLT, which is exactly the reason I bought this truck, and why I had them slap on a heavier suspension, brakes, and the works (a '150 XLT with a Class III towing kit). I’d also like to note that I drive this thing like my own personal fighter jet, and my “communications suite” is now nearly perfected with a satellite radio that rhymes with “seriously” sweet.

Anyway, I do the math again. I have a 5x10x6.5’ (325 cu. ft) storage unit as advertised. I also have a trailer whose purposefully-purchased interior measures 7x10x6’(420 cu. ft.). The math works. I can haul all of my stuff, the kitchen sink, and Jimmy Hoffa when they find him. Armed with my estimates, my truck and trailer, and an empty afternoon, I make off for my storage unit.

Here’s where it gets weird: one would think that physically moving three and one quarter tons of personal crap would take the better part of a couple of days. This wasn’t the case. I started at 12:PM, and finished at 1:30PM, basically filling the trailer, leaving maybe 100 CF available in the trailer. After finishing, I took my ensemble to get a weight ticket, and get this, I’ve only got 5,000 lbs of shit, including the trailer! How is it that the laws of physics instantly change things that my household goods are not as dense as I am? I’m still in amazement at how so much yet so little, can weigh not enough yet still quite a bit.

I mean, I’ve gone through all of the boxes of the aforementioned crap, and there’s a lot! But then you stack it all up, and it’s not quite what you thought it would be. That it’s a formidable mass to haul is true, but wow, I thought I had more/less stuff than this! And what an ecclectic collection as well! What am I going to do with three copies of the same Fiber Optics book from college? :confused:

I guess the only thing I’ve learned today, is that while you may think you have household goods, it’s a problem much like that of one interpretation of Schrödinger’s cat, whereas weights and states of matter fluctuate with dependence on time, and you can only measure it at the exact instant you decide to move your stuff.

And you thought moving was easy.

  • One kip = 1,000 lbs.

Last summer I moved across country. I rented one of those Penske box trucks - 15-footer I think. I was really nervous about having enough room in there. I invited about 8 friends over for an all day moving party…

With the first three guys we got done in about an hour! The truck was less than 1/2 full! When the other folks showed up we had hours to eat pizza and drink beer in the empty apartment.

I’m glad I don’t have much stuff, and those shows like Clean Sweep really give me the willies.

Well, it is a truism that the amount of stuff you have varies, but is a constant of approximately 10% more than you actually have room for.

Live in a one-bedroom apartment, comfortably stuffed? Just try moving to a nice, new, three-bedroom house with a two-car garage. Your shit will magically expand in the time it takes to move to fill (and then some!) all of the available storage space in the new place. And you’ll wonder why, exactly, you have three toasters when you were pretty sure that you only had one. And where are all of your socks?

So clearly you’re right; the density of household goods is variable and dependent on the observer/conditions. :smiley:

I like pie.

I got so much shit, I had to get more shit to stack my shit on!

I think I hit the point of realising just how much shit I have when there was a forest fire near home a couple months ago and one of the thoughts going through my head was “Well, that’s one way to clean out my stuff.” I have a lot of junk I really should toss.

Amen to that. I moved from a 2-bedroom townhouse to a 4-bedroom, 3-story house, and the stuff just expanded to fill it, immediately. Random stuff appeared (four toasters, actually, and two blenders, three mixers and a George Foreman grill), and other stuff vanished (socks, baby clothes, silverware, two carseats and three strollers).

So why is my larger house more crammed with shit than my smaller place was? It defies the laws of physics, I tell ya.

I’m guessing some of Tripler’s stuff migrated over to someone else’s new place between his measuring and his actual packing. Measuring just gave his stuff that much more warning.

Or else the socks are all folded into a corner of the space-time continuum. Socks are pretty familiar with that place anyway. The entrance route is through the dryer. Tripler, you didn’t pack a dryer, did you? Who knows what it’ll burp out during your drive if you did. Stay away from weigh stations!

Actually, no. I have sucessfully squeezed everything (minus a TV, one suitcase, and a couple of rifles) into this trailer, and still have room to spare. My stuff was spread out between the storage unit and a friend’s house–just a few boxes–but I was able to cram everything in. On my way back to base, however, I had my “shakedown cruise” of my trailer, and it seems some things have shifted during flight. Oh well, it’s not like I use generic XMas tree decorations all year though. . . :rolleyes:

I got it all here, for the most part.

Tripler, I think sometimes I would welcome a chance to pick and choose what’s really basic to me. I started college with five big boxes and a row of clothes. I wonder what I would take if I had to pare it down to what I could haul in that amount of space now.

I think some guys from Georgia wrote that.

My husband is fond of noting that when we moved in together, he owned a mattress, a milk crate and a folding lawn chair. When we moved three years ago, it took three trips in the largest U-Haul we could rent.

Our house is 4,000 sq. ft. My grandmother recently gave me a sewing machine and I couldn’t find a place to put it.

Yeah, we have way too much stuff.

When I left home in 1973, the only furniture I owned was my paternal grandmother’s treadle sewing maching (which I can see from where I sit right now)

In 1975, I got my first apartment - a furnished studio with a Murphy bed, so the only furnishings I added was a cheap stain-it-yourself rocking chair, plus some kitchen stuff (including the Cutco knives that I’m still using.)

By 1980 when I bought my first house, I was given or bought enough furniture to fill 4 rooms and part of a basement.

In 1983, I married, in '85, my daughter was born. That’s when we started getting lots of stuff.

Fast forward to 2004. Daughter graduated from high school and headed to college and her first apartment. We got rid of a bunch of stuff by giving it to her. We sold a bunch of stuff. We left a bunch of stuff for the couple who bought our house - they were young and just starting out. So we pared down our amount of stuff.

Then we bought this house. The previous owners were in their 80s, retiring to FL, and downsizing. They left us a bunch of stuff. Some useful (a bed, a sofa, and a spare fridge) lots of crap (cast iron outdoor furniture, an ancient console TV, and some even more ancient, dusty upholstered furniture) and miscellaneous stuff that we either decided we could use or we sold/gave away. Since being here, we’ve bought a recliner loveseat for the family room, 4 barstools for the breakfast bar, and a used cargo-style bedroom set for the smaller guest room. And several thousand dollars worth of woodworking equipment (someone went to the Grizzly showroom) OK, and my pottery wheel and kiln.

While we got rid of a lot (including selling at least $500 worth of crap), we’ve managed to accumulate enough that our 1700 sq ft house over a 1700 sq ft basement is pretty much full. So when we get wheeled off to The Home, our daughter will inherit a metric buttload of stuff to add to her personal metric half-buttload of crap.

Oh yeah, I didn’t mention the two sheds in the back yard - one full of yard work crap, the other full of boat crap. We are, at least temporarily, boatless, so that’s one less thing for now. Um, but there are still a few boxes of our junk in my mom’s attic. I keep meaning to go get those… :rolleyes:

For the second time in two years, we’re selling almost everything we own (minus about 10 boxes of stuff) and moving to the other side of the world. Almost everything in our house right now has been acquired in the last two years. I have no idea how I’m going to get rid of it all. It’s stunning how much stuff can accumulate. On another message board I visit, there was a discussion going on about simplifying your life. Someone mentioned another message board where I guess they’re having some sort of competition to see how bared down you can get your life. Someone got down to having 100 possessions. I have over 100 CDs in just one of my CD cases. I can’t even fathom it.

I hate moving.

What does someone do who moves cross country, alone, and with everything they own, including sofa, washer and dryer, kitchen table- all that crap that takes 2 people to move. Say you’re moving from the east coast to the west, and you have no friends or acquaintances there, and no friends can help in the move out? What then? Seriously, shit like this keeps me awake at night. Sad, isn’t it?

When I moved back to California from Alaska more than a few years ago, I managed to fit all of my possessions into a Nissan pickup towing a small trailer. The load got somewhat lighter along the ALCAN. Now, just the cat toys would take up that much room.

My husband has a truckload of stuff in the garage alone! It’s very orderly, but it is a lot.

I’ve gotten away from keeping crap I don’t have any use for. I actually can only think of one thing that is sentimental, and that is my mom’s sewing machine. And I could be talked into getting rid of that if I had to.

I dread the thought of moving. I will have the pros come in and do 90% of it. I’ve moved so many times…and it sucks so much…there’s no point in putting myself through another one if I don’t have to.

That’s why I bought my trailer. You can have a moving company come pick up the big shit (sofas, furniture), and pack your trailer with the little stuff/immediate needs. I used to rent from U-Haul/Ryder, but with the time it takes to househunt, your stuff is still being stored in a rented unit which charges by the day. Sure, you can rent a trailer or truck for say, $50/day and take a week to find a place (costing you about $350), or you can buy a trailer, take your time in finding a place, and then turn around and sell that same trailer (costing you, in effect, nothing).

That’s my philosophy anyway. With the per diem, mileage, and other allowances I’ll get from moving my own stuff, that trailer will pay for itself and then some. I’ll make the cost of it in moving the cargo, and then can turn around and sell it for probably more than what I paid.

“Why do you want to go clutterin’ your mind with the inconsequentials.” – Michael Clark Duncan, The Whole Nine Yards :smiley: