Pardon my silence, dear readers! It has been a hectic couple of months.
In September, Chico, Bug and I picked up and abruptly left Montreal, headed back to the old country (or at least the old continent). We are still very much in transition, but one thing is for certain: we will not live through another Montreal winter. Huzzah!
We will miss a lot of things about Montreal, especially the good friends we’ve made there.
Since our move was pretty quick, and quite an adventure, I thought I’d tell you a bit about it and give some helpful tips for how to move across the world and stay (relatively) sane.
Selecting a moving company
Friends of ours who left Montreal in the summer had a devilish time with their moving company. It was such a fiasco, we were determined to avoid such a mess.
In an earlier life, I worked for an international company, managing expatriates’ moves all over the world. So I felt like I had a handle on how to approach this.
First, look up moving companies. I did a Google search of moving companies in Montreal and then read online reviews. I ended up choosing AMJ International and Westmount Moving for estimates. They got pretty good reviews, and they also responded quickly to my calls.
They each came in to do a survey and estimate the volume for the move. The key is to make sure both companies estimate the same (or similar) volume. If not, you’ll want to figure out where the discrepancy comes from (did one company forget to look in the basement? etc.).
After that, it’s a matter of comparing the quotes, and picking the one that seems most reasonable. Compare the “origin services” and “destination services” offered to see that they’re comparable (parking permits, crates for special items, etc.), and then pick your company.
We chose AMJ, simply because we knew people who had worked with them and were happy. Either company would have been fine, though.
A word on scheduling
Never, ever, EVER schedule your move for the same day you fly out.
Have I made that clear enough? Good. Here’s why: THINGS GO WRONG.
We were lucky; our movers were great. But we had friends who weren’t so lucky. They had scheduled their move for the same day they traveled, with packing and moving on the same day. It was a nightmare.
If not otherwise specified, ask that the movers come in one day for packing, and a second day for loading. Also, ask that yours be the first move of the day. That way, they’ll arrive early and finish early, leaving you time to do other things.
Some organizing tips
The movers are professionals, and they work FAST. They’ll make notes on the boxes, but you might want to make your own. If you can get in fast enough, make a note of which boxes contain the essential items you’ll want to unpack first when you arrive.
Move out before the movers arrive
I recommend booking a nearby hotel room once the packers have come in. They can leave your bed and some linens unpacked if you like, but you’ll probably be more comfortable in a hotel.
That also allows you to leave whatever suitcases you’ll be taking with you out of the way so they don’t get packed up.
We actually booked a hotel room for the night before, since they were arriving early in the morning and we needed to get the Bug set up with a baby sitter outside of the house. That leads me to another point:
Arrange daycare for children.
You’re going to need to focus on the movers, answering their questions, making notes on the boxes, etc. That’s why I recommend getting your kids out of your hair.
We were lucky enough to find a babysitter to stay with our Bug for two whole days while the movers did their magic. She even came in and babysat on our last evening in Montreal so we could enjoy a fabulous dinner at la Fabrique with friends!
Whether they’re at daycare, school, or with a babysitter, you don’t want to have to worry about keeping your kids out of the way of the movers.
This might sound easy, but…
Reading this, you may think, “Wow, it sounds like Jane really had things under control.”
There you’d be wrong.
For a couple of weeks leading up to the move, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, always thinking of just one more thing to do.
They say that next to divorce and a death in the family, moving is the most stressful thing in a person’s life. That is entirely true. There’s always last-minute details to iron out, people to say good-bye to, and a suitcase that’s waaaaay over the weight limit.
We managed to pull it off in three weeks, and if we can do it, anyone can. Just organize yourselves as you do best (I am a notorious list maker), and know that sooner or later it will be over.
Once the container is sealed, things are out of your hands, and all you can do is look forward to the new phase in your life that is to come.