Yes, we have been busy. That's why we took a while to fix our broken door handle. Thanks to all for their scary stories and concern. We are usually not such slackers in matters of safety and maintenance.
The main event that got us behind on work and life was the necessity of going to California to help clear out the home of Mr FS's late--and missed--parents. Aside from the emotional stress in this case, moving anything is stressful PERIOD. I read that movers receive a huge percentage of consumer complaints--more so since the moving biz was deregulated and many companies practice scams. To wit: you get your estimate, the truck shows up at your new house with all your stuff and the movers tell you there is a $1000 UNPACKING FEE not included in the estimate.
While almost nothing in the parental home was valuable on the open market, almost everything was valuable to the 3 children: handmade furniture, fabric creations, eccentric collections.
Mr FS took on the research. He eliminated ye olde rent a U-Haul because we live far away and had already missed some school because of Hurricane Isaac. We eliminated the traditional moving van service because we got ridiculously low estimates and had read too many complaints about scams. We looked into Greyhound--suggested by a reader--but that would have involved many, many packages and trips to Santa Rosa. It is a good deal for a few bulky items, however.
The cheapest suggestion was to build a giant crate on a pallet and fill it with the goods. These would then be transported by truck. This was suggested by our brother-in-law who is a contractor. However, this involved serious logistics and heavy machinery. Too scary.
We ended up using a U-Pack service. A big truck rolls in. You fill your designated space--we had 5x6x8. A divider is rolled up. the truck gets the rest of its cargo and eventually the truck arrives at your abode, where you unpack.
I was skeptical. I kept telling Mr FS that we could only fit a few pieces of furniture in. Spatial relations are my low point on standardized tests and in life. Mr FS insisted that everything would fit in like a puzzle. He was right. It ended up being like the little car at the circus from which emerge 12 tall clowns. We could even take things that we thought we would have to leave behind: like the cast iron frying pans that belonged to the grandmother of Mr FS's father, who was born in 1918. Frugal Son, a committed cook, had requested them for his new apartment.
We used ABF U-Pack. The cost was about $1700.00. There were no surprises.
The best advice we got was from ABF. The rep said the cheapest way to move is to get rid of all your stuff and buy new stuff on arrival!