Moving to Colorado in 5 Easy Steps

We jumped. We are now in Colorado. The suitcases are in the cupboard under the stairs. The kids are at school and I am at the SJMC (School of Journalism and Mass Communication) at the Uni of Colorado at Boulder. I thought I’d take you through what was an extremely tiring and exciting 8 weeks to share the joy, and thank those who helped us get here.

Step One – Getting Ready to Jump

Packing up our life. Four simple words that took an incredible amount of time. It’s pretty straightforward to book the shipping and storage people, and organise the garage sale.

Kid1 helps out at the garage sale

Kid1 helps out at the garage sale

We have a whole heap of stuff kept in storage in Sydney, and we’ve brought with us the essentials. We’re also shipping 1 cubic metre of crap I’ve decided I can’t live without. Tips for garage sales? Only have it on a Saturday because Sunday is pointless, and make sure you tag everything. We had the sale about three weeks before leaving, and had my friends come over to help at various points to distract me from potential emotional overload (yay Kathy and Jacqui). We gave leftover stuff to charity or freecycle. However, what we found most successful and amusing – put all of it on the front lawn with a big free sign on it. It went in a flash! We had quite a few laughs.

Ship or store?

Ship or store?

My pal Kathy also helped a lot when I had a crisis of “what do I do?” She turned up and spent literally days putting her own life on hold while she helped the kids pack their stuff, aided my crisis over helping my two eldest kids move out of the house into their dad’s, and told me lots of funny stories about her own moves. There is a special sort of woman in the world. She’s the mum of more than three kids. I’m lucky to count some of my best pals in the world in that category. Kathy will forever have a special place in my heart for her help with this stage. And her skim mocha is the best I’ve ever had. Ever.

Tip: Get the kids involved and video bits of the process. Between Jacqui, Kathy and I we have 13 kids, who were all very keen to whack the dead furniture into pieces to put in the mini skip. We got some great, funny videos of kids with hammers. And miraculously avoided injuries!

All our tech ready to go

All our tech ready to go

Also, great tip was to have the lawnmower, whipper snipper and lounge suite we are keeping all professionally cleaned out, ready for storage. Of course, these were each done differently, but the cost was worth it knowing we’d be opening the storage crates in a few years to things that were pristine when they went in. We stored the fridge, washing machine and dryer quite easily, with small preparation. We have an incredible amount of Ikea furniture too, and we got a great guy out who dismantled everything back to IKEA flat pack with his helper dude, and saved us heaps of space in storage. They were nice guys too.

Step 2 – Organise and separate.

I really could have done this better. I separated the stuff I really needed in Colorado, but didn’t put it in a suitcase to be sure it didn’t get shipped – or worse still, stored. Things like the latest bills that you can’t afford to pay yet, your PIN number stuff, personal documentation, etc. To cut this long story a bit shorter, I am pretty sure they’re in shipping. Maybe I’ll see them sometime before Christmas. If not, the electricity gets cut off in the old house and I’m not there so I really don’t care that much. So ner.

Step 3 – Book good quality people, and use your friends.

Thank goodness we booked Allied Pickfords to handle all our storage. They were great (well so far, they still have all our stuff of course). When you’re talking about all your worldly posessions, going with the quote based solely on price is dumb. Instead I went on gut. We’re happy I did. These guys were efficient, hard-working and best of all, happy blokes to be around. They really deserved the crates of beer we got them at the end.

The bloody big truck

The bloody big truck

And my friends were key to success. I love my friends. I’m so lucky to have them. They made me feel like I’m a pathetic loser of a friend, given all they were willing, ready and able to do to ensure we got this move done. We are so grateful to all our friends for the ongoing help, love, assistance, moral support, advice that they continue to provide. Whether we’ve known you for a long time or short time, you are so important to us. We can’t wait to have you all stay with us here in Boulder. (Please stagger your visits. The condo is small.)

The old school friend, Cherie, who I hadn’t seen in ages, my fabulous work friends (yes, TAFE sucks), our Twitter pals who braved the horrid weather to say bye, and all the kids school friends. Visit us soon!

Step 4 – Triple check how much you can take on your flight.

We had three different estimates of how much we could take on board our flight to the USA. Syd-LA with Qantas said 32kg each bag was fine. What most of the Qantas people didn’t tell us was that for our connecting domestic flight from LA to Denver, the limit is just 23kg. It sucked to find that out two days before leaving. We ended up taking 13 bags, all weighing at least 20kg, with Jed’s three bags (super duper flyer allowance) topping the 32kg. It was a heap of luggage, but well worth taking it rather than shipping or paying air freight for it, which would have been far more. (On our stopover in LA we saw Ringo Starr in the Admiral’s lounge. That was cool.)

This is just for the weekend? Um ... no.

This is just for the weekend? Um ... no.

Step 5 – Take mum.

Big bonus. Taking my mum meant that we had three adults trying to maneuvre all that luggage. She has also been here in Colorado helping me settle in. She goes back to Sydney next week. I am ready to hire her to others. She’s great. She’s my mum. We’ve had a lot of fun working out what the US equivalence is to many products in the supermarket, driving around Boulder, hitting the stores, looking at ninja squirrels etc.

So here we are. That’s the basics of getting here. I’ll be getting the video camera up and running soon. I’m getting used to classes here and the amount of reading I’m having to do as a grad student is staggering. I’m sure the squirrels are out to kill when I’m not looking. That’s scary. More posts soon, including video, asap.

Love and hugs to all.

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6 responses to “Moving to Colorado in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Allied Pickfords was most happy to be of service. We love reading feedback such as this & pride ourselves on having the best-trained, hardest working removal crews in the country.
    All the very best of luck to you & your family with your new lives in the USA.
    David Tipton
    Marketing Manager
    Allied Pickfords

  2. So happy reading about your move and I look forward to more and more on this new phase of your life. We also used Allied Pickfords and went on a gut feeling rather than price as well. Those guys rock and I will always recommend them to others and should we ever move again will definitely use them. On my recent trip to the states I also fell victim to the domestic luggage limits being vastly different to Qantas international. I too was allowed 32kg but only had 21kgs. No worries. Leaving Vegas however to go back to LA I had 24 kgs and upon checking in the dude made me take stuff OUT OF my case and into my hand luggage!!! I couldn’t believe it! All I kept wondering was ‘what if I had of had 32kgs? Would I have had to carry 10kgs as hand luggage?’ That system is definitely flawed. I am also staggered at the amount of luggage you actually managed to take!! We 3 cases, 3 car seats and a pram when we left WA and I found *that* difficult enough! So pleased to be able to read your adventures, I love your writing and really do look forward to more 🙂
    Take care and hugs for you!

  3. We boxed up some kids toys, kitchen utensils etc. in a small crate and sent them ahead by air freight. Then we had some essentials before the container shipment caught up with us.

  4. It still brings a big smile to my face when I think of the joy the kids got from smashing things into small pieces. I’m just glad we made them stand a metre apart (or would that be three feet, for you Colorado persons?)

    We’ll have to get those frequent flyer miles so I can come stay with you. {{hugs}} jac

  5. Hey miss you guys already – but can’t wait to hear all your adventures 🙂

  6. It was good to come to Boulder with you, to see this condo and know how close the kids are to their new school and to see your University. I am happy to be supportive in practical ways as well as morally. After 3 weeks I leave on Sunday but am sure you will survive very well – I am on the end of a phone always ready to advise if needed (try to ring during daylight hours) and because I will be in Australia it doesn’t mean I can’t nag !!! Love mum xxxx

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