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A bad move

Yesterday my parents came down to help me with the remainder of my move. Things went incredibly smoothly moving out of my Chicago place — except that I forgot to pack my drawers full of random kitchen implements (spatulae, wooden spoons, etc.) and my condiments (which I only noticed while on the phone with The Girlfriend, after my parents were long gone) — but attempting to get everything into my small Kalamazoo apartment was nothing short of a disaster. My desk, a particle board assemble-by-numbers thing, literally broke on the way up the stairs. The couch got all the way up the stairs, but even removing the couch’s legs, the stairway railing, and the front door proved insufficient to get it into the actual apartment. Both pieces had to be given up for dead.

We then went shopping for some furniture, purchasing a new smaller desk and a couple bookshelves (I’ve pretty well decided to go without a couch now, resigning myself to a lonely armchair). I began putting together the bookshelf and the thing all but fell apart in my hands. We decided not to proceed with the assembly of the other two items since they were the same brand and probably equally shitty, and at that point it was late and my parents needed to go home lest they fall asleep behind the wheel. And when I decided to try watching Mad Men to calm down, I found that I only had access to basic cable channels and customer service was unable to get me the remaining channels that I was paying for.

Moving to a new city is already inherently stressful, but multiple hours of unrelenting failure really got to me. My sister is coming today to run errands with me, including another attempt at a desk and bookshelf. I’d like to think that I’d just laugh if things fell apart again today, but that seems a little optimistic.


September 7, 2009 - Posted by | moving


  1. Wow, that sucks.

    Do you have Big Lots in the midwest? I’m sure that the last thing you want to do right now is assemble more shitty furniture, but the fake wood bookshelves at Big Lots have worked pretty well for me. They aren’t the nicest looking, but they are pretty cheap (20 bucks for three shelves, 30 for five) and get the job done.

    Comment by dave | September 7, 2009

  2. I’m all for assembling shitty furniture as long as it has some minimal structural integrity. Big Lots is probably going to be the solution.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 7, 2009

  3. The fake wood is pretty sturdy, in my experience. I have a five-shelf one in my room at my parent’s house, and I’ve kept it pretty full with stacks up to the ceiling on top of it. The “wood” hasn’t even warped. Just make sure to get the kind that actually looks like wood and not the white, which looks horrible to begin with and gets dirty really fast.

    Comment by dave | September 7, 2009

  4. Thanks for the tip. I’m thinking of going with two 3-shelf ones.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 7, 2009

  5. No problem. I think that’s a good choice. I probably should have said that I prefer the three shelf ones. I have one here at school that I just bought and it’s pretty useful. The five-shelf ones look a little too tall and stretched out, if you know what I mean. There is lots of vertical shelf-space, which I suppose might be useful for reference books or something, but most of the philosophy. theology, and literature stuff I have is about the same size. My biggest books are probably Cambridge Companions or biographies like the Kierkegaard one by Hannay, and they fit comfortably in the three shelf system.

    If you can, put it against the wall. They have those cheap cardboard backs that you have to nail on. I just skipped that step so that I could take it apart and then reassemble it easily.

    Comment by dave | September 7, 2009

  6. Moving is an incredibly frustrating process.

    Comment by Bryan Klausmeyer | September 7, 2009

  7. That really, really sucks, Adam.

    I went through a period of about two years where I was moving from sublet to sublet about every four-to-six months; you’d think moving would’ve gotten easier after the fourth or fifth time, but it was always just an incredibly stressful experience.

    Comment by stras | September 7, 2009

  8. My sister was a godsend today. I now have a desk — the only problem is that they failed to pack four particular screws, which I think I can make up for. It feels much more like an apartment now and less like a self-storage unit.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 7, 2009

  9. Fully unpacked! This really feels like somewhere a human being lives now. My books fit perfectly within the shelves I bought, loosely packed.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 7, 2009

  10. God that sucks. We’re in the middle of a move right now, too, and yesterday was spent taking apart furniture so it could be moved tomorrow. I resolve to never again buy furniture that can only be put together in the room in which it will reside. Unless I am prepared to leave it behind or destroy it.

    Comment by Richard | September 8, 2009

  11. I think the thing I hate most about moving is all the shit that is still out once you feel like you’ve packed everything. You look around and there’s a lamp here, curtains there, some stray kitchen crap, a bare corner table, etc.

    Because it’s just little stuff, I always just think I’ll get to it later and then when I’m finally getting ready to leave for good I end up just throwing it all loose in the truck (ruining an otherwise beautiful job of packing) or in one far too large box. Inevitably, the far too large box ends up sitting in a spare room or basement until the next time we move (when, of course, all the shit seems too valuable to part with again).

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | September 8, 2009

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