The Vicious Math of Moving

Moving is an Exercise in Problem Solving, Flexibility, and Math


In Fight Club, the Narrator informs us, “Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don’t do one.”

Our Moving math is like that, especially if moving across the country. As I mentioned in my last article about moving, we’re running low on resources, and we are Rust Belt bound (just a few days left!). We sat and did some math when deciding to move to see how much we were willing to pay to get our things across the country, and math went something like this.

Take all of our stuff, assign a dollar value for its perceived replacement value, and get UHaul boxes that might fit it all.

The one thing that is always certain about moving (and I’ve moved a lot) — you’re never sure how much stuff you have. It feels like there are never enough boxes (there aren’t), enough space for all your stuff (there isn’t), and enough time to actually get it all done (at some point, though, it’s time to turn over the keys and get out).

It’s basically playing survivor with your own stuff, you know?

It can also be a touch depressing, figuring out what the value of your things are. Instead, I try to focus on how much joy I get to take with me.

My favorite things, my most prized possessions, are my antique sewing machine, my spinning wheel, my loom — and the laptop I’m writing this on (though strangely I’m less attached to the laptop, that’s mainly because of how quickly technology comes and goes anymore). And while those things mean a lot to me, to the market evaluation of them — not so much. But that’s ok. Part of their value is their importance to me.

I’ve decided, like a crazy person, that the best way to move the antique sewing machine is to remove the machine head and ship the treadle base in the UHaul Box. That means that I extracted the machine head itself, and then had to find a way to transport it. That presented some issues. First, the set screws that held the machine onto the cabinet were pretty gunked up, and refused to move despite all my best efforts. Instead, I took the hinges themselves. Which meant she wouldn’t fit into the nice case I thought would work.



Jamie Toth, The Somewhat Cyclops

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