DIY Moving Details

by | Jul 10, 2017 | a slice of life | 40 comments

We started saying it a few years ago…  “We will definitely hire a moving company the next time we move!”

Having gone through about 7 DIY moves in our married life, we were done with gathering volunteers to load a truck.  We were ready to relish in the experience of having it all done by professionals.

Or so we thought.

(You can tell which boxes I packed later in the process, because my descriptions get a little nutty.)

We started getting quotes for our move a few weeks ago and the DIY instinct that kicks in when you get professional quotes could not be ignored.  Since it’s not a door-to-door move, it was outrageously expensive.  Like, we-could-buy-a-decent-used-car kind of expensive and we just weren’t willing to spend that kind of money for something that didn’t have value beyond saving us the headache (and backache) of doing it ourselves.

It was a bummer of a realization, but the truth is that we can still handle a DIY move.  We move a pretty massive amount of furniture and boxes each year for the Lucketts Spring Market.  We’ve gotten good at it and we have plenty of people who were willing and able to help us.

Sooo…we DIYed it.

And, you know what?  I’m actually a little relieved.  While there are great moving companies out there, no one is going to take care of our stuff better than we will.  We made sure the dryer isn’t stack on the sectional and that fragile pieces were carefully wrapped and tightly tucked into a safe spot on the truck.  I know damages happen in even the best of moves, but we did our best to minimize those damages.

We decided to go with a company called uPack (this isn’t a sponsored post, FYI.)  They deliver a 28′ trailer to your house, you can fill it up, and then they pick it up, store it (packed), and deliver it to your new house.  I like the idea that everything stays where we packed it, again, to minimize damages.  The downside is that the trailer sits outside, so they aren’t climate controlled.  We had to keep some things that were sensitive to heat and humidity, like candles, my guitars, etc. at my parent’s house for the short-term.

We ordered two 28′ trucks and they parked them outside the house the day before the move.

We did everything we could the weeks leading up to the actual move to make things easier.  We sorted, packed, downsized, and tried to get everything either in a box or wrapped in shrink wrap and/or bubble wrap.

(Shrink wrap is a miracle, in case you didn’t know.)

The actual truck-packing ended up happening over three days.  And I had a serious plan for those three days.  It was even on paper.

Day 1:

We recruited some young, strong guys to…

1.) Load everything from my studio onto a smaller uHaul truck and then load it onto the larger moving truck

2.) Load the heaviest stuff from the house into the truck

3.) Bring everything from the basement and the upstairs to the ground floor

(Those guys we recruited also left some final personal touches in the house.  Check out the grocery list…)

Four guys came early, at 4:00, to load and move the studio contents.  Everything was out of the studio in a little over an hour.  The rest of the guys joined us at 6:00 and we fed them pizza before they started bringing large pieces out of the house.

 They worked at such a fast pace that we had to shift gears and have them bring stuff up from the basement and down from the 2nd floor while Jeff and a couple of guys played Tetris with our belongings.

We had only asked the guys to help until 8:00 and we had met our goals by 8:00.  Jeff told them they could go home if they needed to.

I can’t tell you how full my heart was as these guys willingly stayed and helped until about 9:30.  They could see there was more to do and they wanted to serve us.  Jeff and I agreed that we would take that crew of guys over any professional movers any day of the week.

We were whipped by the end of day 1, but our goal was surpassed and we were feeling optimistic about the next two days.

Day 2:

This was the toughest day, I think.  We worked on all of the last minute packing and cleaning that is tiresome and tedious.  Packing food, cleaning supplies, taking apart beds, cleaning the appliances, wrapping the sofa in plastic, etc.  We also worked on getting all of the remaining boxes into the front two rooms of the house and sorted into piles of “boxy” things and bulky things.  Jeff finished putting together the puzzle of belongings in the first truck until it was completely full.  We emptied and packed up the shed and the reaming items in the basement workshop.

I also went to the studio to clean it, so that space was entirely done.

We went to bed feeling like we were set up for an easy day to empty the house.

Day 3:

This is the day when we had volunteers coming from our church in the morning to help load the truck.  Jeff and I both eased ourselves out of the mattress on the floor, ready for it all to be over, but knowing we had a long day ahead of us.

We finished up a few things before our helpers arrived at 8:00.  Everything was out of the house and on the curb by 8:40!  It took more time to situate everything in the second, truck, so things were packed tight and snug.  In the second truck, we had to pay per square foot of space we used, so we also wanted to make sure we didn’t waste space.

Once the truck was packed, our family worked on all of those little things that have to be finished before we could call it done.  Remove the food from the fridge and freezer, a final vacuum, double-checking each cabinet and closet, boxing all of the assorted and sundry items that hadn’t made it into a box, yet.

We were done.  We were past done.  We had to push to make it through, but we were finished by 1:00 and then we hopped in the car and drove seven hours to spend some time with Jeff’s family in Raleigh!   I turned on the seat heat and snuggled into my pillow to just sit and not have my head swimming with to-dos.

Since we were saving a lot of money doing a DIY move, we gave one gift to ourselves and hired professional cleaners to clean the house once we left.  It was glorious knowing that part would be taken care of and we’d be handing a squeaky clean house over to the new owners.

It’s such a relief to be done.  I didn’t even have the energy to be sad about our empty house.  I was mostly just glad that weeks of packing were finally over.

I had a meeting with my MMS Milk Paint team a couple of weeks ago and I said, “I am so drained creatively.  I go to write a blog post and I feel like all I can do is whine about packing!”  I tried to temper that, though, because who really wants to listen to someone whine?  I mean, really.  No one.

We will get to go back to the house once more before closing and we’ll take time to say a proper goodbye then.

I know you’re all still waiting to hear where we’re going and I know it sounds crazy, but we’re still waiting for all of the pieces to fall into place.  For now, we’re spending some time with family.  I’m going to try to get back into some sort of a work rhythm.  I’m going to take Sebastian on walks and take the boys to the pool.  I’m going to enjoy sketching and water colors.  I’m going to tool around and hit some of my favorite stores, shopping for inspiration more than stuff.

And, most enjoyable of all, I’m not going to pack!

Before I sign off, the voting for the Dash & Albert rug design competition is in full swing.  If you haven’t voted, go over to Instagram and ❤️ the ones you like.  The nice thing about this competition is that you can vote for any and all of the designs you like, so you don’t have to pick just one.  I’ve enjoyed voting for some of my favorites!  Dash & Albert will produce the top 10 rugs based on the number of likes.

Here is my favorite rug submission…

A post shared by Annie Selke (@annieselke) on

Just double click on the image to vote and browse the other submissions.

I’ll link to my other submissions later this week and share more about the design process as well.

PS – I would tell you what VOPO is, but then I would have to kill you.


  1. Karen L.

    I so totally get the feelings you have about being done with the packing! We’re in our 12th house in our 45 yr marriage and the latest, here in SC, is to be closer to our kids and grands. Although pretty good at moving/relocating/going to new areas and states, etc., moving is never easy. So, I can truly understand that exhausted point where you just relish being done with it. Sounds like it’ll be a nice change for you being in the South with family and just feeling free a bit before having to unpack in your new place and life there (wherever the pieces fall into place)! Praying God’s richest blessings on you and yours. (And we’ve done the same thing with leaving a spotless house for the new owners. Wish all felt that way!) Thanks for keeping us posted.

  2. Ruth in NZ

    After 3+ years I can still feel that sense of absolute exhaustion on that last day of cleaning. I was 8 months pregnant and kept singing to myslef, “Just keep packing…just keep packing..” in Dorie’s voice LOL. Some of the ladies at church made us promise not to clean as they had a team coming in the next day to do it all. It was SOOO hard to walk away and not clean anything but felt SOOO good sitting in the car knowing that part was behind me! Enjoy your break! Be refreshed and inspired! May God bless your next stage and all it holds.

  3. Brenda

    I know this will sound bizarre, but I enjoyed cleaning the empty house when we moved. No furniture to move, just free access to all corners. Maybe after a few weeks, (months) of rest you will feel more creative. Moving is exhausting! There aren’t many of us out here who don’t sympathize with you! Enjoy your vacation!

    • Kim

      Yes, I also enjoyed that part! It was so much easier with the house empty!

  4. Pam from Maryland

    So glad to hear that the worst of the move is now behind you,, I do agree,,, get some rest,, watercolor ,,,sketch,,seek,, and enjoy your time with those creative juices and family,,, Absolutely believing the best for you,,, can’t wait to see how this unfolds……….

  5. Kim

    I have to admit, that as an avid blog follower of yours, it makes ME sad to see that empty house photo at the end! And yet I can imagine how excited the new owners are to have that home, and how much fun you will have when you get re-settled in a new home someday soon. I did all these things a year ago, and my brand new home looks thoroughly lived in now!

  6. Teresa

    Seeing your house empty for the first time was a little strange and even a little sad but I am happy for you and your family as you begin a new chapter in your lives. I don’t care how many times you move, its always stressful and expensive as you found out when you got quotes from moving companies.

    Hope you get some R&R and enjoy some family time while you are waiting for all the pieces to come together. My 88 year old father in law always jokes when he comes to our house to visit that he cant stay more than three days because he says fish and relatives start stinking after a few days. He has been my father in law for 30 years now and so far we haven’t managed to stink too much.

  7. Kim

    I hope you have a lazy summer with your family and a chance to really unwind. You have had a lot on ur plate. Creativity will come ,and when it does it will be grand !

  8. Penny

    Ugh…I detest moving now. I have moved a total of 12 times in my adult life and really don’t want to do it again. But, life is not linear, so who knows. The only good thing about it is I have down-scaled so much that I only have what I truly love in my house now. I refuse to store stuff in my closets that I don’t use regularly. Plus I’m a wiz at packing now. We too, have been DIY movers every. single. time. LOL. Good luck Marian.

  9. Maggie

    Oh, come on tell us what VOPO is…please??? Good luck on your move, I feel your pain. Been there done that many times. It gets more exhausting the older you get. I am in my final home no matter what my husband says! You have wonderful people around you who love you to help in so many ways, your very blessed. Enjoy your new home!

  10. Krista

    So excited for you in this next chapter of your lives! I also felt a little sad at seeing your home empty. How exciting for the new owners to live in “Miss Mustard Seed’s” home! I’ve followed along with your blog for over 6 years and feel like I know you personally even though we’ve never met. I can’t wait to watch your future unfold! Enjoy your time off with your family!

  11. Debra Landy

    I’m sorry to never have had the chance to personally connect with you while you were still in Biglerville. I spent many years going up there from Bethesda MD as a kid when my parents built their vacation house on Bear Mountain, and all those trips back and forth last year as Dad was reaching the end. I’ll just have to keep up with you via your wonderful posts. Thank you! Please keep it up and know so many of us out here truly enjoy reading your blog and seeing your talents in all you create.

  12. Sue P.

    I exhaled a Big Whew for you after all that packing and work! I’m anxiously awaiting to see where you move — hoping it’s within an hour of NE Tennessee!!

    After getting married in 2004 and moving from Germany to Hawaii two months later, then to Maryland 2 years after that then retiring to NE Tennessee in 2013, we named our house here Our Last Home Before Heaven! (I used to write a blog by that name). We plan to live here until we die or until the Lord takes us home to heaven.

    Best wishes to you and your family as you rest and visit a bit before the unpacking.

  13. Elizabeth

    i am hoping you settle in Raleigh! How wonderful would it be to live in the same town as Miss Mustard Seed!
    My husband and I moved to Raleigh two years ago, from California. What a move that was! We did have to hire movers because we are not spring chickens, and boy was it expensive.
    Raleigh is wonderful and we are loving living in the South.

  14. Katy

    So funny! Our quotes from multiple moving companies to move us across the country and store our stuff for a month could have almost bought us a decent NEW car! So crazy expensive! We ended up going with Upack also! Although our trailer was stored in a climate controlled warehouse. It’s so much work, and we also were too exhausted to say a proper goodbye to our empty house. We’ve been in our new city for 3 months and in our new house for a month and a half. Maybe you’ll end up in North Carolina like we did! We love it right on the coast ❤

  15. SUSAN

    So happy to be able to keep up with your journey. I can just sit here and follow along. 😆 We would love to have you in South Georgia!! Just please try to “enjoy the journey ” !! Can’t wait to hear more.

    • Kellee Kennett

      Ditto, we would love to have you in South Georgia! Thomasville – Cairo is a special place we discovered when my parents, out of the blue, made their 3rd retirement there! After several visits watching to area blossom without mass development, we started our preretirement plans with the purchase of small town Southern style home that was built in 1898! After the kids finish college, we will leave the MD beaches for peaceful, canopied rolling hills of the Fl-GA Line!

      Thank you for your creative Inspiration! I would have never been able to decorate a second home with a next to nothing budget. The house needed several costly updates, so furnishings took the financial backseat with allowance for new mattresses, couches and area rugs. Mariane, you made me look at furniture in a different way, so I combed every yard sale, 2nd hand store and craigslist with amazing results. A year and a half later, I knew it was all good when my husband declared he wanted to make the house our permanent home! I’m living my dream in an old home in a friendly small Southern town!

  16. Marlene Stephenson

    That is the hard part and now rest and have a great time with your family. When you get the new place you will enjoy putting things away. God is good.

  17. B. Folk

    Love your sense of humor (“if I told you [what VOPO means], I’d …”)! I, too was a bit sad to see the empty Miss Mustard Seed House. Oh, my goodness, that makes it sound like a museum! So, enough of that, and onward to whatever else God has planned for the Parsons.
    It would be great to have you land in the Pacific NW. It is one of the most “unchurched” places in the USA, we could use another Jeff and family.
    Feeling your moving pain. I told my husband that (after DIY downsizing from a 2-full-bath, 4-bedroom, 2-car garage, 3-sheds onsite, large front-and-backyard home to a “2-and-2”, one-car garage apartment 13 hours away from our previous home) we couldn’t move again until and unless God gives us a house for us to stay in the rest of our lives. We’ll see if God agrees with me:-)
    May the Lord bless and keep you and yours on this new journey.

  18. Sheila

    My daughter and her family used U-Pack when they moved from Yuma, AZ here to Woodstock, Ga. It was a good experience and everything came through just fine. Wishing you some peaceful, restful time for you and your family as you move on to your next adventure.

  19. Judy

    Marian, you are such an inspiration! 😊 Thank you!

  20. Elaine Good

    I am excited for you but I will miss not having you in my “back yard” and at soccer games. I’m hoping you’ll be around for Lucketts so we can reconnect again. May God bless you and your family for being so faithful to Him. I’m assuming your Dad and Mom are still in the area, so I’m feeling a little sad for them, but I know they are excited for you as well.

  21. Shelly Powell

    Ok,I cried when I saw your home empty! I hope everything goes well! You were my first blog I followed, so I feel closer to you. I look forward to hearing about your new adventures.

  22. Judith Koffler

    What a good feeling to know that this part of your family’s journey is over. I have used the u pack and then load it yourself three times. I have hired help to pack the trailer and unload it. I like it because you can load on your schedule , but then have someone else transport it and then store it until you need it. I look forward to reading to your blog. I know that the Lord has some wonderful plans for you and your family. Enjoy your ‘down’ time.

  23. Shawnetta Jones

    Trust me when I say that this route was better. We moved in December and it cost us $1300 plus abourt $150 in tips to the friends hubby recruited to help the “professional” movers on the second day to speed the process, They showed up 3 hours late day one because the other truck overheated, right. We ordered two trucks and 6 guys, we got one truck and two guys, One complained to the other when he didn’t know we were in earshot of having a bad back and needing to leave by 3pm to pick up his kids mom. He was all of 22ish. Like who gets a moving job with a bad back. In the end we ended up doing alot of heavy lifting ourselves as they whined about it being a 3 story house and by the time we were done my sons T.V was cracked so I’m sure you went the best route based on our experience. Doing it yourself you save a ton of money and listen to whining for the cost of feeding them

  24. Angela

    I’m an hour from Raleigh. Stay here!!

  25. Jean Yewell

    I’m hoping your truck is coming somewhere near me, so we can hang out and I can show you all of our hidden treasure marts. Well, a girl can hope😊

  26. Pamela

    I am so glad for you that all of it is done and you can focus on getting back to creativity. All I had to do today was pack up my office from one room and take it to another, with all that is on my plate right now that was mind boggling enough, I can’t imagine moving completely.
    Taking time to enjoy the summer with the boys is a fabulous idea. I know we will all enjoy seeing where you land and how to make it your own, every step of the way.

  27. Cindy Redman

    While i was reading this i was so totally feeling all you were going through – and when you said you were finally all done i just felt relief, like seriously, i took a big breath. and realized i wasn’t breathing. Phew! omg… and wow. … about it all. I went through a similar thing when i left the love of my life house. Before it was over, i literally fled, totally drained and barely looked back. I wish i had kissed my old house goodbye. My advise… if you get the chance, kiss your house goodbye.


  28. Julie Briones

    I’m glad you have felt comfortable to share, Marian. You know, life is not all about decor and makeovers, and how splendid they always come out. 😉 Love that you’re being real, and I, for one, even enjoy reading what you call whining. 🙂 Thanks for sharing real life.

    You’ve brought much glory to the Lord through this whole ‘packing’ journey… and those young men are a wonderful testimony to God’s love for His bride!

  29. Amy Rhodes

    Hi Marian!
    I’m an hour south of Raleigh! If you want to go antiquing for a day let me know-I have many many haunts I can take you to that are hidden gems for junkin!! Email me :-). I also hope you end up in NC too! Have you been to Asheville before?? I can totally see you living there!!! Tell Jeff that 😜

    • Marian Parsons

      Sorry, but we’re headed back tomorrow for closing, but I wish we could’ve gone shopping together.

      Yes, we went to Asheville a few years ago and we loved it! It’s a beautiful area.

  30. Donna Allgaier-Lamberti

    Sounds like a lot of work but at least you got to do it “your way.” The last time I sold my home (of 24 years where I too raised my sons) I had just THREE WEEKS to move out and this was the household of four people and my new husband entire life’s collection of personal belonging…an entire household onto its self. At age 67 I am too old and too tired to move. I do not plan to EVER do that again!

  31. April

    Now your home is minimalist!

  32. Kari from Meadowview Farm

    I have left a beloved house behind twice in my life. When we sold my childhood home after my mom passed away, I felt it only right to bury her house keys among the flowers at her graveside. When we sold the house we had raised our son in, I worked to take in every last moment…but when I walked out the door the final time, I did not look back.

    I now call home a one hundred and fifty seven year old farm in Wisconsin…it does hold my heart. I also call home an apartment outside of Seattle where my son now lives, it also holds my heart.

    Home may hold our childhood, our family, or just our possessions.
    Home 🏡 to me is where my heart is content.

    Safe travels homeward Marian.

  33. Margaret

    Moving……certainly not my favorite thing to do, but it does help you sort out clutter and ‘extras’! Enjoy your chance to go and say a proper goodbye…’s such a blessing to walk through a home that’s been good to you, to pray over each room and for the new family that will call it home. Thanks for sharing your journey 💕

  34. the uncommon pearl

    You sound just like us! We got a quote for our last in town move (we have almost always totally moved ourselves in the past) and after picking up our jaw from the ground, we both looked at each other and said, “Let’s do it!” It is a lot of work, but you are right, there is so much peace of mind knowing that your beloved belongings are packed well and with care.
    Kick up your feet and enjoy this well deserved time of rest and refreshment!
    I’m going to miss this little home of yours. I’m sure the next owners will be thoroughly blessed by all your DIY projects. Who knows they may start a blog of their own!

  35. Kim W

    Hey Marian! I know y’all are glad that part is behind you!! I am looking forward to hearing where the Lord will lead and settle your family. Of course, I hope it is not too far away 🙂 I am glad you were able to visit with family and hope you were able to relax some and catch your breath!! I appreciate you sharing your moving journey, I think a move is not too far off for us as well. I am feeling a little overwhelmed just thinking about it!! Not only do we have the house, the attic(which has a bunch in it), but we have my in-laws who are no longer here and about 7 barns/shelters to move!! Whew!! I need to get started doing a little at a time and purging!!! God bless y’all as you start another chapter!!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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