Do You Help Your Friends Move?

A long time ago in the before times, I wrote a blog entry called 13 Protocols to Follow When You Ask Your Friends to Help You Move. It outlines the types of things a considerate person should do if they’re going to ask friends to help them move instead of hiring movers.

I wrote it because there were too many times when I’ve showed up to help a friend move and nothing was packed, boxes are loosely folded instead of taped, there’s no one else to help, and I’m asked to carry a mattress down 8 flights of stairs while holding a baby in one arm and a priceless painting in the other. It’s the worst.

Unfortunately, 13 is a lot of protocols, and I’ve never known anyone to follow them all. So over the years of helping friends move, it became one of my least favorite things to do. I dislike moving so much that I will probably live in my condo for the rest of my life just so I don’t have to move.

The one good thing is that as I’ve grown older, my friends have either stopped moving or they’ve hired movers. I haven’t been asked to help a friend move in years.

Until Saturday.

A friend really needed some help moving a bunch of boxes from his basement up to his living room (in preparation for a separate step of transferring the boxes to a shipping container on another day), so I begrudgingly volunteered.

However, I gave him some core guidelines: I would be on time, and so would he. He would have everything packed and properly taped/sealed before I got there. If I finished early, I could leave early–none of this “one more thing” business.

I didn’t send him the 13 protocols, but miraculously, I didn’t need to. Not only was he fully prepared with everything carefully packed in advance, but he also had a clear plan to eliminate all downtime. His only mistake was that some of the boxes were super heavy instead of spreading the weight around, but we teamed up on most of them. There were three of us, and we finished a 2-hour job in 45 minutes.

So I have to admit that as much as I dreaded the move, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. In fact, it was more like a vigorous workout than anything else.

Do you dislike moving as much as I do? Do you have any horror stories about helping friends move? I don’t remember this, but I chuckled when I reread this line from my original post: “I have a friend who, in an effort to avoid the Uhaul, had us carry (a) a bed and (b) a dresser two blocks down the street.” Who does that?!

One Response to “Do You Help Your Friends Move?”

  1. Joe Pilkus says:


    I have to say that I’ve helped friends move far more often than I’ve asked for help moving during the past few decades. Two quick stories…first, when I moved from one townhouse (rental) to another (own), the distance between the two was one block, so over the course of a week, my girlfriend, daughter, and I would take some stuff to the new place after dinner and in the end, required a moving company to pick up exactly 25 pieces of furniture that I was not about to move myself. Second, when I moved from England to the U.S. (having been stationed with the U.S. Air Force in the UK) the movers had packed the boxes and were in the process of checking them off the list before moving them to the truck. The one mover read…and in Monty Python fashion and without missing a beat said to my wife three months before the delivery of our daughter, Kat, “Number 4, games; number 5, games; number 6, books; number 7, games…how did you get pregnant, then?” I almost bit through my tongue I laughed so hard.


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