DIY : This Week 7.27.18 Grading Moving’s Annoyances – That Good You Need – Medium

“A pug tightly wrapped in a plaid blanket sitting on the forest floor” by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

As anyone who has moved can attest to, it’s annoying. As a matter of fact, I have attested to this myself. What’s more, the annoyances don’t simply arrive and depart in one fell swoop. No, instead you face them, one at a time, climbing through a mountain of paperwork and poorly designed government websites. They approach slowly, one by one, bopping you on the nose, poking you in the eye, exclaiming that “they’re not touching you!” until you just can’t take it anymore.

After dealing with a number of these over the past few weeks, I’d decided it might be therapeutic to review and grade each of them on a scale of 1–10, with 1 being as annoying as I can imagine, and 10 being fairly convenient and easy.

The following are organized in the order that my wife Sara and I have tackled them.

Purchasing a Home

This has many parts of its own but, all in all, it isn’t so terrible! I’ll say a few quick things. For one, you have to get someone you trust to be your realtor. They are your truth, your guiding light. Thankfully, there is a special angel in our lives named Jessica Lim. She didn’t just help us find a house, but also helped us to get preapproved, to find a lender, to work through the inspection and approval process, and even worked with us after closing to make sure that the seller took care of some final details they had promised to handle.

Does all of that sound far too complicated and confusing? It sure does. Was it beyond helpful, and therefore not so annoying, to have gone through the process with someone so trustworthy and easy to work with? YAH. Is this paid advertising content marketing for Jessica Lim? We’ll see if she pays me after reading this!!!

Rating: 8/10 Would buy a house again


This I have addressed at length but oh boy do I have great disdain for moving.

The key aspect I didn’t address before, though, involves the long tail of moving. It seems as though there’s always one more piece of furniture to build, one more picture to hang (we’ll go into detail about this later) and one more “one more” to one more. And that’s the extremely short term!

As soon as you’re done with the moving in and the settling down, you start thinking big! Maybe we could build a fence in the back yard, that’s something we’d like to do. We really need a new couch, coffee table, and end table to fill in the space, you know? I think putting in a half bath is a good idea.

And don’t you think it’d be wise to, eventually, make the basement into a ballpit club, a la the Concourse?

My basement circa 2019

I mean, think about how much value it would add to the house! Plus, charging $12 a cocktail would really accelerate how quickly we could pay off the mortgage, and I’m pretty sure that insurance will cover a full scale dance club in the basement, right? And we probably don’t need to get a liquor license, really, cause we can just say we were having like, a huge party if we get caught. Easy!

Rating: 8/10 Moving never ends. Will not be planning to move anytime soon.

Changing Addresses

This is something I thought would be supremely annoying, but surprisingly has not been. Of course, who knows what I’m missing at my old apartment! Wedding invites, cards full of cash from grandparents, warnings from banks about how much my identity has been stolen, there could be anything over there!

Oh well!

Rating: 1/10 Very easy online process!

Purchasing Insurance

Insurance. On the one hand, you hope you never have to use it. On the other hand, if you don’t use it, it feels like an absolutely massive waste of money. Something interesting about insurance, and this statistic is accurate, 95% of all commercials are for Geico, Progressive, and State Farm. 95%!

Those commercials, of course, never really talk about the details though, do they? They talk about the upfront costs, sure, and the fact that they could save you money, but because of the vast possibilities of who you might be, what you might be insuring, and where you might be insuring it, it’s quite difficult to get an idea on what a fair price for insurance might be.

I had no idea how much home insurance would cost. I had some idea about car insurance in Philly, but then quotes varied so wildly that it made me doubt that. And then it’s like, what am I getting for this? Like what is tort? Is it worth it to buy an add on policy for accident forgiveness? Do I want to bet on myself that the higher deductible for the lower premium? Am I feeling lucky???

Who knows. What I do know is that the insurance people call you incessantly, and actually talk you through the policies over the phone. Yes, they try and upsell you a bunch, but honestly if you can dodge that, they make the process pretty simple. I didn’t mind the incessant calls. You also, of course, have to talk with people you know who are in a situation relatively similar to your own who can help you gauge fairness.

At the beginning it’s pretty hard to figure out, but after grabbing quotes, talking to folks you know, and speaking with salespeople, you can figure it out.

Rating: 5/10, it’s fine.

Hanging Stuff

The boxes are unpacked, the furniture is in place, and your house in operational. The walls, though, are empty and barren. Beneath them on the floor, cautiously leaning against said walls, are photos, mirrors, pieces of art, and assorted “wall stuff”.

Thus begins one of the final phases of readying your home, hanging stuff. This one seems daunting because there are so many walls, and so many random things to hang on them. For a while we lied to ourselves that we would do “one room a day!” for a week. This doesn’t really work, though, because if you don’t hang this thing here, then you have to hang it there, or maybe up there, or over here. Of course if you hang it over here, it’d be a little bit busy and it doesn’t really match the decor, so you’d have to move this and that over there.

After putting together the pieces of the puzzle, you have to actually hang stuff. Make sure it’s the right height! Make sure the nail is in the right place. Do you need a special wall fastener thing? Make sure you have that. Make sure it’s level. Is it level? Does it look level to you? I don’t think it’s level. Get the level to see if it’s level. It says it is. I don’t know it doesn’t look level. Eh whatever.

Is it level? Idk. by Crew on Unsplash

Rinse and repeat. So much minutia. It’s exhausting. But you know, it really helps to make the house looked lived-in.

Rating: 8/10 but worth it.

License and Registration

*Takes deep breath*

Ok so, you’re moving into Pennsylvania. Congratulations! You’re bringing a car? Oh no.

You know you need to register your car, right? Ok, but first you need to have a license. Make sure you have mail, ID, your old license, and more ID. Nice, you did it. Now you’re ready to…oh wait. You need car insurance! But hey, we already covered that a few items before. Fantastic.

Now you need to go to a tag and titling service. No, not the same place you got your license, silly! Somewhere different! Why aren’t these in the same place? WHO KNOWS!

And for tag and titling you’re going to need a few things. Your old title, proof of insurance, that fancy new license you got, and…um…a physical tracing of the VIN plate in your car?

Now if that sounds crazy to you, it totally is! We don’t want a picture of the VIN, or just a verifiable VIN number. No, no, we need tracing paper and a VIN number. What’s that? You could easily have traced the VIN of a car you don’t own? It’s difficult to get to the VIN plate, as it involves some disassembly of your windshield or engine? Uh, what?

I’ve looked at a bunch of graphics like this one, to no avail


Full disclosure, I’m at a crossroads (LOL) here. I haven’t been to the registration office yet, and I’m actually planning to go this evening. I do not have a physical tracing of the VIN plate, because it was entirely too difficult for me or several others I asked to figure out how to make this happen without potentially screwing with the car. So, with this experience already at about an 8.5 out of 10, we’ll see tonight if we can bump it all the way up.

Rating: TBD

That does it for this week’s This Week. Come back next week to see whether or not I have a car.


In the spirit of providing you That Good You Need, here are a few things I’d recommend checking out.

  • An Extremely Detailed Map of the 2016 Election: This is a really interesting look at how individual precincts voted in the 2016 presidential election. This is about as micro as you can get on an analysis like this, and they set up some cool tools to help you check it out. My personal favorite was voter islands, which shows you places where one precinct voted in a way that was unlike the precincts around it.
  • Corporate CEOs took home more than you think: Another really awesome graphic that shows updated compensation for CEOs. While CEO pay is estimated on financial documents companies are required to file, and that number is what’s typically reported, this graphic checks back in with those estimates and finds that they often come in quite low. A ton of work went into this, and it’s fascinating to see.


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