Ann Arbor Area Business Monthly
Small Business and the Internet
By Mike Gould
Wild Thing, I think you move me…
The Troggs, 1966
(They had the hit, but Wild Thing was originally released by the Wild Ones in 1965. It flopped.)
As I have been chronicling for the last three months, my wife Salli and I have packed up, roots and all, and shuffled down I-94 to our new home just north of Jackson. We have now completed the move of business, home, shop, and everything else we own. Well, almost - we are still trying to sell our old house and have left the first floor “staged” with furniture, tables, and knick knacks in an effort to showcase its livability.
We are settling into our new home, and continuing to unpack. Remember that last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the forklift is making its way between endless rows of pallets in a warehouse? Substitute the pallets with moving boxes and you have a picture of our basement.
The internet is full of good advice about prepping and running a household move, most of which we studied and followed. Below are some of the more apt tips in carrying out such an ordeal.
Biz-wise, I transferred all my current web work and ftp addresses to my laptop so I could continue to do updates to clients’ sites while I waited for my new office to be built into the basement of the house. Fortunately this wasn’t necessary as I was up and running with my main computer by the 15th of November, in time to update BizMo. Well, sorta: I had a problem missing the update sent by Editor Jan due to it happening on the precise day switchover from laptop to computer happened so we were a day late. Sorry about that.
I prepared architectural drawings of my shop and new office, printed them out, and had them on my laptop and iPad. These I presented to my construction crew (Pete Held, Paul Girard, and Draco – thanks guys!). This was very handy as I could make changes on the fly on the laptop and show the crew where to build the shelving, etc.
My theory of civilization: Civilization Rests On Shelves
Shelving is very important to me: all my work and reference library depends on it, and we built a lot of it. The photo above shows a work in progress – U-shaped desk, un-organized books and old copies of the print version of BizMo.
If possible, get into the new place as early as possible to set up any new shelving and cabinets. That way you have places to unpack your stuff into, minimizing time spent moving around cartons looking for that bookcase that was unloaded behind all the rest of your library. We had only ten days to prep the new site for the move – my crew put in some long hours of carpentry, painting, and lamination. And lamentation.
When you are packing up a home office, it is very important to keep all the office stuff separate from the household stuff. In addition to marking the tops of the boxen containing office items, I marked three sides of opposite corners of the box sides so I could identify the business stuff in a stack of boxes, no matter how they were faced in the endless piles of cardboard cubes. I also used a different color of marker to tell biz from home goods.
This worked out pretty well: so far the only thing I’m missing is my time sheet of work done before the move, and my magnifying glass. I’m sure they will turn up in a miscellaneous box of household goods, mistakenly placed there by one of our packing assistants (big thanks to my sisters Mary and Lori, and good friends Steve and Robbie).
Make sure you have a full set of basic tools: hammer, flat blade and Philips screwdrivers, box cutter, extra box tape, and such at both ends of your move, especially if you are leaving things behind as stagers. A life-long tool collector, this wasn’t a problem with me, but if you aren’t a compulsive tooler, get a basic el-cheapo set to leave behind for last minute picture hanger-removal and appliance repairs.
You will also need at least two sets of tape guns for packing, and a utility knife or single-edge razor blade for unpacking. A putty knife and a small can of wall filler compound can be used to fill nail holes in your old place. I figure the next owners will want to put up fresh paint anyway, but smoothing over holes greatly improves appearances, which can help sell your old home.
Everything Takes Longer Than You Think It Will
We optimistically gave ourselves two weeks to prepare the place for our housewarming party. Reality set in soon after the move and we are now talking Spring, some four weeks or so ahead. Needless to say, detailed planning is a must, but flexibility in situ is also required. No plan of battle survives contact with the enemy, as the military say, and this applies to a move out as well.
If you are renovating your new place, as we did, plan on running a military-like campaign. Privates consider tactics, Captains discuss strategy, but Generals deal with logistics. You will be marshaling a small army of realtors, packers, movers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, inspectors, painters, cable guys (or in our case, a DirecTV dish guy), and maybe chicken coop buyers, so soldier up.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Speaking of dish guys, we now connect to the internet via our iPhones. It’s definitely a change from Comcast cable, but that is a tale for next time.
Mike Gould is deeply digging his new digs. He was a mouse wrangler for the U of M for 20 years, runs the MondoDyne Web Works/Macintosh Training/Photography mega-mall, is a laser artist, directs the Illuminatus Lasers, and welcomes comments addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.