Americans move a lot. From 2014 to 2015, about 12% of the U.S. population -- 38,280,000 of us -- pulled up stakes and changed location, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It makes you think that by now we'd have it nailed.
But we don't.
Move often enough and something really strange -- and maybe even a little embarrassing -- is bound to happen. And those pros who help people relocate every day have front-row seats to the action.
The folks from these moving companies told us about some pretty crazy scenarios they've encountered when moving someone. Go ahead and enjoy these tales -- just make sure you learn from them.
1. Magic Movers XXL
"We make a practice of hiring and supporting student athletes from the communities that we serve. They're strong, athletic, energetic, and gentlemanly. They also happen to be good-looking. On more than one occasion, we have had our customers make the request that our movers remove their shirts while working. Who can blame them, I suppose." -- Aaron Steed, founder of Meathead Movers in California.
Lesson learned: Even if you're hiring extras from Magic Mike XXL to move your couch, it's not really appropriate to ask anybody to take off any clothing. Instead, express your appreciation with a highly appropriate tip -- just don't tuck it down their pants!
2. Moving 'emergency'
"As an L.A.-based company, we deal with a lot of unique celeb requests. Take, for example, an urgent request NorthStar Moving received from an unnamed A-lister. We got a phone call around 3 in the morning asking that we send movers right away to move a chair from a dining room to the living room. It wasn't a big, bulky chair or an ottoman -- it was easily lifted. But we did it, and we're happy to do it." -- Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving in Los Angeles.
Lesson learned: If you're a celebrity A-lister with cash to burn, go ahead and call the movers whenever you want. If we were in your shoes, maybe we wouldn't be dragging our furniture around either. Who knows? But if you're not one of the rich and fabulous, stick to normal business hours or you'll pay out the wazoo for help. (Bonus: Reserve movers in advance -- some of them offer a discount on early bookings.)
3. Snakes on a … truck?
"You can tell a lot about a person by the pets that they keep. We have a lot of opportunities to get to know the animals that our customers keep, sometimes a bit too well. One customer's live boa constrictor had been carefully arranged in a box for transport. This became a problem when, through a minor lack of communication, our crew loaded the box into our truck. The boa got out, and immediately elicited girlish screams from our manly crew as it slithered around the bed of our half-full moving van." -- Aaron Steed
Lesson learned: Be sure to label those boxes carefully -- live snake or no live snake -- so your movers know how to properly handle everything they pick up. And if you are putting a boa constrictor in a box, we suggest something along the lines of "Very big living snake in here. Do not touch!"
4. It's a small world, after all
Someone had "just moved with Oz to an apartment in the Bronx. A few weeks after moving in, they noticed mail had been sent to their address with the name of her husband's co-worker. This would happen again until the husband asked the co-worker about the mailings, and it turns out he had moved into the co-worker's childhood apartment without even knowing it. Stories like these prove just how small the world is." -- Nancy Zafrani, general manager of Oz Moving and Storage in New York.
Lesson learned: It would be funny if something like that happened to you, but odds are whoever moves into your apartment next will just trash your mail. Don't count on the meet cute! Forward your mail before you move. You can do it online through the USPS.
5. Strange bedfellows
"I was moving a retired professor to his new retirement home. When I arrived with my team, we did our normal introductions. The customer gave us a tour to show us what we were moving. We got to his bedroom, and he said to not pack the bed until the end, which seemed a bit unusual.
"When we finished, we said we were going to the bedroom. He said OK, but first he had to let Charlie out and to close the window. I was thinking, maybe he had a cat or something in the bedroom.
"He proceeded to the bed, made some noise, and a squirrel came out from under his bed, went out the window, and the window was quickly shut behind him.
"He looked sad and said, 'That was Charlie. He came in my window one day and has been my friend ever since. He's been living in my box spring under the bed for years with the window open and now he is on his own.'
"I wasn't sure what to say. I then said, 'I'm sure Charlie knows that you will be OK.'" -- Hal Byram, VP of operations and company services for E.E. Ward.
Lesson learned: No one has ever (ever) said moving is easy. And beyond the backbreaking labor and the stress of packing, there's also the emotional toll of moving. It can be difficult to say goodbye to a home and neighborhood you've lived in for a long time (or to the neighborhood pet you've come to adore). We can't make moving less sad, but we can offer some sweet, clever ways to help you cope.