Moving Tips Gleaned from Homer’s “The Odyssey”

Moving Odyssey Cover3.001

If you have ever had to relocate yourself for any reason, be it work, health or simply pleasure, you are well aware of the obstacles standing between you and your new home.  No matter which road you and your belongings take on your journey to your new location, you will find that it  could be a dangerous one that is not to be underestimated.  Preparation is absolutely necessary for any mover who wants to avoid a perilous journey that may very well rival that of Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey.  In this epic, Odysseus begins his journey home with twelve ships full of treasure and a crew of sailors, but by the time he has finished his perilous and miserable journey, he is a penniless man in a home that is far from welcoming.  While you  will not face sea monsters, endure the wrath of the gods or have to reclaim your house from rowdy intruders, we’re confident that even Odysseus would have been daunted by the challenges awaiting an unprepared mover.  Fortunately, you will not have to face this journey alone.  What follows is a guide to help guard oneself against the perils and obstacles that stand between you and your new home.

Odyssey Moving Tips

1.  Choose your shipmates well. → Find a reliable moving company:
No less than half of the losses and setbacks that Odysseus suffered were the result not of his own folly, but of the unwise and reckless actions of his fellow sailors.  Although he would probably beg to differ, he carries some of the blame for this, as he neglected to use extreme caution when choosing the men who would help him on his voyage home.  Although your moving crew probably won’t accidentally open a bag of winds, slaughter the gods’ sacred cattle or stupidly eat lotus fruit, failing to select a reliable and efficient moving company is an easy mistake to make.  Luckily, it can just as easily be avoided.  Be sure you research the moving company that you will be utilizing.  Read its customer reviews  thoroughly and do a search to determine its rate of customer satisfaction.  Be sure to use multiple sources besides the homepage of the moving company itself.  Finding competent movers is the first step to a smooth transition.

2.  Don’t get turned into a pig. → Watch out for scams:
One thing that Odysseus did right was to be cautious of people who seem to be offering him a good deal, but are actually setting a trap.  This saved him from the sorceress Circe when she managed to lure his men into her home with the promise of a big dinner only to later revealed that they would actually be “pigging out” in a different way entirely.  It’s unlikely that you will face this exact problem, but it is very possible to become careless and be lured in by what seems to be a good offer.  There are moving companies that will simply steal the items they have been charged with transporting or will withhold the items and demand a ransom.  Be sure to run a background check on whatever moving company you choose and do not simply choose the cheapest one. 

3.  Lock up the palace. → Safeguard against damage to old and new property:
There is no better way to end a move than spending the night in a fine and pristine-looking new home, knowing that your old one is also in good condition.  Unfortunately for Odysseus, no such pleasure awaited him.  He had neglected to care for his property, leaving only his infant son, his wife and a few servants to take care of it when he left.  He returned home with nothing but the ragged clothes on his back only to find that his once impressive palace had been commandeered by rowdy and unscrupulous suitors seeking to marry his wife.
There are two pieces of good news that come with this story.  First, the suitors got what was coming to them and Odysseus got his home back.  Secondly, you can avoid this ordeal altogether and without having to fight a battle in your home.  Precautions and safety measures can be taken to prevent property damage.  Apply sufficient coverage for floors and carpets, provide protective covers for the walls and stairs, set up corner guards and foam paddings, wrap banisters, remove fragile decorations from the walls and, of course, lock up your home to keep out unwanted guests.  Apply these steps to both your old and your new property.

4.  Be ready to leave before the chariots show up. → Don’t wait until the last minute to pack and prepare for your move:
At the start of their journey, Odysseus and his men rested on a beautiful shore.  Making themselves comfortable, despite Odysseus’s warnings, his men waited too long before setting sail and are attacked by the land’s natives, who happen to be armed and dangerous charioteers.  This is a classic example of being unprepared to depart when the time comes.  While you may not have to dodge chariots or spears, last-minute packing will waste your time, cause annoying errors and likely cost you extra money.  Avoid this nuisance by packing far in advance and making extra sure that you are prepared when the movers arrive.

5.  Arrive with as many ships as you left with. → Avoid damaged and lost:
Odysseus and his comrades set sail for home with a dozen ships full of booty, none of which ever made it back to Ithaca.  Odysseus lost each of his ships and everything they carried to monsters and disastrous accidents.  Sadly, Odysseus was not adept at packing or taking care of his property.  The good news is that this doesn’t have to happen to you.  Precautions and safety measures can be taken to prevent property damage.  If you’re doing it yourself, apply sufficient coverage and padding for your items before they are loaded.  Also make sure to inspect your moving truck before it leaves and ensure that it is suitable for your needs.  It will have to be the right size and be able to accommodate its cargo.  A wise mover may also want to make sure that your cargo is packed correctly.  Another good idea may be to choose a moving day when the weather is milder.
If you’re hiring a mover, ensure that you have chosen a reliable moving company that has capable employees and a wide selection of trucks. 

6.  Don’t get stuck with an olive tree. → Make sure all your belongings can be packed and moved securely on moving day:
When Odysseus finally returns home, his wife fails to recognize him and offers to have his bed moved into the house.  He reveals his true identity by reminding her that this would be impossible as their bed is carved out of the trunk of an olive tree.  While, in this case, an immovable piece of furniture is cause for a joyful reunion, it will most likely cause panic and distress on your moving day.  A good way to avoid this panic and distress is to ensure that you and/or your moving company has the means to transport anything you want to take with you.  The last thing you want is to be told that something is too big or too heavy to transport on moving day.  Take note of the parameters of anything that could possibly be problematic and describe them to your moving company to ensure that they come prepared.

7.  Don’t be mistaken for a beggar. → Watch out for identity theft:
When Odysseus returns home, he doesn’t look like the glorious, proud warrior he was when he left.  Years and years of war and travel can take a heavy toll.  To tell  the truth, he likely resembled Tom Hanks in Castaway more than Sean Bean in Troy.  Due to his appearance, he’s difficult to recognize, and even his wife and son don’t know who he is at first.  He doesn’t get to sleep in his own bed or even live in his own house until he’s fought and killed more than a hundred angry suitors and proves he’s not just some hobo.
If you’d like to avoid his predicament, it may be wise to protect your identity.  Make sure that everyone knows that you, and only you, are indeed yourself.  Never divulge your personal information to an untrustworthy moving company, lest you see your life meddled with by a stranger.

8.  Choose Scylla over Charybdis. → Take the safe path, rather than risk delay, property damage, loss of property or additional fees:
There comes a point in the story when Odysseus has to make a tough choice.  He has to choose between whether to sail by the monster Scylla, who will snatch and eat six of his sailors, or her larger and hungrier sister, Charybdis, who will swallow his entire ship.  First off, don’t panic.  To our knowledge, even the worst moving companies won’t eat you.  However, like Odysseus, you may be faced with a difficult decision when planning your move.  For example, you may have to choose between a good and trustworthy moving company and a slightly cheaper less dependable way of moving, such as an unreliable moving company or a DIY move.  This is not to say that you need to spend the maximum amount of money possible on a move, but a wise customer knows that small sacrifices are nothing compared to the consequences of cutting corners.  In this case Odysseus was a smart customer in that he chose the better option.  Be sure to follow his example.