I Hired a “Move Manager” and It Was the Best Money I’ve Ever Spent

published Aug 4, 2023
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organized piles labeled with orange sticky notes, grey and white tile diamond pattern floor, rainbow sandles
Credit: Dana McMahan

The scene: I’m chowing down on frites and polishing off a cider in a biergarten. Back at my new house, movers are unloading 119 exhaustively labeled boxes. I didn’t set foot in my old house that morning while they loaded up — instead, I found myself leisurely tying up some loose ends ahead of the renovation of our new home.

How was this miracle possible, you ask?

There are angels among us — people on this earth who help others with the most stressful event many of us go through. They’re called move managers, and I didn’t sell my house until I was certain we could clear enough to pay for the service.

Our manager, Kim Jones of Lock & Key Home in Louisville, Kentucky, and author of The No-Nonsense Home Organization Plan, launched the business after going through a nightmare of a move herself. Her passion for organizing and empathy for the emotional difficulties of a move make her like a fairy godmother.

Was it expensive? Yes. Was it worth it? One million percent yes. 

Here’s how it worked. A few weeks before our move, Kim did a walk-through of our old house and then the new one. A day or so later, she emailed a quote that included a full pack and move day service plus a complete unpack and organizing of the new house. We dialed it back to only one day of unpack service with a kitchen focus, but she still provided organization consulting for the new house — which clocked in at a quarter the size of our old Victorian. Altogether, hiring the move manager cost a little over 1 percent of my new home’s sale price. Compared to the $36,000 in Realtor commissions that weren’t negotiable — and considering how much actual work they did — it felt like a bargain. 

It was weird at first, but I didn’t pack anything other than a select few personal items leading up to the move. Instead, we got to just keep … living there. We were able to have friends visit for a weekend shortly before the move and cook together one last time. At risk of sounding maudlin, it was super important to us to create that last memory there.

Credit: Dana McMahan

One week out, Kim’s team of six showed up bright and early wielding color-coded Post-its, sheaves of moving paper, tons of boxes, and Sharpies and tape galore. I stuck around to help note what would go where. By mid-afternoon, dozens of boxes were neatly stacked around the house. 

We lived among the boxes for a few days. Then two days out from the move, on her advice, we checked into a hotel, which was the best — and most necessary — self-care I can imagine. I mostly steered clear after that point, partly because they didn’t need me, and partly because it was really hard leaving our home and I couldn’t stand to watch.

Credit: Dana McMahan

On move day I still had work to do at the new house, so I left everything in the manager’s hands. She brought snacks and drinks for the movers, and lunch for us, and called or texted the few times she had a question. By early afternoon, the truck rolled up at our new home and I told Kim I had to run to the hotel — I’d thrown my back out overdoing it at the new house and needed some medication. “Go back and lay down,” she said, “we can FaceTime if I need you.” 


Credit: Dana McMahan

We stayed a final night at the hotel (also at Kim’s suggestion) and arrived after a leisurely brunch the next day to find all the kitchen boxes unpacked and her team of three deciding where the contents would go. Somehow, despite moving from a larger kitchen with a huge walk-in pantry into a small house with an eat-in kitchen that doubles as a laundry room, they got nearly everything put away. The excess gadgets and such were stowed, neatly labeled, in the storage shed. 

Credit: Dana McMahan

This move was really tough: I questioned my decision to sell our house from the moment we went under contract. The renovation of our 140-year-old new place was also wildly challenging, and the closing on our house went off the rails for a few days. The ray of light in all of this? I didn’t have to worry about the actual physical move. Not only would it have taken weeks for the two of us to pack up a big house on our own, but there were also zero hours left in the day after running the reno and working. And thanks to some old sports injuries, I can’t do a lot of physical work myself.

I’m a fan for life, if that’s not clear yet. How big a fan? This house is a temporary stop until we figure out our next long-term home. My first call when we’re ready to move? You already know.