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Moving? Don’t Forget To Take Your Garbage With You

July 29, 2016

Rookies.You can spot them a mile away. There are not a lot of best practices surrounding moving offices. But, there some things to keep in mind, and there is one sure way to tell the veterans from the newbies.

Sure, I complain about moving. (Moving Day) But, there are advantages to moving, both for those who move and for those who are left behind. 

Those Left Behind

If your office mates are moving, you DO NOT want to skip moving day. Sure, there’s a lot of confusion. Carts are being pushed around. Doors are being propped open. It’s a mess. But, if you have the heart of a rat, you can do well. I mean a pack rat. . .Maybe, I should just move on from this metaphor. 

During a move, people get rid of a lot of stuff. Our cubicles and office typically develop backwater eddies. Stuff collects. Maybe it’s an extra stapler. Maybe it’s an old printer that won’t be moved because the new space has new printers. Maybe it’s just a coat hook that goes over the cubicle wall. I once picked up a mini-fridge because the previous team left it. It now sits under my desk. 

The point is that if you keep your eyes open, you can inherit some of the junk that people don’t want to move. You have to be careful, of course. You can’t “inherit” the stuff before it’s abandoned. And your company may have a policy about old equipment. Putting your job at risk shouldn’t even be a consideration no matter how nice the “Velvet Elvis playing guitar” picture is. 

And, there’s a chance to pick up a lot of broken stuff too. Broken computer equipment is like free candy at the 4th of July parade. Sure, you have to pick it up off the ground, but it’s then yours. And just about every company I’ve ever worked for makes it hard to get new equipment, but easy to replace stuff that breaks. That 25″ monitor that no longer works? Offer to take if off your coworker’s hands. After they’ve left the building, put in a ticket that says, “My 25 inch monitor is broken. Can I get it fixed or replaced please?” 

Another time, I ended up with an HP 4si laser printer. It was the size of a small refrigerator and it sounded like an airplane taking off, but it printed the most beautiful pages. I was writing training materials for Microsoft at the time and I pushed tens of thousands of pages through that old printer. I eventually lost it. I moved and couldn’t take it with me. 

The Movers

It’s harder to pick up new equipment when you are moving than it is when your office mates move. Typically, you have to rely on the hope that the new location also has new equipment. Maybe you can upgrade your desk phone. Or maybe you left a broken 25″ monitor behind and you get a new one. In our recent move, Cary ended up dropping one of his monitors on accident. It shattered the screen. Cary got a new 25″ monitor out of the move. 

The other thing to consider during a move is the idea that pioneers get to (sometimes) pick their spots. Did you get stuck by the bathrooms in your last office? Moving gives you the chance to improve your office location. I say this only happens sometimes because, moves are ALSO a chance for management to reshuffle the players. I had a coworker named Milan. (He was American, so it was pronounced MY-lan, not me-LAWN, like the Italian city.) He got a new manager who requested that Milan move his cubicle 20 feet so that he would be in the cubicle right outside of his manager’s office. Over the course of a few months, Milan managed to move to a cubicle that provided a little distance between him and his boss. Still close, just not TOO close. Milan’s team moved again a few months later. Guess where Milan’s new desk is? 

Moves also shake up your routine. While I dread them, I can see the positives, too. My new office building let’s me ride the train to work. Well, potentially. We’ll see. I’m trying it today for the first time. 

Moving also forces you to go through the flotsam and jetsam that has collected in your office drawers and cubicle and clear them out. Your coworkers who are staying will appreciate it. 

There is one piece of office equipment that you should ALWAYS take with you. It’s not easily replaced. And it’s not something you would normally think to take. In fact, during our move yesterday, several people called back to the old building trying to find someone who hadn’t left yet to bring them the piece of equipment they missed.


A garbage can. Seriously, every move I’ve ever been part of, I had to move my own garbage can. In fact, on a couple of moves that were in the same building, I used the empty (clean) garbage can as the main “box” to move with. And if you watch people who are moving, you can easily tell the veterans from the rookies. The veterans have a place to throw away their garbage.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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