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Life with a Smile: Small towns shine at moving time

By Kate Snyder

Contributing writer

And now it’s time for another episode of: Why Small Towns Rock — Real Estate Edition. If you ever have to deal with the headaches and backaches of relocation, I suggest you try your best to do so in a small town because it’s moments like this where small towns shine. On the day I was scheduled to close on my new house, an acquaintance showed up at my office with a bouquet of flowers. She had remembered my passing reference to the date and wanted to show her support. I’ve been on the receiving end of many similar acts of kindness recently.

When you need something in a small town, you get it. It’s that simple. This summer, as I faced the prospect of packing up my life and sticking it into a storage unit for an uncertain window of time between selling and buying, I put the word out that I needed moving boxes. An hour later, a friend saw a moving truck in a driveway across the street, marched over, and negotiated my use of said boxes. As the new folks emptied, I picked up. And they were fabulous, too. A lovely retired couple who offered me the use of their minivan, if I ever needed it.

Over the past month, multiple near-strangers have offered to mop floors, pack boxes, or lend me their trucks. A friend swore up and down she actually enjoyed steaming wallpaper and that I would, in fact, be doing her a tremendous favor if I allowed her to come strip the paper from my new kitchen. Another showed up on her bicycle one morning with a pry-bar and a rockin’ playlist on her phone and we sang while pulling carpet staples out of the floor. A third spent several long hours cheerfully sanding the wood paneling in my daughter’s room.

As I hauled boxes into the new house, my next-door neighbor came over and announced that I had more important things to be focusing on than lawn care and that he would be mowing my yard for the rest of the season. I swear to you, I think I saw a halo around that man’s head because I don’t actually own a lawn mower, nor have I ever operated one. We’ll cross that bridge in the spring. Or maybe I’ll just pave my entire yard. The kids could go roller skating!

Beyond the clear benefits to moving in a small town, I also recommend moving near your family – but only if your family is as awesome as mine is. My parents have spent far more hours preparing my new house for my family than I have. It’s not even close. They’re retired, so while I spend my days working, they spend their days painting baseboards, filling nail holes, and patching a truly impressive array of ceiling cracks. My dad is a home improvement wizard and my mom never met a mess that scared her and between the two of them, they’re whipping the place into shape. I show up in the evenings to pick paint colors, unpack boxes, and grovel at their feet while chanting thankyouthankyouthankyou.

I’m eager to pay forward the small town relocation mojo, so if anybody needs moving boxes, you just let me know!