(This piece was originally published August 19, 2013 and appeared on

“It probably is broken in some way, or smells like a dead mouse, or is a dead mouse.”

Above photo via Universal Hub

It’s so close now. We only have one weekend left before it happens. Collectively, Allston is tossing its Labor Day weekend plans into a blender, along with everyone’s parents, hundreds of new students, a boom in the vehicle rental market, and the most garbage you could ever possibly imagine in all shapes and sizes, even ones that don’t exist yet.

You guys, I have really good news for you. I am here to help.

It’s okay, oh, there there. I got you.

For the last three years I’ve spent my Allston Christmas documenting your experiences. If you look at the archive for September 1st you’ll read about traffic, anxiety, fighting with friends, breaking furniture, and other interesting anecdotes. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

You may feel like you’re in a tunnel that is delivering you straight into the bowels of hell, but at least we’re all here with you.

Show a little compassion, even if you would rather use discarded futon frames to make a cage in which you battle the people moving out of your future apartment to the death. In your small way, try to make everyone’s day easier just by keeping in mind that they’re probably as unhappy, if not more unhappy, than you are — and they may not have all these great pointers to refer to:


During the course of moving day, you will reassess how badly you need a beer pong table and a magazine rack and a neon sign that says Miller High Life and a giant golden mannequin (thanks for the stuff, phantom historical BU students!). I think that perhaps this year, you might want to think about which stuff you’ll be comfortable abandoning for the sidewalks after ten hours of moving and thirty hours of traffic. If you get rid of it now, you can do some good with it! Big Brother/Big Sister will literally come to your house and take away almost everything that isn’t furniture or just plain disgusting. How cool is that? Even cooler for the people in rough spots that you’re helping out, right?

Other great ways to get rid of stuff include listing it on Craigslist right now immediately do not stop to think about it you have so little time. Also, guess what? You can put your furniture on the sidewalks if you want to: but you have to do it on trash day! I know it’s a crazy idea, but if you throw your couch on the sidewalk like four days before Allston Christmas on your garbage day, wonderful city workers who make your lives easier will take them away!

Some stuff can’t go out with regular trash, so post a curb alert on Craigslist,especially if there is anything metal —

scrappers are quick to pick stuff up (or schedule a pickup with the city for items that need special disposal). I know you’re starting to think I’m crazy and expecting you to be adults or whatever, but seriously all of this is done by making a phone call or typing four words in a web form. You can do it, I believe in you. There are also plenty of places you can pay to take your garbage away, or go in with your neighbors on renting a dumpster or dumpster bag.


Okay you little amature American Pickers, I know I can’t stop you from taking garbage off of the sidewalks and bringing it into your homes as much as I can’t stop myself sometimes. You really do come across some of the coolest stuff in the streets, so let’s be as safe about it as we possibly can.

Before bringing in your street-side trophy, inspect it thoroughly for bed bugs.

If you find them after you’ve brought it home, get it out immediately, clean everything, and tell your landlord. Also I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this but there is no such thing as a good street mattress. Don’t do it, please.

No matter what you take in, it’s best to give it a good scrub. Bleach is great; make sure you dilute it in water and give your new coffee table a once over. Often, if you find something on the street, there is a reason.

It probably is broken in some way, or smells like a dead mouse, or is a dead mouse.

Just think long and hard before you bring it home, weigh it fairly: will this make my life better?


Reserve a truck ahead of time, although it is probably already too late. Good news though, Boston has trains that take you places. Try some of the rental spots further outside the city, you can get pretty far. You can also rent by the hour with a Zipvan if you don’t have much stuff, but be careful that you don’t get smacked with lots of fees for being stuck in traffic. Best bet is to ask someone in a band with a van for help and offer them booze,

Since this is Allston and we all know someone in a band with a van.

Check Craigslist too, there are always people offering services in exchange for dough around this time of year.

If there is any way you can get a pod, or move things to a neutral zone, or stay a week late or leave a week early, for the love of God please do this for the rest of us who don’t have those options. This day is horrible. It’s always somehow hot, and smelly, and by the end of the day you’re so disgusting you need to spend the rest of the month showering. I think that there are ways we can deal with this, and I challenge you to try. If we use alternative routes whenever we can, we may ease some of the traffic on Harvard Ave. I know this is hard, lots of us are moving around in the Gardener Ashford Pratt (GAP) area, or off Harvard, Brighton, or Allston streets.

There is really no way we can stop the traffic, but if you don’t have to drive in these areas, just don’t.

Go out of your way, drive around through Brookline, or Brighton, or any wide loops you can make to avoid adding to the congestion. The newest iteration of Google Maps has an excellent traffic mapping feature: I implore you to use it. I bet you twenty bucks that if you see a route that brings you in a wide loop around the city, it will still be faster than sitting in traffic. The atmosphere and your car will thank you.

I know that it’s going to be hard, but you guys: you’re going to make it. You know how I know? I’ve done it, and I’m still here. I’ve done it A LOT, too. I may have nightmares about zombies on moving day, or just nightmares about moving in general, like, all year long, but hey, eventually I’ll be able to move somewhere that I can afford to stay at, just like you. By September 2nd you’ll all be frazzled, and your house will be a mess, and no matter how much you shower you won’t feel clean,

But take a minute to pat yourself on the back and drink some beers and celebrate Labor Day because you have just done some laborious shit.

Next week let’s meet back here to share some great Allston Christmas stories in The Allston Christmas Special finale.

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