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How to Move a Hack Space

Sometimes VHS has to move. These are some of the things we have learned from previous moves.

Form a space-hunting committee

The community at large will require extended discussions that aren't always necessary and it's not possible to make everyone happy (see: bikeshedding). A small group of people who take responsibility of finding a best-fit is much easier.

7 or fewer people is ideal. Including the seven, at least one member of the Board of Directors in a purely observational role to sign off on any final decisions and keep the Board in the loop.

- Something something automated scrapers, discussion platform that allows backscroll to be continued while going mobile, multipronged approach, feet-on-pavement, formalise committee to have carte blanche

Form a moving committee

- more open, community engagement

- multiple phases

  1. purge, pack, buildout, move
  2. make first two phases distinct with no overlap!

Timeline: It took 3-6 people 8-10 days to pack up, at 4 hours/session

Towers of Hanoi

- tools required to pack up the old space should be packed last

- tools required to prep the new space should be moved first

- everything packed in a box should be labelled on the SIDE of the box so that it can be found after it has been stacked on a palette.

Shooting First, Asking Questions later

If you are unpacking be prepared to be told you are doing it wrong. This is a common thing I encountered as I helped unpack after the move.

- Most of the stuff comes in on pallets with stuff about 3-4ft high.

- Most of the space is occupied by pallets.

- Rest of the stuff is put into a big pile in whatever space is left available.

- Most of it is somewhat categorized, but completely disorganized.

- The pallet with all the lazer cutter stuff is going to be in the kitchen area.

- The pallet with all the kitchen stuff will be in the soldering area.

Since all of the stuff is in the wrong areas, and you don't have enough work space to actually begin organizing stuff you have to make room. The only way to accomplish this is by setting up shelves. You'll have lots of people telling you that the shelves are in the wrong place when you do this.

They will point out that they are suppose to go over in “that area”.
You'll have to point out “that area” is full of stuff.
They will point out “this area” is suppose to be for “this type of stuff”.
You'll have to point out you can't find “this type of stuff” because everything is still on pallets, and its why you must use “this area” for organizing.

Brace yourself for this frustration, and don't expect any thanks for it (you won't get it). But somebody's gotta do it, right? So once you've set up a shelf, unloaded a pallet and tossed the pallet outside you'll have some more space to work. Keep doing this until you've got enough space and can actually start organizing stuff. (You'll still get lots unappreciative comments unfortunately.)

Purge Phase


Pack Phase

Anything not on pallets will not be packed.

Move Out Phase

Our move into storage took 15 hours, including truck logistics.

Pick a day, as far in the future as reasonable to allow members to spread the word and clear their schedules. Weekends are best, open house nights will work in a pinch.

Start early in the morning. Members are available at all sorts of times, so this will enable them to come in for a bit and help as their schedules allow, all day.

Pull the trigger. Reserve a rental truck (solicit at least 2, up to 4 drivers that are available throughout the day). A 16 foot box truck with a lift gate is ideal. No commercial license is required, but make sure it has a lift gate, not a ramp.

Post the date on the forums/mailing list/blog/social media. Encourage non-members to help out and become part of the community.

Have a script

  • Where the players need to be (truck pickup, old location, new location, etc)
  • Where their vehicles need to be parked, how the players are getting to their location


Move Out Phase

*There is a slope down from the road to the loading bay at Cook St, and the garage door is not very tall.* Large trucks *will not fit*, so must be parked on the median and palettes moved across the street. Plywood ramps and walkways over the dirt will be required!


a cordless drill to repair pallets; better than hammer and nails

heavy-duty cart or dolly

a pallet jack (one at both spaces and one in the back of the moving truck)

bottled water


Suggestions to increase efficiency:

it's easier to pull the pallet jack when loaded into the space through the corridor rather than push it

have a person run the lift while loading

tutorials/moving.txt · Last modified: 2019/04/09 19:21 by 00739

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