Thursday, June 2, 2011

Moving on Up

Are you moving in the near future? We have helped our share of friends move. Some across town, some into a storage unit, some from one apartment to another in the same complex, some into a new house. Jason worked for a moving company for a few months and I grew up moving every few years. Between the 2 of us, we have lots of moving experience.

Here are some moving tips that we have accumulated throughout the years:

- Get as many free boxes as possible. Put the word out- see if anyone has extra boxes to give you. Ask around at stores. They can either give you boxes right when you ask or tell you when to come back to pick them up before they go in the compactor. U-Haul has a "free boxes" section in their packing store. Sam's has a "free boxes" rack at the front of their store. Spend your money on packing tape and sharpies- and as little as possible on boxes.
- Pack the things you don't use often first- like books, cds, holiday decorations, and off season clothes.
- Pack everything possible before the day of the move- some things you might wait on are: the bedsheets and comforter, your hairdryer, clothes you wear the day of the move, things in the refrigerator.
- Put all of your cleaning supplies in a box or tote that you can keep handy during the move.
- Put tools that might be needed during the move in a handy place- screwdrivers, hammer, drill....
- Put all the important things you want to keep up with in a special bag or your purse- like your phone charger or the netflix movies you need to drop in the mailbox- that way you don't "lose them" in the move.
- Pack everything before your friends arrive to help you- people do not want to pack your stuff the day of the move- if you need help- ask for help before the day of the big move and have a "packing date" with a few friends.
- Use your linen closet and newspapers to help you pad the fragile items you are packing. This will save you lots of money on packing supplies.
-Label your boxes or things you have packed- on more than one side. This will make taking the things off the truck much easier. You will get your boxes put in the right room and people will not have to ask you where anything goes as they unload. Labeling on more than one side will help when the boxes are stacked on top of each other.
- Make a donate pile as you pack. If you haven't used something in a year, you probably don't need it. Throw it in a pile and take it to the trash or good will. This will keep you from moving unnecessary stuff.

Getting people to help you:
- Move when the most people you know will be available- like on a weekend- or an early evening during the week. And try to move during the most comfortable part of the day- not too hot or too cold.
- Offer food and drinks- people are more willing to do manual labor when they know their basic needs will be cared for.
- Communicate: send out an email or text with information for your helpers like when the moving will start, where to meet, what time you expect to be done, what kind of food or drink you will be providing, and lots of thank yous in advance.
- Ask specific people- if you send out a general email to all your friends and no one responds, it is likely no one will show up.  Take an hour a few weeks before you plan to move and call your most reliable friends. Ask them to help and get them to mark their calendars. Then you will know who you can count on and not worry the day of the move.
- Get phone numbers. Make sure you have the phone numbers of everyone who will be driving a vehicle during the move. This will ensure that people do not get lost on the way to your place with a carload of stuff and no way to find you.

The actual move:
- Rent a bigger truck than you think you will need. Don't try to save $20 on the truck. You always have more stuff than you think you do. Think about how much money you are saving by doing one trip. Your friends are free (except for the food you are offering), gas is expensive, and time is money. You will save at least an hour of moving time by renting the bigger truck. The more efficient, the better.
- If you are moving across the country or state- rent a nicer truck (like a Penske) to give yourself piece of mind that you will make it to your destination without any truck problems.
- If you are moving in town- it is best to give yourself a buffer day before you move in. You can get your keys, clean the new place and put the all important toilet paper, soap, and hand towels in the your new place. People will have to go the bathroom at your new place when you are moving. Trash cans are nice to have in place as well.
- If you are moving in town- move your kitchen by yourself. Dishes and small appliances are easy to put in your car and take to your new place. You can spend an afternoon laying your stuff out and deciding where everything will go before you move the bigger things. That way your house will be in somewhat of working order before you move in. You will at least be able to have a bowl of cereal the morning after you move- because you will know where everything is.
- If something is important to you and you are worried about it making it through the move. Move it before people come to help on your own- if at all possible. This way you can be gentle with it and make sure it does not get broken on a packed truck or dropped by someone carrying too many things.
- Keep some tools handy in case you need to take things apart to fit them through doorways or into a truck.
- Be ready when your friends show up. Give them things to do right when they get there. Make sure the truck is ready to load. People get antsy when they have nothing to do.
- Be prepared to do a final trash run and cleaning of your old place the day following your move. It will need to be cleaned and inspected before you can get your security deposit back. I recommend taking pictures. This way if you need to contest something, you have proof.

Moving takes a lot of planning and effort. Don't underestimate the importance of organization in moving. Something will go wrong- it always does. The better organized and prepared you are the better you will be able to handle the problems that arise during the actual move.

Actual problems we've encountered when helping friends move:
1. Locked keys in truck on a HOT day while moving things into truck.
2. Truck is not ready on time promised (often true during busy moving seasons).
3. Storage unit moving into too small (almost too small). :)
4. Cars of people moving broken down.
5. Things taken by neighbors during move- because things were sitting outside without a truck and were assumed to be "give away" items.
6. People helping to move get lost or separated from group during drive to new place.
7. New place's septic system leaking into the carpet in master bedroom.
8. Something very valuable and important broken in move.
9. Furniture will not fit through doorway.
10. Air conditioner to old or new place is broken during a summer move.

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