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Six Things You Should Never, Ever Have A Moving Company Move

in Advice, Posts, Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

When you hire a moving company, you have a right to expect a lot. A good moving company is expert at moving everything from basic furniture to priceless antiques; from framed posters to masterpieces. There are some things, though, that you should never have your movers take with them.

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Valuable Papers

Experts always recommend that in case of fire or natural disaster, always take your valuable, irreplaceable papers with them, if at all possible. The same holds true when you move. While your movers can be trusted, papers like deeds, car titles, birth certificates and social security cards are far too valuable to trust with anyone. More importantly, moving insurance doesn’t cover the loss of valuable documents.

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Expensive Jewelry

As with valuable papers, moving insurance does not cover valuable jewelry. If something is important enough for you to lock up, move it yourself.

Imagine via Pixabay,

Imagine via Pixabay.

Guns

While technically movers can move unloaded guns, loaded guns are out of the question. It’s simply best to move firearms yourself.

Image via Pixabay.

Image via Pixabay.

Plants

Moving trucks are a horrible environment for plants. They are hot and dry and they get absolutely no light. While plants might survive a short trip, they can be surprisingly expensive to move. Moving trucks are meant for stacking and you can’t stack plants. It’s also difficult to prop up plants without packing the pots in boxes.

Image via Wikimedia.

Image via Wikimedia.

Pets

For most people, it goes without saying that they should make other arrangements to transport pets, but you’d be surprised at how many customers ask that movers take their non-furry friends like fish, snakes and lizards. Moving trucks don’t have a lot of air and they can get very hot. Move all pets, including the non-furry kinds, yourself.

Image via Wikimedia.

Image via Wikimedia.

Flammables, Explosives and Corrosives

Leave your cleaning fluids, paint and your propane tanks behind, recycle them or move them in your car.

Featured image via Pixabay.

How To Decorate Your New Home On A Shoestring Budget

in Decorating, Posts, Your New Home by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Once you’ve shelled out for the down payment or security deposit on your new home and once you’ve paid for the movers, you might find you wallet feeling very light. A new home is no fun though, unless you can put your own personal touch on it. So how does one go about decorating a new home when they’re broke?

If you’re feeling particularly strapped after your move, it’s probably not the best time to tackle a major renovation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your surroundings comfortable and completely you.

1. Paint — You probably already know that a fresh coat of paint can give a whole new feel to a room, for not a lot of money if you paint recruit your family. Neutrals, like light grays and creamy whites are appropriate for almost any room. For a pop of color, add an accent wall to complement your furniture and art work.

2. Throw Pillows — You might not have the budget to buy a new sofa, but new throw pillows can give a whole new look to an old sofa. Play with patterns and colors you’ve never thought of. If possible, bring one of the sofa cushions with you, just to be sure the new pillows don’t clash. Throw pillows are also a very low commitment option for people who are resistant to change or have color phobia.

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3. Plants — Nothing brightens and freshens a house like a little greenery. A few plants can make your home seem warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and even cleaner. In fact, plants do a wonderful job of cleaning the air. Stores like Trader Joe’s and Home Depot have budget friendly plants, but you might find that friends and neighbors might have cuttings. All you would have to buy is soil and containers.

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4. Area Rugs — Area rugs can be very expensive, but through sites like eSaleRugs (no, they are not paying me), you can buy new and gently used rugs for a fraction of the price. Area rugs can be a great way to add color, add warmth to wood or tile or cover flaws on your floor.

Featured image via Julian Fong/Flickr.

Featured image via Julian Fong/Flickr.

5. Thrift stores — Thrift stores can be full of treasures for your new home. You can find art (sometimes original), furniture, kitchen items, knick-knacks, area rugs, lighting and sometimes even brand new, never opened bed and bath linens. No one will ever know you cheaped out.

When NOT To Move With A Moving Company – Even When You May Want To

in Advice, Local moving, Posts by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

It might sound weird to talk about not moving with a moving company — on a moving company’s blog — but for some people, moving with a moving company may not be the best choice.

When not to hire a moving company.

For the vast majority of people, hiring a moving company saves time, money (your time is worth money) and backs, but for a handful of people, moving yourself is the answer.

If you’re young and your best piece of furniture is an IKEA hand-me-down (not that there’s anything wrong with IKEA), it may not be worth paying professionals to move it.

If you just have a few boxes to ship, don’t hire a mover. Ship them through the Post Office, especially if those boxes contain books. The books may take a few weeks to arrive, but since many movers charge by weight for long-distance moves, you will save a lot of money if you have a lot of books. If there are books you need right away, take them with you.

If you have a single piece of furniture or two, call movers, but know that with most, it will not be cost effective. Some may have a few cubic feet of space that needs to be filled, and coincidentally, may be going to your area. They might be able to make you a good deal, but for most, it would be cost prohibitive to move just a couple of pieces of furniture, unless, of course, they are valuable and need special protection. If so, by all means, call a mover.

If you are clearing a home from a hoarder, don’t call a moving company until the home is cleared. Movers must have a safe place to work and when movers are contracted to pack, they pack everything they see. Sure, you could pay movers to help sort, but there are companies that specialize in hoarding situations. Any moving company would be happy to help once everything is at least somewhat organized.

Where To Find Free (Or Almost Free) Boxes

in Posts, Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

If it’s been a while since you’ve moved, you might have forgotten to factor in one major cost, the boxes that protect and organize everything you own.

Now, if the movers are packing for you, the cost of the boxes will automatically be calculated into the estimate, as long as you’ve chosen a reputable company. If you are packing for yourself, though, the movers may or may not mention packing materials (which include paper, tape and markers) but you have choices:

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Where can I get free or inexpensive boxes?

1. Buy them from the movers – This is definitely the easiest way, but it may not be the cheapest. Advantage, the movers will deliver them to you for free, and yes, they take up a lot of room in a car.

2. Ask the movers if they have any used packing material – Used boxes can be risky. They often come damaged, but generally, the used boxes you get from moving companies will only be sold (or sometimes given) to you if they are in good condition. Still, with any used boxes, check for damage, including water damage, tears and cleanliness.

3. Check sites like Craigslist or Nextdoor – They usually have free boxes, but again, be careful of the condition.

4. Home Improvement Stores – Home improvement stores like Home Depot have a lot of packing supplies and at reasonable prices.

Whatever you do, do not get used boxes from the grocery store. Even if you can find some that have lids (most don’t these days), they are likely damaged and have been at least damp if not downright wet.

As for the quantity of packing materials you need, your mover will be happy to help you, but Moving.com has a handy calculator that is a great place to start. Who knows? If you ask your mover, they might also be able to get you a great deal.

Featured image via Nicolas Huk/Getty Images.

How To Deal With Stressed Out Pets During The Move

in Posts, Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers 1 Comment

Moving is stressful on everyone, but far too often, our pets, while they are family, are afterthoughts when it comes to the move. Of course, you are busy planning the move and probably packing, but with just a little time and preperation, you can ease the transition and help alleviate stressed out pets.

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1.

Use a crate

If your pet will use a crate, the crate will be your best friend during the move. It’s comforting for pets, like their own little safe den. It also keeps them out of the way when the movers are doing their jobs — if you don’t have another place to take them.

2.

Make time every day

Pets are very intuitive. Even if you haven’t started packing, they tend to know something is up. Once the boxes come out, they start freaking out. Tired pets are less stressed pets, so take some time every day to exercise them. Yes, a dog walker can help, but your pet wants to spend time with you. Play games with your cat. Spend 30 minutes to play fetch with or walk your dog.

3.

Make alternate arrangements for moving dayArrange accommodations at your new home

If you are moving out of the area, it’s best to make arrangments in advance for pet care people. Companies like Rover.com can arrange for pre-screened people to take care of your furry loved ones, whether for just the moving in day or for help while you work.

5.

Plan carefully for the actual move

If you are moving within the area, transporting your pets is relatively easy. If you are moving out of state, it’s sometimes best to drive them, but that’s not always possible. Nearly everyone has heard of flying pets, but it’s become controversial, sometimes undeservedly so. Transporting your pet by air is generally quite safe, but there are companies that specialize in shipping pets. Here is some good information on flying pets.

Featured image via Flickr.

The Five Best Reasons To Have Movers Pack For You, And Two For Why They Shouldn’t

in Posts, Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Saying that moving isn’t fun is right up there with saying that ice cream is sweet and that the sky is blue. It’s obvious. Even the most organized moving customers toy with the idea of letting the movers do everything, including pack. There are a lot of good reasons for it and maybe two reasons you might decide against it.

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It saves a lot of time – In a working household, packing can take weeks or sometimes even months. Professional movers can generally knock the packing out in a day. Think about it, you only have to live with mountains of cardboard for a day instead of weeks.

It saves a lot of mess – See above about the cardboard boxes. You can even pay the movers to unpack and haul away all the packing material. Now, doesn’t that sound nice?

It gets done right – I’m not implying you aren’t a good packer, not at all, but professional movers do it for a living. The best moving companies only allow their most experienced people to do the packing and their most most experienced people to pack fragile items.

Everything is labeled in a way the movers can understand – You might ask why you should care what the movers do or don’t understand, but trust me, clear labeling helps the move go a lot faster. If the movers pack the boxes, they will label them in a way that tells them how to load the boxes on the truck and where to place them in the new home.

There’s no question of liability – This one is not as important as it sounds, but it is important. When movers pack and something gets broken, you know where to point the finger. While liability is very limited, as per federal and state law, you might have insurance that ensures only against mover damage.

While all of this sounds amazing, why wouldn’t you want to have the movers pack for you?

It costs money – While packing is surprisingly reasonable, one of the ways movers suggest to save money is to pack yourself. Of course, you want to weigh the packing rate against the value of your own time, but if you find that you can afford to spend the time, do it.

Movers pack everything – Wait, is this a problem? It depends. If you use moving as an excuse to clear out a lot of clutter, professional movers won’t do that. They don’t know what you do and don’t want to keep unless you tell them.

Of course, there’s a middle ground. Many customers hire movers for what’s called a partial pack. Let them pack your breakables and you can save time and money and sort through the things you no longer want.

Utility Bill Shock? Here’s How To Save Money

in Posts, Your New Home by Ninja Movers 1 Comment

Over the last two (granted, colder than normal) months, our utility bills have nearly doubled and are significantly higher than this time last year. Why? What are we doing wrong?

There are many, many ways to save money on your utility bills and they range from quite inexpensive to quite expensive but worth it in the long run.

Featured image via Brendan Wood/Flickr

Featured image via Brendan Wood/Flickr

With our moderate temperatures, houses in California are notoriously unprepared for temperature extremes. Many homes have minimal insulation and some have none at all. Many homes are older and have wasteful windows, furnaces and other appliances.

Now, let’s start with the cheapest, and in many cases, free options.

1. Turn down the heat – Yes, it’s nice to have your home at a toasty 70 degrees all year around, but it can be expensive. A five degree difference can save you hundreds of dollars a year. Wear sweaters. In my house, it’s not uncommon to see me walking around in my bathrobe during the middle of the day. At night, turn your thermostat down to 55 or 60 degrees and pile on the covers.

2. Cover drafts – This isn’t the best looking alternative, but rolled up towels under the doors can make a big difference. You can cover those single-pane windows with plastic weather proofing to help the draft there. Covering your windows in plastic isn’t the most elegant solution, but it does make a difference on your comfort and utility bills.

3. Unplug – Even when off, many of your electronics continue to use electricity. Plug things that don’t need to constantly run (like your refrigerator) into power strips and when not in use, flip off that switch.

4. Get curtains or other insulated window coverings – Cover your windows in a more attractive, but somewhat more expensive way. Thermal curtains or other window treatments can save you hundreds a year.

5. Get Rugs – Wood and tile floors are cold and they have a tendency to cool the entire home. That’s why homes in hot climates often have tile floors. If you don’t want carpet, invest in some rugs. They will help preserve heat and they will keep your feet warmer.

6. Insulate – Here’s where things start go get expensive. Look to spend between $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot, so for a 2,000 square foot house, you could spend between $3,000 to $7,000 for insulation. Obviously, it won’t pay for itself during the first year but it will over time and it will help add to your resale value, as will these next two.

7. Get new windows – Your single-pane windows are a huge source of heat loss, and during the summer, heat coming into the house. On average, a good double-pane window will cost you about $500 – $1,000. For houses that have 20 or more windows, that can really add up, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

8. Get solar – This subject is a bit more complicated and can be expensive, but also a huge cost savings. Solar will be the subject of next week’s blog post.

9. Check with your utility company – Utility companies often offer rebates on energy efficient upgrades. Your first step is to invite them out to do an energy audit. They will tell you what’s eligible for a rebate and what’s not. They’ll also have some great tips.

Moving Companies Band Together To Keep Chargers In San Diego

in Business, Posts by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

The city of San Diego is in a big tub of hot water with its football loving citizens. The city’s team, the San Diego Chargers, announced last week that they will be moving about 115 miles north to Los Angeles and the city’s moving companies are refusing to help.

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So far, 23 companies have created a website called WeWontMoveYouChargers.com, where they are refusing to participate in having “56 years of San Diego Chargers history be pulled out from under (them).” Nine Los Angeles moving companies have also joined the ranks.

“We decree, henceforth, that we shall unite as a perfect union of professional movers in agreeance to not aid the San Diego Chargers’ move to Los Angeles.”

The site, which we fully support, was started by Ryan Charles of HireAHelper. Charles said he’s a lifelong San Diego resident and a lifelong Chargers fan.

“We were just sitting there thinking about the physical move of the Chargers,” Charles said. “We were thinking we would not want to be a part of that, having been born and raised here and being a lifelong Chargers fan.”

Charles added, “It’s almost like the last line of defense. We were making this last statement of loyalty to the San Diego Chargers.”

It’s not often moving companies get political but this is football and it’s personal.

Featured image via SD Dirk/Flickr

10 Questions Everyone Is Afraid To Ask About Moving

in Advice, Posts by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

If you think about it, the relationship between mover and customer is rather intimate. The relationship takes days/weeks and sometimes even months. Movers enter your home, they handle your personal possessions. Sometimes, movers and customers can even become friends.

Still, there is a line that few customers refuse to cross. There are questions that might come up, but that sound too personal or too intrusive to ask. So, you don’t have to ask. We’re giving you the down and dirty right here. Here are 10 questions you might have thought to ask your mover, but you thought they might be inappropriate.

Head in Hands

  1. Where do the movers go to the bathroom? – For many people, the answer to the question is pretty obvious. When movers are inside a home, they will sometimes ask to use the facilities. The customer always has a right to say no and the mover can go to the nearest convenience store or gas station, but for most customers, it’s not too much of an issue.
  2. Do you ever hire women? – Absolutely! We love strong women and some of our crews are even led by women packers.
  3. What about lingerie and other *ahem* personal items? – Let me tell you a story. I once entered a customer’s home and in her bedroom was a giant machine that looked vaguely like a vacuum. It wasn’t. She was a sex therapist and the machine was a tool of her trade. The movers discovered that she had many tools of her trade. The bottom line is, don’t be embarrassed. This woman wasn’t. Movers have seen it all, and well, everyone has *ahem* personal items. Many customers feel more comfortable packing them themselves, but trust me, the movers won’t be paying attention. That takes far too much time.
  4. My house is filthy! – As are many of the homes our movers enter. The fact is that most people focus on packing during the weeks before the move and cleaning often goes neglected. As long as it’s sanitary in your home, our movers are fine.
  5. Do your movers ever steal? – No. Our movers are bonded and we run careful background checks on each and every one. If, however, something does come up missing, it’s usually found within days. We are happy to help you find missing items.
  6. Do I have to feed the movers? – No, you do not. You can, as a courtesy, but they have no right to expect food.
  7. Can my child ride in the truck? – In most cases, no. Our insurance doesn’t cover passengers who aren’t employees. The children are, however, welcome to tour the truck while it’s parked, with adult supervision.
  8. Have you ever broken anything? – Yes, despite decades of packing experience and despite being particularly careful, sometimes things do break. If this happens, let the dispatcher know. Our goal is to take care of our customers.
  9. What if I smell alcohol or marijuana on a mover’s breath? – So far, that hasn’t happened, but if it does, call the dispatcher. We have a zero tolerance policy. That mover will be immediately pulled off the job. He will either be replaced or if no replacement is available, you will be charged for the lesser number of movers.
  10. Tipping, you say I don’t need to tip, but is that real? Will the movers be upset if I don’t? – While we can’t control what’s inside a mover’s head, and some might secretly expect a tip, if they don’t deserve one or if you don’t have the extra money, they are required to stay quiet and polite.

10 Reasons To Move To Portland

in Long-Distance moving, Posts by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Tired of the high cost of living or of the traffic, but love the West Coast vibe and mild seasons? If you’re anything like me, the answer to that question is a resounding, yes!

Now, I have no plans on leaving the area. Ninja Movers just moved us into a new, overpriced house and we’re kind of stuck loving it, at least for the time being, and to be fair, we really do love it.

Perhaps it’s a side-effect of spending more than two decades in and around the moving industry, but even though the Bay Area is our beloved home, we’re always on the lookout and Portland is at or near the top of every list.

We aren’t the only ones. Oregon, for the third year in a row, is the go-to destination for more and more people who are fleeing their current homes. Why is Oregon so appealing?

1.

Cost of living

While a median home price of $335,000 might not sound that appealing to middle America, for those of us in the Bay Area, it’s nearly pocket change. In San Francisco, the median price is more than three times that.

2.

Climate

We love our mild winters and our almost cold summers in the Bay Area, and in Portland, it’s similar. Its temperatures are mild and while they might get a lot of rain in the winter, they, like us, get very little in the summer.

3.

Portland is cool

Whether you’re a 20-something hipster or a not 20-something former hipster (or hippie), there is something to offer everyone in Portland. Oh, and did I mention they love their beer? You can drink almost everywhere, including the zoo. There is a thriving art scene and frankly, a thriving scene of people doing whatever the heck they want.

4.

Food

Portland might not be the hub of fine dining, and really, who cares? Portland, like the Bay Area, is casual. The city is filled with food trucks, which are far more democratic anyway.

5.

Bikes

In the Bay Area, we pride ourselves in being green, but we are sorely lacking in safe places to bike. In Portland, bikes are put before cars. The environment loves it.

6.

Food, part two

Yes, we’re also near the ocean, but the Bay Area has nothing on Portland for seafood.

7.

Traffic

San Francisco has one of the longest commute times in the country. In Portland, you’ll average about an hour a week less on the road.

8.

People are nice

This can’t be quantified, but Portland is known for having very polite residents.

9.

It’s a great place to raise a family

Portland consistently ranks among the best places to raise children. It’s safe, with lots to do and great air quality.

10.

No sales tax

Need we say more?

Featured image via Flickr.

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