Preparing for a move

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21st Century Solutions For Not Being Hit With Extra Charges At Your New Home

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

Even the most diligent moving consultant can miss one giant piece of the puzzle, the new home. While in most cases, the new home shouldn’t add much to the moving price, there are circumstances where the unknowns can add up. There are ways to avoid any sort of extra charges.

Long carry

When you receive a moving estimate, don’t be surprised if you get some questions about the distance from where the truck can park to the front door. If it’s longer than say, 100 feet, you are charged extra based on the amount of stuff you have. If it’s a local move, it will add to the number of hours.

Stairs

Movers don’t specifically charge more for stairs inside the home, but if there is more than one flight of stairs to get to the front door, you will pay extra. Even if the stairs are inside the home, it could require an extra mover and it will certainly add to the time.

Obstructions

People don’t give much thought to the obstructions that might impede a move. For example, my home has shrubbery next to the front walk that could prevent movers from carrying big items through. Fortunately, there’s a quick workaround in my yard, but that’s not always true. If you can’t clear your new home of obstructions, you should at least notify your mover so they can prepare.

Shuttle

Shuttles are typically only a factor in long-distance moves, but they are very costly. Most interstate moves are performed in a 53-foot tractor-trailer. Some homeowner’s associations have rules against tractor-trailers. If your new home is on a winding or hilly road, it’s often physically impossible for a truck to get through. Shuttles can add a shocking amount to the move, and for good reason. There is a lot of labor involved.

Every time a shuttle is needed, the movers have to call in another truck, often a rental. Then, all of the items are transferred from the big truck to the smaller one before the movers finally unload the contents of the smaller truck into the new home.

Storage

If your new home isn’t ready for delivery at the time the movers are ready to deliver, they will charge you for storage, often by the day. If your goods need more than a day or two of storage, the mover will charge you for unloading the truck, and then when you’re ready for delivery, loading it.

How to avoid extra charges at delivery

No one wants that hit of extra and unexpected charges. That’s how a good company can get a bad reputation, often through no fault of their own. Fortunately, there are advantages now that we didn’t have even a few years ago. Take your moving estimator on a virtual tour of your new home through your smartphone, laptop or tablet. Show them where a truck might park, how your front door is accessed and whether there are stairs.

Save money by letting your movers know in advance that your new home won’t be ready. Many movers offer one month of storage for free or at a dramatic discount, as long as they can store at their home base. Things get very expensive for the mover, and for you if they have to rent storage space.

Featured image via Pexels.

The Best Ways To Get Rid Of Stuff Before You Move

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

If Americans are good at anything, it’s acquiring stuff, and when you’re moving, it means dealing with years, if not decades of acquired stuff, much of which hasn’t been touched in a very long time.

If you haven’t used or worn something for a year or two, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself if you really want to move it. Why should you, the more stuff needs to be moved, the more you’ll pay…sort of.

Allow me to explain. If you’re moving long-distance, you pay buy weight, so the less you have to move, the lighter the weight. If you’re moving locally, you pay by time. A handful of boxes here and there won’t make a noticeable difference on time, but if you are doing a major purge, you will definitely save money. More importantly, a purge is a way to give yourself a fresh start, and isn’t that part of what moving is about?

What are the best ways to get rid of stuff?

When purging, there are basically three options: sell them, donate them or throw them away.

Sell your items

When selling goods, there are a few ways to go. There are several apps where you can list your goods. Even Facebook now has a Marketplace. Tip: If you go the route of directly selling goods to strangers, bring a friend. You can also sell through Ebay.

Direct sales might bring in more money, but it’s potentially risky and it’s time consuming, and if you are moving, you probably don’t have a lot of extra time. Another option is to sell through consignment sites and consignment stores. You’ll do best consigning if your goods are relatively high-end and in very good condition. Regardless, never try to sell stained or torn items.

Donate your items

You won’t get money for your old goods if you decide to donate them, but you can get a decent tax deduction. Here’s a great article on some of the most common donation charities. You might prefer a more local option as well. Even when donating, make sure your items are in good condition.

Dispose of your items

For the items that aren’t in good condition, or things like old mattresses, disposing might be the only sanitary option. Call your local municipality or your local trash company. Most have available bulk item pickups.

Featured image via Unnar Ymir Björnsson/Flickr.

How To Prepare Your Home Office For A Move

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It’s one thing to haphazardly throw your clothes in a box. The worst that might happen is some wrinkles. When it comes to your home office, though, a little organization now will save you weeks of headaches and it will get you up and running in the quickest amount of time possible.

If your home office’s organizational system needs a little improvement, like mine, now is the time to organize it.

1. File, shred, scan or do something with every single piece of paper

If you don’t own a good diamond cut shredder, buy one. Create files for taxes, for insurance, for investments, for credit cards, for utilities, for your home, for pets, for medical files, etc. A good filing system will make your life so much easier in the future. HGTV has some great hacks for creating a good system.

If you don’t need to keep the originals, and even if you do, it’s always wise to scan important papers and store them on an external hard drive. Separate out the really important papers like house deeds, car titles, Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports, etc. Move those yourself.

2. Label all cords

If you’re like most people, you have a drawer full of charging cords and no idea where they go. One is probably from that 2007 flip phone. It’s time to go through every cord. If it matches an item, label it with a sharpie and a bread tag. If it doesn’t, take it to an electronics recycling facility or to a store like Best Buy.

3. Back up your hard drive

There are several cloud and external hard drive options. Many prefer the latter for security, but the cloud has the advantage of being indestructible and you can’t lose it. If you back everything up to an external hard drive, take it with you.

4. Disassemble your electronics

Electronics are one of the items we typically recommend that movers pack, but if you do decide to pack electronics, first disassemble them. Label the cords just like the cords above. If you have the original boxes, those are always preferable, but if you don’t, you can purchase boxes from your mover. Here are some tips.

If you have any questions or you need some help packing your home office, Ninja Movers is here for you.

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.

Hilarious Moving Fails No Decent Mover Would Ever Make (VIDEO)

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Preparing for a move, Uncategorized by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

For most customers, moving nightmares might consist of being overcharged, having some items broken and *gasp* even having their furniture held hostage. Those are nightmares, but sometimes, the worst moves start with the best intentions.

The internet, the world’s repository for everything embarrassing, has compiled several hilarious (for those not experiencing them) moving fails. Most are do-it-yourselfers, trying to save a few bucks, but some are actual moving companies, and trust me, we’re embarrassed for all of them.

Of course, I’d be negligent in posting this hilarious video without offering a few words of advice. Number one, please never, ever try hoisting a piece of furniture out of (or into) a window without help from professionals who have the right equipment.

Even experienced movers are reluctant to hoist a piece of furniture through a window, without someone specifically trained in the science. Most movers can hoist furniture up one or maybe two floors, but it takes special ropes and equipment and it takes being very, very careful.

You’ll find very few in the moving industry who are against the idea of people moving themselves. Sometimes, it’s the least expensive and most practical way to get from point A to point B. Sometimes, though, people get in over their heads. If an item can’t make it through a door, rather than forcing it, take the door and frame off, with the proper tools, of course.

As for the people in this video who appeared to be pros, shame on them. Remember, a logo and a t-shirt doesn’t necessarily mean professionalism. Always be sure to check social media (Yelp, Facebook, Google) and review sites like Angie’s List before hiring a mover. You should also check licensing information.

Remember, if you’re moving yourself and you find yourself in a jam, there’s no shame in taking for help. You don’t want to be caught as one of these moving fails.

It’s Time To Move Out Of Your Apartment; How To Get Your Security Deposit Back

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

Whether you’ve lived in your apartment six months or six years, there’s sure to be some signs that yes, someone has lived there. Perhaps the carpet is a bit worn, perhaps there is a small stain on the hardwood floor or some holes in the wall. While a landlord legally needs to expect some wear and tear, it’s sometimes a struggle getting them to accept that fact. The best way to guarantee you’ll get your deposit back, other than abiding by the terms of the lease, is if you leave your apartment in the best condition possible — and that means cleaning.

The last thing you want to think about as you’re about to enter your next life adventure is cleaning the place you’re leaving behind, but for the cash, it’s definitely worth it. Fortunately, the American Apartment Owners Association has released a checklist for getting your apartment in shipshape. Frankly, it’s a helpful list for your spring cleaning as well.

moving-checklist
You can download the list for free here.

This isn’t the time to cut corners. One in four renters never get their security deposits back. Interestingly, it seems there is more pressure for women to keep a clean place than there is for men. While many lost their deposits for reasons like breaking the lease, many lost theirs for inexplicable reasons.

The biggest reason for landlords withholding security deposits was a tenant moving out early, according to the survey. Almost half — 44 percent — of renters ages 18 to 24 and 33 percent of men who responded to the survey cited breaking the lease agreement as the reason they didn’t get their security deposits back. Nine percent of women and 3 percent of men in the survey of 1,000 respondents said that they lost their security deposits because of pet damage.

But the most alarming statistic: 36 percent of respondents said that their landlords offered no explanation at all for why they were withholding security deposits.

moving-checklist

Fortunately for renters, California laws are pretty much on their side, with some exceptions, and cleaning is one of them.

In California, there are only four reasons why a landlord may withhold a security deposit: to cover unpaid rent, to clean the rental when a tenant moves out, to repair damages caused by the renter, or to replace furnishings (only if the lease agreement explicitly states that this is allowable).

With our exorbitant rents, it’s definitely worth it to spend a few additional hours, even if you have to hire someone, so you get back what’s rightfully yours.

Featured image via Pixnio.

Where To Find Free (Or Almost Free) Boxes

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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.

The Three Weird Things You Probably Don’t Think You Need To Pack In Boxes

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It’s moving day. You take one last glance around your home before the movers arrive, just to make sure that you haven’t forgotten to pack anything. All you see is a sea of cardboard and your furniture. You’re good, you think. There are three things, though, if you are like many moving customers, that you have likely forgotten to pack, and even if you did remember them, how exactly do you pack them?

No, you don't need to pack your cat.  Image via Douglas O'Brien/Getty Images.

No, you don’t need to pack your cat.
Image via Douglas O’Brien/Flickr
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Here are the three things most people don’t even know they need to pack:

1. Lamps – Lamps are one of the most commonly forgotten items when it comes to preparing for moves. While some metal lamps might be tough enough to go unpacked, if a lamp can be dented or broken, you want to put it in a box. Even if your lamp is made from sturdy metal, you still want to remove the lightbulb and pack that. To pack a lamp, either ask your mover for help or use a dish pack or a specially designed lamp box. For standing lamps, tape two of the boxes together to make one tall box. Wrap the lamp very carefully in paper or in cloth (moving blankets are perfect). Stuff any extra space in the box with paper and pick up the box and lightly shake to make sure there is no movement inside. If not, you’re good to go. Just seal it up. If so, add more paper then seal the box.

2. Pictures and mirrors – Unless you are moving a picture that is virtually indestructible, every single picture or mirror in your home should be in a box. Smaller pictures can fit in dish packs or smaller boxes, as long as they are well wrapped. Bigger pictures, though, need their own boxes. You can buy picture/mirror boxes from your mover and they can fit up to two pictures. As with lamps, make sure they are very well wrapped and that the packed box has no room for movement.

3. Mattresses – For many, mattresses are among their most expensive pieces of furniture. Some movers require mattresses to be in bags (easiest) but some require boxes. It’s recommended that you let the movers take care of your mattress. If you find a mover that says a mattress doesn’t need to be packed, find another mover. That’s how mattresses become dirty and torn.

Before you panic, the good news is that all of these items can be taken care of for a relatively nominal fee from your mover.

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.

How You Can (Almost) Have Fun On Moving Day – If You Can Afford It

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Who the heck has a fun moving day — well, you can.

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The first time you moved, you probably gathered a few friends, bought some beer and pizzas and loaded a pickup truck, or perhaps a rental truck, and hoped and prayed that everything ended up at your destination in one piece. Even if it didn’t, it wasn’t that big a deal.

Years or decades later, you’d be amazed at the number of people who still move like that, only now, muscles are tighter, backs are weaker, friends tend to be scarcer on moving day and you care a lot more about your belongings. Besides, isn’t it time you stopped busting your butt and had a *gasp* fun moving day?

For many, a sign of adulthood is hiring movers. Still, for most, watching their budget still limits what they can pay movers to do. While most of us are packing our boxes or cleaning our homes, we can’t help but fantasize about what rich people do when they move. Is it really so different?

The short answer to that question is yes, rich people do do it differently, but it doesn’t have to be all that different. Here are five things you can do to move like rich people and some of them might actually save you money.

1. Pay the movers to pack and unpack – Yes, this is a luxury, but not as much as you think. Packing and unpacking can about double the price of your move, but if you factor in the cost of your time, you might come out ahead, even if you aren’t rich.

2. Pay cleaning people – There is nothing more brutal than cleaning up years of dirt that’s been lodged behind your furniture, or the sudden realization that after a hard week’s work, you still have to spend hours cleaning. The solution is simple, though. Pay someone.

3. Go to a spa – This is the ultimate indulgence and will only work if you have someone you can trust at home supervising. Talk about a stress-free move.

4. Go on vacation – Yes, rich people do this. Who wants to live with upheaval if they don’t have to. Of course, you have to have a reliable person to supervise, which leads me to the last one…

5. Hire an independent moving consultant – This might be a little tougher. Most moving consultants work for moving companies, but to protect your interests, find an independent consultant who can look out for your needs. She can hire cleaners and painters and packers and even supervise the move. It will cost money to hire a specialist like this, but she could end up saving you money by using her expertise to hire only the most reputable movers.

You might not be rich, but really, if you spend a few bucks, all you will need to do come moving day is drive to your new home. Now, doesn’t that sound relaxing? Maybe you can even have a fun moving day.

Featured image via Obra Shalom Campo Grande/Flickr.

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