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

in Posts, Preparing for a move by Wendy Gittleson 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.

What To Do When A Move Goes Very, Very Wrong

in Moving Costs by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

Moving, even with the best most experienced mover, isn’t an exact science. Sometimes miscommunications happen and sometimes, accidents happen.

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Clearly, the best movers won’t have as many miscommunications and accidents as the *well* less respected movers, but the true test of a moving company is how they treat you after they collect your money, not before.

The beginning of the move should set up the entire experience. The crew leader should present you with some paperwork. Essentially, it’s a contract that allows them to move you. It might contain the estimate you’ve already received (always get an estimate beforehand, preferably in person, especially if you have a large home). It’s called an Order for Service.

If any of the movers are rude or disrespectful, call the company immediately. If the mover’s attitude doesn’t make a quick turnaround, ask that he be replaced. It’s possible that they might have to change that mover out with one on another job, so if it takes an hour or two, that’s okay. Just ask that that mover work outside instead of in front of you.

Odds are, you won’t find damages or misplaced items before a mover leaves your home. When you do find them, document them. Before turning to Yelp and other review sites, call the company. Most movers want their customers to be happy. While the odds are you don’t have full replacement value insurance through the mover (this is available through private companies and it’s highly recommended — discuss it with your consultant), good movers will try to help in any way they can. As when talking to anyone, though, remaining calm will typically get you the furthest.

If you feel you were overcharged, contact the operations manager. He or she will be able to go through each and every charge. You should have an exact start and finish time on local moves. On long distance moves, you should have a copy of the weight or the cubic footage of your shipment. Typically, extra charges come from unexpected packing. Compare the amount of packing that the movers did to the amount of packing they were contracted to do. Did you pack everything, including pictures on the walls, lamps and electronics? Your moving consultant should have spoken to you about each of those items, but the bottom line is, if an item isn’t furniture (and in rare cases if it is), it needs to be in a box to ensure that it’s well protected. Even your mattresses and box springs will need to be protected during a move. If you did all of that, then by all means, find out where the discrepancies are.

If your goods are delivered late, it’s usually due to circumstances not under the movers’ control. Usually. Ask for an explanation, and again, remain calm. Movers make money by freeing up their truck space as quickly as possible, so there’s no reason for a decent mover to keep your goods longer than they absolutely need to, unless…

If you’ve done all of this and discussed any problems with the company, all to no avail, it may be time to file a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission, or the Federal Department of Transportation.

Featured image via Pixabay.

Introducing Your Cat And Dog To Your New Home

in Preparing for a move by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Moving with pets can be especially difficult because they have no idea what’s going on. While you and even your children might see opportunity in a new home, pets only see insecurity. Reassurance is the most important part of moving with a pet.

Cats and dogs require some of the same care when moving but dogs are much more easily adaptable. Conventional wisdom says that cats are attached to their surroundings while dogs are attached to their people. There’s a lot of truth to that, but it’s also overly simplistic. Dogs do get upset when being uprooted from their surroundings and cats do get attached to their people, although perhaps not as obviously. Here are some tips for moving each:

If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat or an outdoor cat, allow more time for the transition process. Begin several weeks before the move by feeding and entertaining the cat inside the home as much as possible. The ASPCA has some great tips for moving an outdoor cat indoors.

If your cat is an indoor cat, the transition will be similar to that of a dog. First, get your pet used to a crate. Dogs are naturally drawn to cozy crates, so if you have a younger dog, that should be no problem.

Check your new home for any escape routes. Check for holes in the fence or areas where a dog can dig his way out. Make sure all the doors latch. Keep doggie doors closed for a while until the dog is used to his new home. Close windows or secure all screens.

Cat and puppy proof your home. Even dogs who you think have outgrown bad behavior might revert to some old habits. Hide electrical cords and window cover pulls.

During the move, confine the animals to crates or to a single room. Provide lots of comfortable bedding, a blanket that smells like you and some familiar toys. Provide a litter box for the cat. Familiarity is key.

Once you are moved in, dogs will be somewhat comforted by the smell of your belongings, but it’s a good idea to avoid leaving the animals alone for a couple of days. Acquaint them slowly. Play games by putting treats in various areas of the home.

Keep the routine. Even if you are in the middle of the move, feed your animals at their normal feeding time and if you have dogs, take about 20 minutes to walk them. If you can spend more time, better. A tired animal is far more likely to adapt well.

If your pet is having trouble adjusting or it is very nervous or skittish, your vet might be able to help with some anti-anxiety medication to help get through the move.

How To Do A Move Out Clean In 20 Steps

in Advice, Preparing for a move by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

vacuum-cleaner-268179_1280My absolute least favorite part of moving out is the move out clean. It seems so pointless. At the end of a brutal day or three of backbreaking cleaning, you end up with a spotless home that you have to leave behind. Why couldn’t it have looked like that when you lived there?

Of course, the reason it didn’t look like that when you lived there is because you lived there. People are messy. Just maintaining a decent amount of cleanliness is hard enough. Who has time to spit-polish the floors and appliances?

Unfortunately, if you rent, that’s what the landlord expects. If you own, the new owners didn’t charge you a security deposit, but it is courteous to leave them a clean home, unless they are renovating.

I promised myself that the next time I move out, I will hire professionals. As with the entire moving process, you have to weigh the value of your time vs. the cost of the service. If you decide to do the cleaning yourself, here are some steps to make it easier, or at least more thorough.

1. Invite a friend. This had better be a close friend because it’s damned hard work, but it will make everything go so much quicker.

Everywhere

2. Once the home is completely empty, except for cleaning supplies and a source of music, vacuum thoroughly. Vacuum the walls and the blinds. Vacuum inside all drawers and cabinets. If the carpet is stained, hire a professional to clean it.

3. Remove nails and screws from the walls and putty them.

4. Clean the baseboards and clean any marks on the wall. If the marks don’t come out, you may need to paint – always use a neutral color, preferably the same color as when you moved in.

5. Clean the windows, both inside and out.

6. Wipe down wall switches, outlets and doorknobs.

7. Dust ceiling fans and wash light fixtures and replace burned out bulbs.

Bathroom

8. Thoroughly scrub inside all cabinets, re-line if necessary.

9. Remove soap scum from bathtub and shower and bleach the grout.

10. Clean the bathroom fixtures, floors and the mirror.

11. Vacuum the fan.

Kitchen

12. Thoroughly scrub inside all cabinets, re-line if necessary.

13. Scrub all appliances inside and out.

Remove all the shelves and drawers from the refrigerator and clean them thoroughly. Wipe down the inside of the refrigerator and freezer.

Run the oven cleaner, if there is an automatic one, but be sure to remove all the ash at the end of the cycle. The oven cleaning is best done before move out day, so it has time to run through the cycle and cool.

If you don’t have an automatic cleaning oven, you’ll have to buy oven cleaner. Be sure to wear a mask when you are spraying. Still, you’ll want to do this before the move out day, since it will need to sit for 24 hours and then you’ll need to thoroughly scrub it out. Remember, the broiler pan is made from the same metal as the oven, so it will withstand both the heat of a cleaning cycle and the oven cleaner in a can.

14. If the sink is not stainless, remove all stains (bleach if necessary).

15. Finish off all surfaces, including counters, chrome faucets, mirrors and sinks, with window cleaner. It will make them shine.

16. Pull out the appliances and sweep under them. Wipe down the sides and the back as they are pulled out.

Everywhere

17. Clean the tile and hardwood floors.

18. Run the vacuum one more time and you are done with the inside.

Outside

19. Tidy up the outside, including mowing the lawn and pulling weeds.

20. Sweep and hose down the garage, patio and driveway.

Once you’re done, take a lot of pictures in case your landlord claims you have damaged something or that the place is dirty. Oh, and be sure to empty the trash.

Image courtesy Pixabay.

 

 

 

Your Office Moving Checklist

in Office Moving by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

Your Office Moving Checklist (3)

So it’s time for you and your team to make a move to the new office. It’s time to get into gear and shift to a new home that will hopefully reflect the forward-looking nature of your business while providing a comfortable base for your staff. A potentially shambolic, stressful process can be turned into a relatively smooth, straightforward experience by following six simple tips.

 

 

1. Share Responsibility

There’s nothing worse than being left with shouldering the weight of a move alone – whether you’re the MD or the new intern there should be a role for you in the move. From boxing up the computers to carefully wrapping everyone’s favorite comedy slogan mug there’s a job for everyone when it comes to the big shift. If someone takes control in the first instance and allocates everyone their job (no playing favourites please!) there should be little to no confusion and little to no fuss.

2. Work to a schedule

So the move is in two months. What needs to be done in week one? In week three? And by who? An excel spreadsheet distributed to those involved (that’s EVERYONE remember?) detailing exactly what needs to be done and when will make the moving day itself a painless exercise. As painless as it can be anyway.

3. Throw it out

Who bought that plastic globe? When was the last time anyone used that clapped out printer? How many tons of scrap paper does one person possibly need? You know where the skip is and you know what to do. Carrying the rubbish of the past into a new environment will detract hugely from the new office’s potential to feel like a brand new, truly fresh start for all involved.

4. Pack it properly

If you’ve followed the above advice there’ll be no rushed packing and shoving of valuable items into unsuitable containers or ramming of essentials into a van at the very last minute for you. Should you encounter a moment of weakness when it seems that cramming the celebration champagne glasses into a shoebox is a great idea, imagine how you’ll feel when they turn up in bits the other end – and everyone knows you packed them because of carefully following point number 2!

5. Pick the right office

So maybe this should have been upfront but before you can schedule anything, before a box is filled, a plant pot dropped or a removal van called you’ll need to find a decent space to which to move. Think about the cons of your current office space – lacking natural light? Not spacious enough? A lack of privacy? Make these the key factors when you search for a new spot – don’t repeat the mistakes of the past – your new office should always be an improvement that gives rise to the best possible outcome from the move – a raise in both staff morale and productivity.

6. Book the right removal people

All the planning and careful packing in the world is irrelevant if you book a careless removal company. Or a massively overpriced one. Or one that turns up late and wants to go home early. You’ll need to take a long look at online reviews, take advice from other companies who have moved recently and tips from reliable friends when it comes to finding the right people for the job. Remember that the cheapest will probably not be the best but the most expensive may not be either. Picking wisely will not only reflect well on you but will serve your company very well indeed. Book a careless removal company

 

Author: Emma Macmillan

 

 

How To Throw A Housewarming Party

in Your New Home by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

Cocktails_mit_SchirmchenYou’ve moved into the perfect home. You’ve even (mostly) unpacked. It’s time to breathe. Wait, not so fast, your friends and neighbors want to see your new place, so why not follow a time-honored tradition and throw a housewarming party? Take advantage of that small window before the house becomes too lived in.

It’s somewhat traditional for housewarming guests to bring gifts. One controversial idea that’s gaining popularity is registering, like you might when getting married or having a baby. Almost any store that has a bridal registry has a housewarming registry. Stores like Crate and Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond and most department stores would be happy to accommodate. Tread lightly with this idea, though. While people might intend to bring a plant or another low-cost gift, it could turn a lot of people off if you suggest gifts. My suggestion is to leave it off the invitation and register just in case someone asks what you would like or what your need.

There tend to be two types of housewarming parties – traditional and open houses. With a traditional party, you’d probably invite a smaller group of people and you’d expect them to stick around. You might serve a full dinner or perhaps just appetizers and cocktails.

With an open house, you can invite more people because people will be going in and out. For an open house, you should serve appetizers and cocktails only. If you do host an open house, it might be nice to invite your new neighbors as well as old friends. If you have kids, you can consider a child friendly housewarming party and ask your kids to invite new classmates. If you do invite kids, have games and other activities for them.

Next, you should plan the theme. Casual is probably best. Barbecues are alway a great idea as are more casual cocktail party style.

Once you’ve planned your party, it’s time to send invitations. Online invitations are fine, if you have email addresses. You can even invite people through social media. A couple weeks in advance is fine.

Once the guests arrive, they are going to expect tours. You can either have individual tours or group tours. People tend to feel more comfortable on smaller tours, but the logistics can be difficult to maneuver. You don’t want to spend the entire party giving people tours. You can divide up the duties. If you have children who are old enough, ask them to pitch in. Remember, you don’t have to open your closets (unless you want to show off that fabulous walk-in) or your kids’ bedrooms, if you don’t want to.

If you do invite new neighbors, involve them. Ask them to talk about the neighborhood. You might consider neighborhood tours as well as house tours. This can be done as one large group and be sure to tell your guests to wear comfortable shoes.

The Quickest Renovations You Can Do

in Your New Home by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment
Painted kitchen cabinets. Image courtesy of Flickr

Painted kitchen cabinets. Image courtesy of Flickr

New homes are rarely perfect. Even on a brand new home, you generally want to put your own touches on, just to give it your personality. However, when you have to live there and when your budget is already stretched, tearing down cabinets and walls is probably not in the cards. Fortunately, there are several ways you can make your new home yours without breaking the bank, your back or your family’s sanity.

Pretty much everyone knows that the easiest thing to start with is painting. A coat of paint will add instant personality to a room and it’s cheap and relatively easy. But, don’t let the paint start with the walls. Paint some furniture, if you like the look of painted wood. It’s not generally recommended that you paint your countertops, but you can even paint your kitchen cabinets, it does, however, take some work. Here’s a video on it:

New hardware will quickly spruce up a home. Change out the light fixtures. Light fixtures can add pop to any room. Change the hardware in the kitchen and in the bathrooms. Brushed metal is modern and easy to keep clean looking. Change the door pulls on drawers and on kitchen cabinets. You’d be amazed at how transformational it can be.

There’s nothing that can add more of your personality than new window treatments. While they can be expensive, good window treatments will be easy to clean and they will help insulate your home, saving you money in the long run.

Retiling your bathroom or your kitchen can be a major job, but new grout can be easy. It’s clean and it can even add some color.

If you’re really ambitious, you can refinish your bathtub or porcelain sink. Here’s a video that almost makes it look easy, but leave it to someone with lots of patience and who’s detail oriented.

Add instant curb appeal by planting shrubs and flowers, adding attractive paving stones and painting your door. Shutters on your front window can add a special touch

Why Is Moving So Stressful And What Can Be Done About It?

in Preparing for a move by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

Handshake_(Workshop_Cologne_'06)A few days ago, my husband dropped a bombshell that there might be a job offer for him in another state. The money would be irresistible, which you’d think would make the decision easy. We’d be able to afford a nicer house and we’d be close to family, but still, I hesitate, he hesitated. We looked at our tiny home. We thought about our great neighbors. We thought about the near perfect Bay Area weather. If the job offer comes through, we’ll move, but not without sadness and, yes, uncertainty.

We have a bit of a confession. We know moving is difficult. Part of our job is to empathize, but it’s also to make it less difficult. We know that, but sometimes we forget that the stress is so much more than about the work and the expense – the parts we can help with – there is also so much uncertainty and unfortunately, we can’t really help with that. Why exactly is moving so stressful? How can you make it less so?

When we move, we tend to be so focused on the logistics, that we walk into our new home almost blind. Sure, we’ve seen the home. We’ve decorated it in our minds. We’ve even checked out the neighborhood. We might know where the parks are and the schools and the grocery stores, but what about the people? Maybe you’ve researched activities for the kids, but what about for you?

When we’re caught up in moving, we typically wait for the neighbors to come to us. In some neighborhoods, they will, but how about a reverse welcome wagon type of thing? Why don’t you take a bit of time and bake some cookies and meet your neighbors? The unpacking will still be there when you get back.

Think of everything you’re interested in. Have you thought about knitting? How about rock climbing? Do you enjoy reading? Whatever your interest, Meetup.com has a group for you. Instantly, you’ll have something in common with a group of people.

Join the PTA. Yes, I know, that sounds rather Mad Men era, but parents with kids tend to gravitate toward parents with kids and what better way to stay on top of your kids’ educations?

Invite your coworkers for happy hour. Busy people tend to make friends through work. Sometimes, though, those relationships need a little push. Get them outside work. You may also get the scoop on what they can’t talk about during the day at the office.

Don’t rule out service people as friends. I know, this sounds weird. How can you be friends with someone with whom we exchange money? Well, we’ve made friends with a lot of our customers, but beyond that, I remember when I moved to one new city, my chiropractor became one of my closest friends. They key is to talk to people like they’re people. You might find you have a lot in common.

Finally, just get out and do stuff. Go hiking alone, as long as it’s on a well-travelled trail. Go to a movie. Go out to eat. Ride a bike. Take the dog for walks. You’d be amazed at how many people you can meet if you open yourself up to the possibilities.

 

10 Things You Might Not Think About Before Moving – But Should

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Preparing for a move by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

It’s fairly easy to find advice on the obvious aspects of moving, like packing or hiring a mover, but there are several things that most people don’t think about and they can make the difference between a predictable and even pleasant move and a moving disaster. If you follow these few tips, your move might not be perfect, but you could be saved a lot of headaches.

1. Talk to your cities – You should contact both your current city and the city where you are moving. You should also speak to your management company or landlord if you rent and your homeowner’s association if applicable. Many cities and neighborhoods have ordinances regarding where moving trucks can park and what hours they are allowed. Some require permits. Be as specific as possible and exaggerate the time needed – it’s always better safe than sorry.

2. Talk to your neighbors – Many vigilant neighbors are on-guard for things like moving trucks. They are common tools of burglars. Neighbors can be very helpful during a move, even if it involves small things like them allowing the truck to block a part or all of their driveway. You also want to make sure that the street in front of your home is as clear as possible. That might require asking your neighbors to move their cars.

3. Try to schedule your move outside of rush hour – Most movers charge a flat fee getting to your move and returning from your move (unless you are moving out of your metro area), but you will be charged for the time traveling between homes.

4. Prepare your electronics – Always back up your computers. If you are packing your own electronics, remove CDs and DVDs. They are best packed in their original boxes with the original packing material, but you should always make sure they are packed securely and that nothing can move.

5. Prepare your appliances – If you have gas appliances, they should be disconnected by a professional. Most moving companies can recommend a profession to service your appliances. All appliances should be emptied and cleaned. Remove shelves and drawers from your refrigerator.

6. Make sure your appliances are compatible with your new home – Not all homes have gas lines for dryers or for ranges. If not, you might have to either install a gas line or purchase new appliances.

7. Don’t pack items that can’t be moved – The general rule of thumb is that if it’s flammable, corrosive or explosive, a moving company can’t move it. You can move non-corrosive cleaning fluids, but even those are prone to leak. They are best either left behind or transported in your own vehicle in a plastic container. Return your propane tank to the store. Some stores will be able to issue a certificate for an exchange in your new city.

8. Don’t pack small valuables – You should move all valuable jewelry, money and papers yourself. Valuable art and antiques can be handled by a reputable mover.

9. Measure the rooms and doorways in your new home – Often, people move their home full of furniture only to find that their oversized sofa or refrigerator simply doesn’t fit – either in the room or even through the door. If you have concerns as to whether your furniture will fit through the doors, contact your moving consultant. It could require a visit to your new home or at least a few measurements.

10. If possible, get rid of the children and the pets for the day – If you can have your children and your pets stay with family members or friends for a few hours, you might save yourself and the movers a lot of headaches. If you don’t have friends and family that can help, you can always contact child care and pet day care facilities. If that is out of the question, keep them out of the way as much as possible.

 

What Is A Moving Consultant?

in Moving Costs by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

For some people, moving is more time consuming than it’s worth, even if they hire a mover to do virtually everything. However, when you need to move, you need to move. If you are short on time, perhaps you should consider hiring a professional moving consultant.

Preparing for a move is time-consuming. You have to hire the mover, which should mean that you are making the time to research, make phone calls and invite the three finalists to your home to give you a written estimate before eventually hiring one.

For the super-busy, all of that can be narrowed down to one phone call if you hire a moving consultant.

Moving consultants come in a few varieties. The most common work for a single mover. There is an optional federal certification process for moving consultants through the American Moving and Storage Association, but very few are independent. The certification does ensure some credibility and very few fly-by-night companies bother.

The second type of moving consultant works with several moving companies and they are paid a commission by the moving companies. Certification is not a legal requirement, and it is better to choose someone who has the certification than someone who doesn’t. Despite the fact that they are paid by movers, reputable moving consultants will only work with reputable movers. Despite the fact that moving consultants are paid a commission on your move, they can save you money. More on that in a bit.

The third type of moving consultant is paid directly by the customer – you. This type of consultant might cost you a bit more, but their only loyalty will be to you. Besides, a good moving consultant will save you money.

The fourth type of moving consultant works for a corporation who relocates employees.

Moving consultants should be expert at mover speak. They know what hidden charges to look for and they know where prices can be cut. They also know that certain situations allow room for negotiation, such as flexibility on pickup or delivery dates.

A moving consultant can organize the packing and in some situations, even the unpacking. Movers should have enough trust in a moving consultant’s expertise that the consultant can relay the details of your move to the mover – saving the hassle of multiple movers visiting your home.

Finding a moving consultant isn’t always easy. The down economy has forced most to go to work for individual moving companies. On the other hand, the down economy and lack of industry regulation has created a cottage industry of people with no experience thinking they can make a living as a moving consultant.

You can find a certified moving consultant through the American Moving and Storage Association, but most will work for moving companies and while that certification does look good on a moving company’s resume, most experienced moving estimators know as much or more than certified consultants (I speak from experience – I used to be certified). But, certification is an excellent place to start when looking for a consultant who is not tied to a moving company.

You can also check with your real estate agent or with Yelp or Angie’s List.

The best relocation consultants come from either the moving industry or they have been corporate relocation consultants. Demand a relocation consultant’s resume and check it out.

 

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