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Five Ways To Save Some Serious Money On Your Move

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Moving Costs, Uncategorized by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Moving is expensive. We know this and the last thing we want to do is send you into debt for your move. That’s really not a good way to get repeat business. So, here are some tips that are guaranteed to save money.

1. Save Money by Packing Everything

Packing everything in your home can save you as much as 25 percent on the cost of your move. Talk to your moving estimator about packing materials and ask for tips. They can show you how to pack fragile items. Keep in mind that if it’s not furniture, it needs to be in a box. You need to pack pictures (or move them yourself), electronics and lamps.

2. Save Money by Cleaning

Movers don’t care if there’s a little dust, but you want to be sure that there is plenty of space to move, especially near the doors. Clear all debris and empty the trash, or the movers might move it.

3. Save Money by Labeling Everything

If you are doing your own packing, odds are, the movers won’t label your boxes. One of the best ways to keep things moving smoothly is to very clearly label each item with by room. Color coordination is even better. You can even map out your new home to show the movers where all the furniture goes.

4. Save Money by Moving Some Things Yourself

Moving a box or 10 isn’t going to make a whole lot of difference on the bottom line, but if you can move loose items like pictures, lamps and electronics, you can save a good bit of change.

5. Save Money by Reserving a Parking Space

If parking is a challenge in your neighborhood, contact the city and ask about reserving space. Plan on a truck that’s about 26 foot in length. Most cities will charge you, but in the long-run, convenient parking will save you a lot of time on your move.

If you live in a condo or apartment building that has a loading dock, ask your building management about reserving time. Note that most moves start in the morning, so you should reserve your current home for the morning and your new address later in the day. Your moving estimator can give you a better estimate of time.

Featured image CC2.0 401(k) 2012 via Flickr

8 Things to Consider When Moving to A New City

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

You’ve got a new job, or maybe you are dating someone and your relationship has progressed to the next level and you find yourself moving to a new city. Your emotions are a mixed bag of nervousness, excitement, and apprehension, but you are ready to make the big move.

There are many things to consider when moving to a new city. We want you to be prepared and ready to take on this big change in your life and know all the possible costs so that you will find it a joyful experience and not one that you are dreading.

Job Selection

If you are moving to a new city for a significant other, this is something that may impact your decision. If your career requires that you teach people how to ski but where you plan to move stays warm throughout the year with no snow, you may have to re-evaluate your career path.
Before you take the big jump, check out some online job listings and see if any of them would be a good fit for you. You may also want to get a local phone number to remove any questions about where you live.

If you are already relocating for the sake of a job, be sure that you are making the correct move and that there is room for progression in your chosen career. Your significant other may want to stay back for a while until you have had a chance to get through the probationary period and your job is more secure and appears to be long-term.

The Cost of Living

The cost of living varies quite considerably from one city to another, let alone one state to another. Will you be paying double the rent? Will food or utility costs be increased? Or perhaps your rent will be significantly cheaper, but maybe your salary will reflect that, how will you handle making less money?

The way to be successful with this sort of change is to make sure that you budget your money well. Not just in relation to the money you will need once you get there, but also to cover moving costs, even possibly long-distance movers, sending over your belongings and having to do without until everything arrives (for example, no pots and pans means lots of take-out food.)

Do I Know Anyone?

You may or may not be moving with a companion, but even if you are, if they are the only other person you know, this will be a challenge. Leaving family and friends and then moving to a new city where you will have to make friends again takes time, and not everyone finds that easy to do.

Add in costs of traveling back and forth to see family and friends, and you may find this quite stressful. Try to build new connections quickly by going out for a drink with coworkers after work or by joining a group activity that will include meeting people with similar interests to yours.

If you are planning on making the big move by yourself, finding an apartment to rent that comes with a roommate may also be a great way to make some friends and meet some new people. This will also be a great way to save the cost of having to cover a place all by yourself.

How Will I Get Around?

Moving from a city that is known for its great public transit system to a new city where everyone drives may come as a surprise. It will also directly affect your commute to work as well as how you get around the city; you may not even currently own a car.

Taking a taxi everywhere or having to buy or even lease a car would be another added expense, plus, another change to the routine you have done for a long time. Do a test run to see if this is something you could handle on a daily basis and be sure to do your research before calling any committing to the move.

What Will I Take with Me?

You may already have a 12-piece dish set, two couches, and the comfiest bed in the whole world, but that doesn’t mean you will be able to take it all with you when you move to a new city. You will have to make some sacrifices and some tough decisions; a detailed list will help with this.

Think of this move like the beginning of a new relationship, when you first start dating someone you may leave a few of your favorite things over at their place; your move to a new city will be the same. Take the most important stuff, and if the move becomes more serious, that is more permanent, you can consider having someone send your comfy bed.

Selecting a Storage Unit

And while we are on the subject of leaving some personal possessions behind, you will need to set yourself up with a storage unit to hold onto the things that you cannot take just yet. Be realistic with the size, if you have a lot of large pieces of furniture you will need a larger unit, if however, it is mainly boxes of knickknacks and smaller items, a smaller unit will be in order. Your mover can help you decide what size storage unit you need and most can even store your items.

Learn About the City

Moving to a new city and not being prepared with what to expect is the fastest way to hate it the moment you get there. Do some research into the city and find out what it has to offer. If you really like museums, visit the city’s museums. If you love microbreweries see if there are any in the area and perhaps select your new apartment to be close to some popular ones.

By putting in the time to get to know a city before you make the big move you will find yourself feeling excited to experience all that it has to offer. And be sure to find a similar place to your current city that will make it feel more like home.

If, for example, you like to go for a walk in the woods, see if you can find a nearby park or wooded area in your new city to help ease the transition. Don’t be too quick to compare your old city with the new one either, learn to appreciate the differences.

Embrace Your Homesickness with Some Comfort from Home

Maybe there is a bakery just around the corner from your current home that always makes the most delicious scones or a café that makes the best coffee in all of the city. Get a friend or loved one to make a care package with the missed items and get them to send it to you.

Moving to a new city can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. By being prepared and therefore helping to eliminate any unexpected negative surprises, you will find that you will experience a smoother transition to your new place of residence.

If you have made the decision to move but haven’t found a place to rent yet, then be sure to check out some great listings here.

Author’s Bio

Danielle thrives on researching and writing on all aspects of life. Further to writing for Zumper blog and personal finance, she is an advocate of self-improvement and living a life that is both financially responsible and knowledgeable. When she is not on her computer, she can be found spending time with her husband and two sons.

Featured image via PublicDomainPictures.net.

Best Foods For A Cross Country Move Road Trip

in Long-Distance moving by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

The words “road trip” evoke images of tootling down the highway (yes, that’s the name for freeways once you leave California), listening to music, singing songs and binging on junk food while we’re carrying your furniture on your long-distance move.

Image via Pixabay

All of that is great until someone gets rumbly-tumblies in their tummies, and all the calories with nary a gym in sight. There is a way to road trip it with all the snacks you and, and still stay relatively healthy.

Here’s What you Should Pack for a Road Trip

1. Fruit

Bring a good selection of road-friendly fruit. Cherries are good, as are oranges, bananas and apples.

2. Veggies

Cut up some veggies. Cucumbers, celery, carrots, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower all travel very well. If it’s tough to get your kids to eat veggies when there are more tempting options, make a deal. They eat three pieces of veggies, and then whatever they want.

3. Snack bars

The days of tooth-breaking, chalky snack bars are a thing of the past. Today’s snack bars come in varieties as tempting (and not much more nutritious) as candy bars and as healthy as fruit and nuts. When looking for snack bars, check the sugar content. It’s best to stay below 10 grams per serving. Less is even better. Look for the fewest ingredients possible. Snack bars don’t need much more than fruits and nuts.

4. Hummus

Hummus is a healthier dip that can be paired with vegetables, pretzels or with healthy chips.

5. Chips, pretzels, popcorn

Chips are as American as football and road trips. They’re also notoriously unhealthy. They don’t have to be. Look for chips that contain no trans fats, which can stay in your body forever. Baked is better than fried. If you must have potato chips, the real deep-fried kind, look for brands like Boulder Canyon, that uses healthy oils like olive oil and coconut oil.

Air popped popcorn and bagel chips can also make excellent alternatives.

6. Jerky

Jerkys have changed so much over the years. In the past, jerkys were jaw breaking blocks of salt (at least I thought so), but today, you can find gourmet versions. You can find jerky made out of turkey or buffalo, if you want to cut the fat.

How To Move During Bad Weather

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

As I’m writing this, Mother Nature is flooding us. I haven’t even walked the dogs. The idea of moving in such weather is unimaginable. Many, though, don’t have a choice and bad weather moving even has some upsides.

Featured image via MaxPixel.

No one wants to move during bad weather. Moving companies, understandably, have high cancellation rates during rain or snow. Winter, which is both the middle of the school year and the time when the weather is the worst, is the slowest season for moving. If you ask, you can often get a discount during the winter, especially if it’s mid-month, mid-week and on a bad weather day.

Unless the weather is extreme, such as a blizzard, movers work and they do their jobs well.

Now is the perfect time to ask for a discount

You can help

Before the movers arrive, shovel your driveway and sidewalk. If the weather is freezing, salt surfaces. Make sure you have lots of towels on hand. Cheap rugs can help protect your floors. If there’s any way at all that the truck can be parked in a covered area, clear the way.

Protect the items you’re packing by protecting items with plastic. Hang clothing inside trash bags inside wardrobe boxes. Fully line boxes with plastic bags. Protect your electronics inside plastic.

The movers will do their part

Talk to your mover and make sure they bring plenty of bad weather supplies, including floor covers, shoe covers and plenty of shrink wrap. Make sure they use them.

In your new home

Before anyone steps foot in your new home, make sure the floors are covered, feet are covered and any ice is removed from the pathways. If any of the boxes are water damaged, you’ll want to unpack them immediately to prevent mold and mildew. In fact, on inclement weather days, it’s always a good idea to unpack quickly because you never know when moisture might sneak in.

All The Best Ways To Keep In Touch With Your Old Friends; Some May Surprise You

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

In the age of social media, being able to keep in touch with old friends is easier than ever, but is it the best way?

Four_girls_friends_001

A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend (I’ll call her Amy) who’s a relatively new transplant to the area. Amy mentioned that she began friending most of her old friends and neighbors from 2,000 miles away. Surprisingly, she said, it depressed her because their posts only seemed to indicate how little her absence has changed their lives, while she feels like she is starting all over again.

I told Amy that people only tend to post happy moments on Facebook, so no matter how much they were missing her, it may not be evident on their Facebook profiles. So I began asking myself, what is a better way to keep in touch with old friends you may have left behind?

Social Media

Facebook is actually tailor made to keep in touch with old friends, but if you want to even try to mimic the feeling of being with your friends, it’s better to create a group rather than just follow their feeds. In the group, you can exchange memories and private jokes. You can get personal in a way that you never could on a public profile. Other social media platforms may allow you to have a group discussion, but I still prefer Facebook groups, for no other reason than that they are easier to follow.

Texting

Creating a text thread is less personal than a phone call, but it’s far easier to gather groups of friends. Drop them texts in real time as interesting things happen in your life.

Skype, Facetime, etc.

Once again, thank technology for letting you see your friends, instead of just hearing their voices or reading their digital messages.

Letters

If you can’t remember the last time you wrote or received a letter, you’re not alone, but it’s a great way to spend time collecting your thoughts and it’s a great way to tell a friend that not only are you thinking about them, you’re willing to spend the time proving it.

Journaling

This one wasn’t my idea:

If you’re anything like me, you were obsessed with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in your middle school years. You know how the traveling journal works. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about four best friends who find a pair of jeans that fit all of them. To keep in touch, they wrote in a journal about their adventures while wearing the pants, then mailed the journal and the pants to each other. This is perhaps the most creative way to keep in touch long distance. Since it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll find one pair of pants that fits you and your friends, though, sticking to the traveling journal will work. Set an amount of time for each person in the group to keep the journal. When your time is up, mail it to the next person. You can write entries about your life in the journal, doodle, and write comments on other people’s entries!

Source: MissMillMag

Go On Vacation

A group vacation beats normal day-to-day interactions any day.

Visit

Of course.

How are you keeping in touch with your old friends?

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.

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.

Why Does It Take So Long For You To Deliver My Goods To Another State?

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

Perhaps the biggest complaint movers get (other than about dishonest scam artists ripping people off) is that it can take weeks and sometimes more than a month for goods to be delivered across country.

It makes sense. You could drive across country in a matter of days. Moving trucks aren’t exploring the sights. They aren’t stopping at cool restaurants and they don’t have time to admire the world’s largest ball of yarn.

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So why does it take so long for your goods to be delivered? Well, it’s a bit complicated.

I’m sure you’ve driven behind a semi-truck on the highway, only to be frustrated at having to go so slow. While most can go a lot faster (and many do), it’s unsafe and driving too fast can cause rollovers and worse. Isn’t it better that your furniture arrive safely than not at all?

Drivers are restricted by the numbers of hours they can drive. It’s a confusing formula (drivers can drive 11 hours in a 14 hour period following 10 hours of being off duty), but let’s just say they are legally only allowed to drive about 11 hours a day.

Semi-trucks are more susceptible to weather. While most are equipped with chains in case of icy roads, under many circumstances, it’s simply dangerous for a semi-truck to be on the road. A large snowstorm could delay them by hours or days.

Road conditions and speed are just a tiny portion of it, though. The main reason your truck may take days or weeks is that your shipment will likely not be the only one on it. A semi-truck will hold the equivalent of about three two-bedroom homes. More if the homes are smaller and less if they are bigger. Let’s say you are moving to Florida. There might also be a shipment that’s being dropped off in Arizona and another in Texas. They might pick up a load or two in the Carolinas.

There is a way to ensure that your shipment will get there sooner, and it’s to pay more — often a lot more. Most movers will offer you the option of an exclusive shipment, but that means regardless of the size of your shipment, you will have to pay as if it takes up the entire truck.

Featured image via Wikimedia.

The Top 15 Places To Live In The United States

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As Americans, we are lucky. As every third grader knows, our nation includes every landscape, every culture and so, so many choices.

Most moves are pretty much pre-determined. People move to specific places for jobs or for family, but what happens when you don’t know where to go? With rapidly rising Bay Area real estate prices, people are either being driven out of their homes or they are deciding to cash in and move where the cost of living is cheaper.

Every year, Livability.com rates cities as the best (and worst) places to live. They ranked cities that were between 20,000 and 350,000, so no tiny towns and no huge cities. The cities were ranked based on amenities, demographics, economy, education, health care, housing, social issues, transportation and infrastructure.

Here are the cities:

Fargo_Theatre_-_FargoFargo, North Dakota. They have a low unemployment rate and a cheap cost of living. The median home price is just $157,900.

US-KS-OverlandPark-2005-11-21T214307Overland Park, Kansas. They have a low crime rate and a great economy.

SONY DSC

Ft. Collins, Colorado. If you love the outdoors, legal pot and a casual culture, Ft. Collins could be the place for you.

Central_Park_San_Mateo_CASan Mateo, California. Okay, this one is right in our backyard. In fact, it literally is our backyard, but as you know, the economy is strong, there’s a lot to do and there are tons of jobs. There is a reason the cost of living is so high. People love it.

Walnut_Creek_view_from_Acalanes_Open_SpaceWalnut Creek, California. Clean, great schools, great outdoor activities. Again, in our backyard.

Sioux_Falls-waterfallSioux Falls, South Dakota. Lots to do and cheap housing.

Old_Capitol_Iowa_City_2013Iowa City, Iowa. It’s a college town with great primary schools and a surprising cultural life.

Ann_Arbor_E_Liberty_StAnn Arbor, Michigan. Another college town that’s very culturally rich.

Bismark,_ND_CapitolBismarck, North Dakota. Cheap housing, great healthcare, lots of outdoor activities. The winters can be tough, though.

1280px-Fraternal_Hall_Building,_140_University_Ave.,_Palo_Alto,_CA_5-27-2012_2-56-35_PMPalo Alto, California. We know.

BouldercoloradoBoulder, Colorado. A great college town, but best for liberals. Boulderites enjoy the outdoors like no one else. There’s skiing, rock climbing, miles and miles of serious hiking, and don’t forget, you can relax with a microbrew and, if you so desire, a legal joint.

Aerial-SantaBarbaraCA10-28-08Santa Barbara, California. The only city in the southern part of our state. What’s not to love about Santa Barbara? Beautiful people, beautiful beaches and beautiful architecture.

The_Red_Gym_from_the_TerraceMadison, Wisconsin. The capital of Wisconsin is an oasis for liberals in a conservative state. As a college town, Madison is cultured and educated.

1280px-Bellevue,_WA_-_Downtown_Park_02Bellevue, Washington. Best known for outdoor activities, although the cost of living is high.

Roch_nightRochester, Minnesota. Rochester was ranked the best city for 2015. it’s a city on the rise. It’s home to the Mayo Clinic and the general quality of life is very high. Again, though, the weather.

Featured image via Wikipedia.

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.

What To Pack To Tide You Over Till The Movers Arrive

in Long-Distance moving, Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment
Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

One of the most difficult parts of moving cross country is coordinating the timing. Unless you have a large home, it’s likely that your goods will share space with other shipments.

Don’t worry; movers take thorough inventories both loading and unloading, so things don’t get mixed up. What that does mean, though, is that because the moving truck has to make numerous stops and because semi trucks go slower than cars anyway, there will likely be a lag time between when you arrive at your new home and when the movers do. Yes, that will be an inconvenience, but one that will soon be forgotten and if you do it right, you can create some memories.

What you should pack will obviously depend on the amount of room you have in your car. If you are flying, you’ll obviously pack even less. If you are staying in a hotel room (generally recommended), you won’t need as many items as you would if you stay in your new home. Here are some packing ideas. Be sure to customize them to your situation.

1. Clothing – This one is obvious. Unless you have access to laundry, add a few days worth of clothing to the mover’s time estimate. It may not be the mover’s fault, but things do happen that delay shipments.

2. Toiletries – Again, this is obvious. If you are short on space, you can purchase soap, shampoo, toothpaste, sunscreen, etc. at your destination. I recommend bringing at least daytime makeup, however and a moisturizer. If you are moving to a dryer climate, bring lotion and lip balm.

3. Toys – There’s nothing worse than bored kids. Family games are a great way to pass the time, as is family reading time. Find the library in your new town. You probably won’t have a TV, but you will likely have smartphones and tablets, if the kids have them, are highly recommended. As far as actual toys, allow your kids their very favorite (if it’s small enough) but more than that can be too much.

4. Electronics – Smaller is better. Bring whatever you need for work and phones and tablets.

5. Pets – Bring your animals’ bowls and a couple of small toys for them. Don’t forget their leashes and collars. It’s also a good idea to travel with their veterinary records. I recommend crates for each of your pets along with their favorite beds.

6. Jewelry – Take all valuable jewelry with you, without exception.

7. Paperwork – Ditto on irreplaceable or difficult to replace paperwork. Bring everyone’s medical records, birth certificates, passports, car titles, etc.

8. Cleaning supplies – I don’t recommend moving your cleaning supplies unless you have a lot of room. They are generally too easy to replace. If you are staying in your new house, however, you might want to bring a vacuum.

9. Folding lawn furniture and inflatable beds – Again, for if you are staying in your new house.

10. Sleeping bags.

If you fear running out of room, the post office can be a great way to get some things to you faster.

 

 

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