Preparing for a move

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How To Recruit Friends To Help With Your Move Without Destroying Friendships

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When you think of asking friends to help you move, you probably think of college days, when all it took was a pickup truck, a few pizzas and a few cases of beers. Times have changed. Your furniture is now worth more money and your friends have bad backs and not much time on their hands.

recruit friends

If you’re over the age of 30, don’t ask your friends to help you load and unload trucks. That’s a good way to lose friends, but if you do play your cards right, they can help.

Ask for food

One of the last things you want to think about when you’re packing and moving is cooking. That’s where your friends could come in. If they offer help, ask them to cook a little extra for you and bring it over. In exchange, feed them with takeout one night.

Ask for help packing

Besides the fact that extra hands are always a big help, a neutral eye can help you cut down on your moving costs. A friend can help you purge by taking the emotions out of packing. Do you really want to pack those two sizes too small pants? A good friend might tell you that while you might one day fit into them again, they are long out of style.

Ask for help cleaning

This one might be a little tricky. No one (well, almost no one) likes to clean. Friends can be a good discerning eye, though. If you have lived with spots and stains for a while, you may have gone blind to them. Ask your friends to inspect your work. Odds are, they’ll pitch in, but even if they don’t, they’ll keep you company.

Regardless of what your friends do to help, thank them with a nice dinner (not just pizza) and perhaps some flowers. Be sure to reciprocate once it’s their turn to move.

What To Watch Out For When Moving Your Refrigerator

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When most people think about moving, they think about packing loose goods and moving furniture. They don’t typically give a lot of thought to moving their appliances because, well, people don’t typically give a lot of thought to appliances anyway. That’s changing, especially when it comes to moving your refrigerator.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kevin Parker, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, uses a hand cart to remove a personal refrigerator from his office Oct. 24, 2014, on RAF Mildenhall, England. Parker saw an opportunity to save energy by removing his refrigerator from his office and using the communal one in the kitchen area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Gina Randall/Released)

Today’s appliances are more expensive and more intricate than ever. From stainless steel to nickel, from six burner stoves to refrigerators that tell you when you’re out of milk, appliances do more than ever before and more and more people want to take them to their new homes.

Here’s what to watch out for when moving your refrigerator

Moving appliances can be a bit tricky. If you have a gas range and a gas dryer, you’ll want to have a plumber disconnect them before you do anything.

Empty it

This piece of advice sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t empty their refrigerators before the move. Even the tiniest plastic bottle of mustard rattling around on the inside can cause serious damage. You also want to remove any magnets from the outside.

Secure it

Remove all the shelves and drawers and wrap them in packing blankets. Be sure to label everything.

Unplug it

That’s self explanatory.

Unplug the water line and drain it

If your refrigerator has an ice maker or a water dispenser, there is a thin copper pipe at the back. Unscrew it and drain the contents into a bucket. You may need to remove the door to get to the ice maker, but that will also need to be drained.

Defrost the freezer

If you have the type of freezer that collects frost, defrost it before the move.

Secure the doors

Wrap blankets around the entire refrigerator and then tape around the blanket. Taping around the blanket will save you the nightmare of having to remove tape from the refrigerator itself.

If your refrigerator is big or your doorway are narrow, you may need to remove the doors.

Grab a friend and a dolly

Refrigerator moving is a job for at least two. Secure it to the dolly and roll it to the truck. Make sure you have a ramp because lifting it will be very difficult.

Let the refrigerator sit for a few days after the move

Refrigerators take a few days for all of the fluids to settle down and for the temperature to adjust. It could take up to three days.

Featured image via Milden Hall Air Force Base.

What To Do With Everything You Don’t Want To Move

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In an ideal world, moving is a time to purge, of a fresh start, sans all the baggage (and junk) of years past. Reality often looks very different. In far too many cases, we move everything. We can’t begin to tell you the number of things we’ve moved that end up in eternal storage, or even in dumpsters.

Old TVs out for hard-rubbish collection by Alpha is licensed under CC 2.0 Generic

It doesn’t have to be that way. Depending on whether you want to put in the work or pay for some help, you can streamline your life and move at the same time.


I know, I know, organization takes a lot of work, and isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid? The truth is, someone has to do the work. It can be you, or as we’ll get into later, it can be some professionals.

While you’re packing, sort everything you own into four piles: pack it and move it, trash, in good enough condition to donate and items you aren’t sure about.

Just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t, but for goodness sake, don’t donate junk. If your clothing is stained or torn, and has interesting patterns, it might make excellent quilting material. Post on Nextdoor that you have potential quilting material. Local schools or senior centers might also be interested. Thin fabric or not very interesting? It’s probably trash.

If your unwanted items are still in good condition, but just not to your taste anymore or they don’t fit, then donate to a local thrift store. Many will pick up larger items. In the chance your items are in great shape, you might be able to sell them. Craigslist is no longer the only alternative for selling items. Even Facebook has pages for selling local items.

If you aren’t sure, Lifehacker recommends getting rid of about half of that pile. You haven’t used it in years? Donate. If you have, try to visualize it in your new home. If you can’t, donate it. A friend might be able to help. A good friend wouldn’t hesitate to tell you to get rid of the tattered college sweatshirt from 1994.

Get some help

If the job is too big or if you simply don’t have time, professionals can help. Professional organizers cost between $30 and $80 per hour and they can bang out a room in hours. Many will even pack for you.

For help getting rid of large items, there are plenty of haul-a-way services, but be careful. Many are not licensed and they might either sell your goods (and you’ll pay them for the privilege) or they’ll end up dumping your things somewhere they shouldn’t be dumped. Angie’s List has some great tips on choosing the right junk company.

Now, if you don’t get around to a purge, that’s okay. You have options there too. Because moving into a new home is full of unknowns, sometimes it’s easiest to purge as you unpack. You’d get a better idea of how your items will fit in your new home, and even what types of clothing you’d wear in your new surroundings. Finally, if things don’t fit yet you aren’t quite ready to get rid of them, there’s always storage and your moving company will be happy to help you with that and movers’ storage will often cost you less than self-storage.

Please DO Tip And Feed The Movers, If You Feel Like It. Here’s How

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One of the most common questions we face, and often one of the most difficult to answer, is whether to and how much to tip and feed the movers. The simplistic answer is that yes, you should tip and feed the movers, but only if you feel like it.

When and how much should you tip the movers?

If you aren’t happy with the movers, then by all means, don’t tip them. If the movers ask you for a tip, complain to their manager. But if you are happy, there are a number of ways you can do it.

One of the simplest and most direct ways of tipping is by the hour. If you are moving locally, odds are you’re paying by the hour anyway. Adding another $5.00 per mover per hour is pretty simple.

If you are moving out of state, though, you won’t have an immediate tally of the hours and common sense might suggest that you should wait to tip until your items are delivered. It’s not quite that clear-cut, though.

It’s rare that the same crew is at both the pick-up and delivery. In the majority of cases, your goods are transferred from a local truck to a semi-truck and then a crew experienced in long-distance moving will transport it.

The toughest part of the job is at the pick-up, so it’s not a bad idea to tip with that in mind. They are the people who wrap your furniture, they do any packing, and that’s all before loading and unloading the truck.

If you aren’t comfortable tracking the hours, you can tip as a percentage of the move (10 percent, perhaps). Just be sure to divide it equitably among the pick-up crew and the delivery crew. 60/40 is a good divide.

What should you feed the movers

While you are under absolutely no obligation to feed the movers, having food for them to eat can make the move go a lot quicker. Pizza and sandwiches are always favorites. Don’t serve food that’s too rich or your movers will be ready to take a nap. As for hydration, sports drinks are the unofficial official drink of movers. Stock up. They will drink more than you think.

Featured image via Steven Depolo/Flickr.

How To Move During Bad Weather

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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.

Six Things You Can Do To Make Sure Your Move Goes As Smoothly As Possible

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The vast majority of complaints against movers are about delays, broken items and extra charges. In fact, you might hear so much about that sort of thing that you almost think the complaints are unavoidable. They aren’t.

Featured image via Pixabay

These six steps will make your move go as smoothly as possible

1. Get at least three estimates

Even if a friend insists you have to use their mover, remember that even the worst movers have some happy customers. Do your homework. Check their online reviews. Verify that each mover you’re considering is licensed — their licensing information should be on their websites. After you do all of that, invite at least three movers to give you estimates. Don’t just go by the cheapest, though. Examine each estimate and make sure they are comparing apples to apples. If one mover says they can do the job in 10 hours and another in four, there’s something wrong. Look closely at the inventory lists to make sure nothing is left off.

2. Ask your mover for packing advice

Many customers want the movers to pack for them, but for those who don’t, ask for packing advice. Ask how many boxes you need, and what kind. Ask how to pack certain items, especially breakables. If your mover isn’t willing to offer you advice for free, choose a different mover.

3. Ask about weird things that might need to be packed

I always like to tell people that if it isn’t furniture, it needs to be in a box. That includes pictures and mirrors, lamps, electronics and in many cases, even mattresses. If you aren’t prepared, your mover will pack these items, but you will pay.

4. Take pictures of the place you are moving into

In most cases, movers don’t see the place you’re moving into until they arrive with a full truck. There may be situations, though, where the destination address can add to the cost of the move. Take your phone or tablet on a virtual tour, including from the place the truck would park to the front door. Send the video to your moving estimator.

5. Tell your property manager you’re moving

Many buildings, especially elevator buildings, require people to reserve specific slots for moving. If your mover shows up and your building won’t let you move, you will still pay in most cases.

6. Reserve parking spaces

In many cities, like San Francisco, if your moving truck needs to park on the street, you may need to reserve the space.

How A Moving Company Can Help You Sell Your House While You’re Still Living In It

in Preparing for a move, Real Estate by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

If you’re like me and spend too many weekend days binge watching home improvement shows. They all make it look so easy. Families sell homes within weeks and even days, all while dealing with chaos of living there.

Featured image via Mark Moz/Flickr

Reality isn’t quite as tidy. Everyone knows that clean homes sell better than dirty, that personal touches can be a turnoff to potential buyers. Still, not everyone can afford to move out of their home while they’re trying to sell. That’s okay. With just a little work, and a good moving company, even an occupied home can be sold fairly quickly.

Paint and clean the floors

Dull, dirty floors and walls can be a major turnoff to potential buyers. Now is the time to paint the walls and clean the carpets. If you have hardwood floors or tile, it’s time for a polish.

Clear all clutter

If you’ve ever seen a staged home, you probably noticed a few things, but the first is that a staged home is completely uncluttered. Uncluttered means more than picking toys up off the floor. It means cleaning out drawers and closets. It means taking personal photos off the walls, including your children’s masterpieces.

Clear all the mismatched furniture

Personally, I’m all about eclectic and colorful decorating, but your next buyer might not be. While matching furniture isn’t a necessity, coherence is. A neutral color scheme with pops of colors show best. If your furniture is torn, stained or chipped, it’s time to replace it, even if it’s only for the sale. A professional stager can do this for you or you can rent furniture through any number of companies.

The right moving company can help you with all of the above. They can pack your clutter and neatly move it into storage. They can even temporarily move your furniture out of the way while you paint and clean.

This last part, though, is completely up to you.

Clean, clean, clean

Get in the habit of cleaning all the time. Dust and vacuum daily. Make the beds the moment people wake up. Wipe down all surfaces right after use. Put everything away.

5 Simple Alternatives To Living On Pizza While Preparing For Your Move

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One of the biggest struggles during the moving process is balancing real life against the temporary but very disruptive packing/moving stage. The kitchen, as we all know, is the most time consuming room to pack, but it’s also the most necessary for day-to-day life. Thankfully, there’s takeout, but unless you live in a major city, you’re pretty much limited to pizza and Chinese food — and then there’s the cost and the calories.

Featured image via Pizza Queen/Flickr.

The good news, though, is that you don’t have to live on pizza and Chinese food. You can keep eating normal (and healthy) food right up until moving day.

Pack everything but the microwave

Before you start packing, prepare some of your own microwavable dishes. Pasta dishes heat well, as do soups and casseroles. Freeze them in single use serving sizes (or refrigerate them if we’re talking days instead of weeks) and microwave them when you’re ready. A pre-made salad mix from the supermarket will make it a well-rounded meal.

Make sandwiches

Nearly everyone loves a good sandwich, and they can be surprisingly nutritious. If your sandwich repertoire includes the basics like turkey, tuna and PB&J and would like a little more variety, a quick Google search will give you thousands. Real Simple has several that I’ve tried and definitely get my seal of approval.


Who says you can only barbecue during the summer? People who aren’t in the process of moving, that’s who. While cleaning the grill can be a pain, it’s nothing compared to cleaning pots and pans, the stove (or oven) and counters.

Buy and instant pot

Instant pots are the newest hot things in cooking tools and for very good reasons. In minutes, you can whip up a meal that would otherwise take hours. Not only that, the cleanup is simple. Here are several recipes to get you started.

Ask for help

Odds are you’re past the age of enlisting your friends for the backbreaking work, but if a kind friend offers to help, take them up on it. Ask them to bring you some leftovers.

Five Ways To Help Your Friends Move Without Destroying Your Back

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

Back in the day, moving meant wrangling all your closest friends (and hopefully someone with a pickup truck), springing for pizza and beer and hoping everything and everyone ends the day in the same condition as they started.

A few years have passed. Now we hire pros to help us move. That doesn’t mean we stop needing our friends. If you have friends who are moving, you don’t have to feel helpless and you don’t have to sacrifice your back. Here are ___ ways you can help your friends move:

1. Cook something

Even if your friends haven’t yet packed the kitchen, the last thing they want to think about is cooking and who wants to eat pizza or Chinese food every single meal? Your friends might not have time to accept a dinner invitation, but if you bring the dinner to them… Just don’t forget plates and utensils.

2. Help sort

Packing and purging can be difficult and time-consuming. Even useless items might have memories attached. A neutral party might be just the help your friend needs. Sure, that old stuffed animal might remind her of when her daughter was young, but wouldn’t a digital picture of the ragged toy work just as well? Does your friend really need to hang on to that chip from the charity casino? Perhaps you can gently remind your friends what really matters and help them save money and time.

3. Help pack

Packing can be a little back breaking, but no where near as bad as moving furniture. Offer to help pack a box or two. Any little bit will be appreciated.

4. Shop

Even when people are trying to eliminate stuff, they are using stuff. Your friends might find themselves short on some necessities, or perhaps they need packing and cleaning supplies. Odds are you’re going to the store anyway, so why not offer to pick things up for your friends?

5. Babysit kid or walk dogs

Pets and young children can get in the way or even freak out during moves. Help your friends out by offering to care for their loved ones, even for just a few hours.

Featured image via

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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