Preparing for a move

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How To Stay Cool, Even During A Move

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Summer is by far the most popular time to move. Home sales are booming, school is out, and the odds of it raining on your furniture are pretty slim, at least in California. Still, we aren’t immune to the weather. With temperatures nearing triple digits in parts of the Bay Area, trying to stay cool during a move can be that much more exhausting. You probably don’t have a choice, though. If you follow these steps, you can stay cool during a move, if not downright comfortable.

Keep the Power On

You might have to pay double utility bills for a few days, but keep the power on in both your old home and your new until you’re completely moved in. That way you can still use your air conditioner (more on that in a minute) and keep food and drinks cold in the refrigerator.

Stay Hydrated to Stay Cool

Yes, this is obvious, but aim for more than just eight cups of water a day. Keep sports drinks on hand for flavor and to replenish electrolytes.

Eat Light and Cool

Sandwiches and veggies are a good way to keep you going during a move, without filling you up too much. Popsicles are great during breaks, but they can mean sticky fingers.

Have Fans in Every Room to Stay Cool

Window fans are inexpensive and surprisingly effective. Place them in or near open windows for maximum efficiency.

Dress Light to Stay Cool

Wear light-colored clothing that is comfortable and breathes. White t-shirts and shorts are good moving attire, unless you are moving furniture. For safety reasons, most movers wear long pants.

Use Air Conditioning to Stay Cool — At Least Part of the Time

Talk to the movers. During packing times, close the doors and turn on the air conditioning. When they start loading furniture onto the truck, though, the door will need to stay open. Turn off the air conditioning and turn on a fan,

Let the Movers Do Everything

This is the easiest and most comfortable piece of advice, if you can afford it. Movers are used to moving in the heat. They know to stay hydrated and cool. You can sit back, enjoy some watermelon and a cool drink.

How To Live Your Life While Moving Without Going Insane

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If you’re one of the lucky souls who’s able to move while between jobs, when the kids are at summer camp, and are generally able to put life on hold, you are part of a very exclusive and fortunate club. While preparing for a move is a lot of work for everyone, this post of for the rest of us; this is for the people who have to work 8+ hours a day, and generally manage our lives, while preparing to move. Here’s how to do it:

Image Public Domain via Pixnio

Make a To-Do List

Preparing for a move is almost easy when you break it up into small, manageable pieces. Say you have 100 boxes to pack (not uncommon), if you pack five boxes per evening, you’ll be done within 20 days. Involve the spouse and the children, and it will be less. Pack books and knick-knacks first. It’s doubtful you’ll be needing them before the move. Pack off-season clothing next. Pack in-season clothing, the kitchen, and linens last. Here is an excellent moving timeline. We all know how satisfying it is to check items off your to-do list.


Preparing for a move is the time to clean out, to get rid of what you no longer need. Go through your closet and your drawers. If you haven’t worn something for two years, donate it. If you are waiting to fit into an outfit again, you can store it, or get rid of it. Don’t you want new clothes when you reach your goal? I would advise keeping one item to keep you motivated, though.

Plan Relaxation Time

Even you can’t be all work all the time. Plan some relaxation, whether that means a hike with the dog or a day at the spa. You’ll be even more energized to work afterwards.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

You might be Superwoman or Superman, but that’s on a normal day. Preparing for moving is not normal, at least not for most people. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Leave the kids with the in-laws. Hire a housekeeper. Do takeout or a meal delivery service. Take a day or two (or five) off from work. Or, hire a mover to do all the packing for you.

Make it Fun

No one says moving has to be all work. Crank up the music. Have a dance-off. Make it a competition; whoever can pack the most boxes, wins. Of course, always pick them up and do a quick shake to make sure everything is packed tightly.

How To (Almost) Look Forward To Moving Day

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Image CC0, by Nikon D800, via MaxPixel

It’s probably cliché by now to say that moving day is right up there with divorce, job loss and even death as one of life’s most stressful times. While I suspect this age-old study (if it was actually a study) was done when people were a bit less transient, for most people, the stress of packing, cleaning, hiring a mover and leaving the known for the unknown, is not exactly something they look forward to, but there are ways to make the moving experience a lot less stressful if not actually pleasant.

If you can afford it, outsource

Americans are busy people, which is why service industries thrive in this country. Ninja Movers and just about any good moving company can handle all the packing as well as the moving. Some, like Ninja Movers, can also help you find great cleaning people. If you can’t afford the full white glove service, decide what you most hate and hire for that. Personally, after my last move, I swore I would never again perform the shine and polish move out cleaning for a home I’d never enjoy again. It’s worth it for me to spend a few extra hundred dollars to have pros do it. Even if you don’t feel like shelling out the extra money, ask yourself what your time is worth per hour compared to what you’d be paying someone else. You might find that your time is much more valuable and frankly, a price can’t be put on your sanity.

Get a little help from friends and family

You aren’t in college anymore. You probably wouldn’t draft your friends to help you do the heavy lifting, but packing and maybe move out cleaning? That might be a different story. Of course, make sure they are close friends and don’t talk them into it. Let them volunteer and make sure it sounds sincere. You might be able to pressure siblings and adult children, though.

Do a little at a time

I almost should have listed this as the first tip. A little at a time is my number one moving sanity strategy. Start early and aim for just two boxes of packing per day per person (on average, each person will have a total of 20-30 boxes). Let children pack unbreakable items like their toys. It helps them feel like part of the process. Out of season clothes, decorative knick-knacks and books can be packed very early, so can all of the items in your kitchen you rarely use. As you get closer to moving day, hold out the clothes and kitchen items you’ll need. A day or two before moving, pack the entire kitchen (except maybe a couple of cooking utensils) and eat from disposals. As you empty closets and cupboards, scrub them clean. Clean the windows, fireplace, oven and mow the lawn before the furniture is moved out. That will leave less cleaning on moving day.\

Spend a day exploring your new neighborhood

If you are moving locally, take the kids to the new neighborhood and make a day of it. Walk around. Say “hi” to your new neighbors. See how many homes have kids. Also, see what parks and businesses are within walking distance or within a short drive. This exercise will help you get your head focused toward your new home, which makes the moving process a little less daunting.

Plan a reward

You’d think the job done would be enough of a reward, but it’s not. Your reward can range anywhere from ice cream to a spa day to a vacation. Or, you can just make a fun day of shopping for your new home.

What To Do If It’s A Week Before The Move And You Haven’t Started

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You’ve been thinking about it for a while. You’ve hired the mover, you may or may not have begun packing, but you notice the calendar and it’s just a week before the move. Panic begins to overtake you. You look around your current home. Would it be so bad to stay forever? That’s certainly easier than moving, right?


Image CC0 Creative Commons, by geralt, via Pixabay

While things undoubtedly seem overwhelming now, they don’t have to be. Your moving company is here to make things easier for you.

Since it’s just a week before, we’re hoping that you have done some advance prep work. Hopefully, you have chosen the company that will move you and have done your due diligence on making sure you’ve picked a good one (more on that next week). You should have already gathered your medical and veterinary records and have registered your children in school. This would also be a good time to let your insurance company and your banks know of your move. Hopefully, you’ve also transferred your utilities or cancelled the old ones and set up new. Here’s a comprehensive moving timeline. It starts two months out. That doesn’t mean you have to start two weeks out, but it means that in the last week, you will be busy.

If you live by yourself and you don’t have a heavy workload during the week before the move, you might be able to get your packing done. Your moving company will be happy to deliver all the materials you need and they can even show you how to put together the boxes and how to pack each one.

If you have a family and you have to work, things are going to be much more challenging. This is a good time to let your moving company know you aren’t packed. They can pack for you, but they may want to pack a day or two earlier. If that’s not possible or necessary, plan on a long day. You can still pack as much as you can and the moving company will be happy to finish the rest.

The best advice for last minute packing is to pack the easy things and let the movers take care of the breakables and more difficult items. Clothing and books can be packed relatively quickly, although you won’t have time to sort through everything. Don’t feel bad. Plenty of people have moved and then sorted. The cost difference of a handful of extra moved boxes is pretty nominal.

Personally, I’d rather pack than do the moving out cleanup. If you can afford it, you can hire someone to help. If not, rather than begin packing, start pulling things out of cabinets and scrubbing. This will help the movers and it will save you from having to do that scrubbing afterwards. It’s not advisable that you clean any external surfaces before the move. You’ll just have to clean them again.

The bottom line is we live in a great time. We are all incredibly busy, but if you need something done, you can generally pay someone to do it. Contact your moving company. They might have resources, like cleaning people and even painters. They will certainly take the burden of the actual move off your hands.

Featured image via Pixabay.

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.

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