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Four Moving Apps To Help Take The Stress Away

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I’m not going to lie to you. Even when you hire a great moving company, moving is horrible. You go from settled to unsettled in the blink of an eye. Boxes become your life. The place and the people near your hold home become memory. Fortunately, technology hasn’t left you behind. There are several apps that can make things a lot easier.

1. Moving Planner (Andriod) and Moving Software Pro (iOS) – Both apps are made by Jinbl Software Labs and both have more than 210 household items and todo items. If you’re a snob for grammar, this might not be the app for you, but you can’t beat its practicality. If you absolutely don’t have time for a mover to visit your home prior to the move, this tool will help both you and the mover make an accurate estimate. Both are only $.99 and are fully refundable if you aren’t happy.


2. Moving Day (iOS) – Moving Day goes even a step further and it’s free. It allows you to barcode scan and label every single box. You’ll know what goes where and what might be missing. If you see a damaged box, you’ll know what’s inside before opening it. If you’re as generally disorganized as me, this app will be a life saver.


3. MoveMatch (Android) – MoveMatch is the perfect app for people who don’t have the time or energy to meet people. With MoveMatch, you can take a thorough, professional inventory of all your goods and send them to movers in your area. If your inventory matches, movers should be able to give you a guaranteed price. It also works for storage, commercial moves and for overseas moves.


4. Gas Buddy (iOS and Android) – If you plan on driving your car or a moving van across country, don’t even think about not downloading Gas Buddy. It will tell you the cheapest gas stations on the road and it’s free.


Safes And Other Difficult Items To Move

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Image courtesy Wikimedia.

Image courtesy Wikimedia.

Most moves are pretty cut and dry. Three or four movers pack and move. Wham bam. It might not be instantaneous, but generally there are few major problems. There are some items, though, that are particularly difficult and moving companies have to know in advance so they can bring the proper tools.

1. Safes – Obviously, this depends on the size of the safe, but if you have a man-sized fireproof safe, a moving company will need special tools and sometimes additional men.

2. Pianos – When you get your moving quote, the mover should always ask what kind of piano you have. They aren’t being snobs. The size of the piano will make a big difference in preparing for the move. The piano might require additional men. It will require additional equipment. It’s highly advised that you wait to tune your piano until after it’s moved.

3. Appliances – Moving appliances is relatively easy, but you want to make sure everything is disconnected before the movers arrive. You want to disconnect the water line on your refrigerator and on your washer and dishwasher. If you have a gas dryer, it’s a good idea to have a professional disconnect that and reconnect it at your new home. Movers can typically refer you to professionals.

4. Propane grills – Moving companies can move the grill but they can’t move the propane.

5. Children’s playground equipment and trampolines – A mover must see playground equipment before it’s moved. Playground equipment generally takes a lot of disassembly and it can take up considerable room.

6. Fish tanks – It probably goes without saying, but fish tanks and aquariums need to be emptied and drained before being moved. Most credible movers will do more than just throw a blanket over the aquarium. It should be boxed.

7. Fine art – Fine art of all kinds should be custom packed. The mover will need to assess and measure. Some pieces will require wooden packing crates.

8. Murphy beds – Murphy beds, the kind that fold into the wall, are especially common in small apartments. Without proper equipment, they can be very dangerous. They are heavy and they can accidentally open. Discuss murphy beds with your mover.

9. Sofa beds – Sofa beds are much easier than murphy beds, but they are heavy and the bed mechanism should be strapped down.

10. Scrap – Yes, scrap can be moved, although it might not be cost effective. It’s generally best that if there’s a lot, it has its own designated truck.

Most of your possessions will be very easy for most movers, but if you have any questionable items, ask. It’s a mover’s job to find solutions.

How Does Apartment Moving Differ From House Moving?

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You live frugally or maybe you like the amenities of full-service condo living. Regardless of the reasons you chose apartment life, moving offers different challenges than does moving from a typical suburban home. What can you expect if you are moving in or out of an apartment or condo?

1. It might cost more – This is an unfortunate reality of apartment and condo living. Often, the parking situation is less than ideal, especially if you live on a narrow and steep San Francisco street. Some buildings have loading docks, which of course, is ideal, but most don’t. Once the truck is parked, movers will have to maneuver up and down stairs or wait for elevators. Depending on how many stairs are involved, expect one or two extra movers. They will work like an assembly line, ensuring that the move will happen as quickly as possible. In the end, extra movers won’t cost you more, but the extra steps involved may add to the time.

2. The building – Most condo and apartment buildings have strict rules when it comes to moving. Alert your management company of your moving date. You might need to reserve the elevator. You also might not be able to move on weekends or in the evenings, depending on the rules of the building. Elevator reservations tend to go fast, especially toward the end of the month and during the summer, so plan ahead. If your building has a loading dock or commercial parking, you will also need to alert management of that. Ask your mover, but typically, they will bring at least one 24 or 26 foot truck. If you are moving out of state, you might need to accommodate a 53 foot tractor trailer. Buildings that don’t have elevators tend not to have as many rules, but it’s better safe than sorry.

4. The city – We all know how awful parking is in San Francisco. Fortunately, the city will accommodate you, at a price. You can reserve parking spaces in advance, to allow space for your moving truck. They will give you temporary signs to put out.

Unfortunately, that’s not always enough. Small moving trucks – the type used for local moving – can usually maneuver through the city, but larger trucks – the type used for interstate moves, might not. With many movers, especially with major van lines, you might find yourself paying an additional fee for a small truck to move you out. The movers will then transfer your items to the larger truck for the interstate move.

While apartment and condo living offer conveniences that house living doesn’t, it definitely offers moving challenges. Plan well and you can help ensure that your moving day will go smoothly and as inexpensively as possible.

Shana Tovah Or Happy Rosh Hashanah From Ninja Movers And The Muppets

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UnknownThe Jewish year 1 Tishrei 5773 begins this year at Sundown Wednesday, September 4th and ends on September 6th. Ninja Movers would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, a Happy Rosh Hashanah and Shana Tovah. Enjoy this video from the Muppets.

How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part Four (International Moves)

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It doesn’t take me to tell you that moving overseas is a bit more complicated than moving down the street.

An overseas move typically requires months of planning, including paperwork, finding accommodations and even getting inoculations. No matter where you’re moving, getting through customs is rarely a hop skip and a jump and it can be even more complicated for your belongings. That’s why it’s important to choose a mover who is familiar with customs in each country. For example, Ninja Movers is particularly expert in moves to Israel. We know the country. We know the ports and we know the customs. We can even suggest neighborhoods in many cities and villages.

The first thing you should do before moving overseas is figure out what you really need. Remember than American houses tend to be much bigger than in other places throughout the world. Your 96 inch sofa might not fit in other homes.

Before deciding to leave most things behind, however, you might want to inquire about the cost of replacement. In many cases, appliances are much more expensive than they are in the U.S.

That being said, you want to stick with the necessities. If you are moving to a place that doesn’t have winter, leave the winter clothes behind. Don’t take unnecessary furniture or accessories that might end up being useless in your new home. Many people, if they are going to be overseas for a limited amount of time, choose to rent a furnished home. In which case, belongings can be stored by your moving company while you are overseas.

Once you’ve decided what you are taking to your new country, as usual, you should contact three moving companies for estimates. The upside to overseas moves is that pricing is very simple. Your goods will be shipped in either 20 foot or 40 foot containers. You will be charged for the size and number of containers you use. A 20 foot container will fit between a 1-2 bedroom apartment and a 40 foot container will fit a typical 2-3 bedroom house.

The cost for each container includes the cost of packing. That’s right. By law, the mover must inventory and pack everything.

Once the mover has packed and picked up all of your goods, they will take the truck to the port, where they will pack the container. Organizing overseas moves is typically delegated to the most experienced of moving crews since the packing and inventory must be meticulous.

The hardest part of an overseas move is the wait. Because your items are being moved by ship, it can take several days to cross the ocean. Then, it can take time getting through customs. An experienced mover will make sure that all paperwork is in order, but that doesn’t always mean that border agents will cooperate. There is usually no reason to worry, though. Even though border agents might take their time, they will release them. You are generally talking about weeks, not months.

Some, but not all moving companies work with local moving companies at your destination. Make sure you are very clear on how your goods will get to you at your new home. At Ninja Movers, we make all those arrangements, but not all moving companies do.

If you are in a big hurry for part or all of your shipment, air transportation can be arranged but it’s much more expensive.

See How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part Three (Short Hauls) 

See How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part Two (Long-Distance Moves)

See How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part One (Local Moves)


How To Move Houseplants

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Moving houseplants might seem like a fairly ordinary task, but they are actually some of the most problematic items you will encounter during your move. After you’ve spent so many years nurturing them, will you have to leave them behind?

The difficulty of houseplants is that they are alive and often unwieldy. Some states have regulations against many types of plants entering their borders. Most movers will not move plants long distances – and for good reason. The truck gets no fresh air, and even during moderate temperatures, the back of the truck can get very hot.

If you’ve ever driven into California, you were probably stopped at the border by agents looking for plants and even for fresh fruit. California, along with other states, heavily relies on its agricultural industry. Plants can come with a variety of pests and diseases. Even with the introduction of just one, an epidemic can occur. If you are carrying plants, border agents will have to declare them pest free before you will be allowed to continue. You should check with the state you are moving to to find out what types of regulations they have and if you should arrange for an inspection in advance.

Despite the difficulty, there are ways to keep your plants alive during the move. If you are moving locally, many movers will allow the plants inside their truck, with the understanding that there is no temperature regulation. Some plants are hardy enough to withstand a couple of hours in hot or cold temperatures. Some are not. It’s best to research the individual plants before allowing them on a truck if it’s for more than a few minutes.

The number one recommendation is for the plants to be moved in the car, but it’s understandable, that most large, or even medium-sized plants will not fit in a family vehicle. Even if you can fit your plants in the car or if you are moving them in the moving truck, it’s advisable that you “buy” yourself a little insurance by taking cuttings of your favorite plants, which can be stored in plastic bags containing moist vermiculite, peat moss or perlite.

If you do choose to move your plants, it’s important to prepare them:

At least two weeks before the move

  • Repot the plants into plastic, non-breakable pots. It’s important that they live in the new pots in their old environment for at least a couple of weeks. Plants do not like too many changes at once. Your ceramic pots can be packed and moved, so you can repot them again when they are settled into your new home.
  • Prune any wayward growth.
  • Examine your plants for pests and treat if needed.

A couple of days before the move

  • Water your plants. Your plants should be moist on moving day but not wet.

On moving day

  • Pack your plants. Wrap the base in packing paper or in old linens and carefully place them inside a box. Make sure the plant is completely supported in the box. You can carefully put a second box, upside down, over the first box to completely enclose the plant. Be sure to punch some air holes and clearly mark the box.
  • Load the plants last and unload them first.

Once you are settled, don’t shock your plants. Unpack them slowly and carefully. Let them sit in the same place for a while to settle into their new environment.


How To Tip Movers (And Everyone Else)

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It’s the end of a long day of moving. A tired crew leader hands you the final paperwork to sign and you are more than willing to pay for a job well done. The crew has worked unbelievably hard. They listened to everything you said and everything is now safely in its new place. So how do you reward the movers for a job very well done?

Most reputable movers have a strict policy against asking for tips. Tipping should be voluntary, but it is customary when your movers have done a good job for you. So, how much should you tip?

A good rule of thumb is to pay $5.00 per mover per hour. It’s the crew leader’s job to divide the tips and for most companies, if the crew leader doesn’t divide them equitably, it’s a firing offense.

If you are moving locally, you can tip at the end of the move. If you are moving long distance, you will probably have two separate crews. You should tip when the truck is loaded and again when it’s unloaded. If that amount takes you above your budget, that’s fine. Remember, tipping is voluntary and whatever you can afford will be appreciated. Even $20 per mover is acceptable. It’s also acceptable to order the crew a pizza or sandwiches during the move.

But what about other services? How much and when should you tip? EmilyPost.com has some great guidelines.

Most waitpeople make very little money (as low as $2.13 an hour). Generally, you should tip between 15-20% before tax. *Note for single people: One of the (many) things that attracted me to my husband is that he is a VERY generous tipper.

Home delivery people should be tipped between 10-15%.

Bartenders, about $1.00 – $2.00 per drink.

You can ignore the coffee shop tip jars, but if you go there often, feeding the jar might ensure some extra special treatment.

Valets should be tipped between $2.00 – $5.00.

Beauticians and estheticians should be tipped between 15-20%.

Anyone who carries your luggage (including skycaps, doorman, taxi drivers and bellhops) should be tipped $2.00 for the first bag and $1.00 for each additional.

Taxi drivers should be tipped between 15-20%.

It’s appropriate to tip anyone who goes above and beyond their normal job.



San Francisco on its Way to Being Most Expensive Real Estate in U.S.

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Throughout the country, the economy is improving, but it seems that in many ways, the Bay Area is leading the country. According to reports, the real estate values in the Bay Area will be seeing double digit spikes over the next year.

A recent forecast from real estate analytics firm Veros predicts that residential real estate prices in the San Francisco and East Baymetropolitan areas will spike an average of 12.7 percent by June 2014. The company attributes the projected increase to the region’s low unemployment rate and scant housing supply.

Veros also forecasts robust growth for the Los Angeles and San Jose metropolitan areas, which placed second and third on the list with expected price gains of 11.6 percent and 11.1 percent respectively. The news comes less than two weeks after the California Association of Realtors announced that home-price gains in the state reached highs not seen since 1980.


According to reports, by this time next year, the Bay Area will have pretty much recovered from the real estate crash and may be on its way to property values above those at the peak of the bubble.

Part of the rise in housing prices might be due to an international influx. From 2005 – 2009, about 71,000 people moved to the Bay Area from other countries.

Some experts are concerned about the rapidly rising housing prices. The double digit rises in property value are reflective of the the early 2000s, before the crash. Credit requirements have tightened but mortgage derivatives (where mortgages are sold to investors in blocks) are still being sold with few or no regulations.

Still, it’s a great time to be a homeowner in the Bay Area. The job market is strong. We have one of the most highly educated population in the world and of course, the weather can’t be beat.

Moving Day Playlist

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One of the toughest parts of moving day is getting motivated. One of the best ways to get motivated, no matter what your activity, is with music. At Ninja Movers, we’ve listed some of our favorite moving related songs (if you don’t get too literal). Like most moving days, some of the list is a bit sentimental and melancholy. Some of it is just meant to get you moving. Have fun!

  1. “Rise To The Sun” by Alabama Shakes
  2. “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas
  3. “Get The Party Started” by Pink
  4. “Another Town Another Train” by ABBA
  5. “Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen
  6. “Bound For Glory” by Tedeschi/Trucks Band
  7. “Break It Down Again” by Tears for Fears
  8. “Bust A Move” by Young MC
  9. “Calamity Song” by the Decemberists
  10. “California Dreaming” by the Mamas and the Papas
  11. “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra
  12. “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes” Ke$ha
  13. “Don’t Go Back To Rockville” by R.E.M
  14. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds
  15. “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green
  16. “Going To California” by Led Zeppelin
  17. “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles
  18. “Home” by Depeche Mode
  19. “I Feel The Earth Move” by Carol King
  20. “Into The Groove” by Madonna
  21. “Last Train To Clarksville” by the Monkees
  22. “Learn To Fly” by the Foo Fighters
  23. “Leaving On A Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul & Mary
  24. “Long And Winding Road” by the Beatles
  25. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
  26. “Many Rivers To Cross” by UB40
  27. “Midnight Train To Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips
  28. “Move” by Beyonce
  29. “Movin’ Out” by Billy Joel
  30. “Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac
  31. “No More Looking Back” by the Kinks
  32. “No Stopping Us” by Jason Mraz
  33. “Nobody Home” by Avril Levigne
  34. “On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson
  35. “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers
  36. “Refugee'” by Tom Petty
  37. “Something In The Way She Moves” by James Taylor
  38. “Strangers In The Night” by Frank Sinatra
  39. “Throw It Away” by Joe Jackson
  40. “Truckin” by the Grateful Dead
  41. “Trying To Pull Myself Away” by Glen Hansard
  42. “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” by Wham
  43. “We Got the Beat” by the Go-Gos
  44. “Welcome To The Jungle” by Guns and Roses
  45. “Where The Streets Have No Name” by U2
  46. “Wide Open Spaces” by Dixie Chicks
  47. “Your House” by Alanis Morissette
  48. “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins
  49. “Starts With Goodbye” by Carrie Underwood
  50. “Kiss And Say Goodbye” by Joan Osborne
  51. “Closing Time” by Semisonic

What to do if you’re Moving out of the Country?

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As you might imagine, moving internationally is a bit more complex than moving within the U.S. Even if you speak the language, moving to a foreign country can present you with challenges you might not have expected. While you want to make moving company arrangements as soon as possible, it’s actually the last think you want to do. Before contacting a moving company:

1. Find out where you’ll be living – Yes, that sounds obvious, but remember that in most countries, homes run much smaller than in the U.S. Your new place might be furnished or it might have very little room for large American furniture. Closets are also much smaller. Between that and the change in climate, you might find that you don’t need to move much of your wardrobe.

2. Find out if you’ll need your car – It is possible to move your car overseas, but it could be costly. Many countries have excellent public transportation. For many, large cars can be very impractical.

3. Check the country’s immigration requirements. – Make sure that all visas and other paperwork are in order. If you have pets, find out what the country requires. Most countries have lifted their pet quarantine requirements, but they do have strict policies regarding immunizations and parasites. Many require that the vaccinations be administered months in advance. Many countries require that pets are micro-chipped. Children and even adults may have vaccination requirements as well. Many countries require proof that you have money in the bank.

4. Figure out what you are moving – If your move is permanent, you might consider selling or giving away some of your furniture. If it’s temporary, long-term storage might be a solution.

5. Find a moving company – Overseas moving takes a bit more skill than a local or even an interstate move. Every item must be inventoried and packed with precision. Because of terrorism, it’s illegal for customers to pack their own items. Then, typically in the moving company’s warehouse, the items will be placed inside what’s called a “lift van,” or waterproof container that is made of wood, metal or fiberglass. The moving company will not actually be transporting your goods overseas, but they will transport them to the port and then load the overseas container.

Overseas containers come in two sizes – 40′ and 20′. If your shipment doesn’t fill a container, you will still be charged for the entire container. You will also be charged for any costs incurred through customs, insurance and delivery in your new country. Companies who are experienced with international moves will be able to arrange for delivery in your new destination. Your moving company will also be able to arrange storage for the items you want to keep in the U.S.

The vast majority of international moves are transported via ship, which can take weeks and sometimes months. You can plan on additional time for your goods to clear customs. It’s a good idea for you to make temporary arrangements until you and your possessions can be reunited.

If you need more immediate delivery, it is possible to transport many items via air, but it is extremely expensive.

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