THE UNLOAD

Unloading a moving truck is faster and easier then loading the truck in the first place. When packing a moving truck, everything has to fit together and not get damaged. Every piece has to be wrapped and padded. Unloads are fairly straight forward and considered to be the downhill, to the loads “up hill”. Of course if there are stairs or long walks this will add to the time. Location conditions always affect the time and effort of a moving job.

I was once on a move from a house with a 36″ front door to a home with a 32″ front door. It was an older house, built when doors were smaller. Items that sailed out of the old house now needed to be disassembled just to make it in the new home. Feet off the sofa and love seat, fridge doors had to be removed, and so on.  Move conditions are always a factor.

The most important thing for you to do, is to direct the movers. Be right at the front door and direct traffic. At the beginning before a single box is unloaded give the movers a tour of your new home. This way when you say which room, they will know what you are talking about. Show the movers exactly where you want things. It is much easier to place your furniture exactly where you want it while you have the man power.  Instead of waiting and trying to move things around yourself later.

Some pet peeves of professional mover at the unload: Customers that talk on the phone or text excessively, or are otherwise distracted as the truck is being unloaded.  Standing there with a heavy load in your arms and your customer is not sure where they want it,  is another common problem. Customers that keep asking you to change the location of a piece of furniture. “That armoire I asked you to put in the upstairs bedroom, well I now want it in the downstair bedroom” is aggravating. Being right there for your movers and answering their questions will make the unload go fast and smoothly making everyone happy.

Double check the appliance connections. Any water leaks are the home owner’s responsibility. Double check each room and make sure that everything is exactly where you want it. If you need an item moved, ask, Professional movers are normally happy to help. This may contradict with the “pet peeves”, but this is your home and it needs to be perfect for you, re-moving a couple items is no big deal. Asking for the movers to rearrange the house is. Double check the moving truck. The Driver has already double checked the truck but this way you have the peace of mind of seeing for yourself. If setting up the beds and reattaching mirrors to dressers is part of the service or you have paid for this service, double check to make sure it was done. It is easy to overlook little things in the hustle and bustle of the unload, when the end of a hard day is in sight.

Pay your movers. Cash, checks, and major credit cards are normally accepted by professional moving companies. Although, some companies only accept cash. (a warning sign of a poor quality company)! Ask ahead of time about payment options.

THE DRIVE

Moving trucks drive slow. Experienced drivers try to reduce road vibration and road bumps. They will take turns slowly to minimize the centripetal force. This is a good thing, and if you are driving a rental truck, you would be wise to drive slowly as well.

Exchange cell phone numbers with the driver, if you have not done so already. There are two options, to meet the moving crew at the drop off, or have them follow you there. If they follow you, drive slowly. Keep the moving truck in your review mirror. If you are meeting the crew at your new home, set up the time. It is common for the movers to get lunch on the way to the unload

I once had a customer want me to follow them, only to take off like a race car driver. I did not even try to keep up. I had my helper look up the drop off address and we proceeded. My cell phone rang. “where are you guys” I replied that I would just meet them at the drop off address. I am not going to try and make a 26,000 pound fully loaded moving truck try and keep up with a 3000 pound sports car.

Loading the truck

Every piece of furniture must be wrapped and padded. Friends sometime don’t realize that just road vibration is enough for a cardboard box to ware through a dresser’s finish on a 500 mile move.  The pack job should be just as careful on a move across town, as a move across the country. Ropes, straps and blankets are the tools of the trade to prevent damage in transit. Glass tops and mirrors should be packed on end, against the truck wall. Nothing should be able to move or slide around. If the item can’t move and is wrapped in a moving blanket, it probably will not get damaged in transit.

If you hired a professional moving company, you don’t have to worry about packing the truck. The professionals have you covered. The main thing you need to do to help the moving crew is to be there to answer any questions. Items MAY need to be disassembled (e.g. fridge doors, large decks, oversized armoires and the like.) Some items WILL need to be disassembled, (washer/dryer, head boards/foot boards, bed frames, mirrors on dressers, and so on.) Your in home moving estimator would have covered these items with you and explained what was included in your quote.

If the movers disconnect your appliances for you, (and quality moving companies do) check the water lines yourself. The water lines are the home owner’s responsibility. A small leak in your ice maker hose or the washing machine connection could cause thousands of dollars of damage.

Loading the moving truck is a lot like playing Tetris. The crew will load furniture in the order that makes the most sense for packing the truck. Giving the crew a “tour” and saying which room is which, e.g. Emilie’s room, the office, game room and so on, will make it easier at the unload.

Once the truck is loaded and the house is empty, do a walk through. Walk the house with the movers and make sure nothing was left. Double checking now, can save grief latter. You are responsible for giving the “all clear”. If items are accidently left behind that will be your responsibility. Always do a final walkthrough.

MOVE DAY

You have spent a month preparing for this day. You have the keys to your new home. Your entire house is packed. All your boxes are labeled and sealed. The kids and the dog are with grandma. And you just got a call from the movers saying they were twenty minutes away. Enjoy your coffee, because your day is off to a great start.

On move day give yourself extra time. Plan for a “time cushion” that way if things take longer, (and they always do) you are covered. You have planned for it. I was once on a job, packing the truck, when another moving crew arrived with a fully loaded truck.  It turned out that the new residents, from out of state were scheduled to move in at noon. Never plan a move out with a move in on the same day. The other movers and the new family sat there while we finished up. Awkward, and preventable.

Estimating move time is difficult. The quality and experience of your moving crew makes all the difference. If you have a “switch back” stair case, that will take longer than straight stair case. If there is a long walk, it will take more time then pulling the truck right up to the front door. Waiting for an elevator takes time. The kind of furniture that you have will affect how long the move takes, for better or worse. Always plan for extra time on move day. The “time cushion” reduces stress for everyone.

If your friends are helping, make sure that you know what they think is expected of them. Misunderstandings hurt friendships and cause problems on move day.

The foundation of preparation is what move day is built on. The quality and experience of the moving company can make all the difference.  A quality moving crew can easily move an average house in one day.

PLANNING FOR THE UNEXSPECTED

The thing about the unexpected is, you don’t expect it. A lot can go wrong with a move. Closings are suddenly delayed for often the simplest reasons. Every week we have to reschedule move dates because of closings being bumped. Not such a big deal unless it happens at the last minute. Or, if the folks you sold your home to need you out, but you have no home to move to. All because of some paperwork glitch at the title company. It is always good to have a backup plan and a flexible moving company.

Professional moving companies offer last minute storage options. Ask about storage, even if you have no intention of needing it. Sometimes if you are delayed by a day, you can store your furniture on the truck and avoid the cost of everything being moved twice.

Know where the water cut off is at your old house as well as your new home. Disconnecting washing machines can reveal problems that you did not know existed.  If you can’t shut off the water at the washing machine, you can’t move the appliance. I have even seen brand-new homes with plumbing problems. Once when I was connecting a washer, the PVC connection twisted off. It had been seated incorrectly by the plumber. Water started pouring everywhere and our customer did not know where the water cut off was. We found the valve shut off and cut off the water supply.   Don’t expect your movers to have this skill set.  Know how to shut off your own water supply.

Make a trip to Home Depot and pack up some extra skids/casters if you are moving to a home with hardwood floors. Just in case. If your washer hoses are old, now is the time to pick up a new set while you are at the hardware store. The same goes for your ice maker connections.  Pick up a kit. You can always return it if you don’t need it. Be prepared, consider all contingencies.

If you are moving yourself, or just hiring a mover for the big stuff, what is your plan if your friends don’t show up, bail, or flake? What is your back up plan? If you hired a mover for the big items, it may be easy enough to add some more items to your moving list. If you hired a “lowest cost mover” and they are a no show, what is the backup plan?. Always give yourself options to prepare for the unforeseen.

The best plans are the ones made ahead of time.

PREPARING YOUR NEW HOME

Your new place should be ready, shouldn’t it? The place is empty, all you need to do is move your boxes and furniture into the right rooms. Here are some considerations.

The walk way, the carpeting, and the hard floors are all factors in your move. Are you going to lay down plastic to protect the carpet? Is the moving company going to lay down carpet protectors? If so what is the additional cost? Is it included in the quote? Professional movers normally have door protectors, and door jamb covers.

Hard wood floors and linoleum can be damaged quite easily by faulty skids or wheels. I have seen fridges tear gaping holes in linoleum floors. Dressers, sofas, chairs, and anything with feet has the potential to damage a floor. You must be vigilant to check your casters, skids and wheels for defects. Often if the plastic protector is damaged the nail that held it in place is still jutting out. Just waiting to destroy your floor.

Floor damage can happen when you move furniture from a carpeted room to a hardwood floor room. In a carpeted room you have no idea of the potential damage a bad caster can cause.  Carpet does not scratch.

I once moved a very large armoire from a carpeted bedroom to a bedroom with a wood floor. I told the wife that the casters needed to be replaced. I put the piece exactly where she wanted so they would not have to move it until it was fixed. As the crew continued to unload the truck, the husband decided to move the armoire to another wall by pushing it. His wife had not told him, and she was now taking care of the baby. The poor man put a three-foot scratch in his brand new wood floor. This is also why professional movers pick up or dolly furniture, sliding furniture is frowned upon.

The walk way must me clean. Sometimes new houses have mud on the walk way because of the new sod. Before your move make sure your walk way will be clean. The moving truck is clean, your new home is clean, should not your walk way is clean as well?  Mud on the walk way will get tracked in to the house and the moving truck.  Movers cannot take their shoes off because of safety reasons, as well as being impractical. I once had a customer ask for us to remove our shoes while we were carrying a piano. Movers have broken bones by accidently dropping something heavy on their toes even with their shoes on. They are not going to take their shoes off.  Moving heavy furniture is inherently risky. Not to be done bare foot.

The best way to prepare your new home for the move is to know where everything is going. Don’t make the movers stand there holding a piece of heavy furniture while you discuss with your spouse where the piece of furniture is going to end up. Have a plan before the move day. An organized move is a smooth move.

PREMOVE LOGISTICS

Nothing can sabotage your moving experience like poor planning. Whether you hire a full service moving company or are renting a moving truck there is still a ton of stuff to consider that has nothing to do with the actual move. Moving all your personal belongings from point A to point B, is only one aspect of your relocation.

Kids need to be unenrolled from their old school and enrolled in their new school. Parents will often move for the sole purpose of having their children go to a better school district.

Utilities need to be transferred. Water, electric, internet, and gas need to be shut off at the old address and turned on at your new home. It is a good idea to have your utilities overlap by a few days. The phone numbers to all of your utilities should be saved on your phone or written down. (In the appendix there is a place to save your help-full numbers,)

I have been on moves where the electric company had already shut off the lights and we were moving with lanterns and flash lights. This happens more than you would think with folks that try to cut corners. One person set the cut off the day after their move only to have their house closing delayed. Another person said “I told them to cut it off at 5pm” The electric company cut the power first thing in the morning. Pay for a few extra days and avoid the stress. Good lighting is key to a success full move. And, no one wants to spend the first night at their new home without water, AC, heat, the lights on, or the coffee maker working.

Your rental truck should be booked three weeks ahead of time. Rent it for a few extra days. You can always return it early. The cost is much less expensive three weeks before your move. If you need extra days with your rental truck at the last minute, you will pay a premium. If all the rental trucks are rented out at the end of the month, and you need to keep your truck for a few extra days, that puts the rental company in a bind. Your truck is already rented to another customer.

If you are hiring a professional, you should get at least three moving quotes from reputable moving companies. You should try to reserve your move date three weeks ahead of time. If your move date changes, notify your mover as soon as possible. The moving industry is a logistics industry. Professional moving companies will bend over backwards to accommodate your moving date. Priority is always given to customers that have already reserved their date.

One customer had their closing delayed by the title company. The paperwork was missing some small thing. We were already booked up for the end of the month. We had been turning away business for the last week. There are always folks that think that they can call today for a move tomorrow at the end of the month. Quality mover do not over book and fill all their time slots well ahead of time. Because this was our customer we accommodated their move date change, even though we were already booked up at the end of the month. We worked until’ one in the morning, but we got the move done and got our customer out of a jam. Moving companies give priority to those already on their schedule.

Plan for a baby sitter on move day. You do not want small children around the hours during the move. Heavy furniture being carried out of the house and children do not mix. The movers will be concerned with not bumping in to your kids, when all of their attention should be focused on the task at hand. Moving furniture without damaging it.

Find a pet sitter for move day. Pets under foot cause problems, I have also noticed that dogs get stressed out with strangers moving everything out of the house. This happens more thaen you would think, the dog will be tied up or in a cage, or in some cases loose in the home. The dog barks at the movers as they are moving out all the boxes and furniture. The dog looks at its owner, then at the moving men, then back to the owner and barks. The dog can’t understand what is going on. The house that the dog has sworn to protect is being emptied by strangers. And the owner won’t do anything, “What’s wrong with my owner, they are taking everything”. At the new house the dogs are normally as happy as can be, as all your personal belonging come pouring into the new house. Save your dog the stress, find a pet sitter.

Planning before your move, is the first step in having a smooth moving experience. Organize, make lists, and set up a schedule.

 

BEFORE MOVEDAY

Moving is stressful. Some rank it on the same list as death, divorce, and bankruptcy. But unlike accidents, betrayal, and the economy crashing. Household relocations can be well planned, well organized, and well prepared for.

What is easy for the expert is hard for the novice. With a little knowledge and planning your move can go smoothly. You can know what pitfalls to avoid, what questions to ask, and what to expect on moveday.

So you have your new place and a move date, but there are a lot of things you still have to consider. If you have bought or are building your dream house, you have probably dealt with a mountain of paper work that you did not even know existed. The home buying experience is complex, and a large book on its own.

Money is always a consideration. Nobody wants to over pay, everybody wants the best value for their dollar. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to do their research and acquire much needed knowledge. It is all too easy to skimp on the move when money is tight. Buying a house is expensive. Buying furniture to fill the house is expensive too. People often use moving to a new place as an excuse to redecorate and add new furnishings.

Hiring a mover is a means to an end. You are paying for men, moving boxes, and a truck, but the goal is simple. Move all my stuff from point A to point B. You are really paying for a service, an experience. By definition an experience that it better the less you notice it and the faster that it is over with.

Depending on money, friends, family, and time; you may be moving yourself, DIY. Maybe you are planning a hybrid move; using a mover for some things, moving the rest yourself. Or perhaps you are using a professional moving company to handle everything. A full service move.

Renting a moving truck can be simple and convenient. Hiring a professional moving company can be done with a phone call and a in home estimate. Understanding the companies and the right questions to ask can make all the difference in your moving experience.

 

You have four options to consider. Find out what suits you and your pocketbook best.

  1. Pack all the boxes and move everything yourself. DIY
  2. Pack all the boxes and move all the small stuff yourself. Have a professional moving company move all the big items.
  3. Pack all the boxes yourself. Hire a professional moving company to move all your furniture and sealed boxes. No rental truck or rental dollies needed. Most people choose this option. You can save a lot of money packing yourself.
  4. Hire a full service move. The movers will pack your boxes, and move everything. This is the stress free option.

PREPARING FOR YOUR MOVEDAY

Packing everything in boxes is the major part of preparing for move day. There are other things to consider when preparing your home for move day. Some things are obvious, other suggestions may seem counter intuitive.

You should refrain from watering your house plants three days before your move. Some people do just the opposite. Thinking that they are helping their plants by watering them right before the stress of moving. What they are really doing is causing a slipping hazard in the moving truck and causing water, dirty plant water, to get on their boxes and furniture. Water your plants at the new house. Also after the move you should prune your plants. That will invigorate growth and help them come back after the stress of the move.

BBQ grills need to be cleaned before move day. I once picked up a grill and the grease trap spilled all over my pant leg. The reason to clean the grill and remove the grease is to protect all your other furniture. We do not want grease or soot on the truck floor or moving blankets. It will track on everything else.

Moving is a great time for spring cleaning. Anything that you are planning to donate to charity should be done before the move.  Any crating should be done before the move, along with the packing. Any specialty items should be addressed and planned for before the move. Items that movers cannot move or you would prefer to move yourself, should be cleared before move day or in a designated pile marked “Do not move”

All boxes should be sealed with tape and marked what room they will go in at your new home. Boxes should be kept under forty pounds, if possible.

Most of move preparation is common sense. Making sure you are ready move day, makes the moving experience that much easier to deal with.

THE GARAGE

Garages have their own challenges, unique to each individual.  Some people’s garages are very organized, everything is already in a rubbermaid tub.  On the other hand, some garages look like a storage unit for the Beverly Hillbillies.  Most people fall somewhere in the middle.

 

The best time to clean out your garage and attic is before your move.  Don’t pay to move something you were going to throw out.  Have a garage sale before move day, and pick up some extra cash.  You can also lighten your load by giving to a charity of your choice.  Lots of charities will pick up donations or have convenient drop off locations.  Some moving companies will haul off items to their charity as a service to their community at no charge to you.  Ask for details, each moving company has their own policy.

 

Pack garage items in strong boxes.  Dish Packs make a good choice.

 

Long handled tools can be bundled and shrink wrapped.

 

Please empty fuel out of your power tools.  Moving companies cannot move anything flammable or explosive, i.e., gas cans, paints, pesticides, or any other dangerous chemicals.  This is a state law.  Moving companies have a “household goods” license, not a “hazard” or “flammable” endorsement.

 

This is a good thing.  You don’t want chemicals or flammable gas in the same truck as your furniture, clothes, and family photographs.  That is how trucks catch on fire.

 

The garage makes a great staging area to stack boxes to get them out of your way.  As always, label the contents of each box and what room you want it to be placed in at the new house.  Make sure each box is sealed with tape.

 

A well packed house helps make the actual move day go smoothly.  Boxes marked with contents and location simplify unpacking.  Most folks unpack themselves even if they did hire professional packers.  Unpacking is the other side of this equation.  Help balance that equation with the right pack job.