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Hunting and gathering humans were nomadic by necessity. With agriculture and trade, they could settle and build communities. Nonetheless, most people will eventually move. From a new job in a different city to a temporary move for college or the endless shuffling of military service, it’s best to plan ahead.
Balancing Costs vs. Sweat
Costs will often be determined by who is paying, what is being moved, the physical abilities of those being moved, distance, time and vehicles. For specific timing, please see the Moving Checklist on my real estate blog (see above).
Set Aside Important Items
Before packing, ensure all important documents and other valuables are safe and packed separately to travel with the people who are moving. If a house sale is involved, it’s vital to have these documents available rather than in a truck or storage building in another state.
Pack two sets of business clothes and comfortable work clothes separately for the move. Ensure all essential toiletries and prescription medicines are also available during the move.
Van lines: If the move is paid in full by another – especially a corporation that can take a write off – have a van line or mover do everything. They will swoop in on moving day, wrap everything correctly for a long-distance move, load the truck, deliver it to the next location, unwrap everything and place it near its final destination. It’s the easiest and most expensive option.
Movers: A cost-effective option for a long-distance move is to box everything and pay a mover to load, haul and unload the household effects. If hiring a mover, number boxes in a sequence to verify all boxes arrived or identify any missing boxes.
To save more money, consider renting the moving trucks through U-Haul, Penske or others. Most have affiliation with vetted labor companies to load and unload the trucks.
Pack the boxes. Hire folks to load the truck. Drive the truck to the final destination. Hire other folks to unload the truck. The owners can unpack everything slowly after the rental truck is returned.
Do It Yourself: Never try to move without help. Unless it’s a military move in a duffel bag, it is a recipe for disaster. Many items – especially furniture - are heavier than they look. Even light objects can still be bulky. Things will break. A second person can help guide bulky objects and speed up the transition.
If the move is long and there is much to move, consider renting an appropriately sized truck. If it’s a move across town, it’s ideal to at least have a strong friend with a large open-bed truck or large van. This is when it’s important to balance the amount of time and fuel it takes for multiple trips in smaller vehicles versus one move in a larger rental truck.
The most basic supplies will be box cutters, bold markers, boxes, tape, bubble cushion, newsprint paper, cellophane wrap, moving pads and dollies.
Have multiple box cutters, bold markers and packing tape dispensers available. They will be misplaced. Color code boxes with specialized tape to separate by room and write detailed content lists on the outside of boxes to quickly identify contents.
Home improvement stores and truck rental shops often carry everything needed for the moving process. Some offer multi-bedroom moving kits to handle most moves. Anyone can buy different sized cardboard boxes and even specialized boxes for dishes, books, glassware, cups, adjustable large TVs, mirror/art, guitars, bikes, wardrobe boxes for clothing and more.
Have more boxes than anyone thinks they’ll need. Many box sellers have buy-back programs or take returns for unused boxes.
Ultra-frugal folks may want to visit local grocery stores a few times ahead of the move and ask for some sturdy boxes. Liquor store boxes are smaller but very sturdy and good for books.
Mattress bags and sofa covers ensure those items arrive as clean as possible.
Strapping tape, which is reinforced tape or has filaments, and a heavy-duty dispenser with a handle is the best option to efficiently seal boxes. Packing tape is not reinforced and less expensive. It is available in a variety of widths and compositions.
Use bubble cushion rolls or sheets for delicate objects. Secure the wrap in place with plastic packing tape. Newsprint paper can be purchased in sheets to wrap delicate objects that may not require the extra protection and expense of bubble wrap.
Get both large and small rolls of cellophane wrap with handle dispensers to secure items in place while they are moved. The wrap assists in holding doors shut on furniture and appliances as well as ensuring cushions remain with furniture and more.
Moving pads mainly protect furniture from grinding damage while in transit on the truck. These can be inexpensively rented at truck rental facilities or can be purchased.
If a family moves frequently or wants to protect specific items with fresh pads, new pads might be a good purchase.
Have a four-wheeled furniture dolly with rubber or carpet pads. A two-wheeled hand truck helps move stacks of boxes.
Mark M. Hancock, GRI, MRP, AHWD
REALTOR, New Home certified
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