A Temporary Move: Packing Tips

If you read our previous blog, you learned some reasons as to why you may face a temporary housing relocation – moving for school or work, or to help a family member in need. But once you have secured your short-term living accommodations, what exactly should you take with you? In this blog, we will provide you with tips on how to pack for a temporary move.

Check Accommodations

As you know, there are many reasons for a temporary move. There are also a number of temporary housing options – hotels, motels, vacation homes, rental houses and apartments, etc. Before you begin to pack for your relocation, it is a good idea to first check what accommodations will be provided for you. Here are some examples:

Furniture and Appliances. It takes a lot of extra time and effort to prepare and move heavy or bulky items, like furniture and appliances. With this in mind, if your temporary home is furnished with items like beds, a couch, tables, a desk, chairs, a refrigerator, and so on, then you won’t have to bother bringing these items along with you. Things like TVs, stereos, kitchen utensils, cookware, and smaller appliances aren’t always provided, so be sure to check if items that are used on a daily basis, like these, are included.

Bedding. Many temporary homes will include bedding – sheets, pillows, blankets, curtains/shades, towels – but you want to verify this just in case. For many, though, having your own bedding is essential to feel comfortable and “at home”, even in a temporary situation.

Consider the Climate

Whether staying in a hotel or at a rental home, you will, of course, need to pack your essentials – clothes, accessories, and so on. But before you pack everything in your closet, first stop and take the climate of your soon-to-be home into consideration. Once you find out what the weather and temperature will be like at the time of your stay, you will be able to make more informed packing choices, as well as save yourself time, energy and money.

You may also want to avoid packing garments you will never put on, such as formal wear if you are not going to attend a formal event, or specialty sports gear if you are not going to be practicing a specific activity.

Essentials and Valuables to Bring

Along with clothes and accessories, there are some must-have essentials to take with you for a temporary relocation. These include:

Important Documents. There are many important documents you must remember to bring with you when moving. Here are some to remember: driver’s license, social security card, birth certificates, insurance policies, credit cards, bank documents, medical records, and passports. There may be more, so think hard to ensure you have everything you need.

Medications. All of your prescribed medications should be a top priority when packing for your temporary move. It’s also a good idea to take along a first-aid kit.

Toiletries. You can, of course, buy new toiletries, like shampoos and cosmetic products, but you may want to save time and effort by taking some of these items along with you.

Children’s Toys and Games. If your child(ren) is moving with you, it’s a good idea to bring toys and games with you. This will not only provide them entertainment and comfort, but this will also save you from having to spend money on re-buying these items.

Electronics. You may not feel the need to take every CD or DVD you own to your new location, but you will definitely want to take your most important and valuable electronics – laptop, phone, camera, TV, chargers, and so on.

Valuable Items. If you own valuable items, like jewelry or family heirlooms, for instance, you won’t just want to shove these possessions into storage. The same is true for belongings that hold a high sentimental value for you.

For more moving tips and tricks, click here.

Top Reasons You May Require Temporary Housing

When it comes to moving, you probably want to be moving into your forever home. After all, who wants to prepare and pack for a move more than once? But life is all about transitions and changes, which means that your move is probably going to be temporary. What are some reasons that may call for temporary housing? Continue reading to find out!

Moving before choosing a new home. Moving to a place where you are surrounded by completely different surroundings and unfamiliar faces can be tough. Not only can it be stressful, but it can also be confusing. Questions, like “What are should I live in?”, “What neighborhoods are best?”, and “Where are essential places located?”, will swirl rampantly around in your head. This being said, it’s important to carefully research your new area so you can find the perfect place and location for you and your family. But this takes time, and sometimes there isn’t enough time to do adequate research prior to moving. Finding a temporary home is the best solution for this situation. This way, you will be able to live in your new surroundings and learn everything there is to know before buying or renting a more suitable and permanent residence.

Temporarily relocating for work. If your job requires you to move temporarily, you definitely won’t want to uproot your entire household and everyone’s belongings unless it’s absolutely necessary. If the temporary relocation is short, you may want to find a place for just you to live in and leave your family behind at home. If the relocation is long, then you may want to bring your family with you. In this case, you will need to find a temporary home for everyone to live in. You may also consider renting out your permanent home to help make paying two monthly housing payments easier.

Moving before your new home is ready. Another common scenario that requires temporary housing is moving before your new home is ready. For instance, if you have sold your home, you may need to move out before the new owners move in – even if your new home isn’t ready yet. This means you will need to find a temporary residence to house you and the fam til you can finally move into your new digs.

Moving while your home is being repaired. House renovations are never fun – especially if you are living at home in the middle of them. Depending on the renovations needed, you may have to vacate your home for a certain period of time. This will require you to find temporary housing for your family and storage for your belongings until the upgrades to your home are complete. Luckily, this type of temporary move will only mean relocating across town, but there will still be many things to consider and take care of.

Moving to study. Your college career may feel never-ending at times, but at some point, it will definitely come to a close. This is why moving to college is one of the most temporary moves a person will make in their lives. Whether moving to a place on campus, or off, you will have many items to pack and take with you in order to survive those fun and stressful college years.

Moving to help someone. When it comes to life, always expect the unexpected. For example, a close friend or relative may suddenly be in a situation where they need your help – especially for medical reasons. Having to move closer to a person in need is another reason that will require you to find temporary housing and tackle the necessary steps to set it up.

Now that you know some reasons why you may require temporary housing, head over to our next blog to learn some temporary housing options and how to pack for your non-permanent move.

Moving Plants: How to Do So Successfully

Whether large and leafy, tall and viney, or full of bright and colorful petals, plants are the living heart of your garden. While they may be attractive and add lots of charm to your yard, they are also one of the most difficult things to move in your garden. Due to how delicate and fragile plants are, they will not easily survive the transport to your new home and may have a tough time adapting to their new environment.

Before relocating any of your plants, you should first consider whether they are worth the effort and money required to move them. Keep in mind that most moving companies will not relocate your plants for you. This means you will either need to move them yourself or find specialty movers who will. You may even want to schedule your move during times of the year that provide the highest survival rate for your specific plants. The best time to move plants is in early spring or late fall. This is because plants are dormant at these times and stop growing, making it easier for them to adapt to new conditions. Plus, the climate is milder, which means your plant’s life won’t be threatened like it would be during scorching heat or freezing cold temperatures.

Preparing and Packing Your Plants

If you decide you are going to take your plants with you when you move, here are some important tips to properly prepare and pack them for the transition ahead:

Prune and Tidy Trees and Shrubs. Several weeks before moving day, you should prune and tidy any trees or shrubs you intend to take with you. This means removing all dead leaves and dry branches, as well as excessive foliage and protruding twigs that will easily break during transport. Restricting their growth and making sure no pests infest them will also help reinforce the health of your plants as well as increase their chance of survival.

Dig Them Up. In order to move your plants to a new location, you will need to dig them up – just be sure to do so the right way. Digging out your plants properly and preserving their root systems is vital to relocating them successfully. The greatest challenge will be moving your plants without harming their roots. Damaged roots will hurt your plant’s survival rate because it will be unable to provide sufficient water and nutritive substances. To successfully uproot your plant:

1. Water it immediately before digging it up. Wet soil will adhere to the roots.

2. Dig a wide area to ensure you can take out the entire root ball – especially when moving trees or other large plants.

3. Dig down 1-15 inches and try to preserve as many roots as possible – both fine and thick.

4. Wrap the root ball in a hessian cloth, keeping as much of the soil as possible. Make sure the soil is moist (not wet) at all times.

*If you are moving in warm weather, keep your plant in a shaded area that is dry and cool. If moving in cold weather, tie bubble wrap or old sheets around the roots in order to provide extra insulation against frost.

5. Place plants in appropriately sized plastic containers. For plants with long stems, fasten a rod to them so they don’t snap during transportation. To protect the upper parts of your plants on moving day, loosely wrap or bag these areas.

Re-establishing Your Plants

As important as it is to properly prepare and pack your plants for a move, it is just as crucial to correctly replant them. After arriving at your new home, you should tend to your plants as soon as possible – this will better ensure their success. To re-establish your transplants, follow these steps:

1. Ensure the ground where you will plant your transplants is weeded and well-tilled. You can also mulch the soil with compost, peat, or whatever plant food is appropriate.

2. Dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball.

3. Water the root ball thoroughly and place the transplant inside the hole. *The top of the root ball should be even with ground level.

4. Fill half the hole with soil, and water the root ball again. Be sure to leave some time for the moisture to settle the soil around the roots.

5. Fill in the remainder of the hole, and then lightly pack the soil around the plant, and water again.

For more helpful moving tips, check out more of our blogs.

Top Tips to Make Your Move Eco-Friendly

If you are planning to move house, there are many ways in which it can negatively affect the environment. And during a time when the effects of climate change are all around us, many are opting to take matters into their own hands in order to decrease their carbon footprint and make the world a greener place. To find out what you can do to help make your move more environmentally friendly, here are some helpful tips to consider.

Use Smart Supplies

Moving house requires many supplies, from boxes and packing paper to tape, labels and dollies. On average, a single move can take up to 60 cardboard boxes. This is the equivalent of a half-ton tree. Considering that the typical American moves around 11 times in his/her lifetime, this equals a major number of trees cut down for the production of moving boxes. One good thing about cardboard boxes is that, depending on their quality, they can be used 3 to 10 times before needing to be recycled. If you want your move to be more eco-friendly, there are some alternatives to cardboard boxes – as well as other traditional packing supplies. Check these out:

Recycled Plastic Bins. Reusable plastic bins are an excellent alternative to cardboard moving boxes. They are easy to find, aren’t too expensive, and can be reused time and time again. Whether used for small items or large, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be used during your move as well as after for storage purposes.

Biodegradable Supplies. Bubble wrap is cheap and protective – two qualities that are greatly efficient during a move. Unfortunately, it’s not the most eco-friendly packing supply. For greener options, opt for packing peanuts and foam wrap. Green packing peanuts (they really are green in color!) are made from bio-plastics, which is a form of plastic derived from renewable sources such as vegetable oil or corn starch. While they may be made from difference resources, they are just as efficient to protect your belongings during a move.

Be Creative. One of the most resourceful ways to securely pack your belongings, save money on supplies, and also be eco-friendly is to use items that you can find in your home. For example, towels, bedding, and clothing can be used to wrap breakables.

Shipping and Fuel Options

The more further your relocation is, how much stuff you have, the size of your moving truck, as well as the way you drive all play a prominent role in the amount of fuel you will require to move from point A to point B. Not only is this costly to your budget, but also to the environment.

According to carbon dioxide calculations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), depending on the size of your moving truck:

  • A small truck used for a short-distance move (under 10 miles) can emit 22 pounds of CO2, while a large truck used for a long-distance move can emit up to 40 pounds.
  • A cross-country move of 3,000 miles in a small truck can emit 6,500 pounds of CO2, while the same cross-country move in a large truck can emit close to twice that, at 11,760 pounds.

Whether your relocation will take you nearby or far away, here are some green options to consider:

Biodiesel Fuel. If renting a truck from a moving company, find out if they offer trucks that run on biodiesel fuel, which is a greener alternative to standard gasoline.

Ship Car Via Train. If you need to transport a car during your move, consider doing so via train. Compared to using a truck service to ship your car to your new location, using a train service will save four times more fuel.

Lighten Your Load. Another way to make your move more environmentally friendly is to relocate fewer items. The less stuff you have to ship, the smaller the truck you will need. The result? Less spent on fuel and less CO2 pumped into the atmosphere. To lighten your load, de-clutter, donate and sell any items you will no longer need post-move.

New Habits Post-Move

Striving to make your relocation eco-friendly doesn’t just involve pre-move tasks – it also includes your post-move habits. For instance, once in your new home, it is a good idea to get into the habit of saving energy, creating less waste, and recycling in your everyday life. Here are some things you can do to stay green after your move:

Change Light Bulbs. Instead of using incandescent light bulbs around your home, opt for LED (light-emitting diodes) lights. Though a bit more costly, LEDs last at least twice as long and also don’t contain mercury.

Stop Air Leaks. Every time you use your air conditioner or heater in your new home, it costs money. To get the most of these services, it’s a good idea to stop any air leaks under doorways, window panels, and out of the roof.

Unplug. Leaving things plugged in when not in use is an easy way to increase your power bill and your carbon footprint. To counter this, unplug all appliances, electronics and phone chargers when not in use.

Install Solar Panels. Solar panels are a great way to generate renewable energy. They may require a large investment up front, but they will definitely pay off in the long run, providing renewable energy without the burden of electricity bills.

For all things you need to know for your upcoming move, click here.

Top Ways to Save Money After Moving Away to College

For many, the years spent in college are some of the best, if not the best, times of their lives. Inside and outside of the classroom, college brings new fun-filled adventures, tons of first-time experiences, and plenty of stimulating and valuable life lessons at every turn. Unfortunately, college is very expensive, which leads to many students (and many parents) struggling financially. So how do you afford it? Here are some valuable savings tips to consider:

Transportation

Depending on where you live and the transportation mode you use to commute to and from class, you will either pay a lot or a little in transportation expenses. To lower these fees while earning your degree, here are a few tips to consider:

  • The optimal way to save money on transportation costs while in college is to live close enough so you can walk or bike to class. Both methods are free and also come with the added bonus of providing exercise and better health.
  • Carpooling is a great way to save money, help the environment, and enjoy time with a friend or two on the ride to class.
  • College students are eligible for many discounts. This even includes certain forms of transportation. So be sure to check for potential discounts if your commute includes subways, buses, etc.
  • Cars are expensive – to own, to maintain, and to keep continuously filled with gasoline. This is especially true on a college student’s budget. If you’re looking for a way to lower the cost of transportation, you may want to consider leaving your car behind at your parents’, or even selling it. This way you won’t have to worry about the costs of fuel, parking permits, maintenance, taxes, and car payments. Be warned that this is a very important decision, so you will want to consider it from all angles before making a final choice.
Purchases

On a tight college budget, it’s all too easy to go over your spending limit. Luckily, there are some ways to cut down costs:

  • One way to cut down costs is to opt for generic brands rather than expensive brand names. This is a useful and simple way to achieve great savings, especially at grocery stores and drug stores.
  • Another way to make your funds last longer is to prepare before venturing to the store. Check online for special sale days, collect coupons for items you need, and also consider becoming a member of the store’s loyalty program for additional savings and cash-back rewards.
  • Avoid purchasing household items unless they are truly needed. Yes, you will more than likely use a microwave on a routine basis, but will you really use a blender or pop-up toaster? Investing solely in the items you really have a use for will save you big in the long run, and will also cut down on excess clutter in your living space.
  • If you are living with a roommate – either in a dorm on a campus, or house or apartment off campus – be sure to check with each other first about household items each of you have. This will ensure you don’t purchase duplicate items and can save more cash.
  • Impulse shopping leads to bad purchases. So be sure to plan your purchases carefully. For example, just because something comes with an irresistible price tag, if it’s not on your shopping list, don’t buy it.
Food and Drinks

Sure, you want to keep your tummy full and your taste buds satisfied, but the cost of food and drinks quickly adds up. To lower the cost:

  • Opt for a college meal plan. Doing so will allow you to eat a number of meals each semester at select campus locations, like the cafeteria. Just be sure to utilize your meal plan before looking for other ways to have food on the table. Eating out and ordering in are the two most expensive – and worst – options if you are looking to save money.
  • If you have access to a kitchen, find a recipe that will leave you with food to eat on for a few days. This will save money, and also provide you with the great taste of at-home cooking.
  • If you decide to go out to eat – or order in – check online for any promotions, coupons, etc. that can help lower the bill. You may also want to choose a meal from a restaurant’s lunch menu or during happy hours when items are cheaper.
Living Expenses

A great way to cut your living costs while in college is to lower your living expenses. It may sound impossible, but there are some tactical moves you can take to do it.

  • One of the most efficient ways to cut your monthly moving expenses is to find a roommate. Because the largest portion of your monthly budget is spent on rent, utilities, Internet, and other necessities, living with someone can help lessen the financial burden.
  • Along with having a roommate – or two or three – to help lower your monthly living expenses, there are some tricks to also decrease your monthly bills. To conserve power, unplug or turn off major power consumers when you’re not using them (air conditioner, heater, lights, TVs, computers, etc.). You can also purchase home appliances, and even light bulbs, that are more energy efficient.
Tuition

Attending college means you will face many fees that are unavoidable – textbooks, lab fees, tuition. Sometimes, it can seem as though keeping money in your pocket is an impossible feat, but there are some ways to lower some of your major college expenses.

  • Textbooks are a major college expense that every student groans about. This being said, you should think twice before purchasing brand-new school supplies, and instead, look for alternative ways to obtain them more cheaply. Checking online and at the library are two ways to find textbooks at a lower price – especially for those that are used. If you share a class with a reliable friend, you may even consider sharing a textbook with them.
  • To get back some of the money spent on textbooks, try and sell the ones you no longer wish to keep once the semester is over. Any money you get for them can then be used to contribute to funds for your next set of school supplies.
  • Always be on the lookout for potential scholarships and grants you may be eligible for – even after your first year in college. These are two incredible ways to save money during the course of your college career.

For more moving tips, click here.

Self-Storage Units: Things to Consider

Since the economic recession of 2008, there is one industry that has actually flourished. Can you guess what it is? If you guessed the self-storage industry, you are correct! For a fixed monthly fee, you can rent a self-storage unit to store all of the belongings you don’t have a use for currently, but may need in the near future. Having an extra space at your disposal to store your belongings can be hugely beneficial, providing a practical solution to a living space that is too small or too cluttered.

There are several reasons why people choose to use self-storage:

  • Marriage (two households merge together)
  • Divorce (one household splits into two smaller ones)
  • Retirement (downsizing one’s home)
  • Death in the family (specific items belonging to the deceased person need to be preserved)
  • College
  • Military deployment

While a self-storage unit does provide many pros, there are some cons to consider. Here are some to know:

Financial Burden

When you need a place to store some of your belongings – whether short-term or long-term – then opting for a self-storage unit probably sounds like the ultimate solution. But can you afford it? The price depends upon a number of external factors – location, city, and company, for example. It also depends on the size of the unit. Consider what items you need to store, then how much space these things require. For instance, a small storage unit typically measures 5′ x 5′. Generally, the monthly rent for a small self-storage unit ranges anywhere from $60-$100. With some basic calculations, you can gather that if you rent the smallest storage unit available (5′ x 5′) for the lowest possible price ($60), then in one year’s time, you will end up paying $720 a year for a unit the size of a typical home closet. If you need more space than this, the price ultimately goes up, so before you rent a storage unit, be sure to figure out the overall cost first.

Poor Security

Whether the possessions you want to store away are of little importance or utmost value, they are important to you, which is why you are considering a storage unit. This being said, you want to ensure they will be safe when stored away. When searching for a storage unit, you will want to find one that provides good security. Look for one that provides these things:

  • Solid-structured units that are climate-controlled and weatherproof
  • A gated and monitored premises
  • Experienced on-site attendants

Aside from the price and even the size, the security of your rented storage space should be one of your top priorities. If you are able to, inspect any potential self-storage facilities first. This way, you can take a look around and get a general feel of the facility and its employees. An in-person look will also allow you to request more information on what security measures are taken to keep your possessions from being tampered with or stolen.

Inconvenient Location

Sure, a storage unit will serve many great purposes for you, but this will only be true if its location is convenient to your home. Finding a storage unit that is close by is the ideal situation, especially if you intend to take your belongings in and out of storage on a regular basis. Before making the final decision to reserve a storage space, consider how much time you will need to go to and from the facility. Also think about possible scenarios that may lead to more time and money lost – heavy traffic or jams, bad weather, car issues, the cost of gas, etc.

Stress

When you put some of your belongings into storage, it may feel like a quick and easy relief. But it can lead to some stress. Each month that you pay for your storage unit, you may feel the guilt of losing money – especially if you are storing items that you really don’t need. You may also become stressed by the nagging voice in the back of your head that continuously reminds you to do something with all of your stored belongings. No matter the excuse – a lack of time, procrastination, laziness, etc. – this voice can gnaw at your conscience and become a source of guilt and annoyance.

Afterthought

In the case of most every situation in life, you will have to choose the best route for you. If you use your storage unit smartly, it can provide you with an excellent solution to your moving needs. However, if you use your storage unit recklessly, it can put a huge strain on your budget and stress level. So, what will your decision be?

Bad Movers: How to File a Complaint

Did you know an average of 36 million Americans move each year? With this stat in mind, you can imagine just how busy most moving companies are. While there are lots of moving companies out there that provide excellent service, there are also many that do not. Some are dishonest. Some are unprofessional. And some are just plain rude. As you probably already know, moving house is stressful – much too stressful to have to endure incompetent, untrustworthy movers. If you would like to know tips on how to spot a bad moving company, we have you covered, but in this article, we will discuss how to file a complaint against movers.

Should you file a complaint?

If you are unhappy with the service your moving company provided, here are some ways to know if you are in the right to file a complaint against them:

  • You were treated in a rude and non-professional way;
  • They arrived late to pick up your items or to deliver them to your new home;
  • They handled your moving boxes and furniture carelessly, causing minor or serious damage to your belongings and/or property;
  • They failed to deliver all of your belongings to your new address and are unable to locate where the missing items are;
  • They requested much more money than they originally quoted;
  • They tried to cheat you, rip you off, or showed negligence by using dishonest scamming methods.

After reviewing the list above, and if you feel your voice needs to be heard about the service you were provided, here are the steps to take in order to file an official complaint.

Step 1: Contact Your Movers

If you have a problem with the service your movers provided, the first step to take is to contact them. This should be done as quickly as possible because waiting can lead to an even more negative experience. Coming to a peaceful resolution of a dispute or claim is the best solution for both parties, saving time, money and stress.

Inform your movers about the problem or problems you experienced, in the best possible way – and stay calm. Becoming aggressive or angry will not help your situation. Also, be ready to provide evidence to back up your complaint, such as photos that can prove the existence and the extent of the damage your belongings suffered while in your movers’ possession.

After reviewing your complaint, the movers should compensate you based on the moving valuation you agreed on prior to your move.

Step 2: Write a Review

Whether your moving company provided good or bad service, you should always take the time to write a review. Good reviews will help the moving company further their great business, while a bad review will help warn others so they don’t experience a bad move like you did.

Another reason to write a review is if your movers won’t take your complaint seriously, or if the issue you are having with them is much more serious than a few broken dishes. No business ever wants to receive a negative review, so writing one may help you solve the issue in your favor.

Step 3: File a Complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Another important step to take in filing a complaint against a moving company is to inform the U.S. Department of Transportation. To do this, the case must involve:

  • A mover that is unlicensed or uninsured.
  • Incidents of damaged or stolen items.
  • Failure to keep the agreed timeframe of the move, delivery, etc.
  • Overcharging of over 110% of a non-binding estimate.

After submitting your complaint, it will be entered into the FMCSA’s consumer complaint database. It will then be used for analytic and statistical purposes.

To file a complaint, you must fill out a Household Goods Consumer Complaint form. (← this will have a link attached when I post it.)

Step 4: File a Complaint Against a Moving Company with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA)

You can also file a complaint against your mover with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). These complaints will involve cases of shipment delay or moving service performance. To submit a complaint, click here.

Step 5: File a Complaint Against a Moving Company with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Another outlet to file a complaint against your mover is with the Better Business Bureau, either online or at their nearest location. Note, however, that the BBB cannot make your mover undertake any particular actions concerning reimbursement because it is not a governmental institution.

For professional moving help, contact us today!

How to Spot a Bad Moving Company

Moving house requires many things, but planning and preparing are two of the biggest. These tasks help make a relocation easy and more successful, and you do want that, don’t you? Sure you do! Unfortunately, no matter how much effort you put into orchestrating a move that is flawless, certain events can occur that are simply out of your control. One thing, in particular, is to hire a bad moving company. After putting so much time and effort into planning and preparing a good local or long-distance move, it can be truly disheartening to have a poor moving company ruin it all. Though there are some movers out there who are dishonest, disreputable and fraudulent, let it be known that there are also many good and respectable moving companies that strive to make your relocation a success. So how do you bypass the “bad” movers and end up with a “good” one? The first step is by learning how to spot a bad moving company.

Bad Online Reputation

When on the search for a moving company to help with your relocation, one of the first things to research online are reviews and testimonials left by former customers. Good, reliable movers care about their reputation and work hard to keep their online record clean by providing excellent service and handling any claims, disputes and issues with clients in a quick and fair manner. Yes, there will also be a few bad reviews every now and again no matter what the business, but if a moving company is followed by mostly bad reviews, proceed with caution because you may be next to leave a bad review.

Not Licensed

All legit businesses must be registered with and licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This includes interstate movers. Before hiring a moving company, you should check out the FMCSA’s website and ensure they have the required licensing information. If they do not, run the other way because you may be dealing with scammers.

Refuse to Insure Your Belongings

Just as moving companies are required to have the proper licensing, they must also assume proper liability for the value of items they relocate. As a consumer, it is your right to ask a moving company for proof of insurance, request any additional information about insurance options they offer, and what their process is for filing a claim in case of lost or damaged items.

If a mover refuses to provide you with the proper moving coverage for your items, this is a big warning sign that something’s not right and you should take your business elsewhere.

Phone or Internet Estimates Only

Getting a moving estimate via the phone or internet is incredibly easy. But consider this – how will a mover be trusted to provide you with a precise moving estimate without performing a detailed, in-home inspection of all the items you have to move? Obviously, they can’t.

In order to get a detailed and accurate moving estimate, it is important to request an in-home inspection by a qualified representative from the company. The primary job of a moving expert is to determine exactly how many items a person has to move, along with any special circumstances there may be (e.g., an item is too heavy, awkwardly shaped, fragile, etc.). They are also responsible for noting any details that will affect the final cost of the move, such as special packing requirements, long flights of stairs, narrow hallways or doors, and so on.

With all of this said, to ensure you are not handed an alarming bill after your move, never accept moving estimates solely over the phone or internet. Also make sure you get an in-home estimate from several reputable moving companies (not just one!) before making your final decision in who to hire for your relocation needs.

Other Red Flags to Watch Out For

We have already discussed several things you should do to ensure you don’t hire a bad moving company for your relocation, but there are some additional red flags to be aware of. If you experience any of these things during your search for a moving company, don’t hire them.

  • They do not answer the phone with their company name.
  • They do not have a website, or their website does not provide licensing information, insurance options, nor an address.
  • The mover does not provide flexible payment options, but instead demands a large deposit or cash-only payment.
  • On moving day, your movers show up in an unmarked moving truck, seem unprofessional, bring dirty or damaged packing materials, or behave in a rude manner.

For more moving tips and tricks, we’ve got ’em!

Top 12 Things to Do Before Moving Out

From the moment you decide to move to the moment the moving truck shows up, you will be met with a variety of tasks to accomplish. In fact, the number of moving chores and packing jobs can become so overwhelming you may get easily confused about what things you need to do before moving out, and when you need to do them. To better tackle all your moving tasks, and make your move a success, here are the top 12 most important things to do before moving out.

1. Research packing supplies and tips on packing. This will help you prepare yourself with everything you need in order to properly pack all of your belongings.

2. Sort through your belongings, organizing everything into three main categories: “To Keep”, “To Donate/Sell”, “To Throw Away”. Remember, the more items you move with you, the more it will cost in terms of the amount of supplies you will require and how much it will cost to ship all of your possessions. By donating, selling or even throwing away any items you no longer have a use for, you will save money on your moving shipment, spend less time packing, and may even make a few bucks on those belongings you decide to sell.

3. Make a moving budget. This will help you decide what kind of move you can afford. Be honest with yourself about your finances, and ask yourself some important questions. “Will you be able to afford professional packers and movers, or will you need to stick to a self-move with just you and help from your family and friends?” “Can you afford to buy all of your packing supplies, or do you need to locate as many free moving boxes as possible?” Figuring out the answers to questions like these will help ensure you stick to your budget instead of drowning in expenses.

4. Designate a specific spot for all of your important moving documents, such as a brightly colored folder. This will make it easier to keep everything together so you won’t lose anything and also so you can access any documents quickly and efficiently. Be sure to keep this folder with you at all times so you don’t lose it during the stressful, and often chaotic, hustle and bustle of moving day.

5. If you are moving out of a rental property, be sure to let your landlord know about your plans to move, as soon as possible.

6. Figure out how to properly pack and ship certain items, such as those that are fragile and need to be handled with the utmost care. When researching this subject, consider what specific packing supplies you will need, like bubble wrap, packing paper, protective blankets, and other cushioning materials.

7. Get a moving estimate. To do this, contact a few reputable moving companies near you. An in-person estimate is best, so schedule a time for movers to come to your current home to help create a more accurate estimate for your move. Be sure to let them know how many items you intend to move and what fragile items, if any, you may have that will require more movers or special moving tools or supplies. Also be sure to inform them of any obstacles that may hinder your move – flights of stairs, a long distance from your door to the moving truck, etc. All of these things will make an impact on the cost of your move and what your chosen movers will need to come prepared with the day of the move.

8. Prepare your old home – and new one if possible – for moving day. Many things can happen during a move, from scuffed floors and damaged walls, to personal injury, etc. This being said, you will want to ensure the property is protected. Cardboard is a great tool to use because it provides cushion and protection to all sorts of things. Cover floors and carpets with it to help eliminate dirt and other problems from occurring. You can also wrap cardboard around stair railings and sharp corners to help keep them protected from large furniture, and other items that are being moved about.

9. Pay extra attention to how you wrap and carry large, bulky items, such as couches, tables and chairs. To avoid damage to your belongings, property, and yourself, be sure to wrap any protruding areas, like table and chair legs, with extra protective layers. If possible, remove these pieces and wrap them separately to make them less awkward to move.

10. Find out ways you can save money during your move. One way is to opt for a self-move with free help from family and friends. Moving boxes and other packing supplies is another great way to save money when moving. Check grocery stores, liquor stores, and bookstores, which have a continuous supply of boxes.

11. Create a move-out cleaning checklist. This will help guide you through the steps to take to leave your old home in good shape. If leaving a rental property, this will help ensure you get your deposit back, which will be more money in your pocket for your move.

12. Change your address with the many companies and people who should be aware of your whereabouts. Some include: utility companies, banks, the post office, schools, the department of motor vehicles, family and friends.

For professional moving services and more pre-move tips, click here.

Helpful Tips to Create a Moving Checklist

When you’re preparing for an upcoming house move, your brain can become a cluttered and jumbled mess as you fill it with more and more tasks you must accomplish before the big day arrives. Not only will this cause the stress of your move to become overwhelming, but it can also cause errors to occur – important jobs forgotten, chaos and injury, etc. So what can you do to combat these problems and make your move less overwhelming? While moving house will never be completely stress-free, there is something you can do to tone down the tension – create a checklist.

Making a moving checklist is an essential step to take to help guarantee a successful relocation. Lists will help you organize all of your activities, from scheduling a moving truck and moving help to packing all of your belongings easier more efficiently. What’s also great about checklists is that they are useful no matter what type of move you are having – local, interstate or international.

Here are a few ideas on how to make a moving checklist:

Use pen and paper. When making a checklist, it is always a good idea to start with pen and paper. This will help get your mind focused on the task at hand – moving. Since paper lists can be incredibly hard to keep up with, and hard to read, be sure to only use this method for a first draft.

Create a Word document or Excel sheet. After you have your first draft written out on paper, you can then transfer it over to an MS Word or Excel document via your computer. Don’t forget, though, that your electronics will eventually need to be packed, so at some point, our next step will serve you well – printing them.

Print your list. Printing your checklists will provide you with easy-to-read copies of your checklists. There are also many websites out there that allow you to print pre-made checklists. These lists usually cover all of the most important moving-related tasks and items, but know that they are unable to be modified, which means you may still need to make a few lists of your own.

Use your phone. Considering your phone will typically be with you at all times during your move, it may be the optimal place to keep your checklist(s). Saving a PDF file on your phone is one way to keep your list(s) handy. Another is to download a moving app, such as the My Move app for iPhone, Android and the Kindle Fire. Not only is this app free, but you can either use pre-made checklists or create your own. You can also check completed tasks off as you do them.

Now that you know some convenient ways to go about making a checklist, here are some things to consider adding to it.

Household Items Checklist

First, make a checklist with all of the household items that need to be moved. Be sure to group all of the items that need special handling together – fragile belongings like electronics, antiques and china, or bulky items such as pianos. This will allow yourself and professional movers to better prepare for the job, including how many movers will be needed and what tools or equipment may be required.

Also on your household items checklist, you should include things that are unable to be packed or moved by professional movers, such as plants and hazardous materials (gasoline, pesticides, motor oil, etc.). Having these items on your list will help you decide if you should really take them with you on your move, and if so, to remind yourself to find a safe way to do so.

Packing Checklist

Packing will be one of the most frustrating and time-consuming jobs to accomplish when moving. Having a detailed checklist that includes all of the belongings that are to be packed will benefit you greatly.

If you decide to pack your belongings by yourself, it is a good idea to include on your list the supplies you will need to get the job done. This will help ensure you have all of the materials you need so you won’t have to keep running to the store for things you’ve forgotten.

If you are hiring professional packers, you should also add to your checklist any items that may require custom crating, such as valuable paintings and sculptures.

Utilities Checklist

Before moving, you will need to notify important utility and service providers of your change of address. Here are some that you should add to your checklist:

  • Government Offices: State/Federal Tax Bureaus, Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, City/County Tax Assessor.
  • Utility Companies: Electric, gas, water, internet, cable.
  • Personal Accounts: Bank/finance Companies, credit card companies, insurance companies.
  • Personal Service Providers: Doctors, dentists, accountant, lawyer.
  • Subscriptions: Newspapers, magazines.

You will also need to change your address with the Post Office or fill out their online form for address change.

Kids Checklist

Moving with kids can add a lot of extra stress to a move. You want to ensure they are well taken care of throughout the moving process, and also that none of their belongings get left behind or lost in the shuffle. So make a checklist designated just for them. Include on it everything from collecting school and doctor records to a rundown of all of their possessions.

For more helping moving tips, check out our blog.