This week’s post is dedicated to tips and tricks about moving…a topic I’m handling this week as I’m moving myself.
Now is a particularly good time to move, as market prices have dropped by as much as %35, but many home owners and apartment managers rely on your laziness (to scope the market or to suffer the agonizing task of moving) and will not reduce the rent significantly for lease renewals. It often requires you to file an intent-to-not-renew notice to get them to crack, but I say that you should just send the letter, and look for a new place anyway. My wife and I have been living in a 1300 Sq Ft apartment, and now for the exact same price, we are getting a 2500 Sq Ft house, less than ½ a mile from where we are now.
Assuming you are moving indeed, the 1st thing you’re going to need is a moving company. Even if you can carry most of your stuff by yourself, you would probably still need help carrying the couch, cabinets and your books. Make sure you have an estimator from the moving company come look at the place before the move, and don’t rely on your own estimates. If you get too few movers on the job because you forgot to consider the stuff in the garage, not only will you end up paying more, but the movers will work more, be tired, and more likely to break things. Also, it’s very important to schedule the move as the 1st job in the morning, and preferably on the 1st day of the week. That will guarantee that the carriers will be as fresh, strong and alert as possible.
You would need boxes for your stuff. It’s not always easy to estimate how many you’ll need, so if you had a moving company estimator come in, you might consult him/her, but don’t wait too long – you should start packing the non-essentials a month ahead of the move. You might find free moving boxes from your colleagues at work, if you’re lucky, and you should also ask your I.T. group – they often store the boxes computers come in. If not, this website offers an interesting service: http://www.freecardboardboxes.com/ . You open an account, and can give or get free boxes from others. If this does not work out, the two other best options are buying the boxes from u-Haul or Home Depot. I’ve found that Home depot are the cheapest – less than 1$ per medium box. U-Haul sell the same box for 2.35$, but they also promise to buy the boxes back from you. I don’t know how much they pay back, but I doubt it will come down to cheaper than Home Depot. Some moving companies will sell you boxes at reasonable rates, and some might even give them for free, so that’s worth checking out too.
Another thing that’s very important is to mark the boxes, so the carriers know where to put them. Most people write on the box with a felt-tip pen, but that’s the hard way. U-Haul also sells packing tape with room names printed on them – they have Living room, Bedroom, Kitchen, Family Room, Storage, Bathroom and a few others, and even a “fragile” tape. The tape sells for $2 a role that has 30 yards. They intend for you to use the tape to close the boxes off, but I recommend getting a tape-dispenser gun at the USPS (cheap, high quality tape) and cut single words off the u-Haul tape. I tape the room name once on every side of each box, and so a 2$ role will cover about 60 boxes. When you do make your boxes, make sure you prepare several “open first” boxes. The last thing you need is to have to start hunting for a screwdriver, a towel or a coat through 100 boxes. Also, get a floor plan of the new place, and carefully plan where you plan to put the major things. Designate the target location for every piece of furniture, and mark them clearly. The point of this is to prevent a situation where the carriers placed the sofa in your family room, and you have no way of carrying it to the living room without hiring more help. You can, of course, try to be around and tell them what to do, but if there are 2 of you, and 4 of them, that might be confusing and frustrating.
If the boxes you have a lattened out, as most come, there’s not much point in running multiple lines of tape under the main seam, but it’s important to run two cross lines at the bottom left and right of the box. This is what gives the box it’s tensile strength, and especially so for heavy items such as books.
Another thing that might come in handy is a moving dolly, which lets you carry around 2-4 boxes in each go instead of one, and saves some back pain as well. U-Haul will rent you a dolly for 7$ a day, but keep in mind that you can buy a new basic dolly for about $30 (http://www.amazon.com/Magna-Cart-Personal-Hand-Truck/dp/B000HVVSDU). The above link is a folding dolly which you can keep around the house for later on. This could be a good investment.