Moving Tips & Helpful Info
- How to write an accurate inventory
- Microwave, Fridge, Appliances
- If we’re packing your rental truck…
- Misc tips
- Our Blog
How to write an accurate inventory:
Writing an accurate inventory of your own goods can be tricky. We recommend going room by room and writing down what you see. One thing to bear in mind is that though some things are large, and some are small, some heavy and some light, they all need to be wrapped, picked up, and brought out to the truck. In many ways moving estimates are about how many trips back and forth to the trucks you have to make, not how heavy or large things are, so having an accurate and detailed inventory is key to an accurate estimate. Below is a list of things that people often forget to mention when we take inventories from them over the phone, so compare your list to this one to see if anything has slipped through the cracks…
Sometimes people forget to mention… carpets, artwork, floor lamps, if their coffee-table has a glass top, headboards/footboards, lawn furniture, grill, stuff from the basement/shed/attic/crawl space/eaves/storage-unit/hallway, whether the sofa is a sleeper, plants, bicycles, end tables, under-the-bed-storage.
Lamps should have their shades and bulbs removed and put in a box (which can be lap-folded instead of taped). Cords can be tied to the top or wound around the base.
These are difficult in a moving truck and do not store well, even overnight. Depending upon the plant sometimes it’s prudent to use a stake and tie off delicate stalks. Please also make sure the pot is relatively dry so as not to soil your other goods.
If the plants are in a pot out-doors, a couple days ahead of the move cover the pot so rain doesn’t accumulate.
Ceramic pots that have been outside for a number of seasons sometimes have bottoms that are comprimised. Freezing/Thawing water in the pot can weaken the bottom and cause it to break if it’s full of soil when moved. If you’re concerned about a specific out-door pot, it might make sense to empty it in advance of the move
Leave the drawers in your dressers. If the contents are clothes or fabrics, leave them in as well. However, harder goods should be removed. A good rule of thumb is to imagine the bureau being tipped either 45 degrees or all the way over on it’s side. Particularly remember to remove perfumes or any breakable bottles. Don’t tape the drawers shut. Tape might rip the finish off and we need to be able to check the contents of the drawers just in case. We use stretch wrap (an industrial saran wrap) to keep the drawers in place while we’re moving it, and at the same time hold movers blankets onto the furniture. If a bureau is particularly fragile, particularly if it’s made of chipboard and seen better days, all contents should be removed, but leave the drawers in.
Remove bedding and drain any water-beds. If you’d like to disassemble your bedframe that’s always a good way to save money. Just make sure to keep track of the hardware.
Microwaves, Fridges, and Appliances:
Remember to pack the plate from the microwave with your other dishes. Also, have the washer drained, and if the dryer is gas, please have it already disconnected and capped off before we move it. For refrigerators, removing all the shelves and bins will save us time and you money. We will not disconnect any electrical, water or gas connections, nor will we connect them at your new place. Whenever turning on or using the electricl, fuel or water systems in a new home, we suggest you do so with great care and attention. Do not leave your home after connecting appliances. Keep an eye on them for a while until you’re sure there are no problems.
It is important to properly pack boxes. Well packed boxes make the move go quicker and lessen the chance of damage. One should always pack a box all the way to the top. A full box is much stronger and resistant to crushing than a half-full box. Keep box weight constant as much as you can. If something is heavy put it in a small box, if it’s light, fill a bigger box. Also, the rule for insurance claims for goods in boxes is that if the box isn’t damaged, and something inside is damaged the box was not properly packed.
When taping most boxes use 3 pieces of tape on the bottom of the box (I prefer a large asterisk pattern). Do not lap-fold the top or the bottom. The tape should come up at least 1/3 of the way up the side of the box on both sides. One piece on top is sufficient.
Don’t use duct-tape. Only use 2.5″ carton sealing tape (packing tape).
If it’s tearing every couple inches while you’re trying to use it, it’s old and should be discarded, get a new roll.
When taping, make sure the box is square and straight. You want the corrugated edges of the flaps to meet each other tightly.
Open topped boxes:
Boxes with open tops cannot be stacked upon. This can be handy if you have a box that you consider particularly fragile, or an item in a box that is too small. However, if too many boxes are open-topped and not stackable it makes packing the truck a real challenge and might cause us to make 2 trips or need another truck, which can become costly.
At the bottom of each box you pack make a layer of crushed paper to provide a cushioned ride for your goods. Each piece of ceramic or glass should be wrapped in a sheet or two of packing paper. Plates should be placed in boxes on their side, never flat. Pack them like you would vinyl LPs. Dishes that require a lot of packing paper and take up room should go in bigger boxes (cake platters, large serving bowls, etc).
Stemware should always be packed upside down.
In larger boxes you should make another layer of crushed paper between each layer of dishes you are packing.
Don’t wrap lids directly to the dishes they go with, they should each have a piece of paper around them individually
For most flatwear, leave it in the organizing tray and use stretch-wrap to bundle it up and set it in the top layer of a box
The final test for a box is to give it a light shake, as if it was a gift and you where trying to guess what it was. If you can guess what it is, you didn’t pack it right. It should sound like a box full of paper, not dishes.
Fabric, bedding and clothing can be packed in large boxes (4.5s) medium boxes (3.1s aka linen cartons) or bags. Hanging clothes can go in wardrobe boxes. Figure 3 feet of closet bar per 18″ wardrobe box.
We do not recommend 24″ wardrobe boxes as they have a tough time making the tighter stairs that are prevalent around New England.
Books should always go in book boxes (1.5 ft3 boxes). A trunk or dishpack box full of books will be repacked. Start by stacking the books flat in the box in one corner. Stack them so that the top of the box will touch the top book in the stack then fill in the rest of the space as best you can. This allows the weight put on top of the box to be transferred all the way to the bottom and prevents the box from crushing.
Misc Packing tips:
If you’re packing a box that will contain liquids (detergent, perfume, olive oil, etc) put a trash bag inside the box and pack the bottles inside the bag in the box. Fold the top of the bag over the tops of the bottles, seal the box and draw arrows pointing up all over the box.
If you’re using old cardboard boxes from your basement, brush them off well, tape won’t stick if they’re dusty
If you’re using free boxes you got from the liquor store or eslewhere, don’t trust the glue that’s olding the flaps in place, definitely reinforce it with tape.
Pack boxes as tight as you can without making the side-walls bulge.
After you pack the first box or two, put the empty box you’re packing next on top of a box on the floor, this will save you having to bend over to pack the box.
You’re welcome to use whatever scheme makes sense for you, but if you don’t have anything in mind, you’re welcome to use ours.
We label each box with the room on the top and one of the sides.
We use abbreviations for each room:
- K with a circle around it for kitchen
- MBR for master bedroom
- BR, BR1, BR2, etc for other bedrooms
- BSMNT for basement
- LR for living room
- DR for dining room
We typically write a short description of the goods: “pots, pans, misc from kitchen drawer” for example.
If a box shouldn’t have anything stacked on it, it should be labelled “TLO” for top-load-only.
Artwork can be transported in a variety of ways. Valuable works should be pointed out so that we can properly protect them, be it paper pads, boxing, or crating. For less valuable artworks we have cheaper and quicker ways of safely transporting them. Having a prepared sense of what needs to be handled with care and what does not will ensure both safe and economical transport of your goods.
Being organized is the #1 thing after being packed. Even the smallest job can take forever if we have to move things 10 times. Knowing where you’d like your goods to go and being able to communicate it will save you money and trouble. Some people write the location boxes are going on each box or some use a color-coded system with dots. Having the customer near the front door on delivery to direct traffic and make sure everything goes to the right place is a good plan as well.
If you’re moving and you have kids, their safety is our primary concern. We’ll be working at a fast pace with heavy items and it’s imperative that we have a safe and predictable environment. They’re also, under supervision, welcome to honk the air-horn on the truck, I know my kids love it.
If you have pets, have a good plan for where they’ll be when you’re moving. It’s a stressful time for them. Most importantly, we wouldn’t want to accidentally let your cat or dog out the door. If you’re going to keep a pet in a particular room while we’re working, please put a large and obvious note on the door so we don’t open it in error. Let the crew know as soon as they show up.
If we’re packing your rental truck…
If we’re packing your rental truck, you’ll want to rent some blankets with the truck. If you’re unsure how many give us a call for a recommendation.In general get more than you think you need; they cost a lot less than new furniture. Also, if you have any tie-downs or rope those will come in handy, or we can sell you some of ours. A supply of extra scrap cardboard also comes in handy for packing and is free.
Here are a couple tips when it comes time to drive your rented truck, we’ve seen a lot of people get themselves in trouble so here’s a few ways to avoid bad situations.
Take the insurance. Take all of it. It may not seem worth the extra $20 or $30 or whatever it is, but it’s worth it. Unless you drive big trucks all day everyday, take the insurance.
Using a car trailer is very tricky. Unless you have experience, you might want to find another solution. Once you get on the highway it’s easy, but around town, especially if you have to back up, you can get in trouble.
Always have someone else back you up. Pedestrians do the craziest things behind moving trucks, have someone there to keep track of it all.
If you need to back up to something very close, have your helper show you the distance you are from the other object by holding his or her hands the same distance apart where you can see them.
Take overhead height signs seriously, as well as truck routes. Plan your routes in advance through urban areas. Take wide turns and use your mirrors.
If you’re not sure about ANYTHING, stop and G.O.A.L. (Get Out And Look). Better to get honked at than hit something.
For rental companies, we recommend Budget or Penske. We do not recommend Uhaul.
There are a number of things to be aware of when having your piano moved. We suggest taking any sheet-music or other items out of your piano bench and boxing them up separately. Keeping a clear path from where we’re moving the piano from to our truck is key (clear items from the stairs and entry way for example). You’ll also want to make sure you have the appropriate floor protection for where you’ll be moving the piano to. For carpeted floors you’ll want plastic caster coasters with no felt on the bottom, and for hardwood, the same but with protective felt. It is also common for a piano to go out of tune after being moved, this is normal. It’s not as much from the transport of the piano as the subtle differences in humidity and temperature between locations. Even a slight change can create the need for tuning and regulation.
Drain your ACs so they have time to dry before the move
If you’re measuring furniture to see if it will fit, remember that for checking overhead clearance you should measure the diagonal of the item as that is the distance that comes into play when you stand it up.
Washers and dryers should be unhooked and drained before the move.
Make designated “do not take/do not pack” areas in your house. Put your keys, checkbook, current clothes, kid’s favorite toy, etc there and alert the movers.
Don’t schedule 1,000 things for your move day. Moving will be enough. Keep it simple.
Make any decisions you can ahead of time, moving will give you decision fatigue. Plan ahead but stay flexible.