Let’s welcome my friend, LeighAnn from Intentional by Grace. She’s going to share with us her recent move in which she had BAD customer service. Take to heart her 10 tips for moving…because this sister knows what she’s talking about!
Moving is hard regardless of whether you are moving across the country or just around the corner. In my lifetime, I’ve moved eighteen times, and no my family is not in the military. Well, my brother is, but he’s not the reason I’ve moved so much.
To give you perspective, I’m 28 years old. That’s a whole lot of moving, friend. I’m praying, crossing my fingers and toes, and praying some more that we get to stay where we’ve been planted this time. You see, we just moved 1,500 miles across the country from East Tennessee to the Northwest quadrant of Colorado (aka, High Rockies). We traded one mountain range for another.
photo by awnisAlan
With this move, as in all my other moves, I learned a few tips and tricks. I want to share them with you because moving is hard enough without having to worry about whether or not your stuff will arrive in one piece or not. For us, all of our stuff never arrived. It’s lost in transient and probably sitting on some other family’s doorstep just like the pair of dollar store lawn chairs leaning against my garage door. I involuntarily traded a few expensive items for these little trinkets. Thankfully, we have a decent inventory of our things, so we’ll get reimbursed … we hope.
I don’t want this to happen to you. So consider this a big sister telling you all the mistakes she made in hopes that you won’t make the same ones. These tips will save you some sanity as well as some well earned cash.
10 Tips for a Cross Country Move (save time and money)
1. Take inventory. Most moving companies will inventory your items for you. However, I would suggest going the extra mile and doing it yourself. When you pack a box, grab a pen and paper and make a list of every item in the box. Then, assign the box a number. Write this number beside your list of items. Then, put two check boxes beside each box number. Check off when the box is loaded onto the truck, and then, check off when the box is unloaded into your new home.
Here is a free printable you are welcome to use for your packing inventory list.
2. Pack tight. News flash. I don’t care what the side of the truck claims, your moving company does not care about your great-aunt Tessy’s heirloom vase. Let me repeat. They do not care. Your boxes will be tossed, dropped, and turned upside down even if you write “this end up” on your boxes in big red letters. The best way to ensure your items stay in one piece is to pack the boxes very tightly. Use bubble wrap, newspapers, leftover grocery bags, and if you must, actual moving paper that you can purchase from your moving company to wrap your items. Packing boxes is like a jigsaw puzzle. Make sure nothing rattles when you close the box up.
3. Invest in good boxes. The best boxes for moving are those you find tossed out back at your local liquor store. If you think about it, those boxes have to transport breakable objects full of liquids that will stain whatever it touches. Think: Red wine. They have to be good, right? An added bonus, they are free.
If you live near a manufacturing plant that uses boxes to ship items all over the world, then you might try calling them. Sometimes, they’ll have extra boxes they can’t use because they changed a product. We got several, never before used boxes by asking a local medical device company if they had any extras.
Whatever route you take for boxes, don’t skimp on the good ones. Remember, the moving company does not care about your stuff.
4. Break down yourself. For most cross country moves, you will not be loading onto the truck that will actually drive your items all the way to your new destination. Your belongings will be loaded onto a truck, taken to a warehouse, unloaded, and reloaded onto another truck. That truck will take your items to another warehouse and so on and so forth. This isn’t always the case, but it is likely that this is how it will work for you.
We made the mistake of assuming that what did not get broken down when loading the truck would not be broken down once it reached the warehouse. Wrong.
Let me give you an example. The man of my prayers and I love to ride our road bikes. Road bikes are not cheap. In addition, they have all kinds of gears and gadgets that aren’t cheap to replace. If you put these on the moving truck, go ahead and assume that the movers will take it completely apart and stuff it in a box. If you have large items that are capable of coming apart, do yourself a favor – break them down yourselves and pack them tightly in a box.
5. Buy the insurance. Most moving companies offer some sort of insurance. Buy it. They will break something. They will lose something. And in some cases, something will be stolen. Buying the insurance means that your moving company will pay you for what is lost, broken, or stolen. It will probably take weeks, and maybe even months, for that reimbursement check to grace your mailbox, but it is worth the wait. We ended up claiming almost $500 worth of lost, broken, and stolen goods. Ouch.
6. Research. Don’t just go with the cheapest company. A simple Google (or better yet Swagbuck) search for reviews will help you weed out the bad companies. We had a company picked out, and even had wonderful conversations with them. However, once we searched online for some reviews, we quickly learned that they were a total scam company.
7. Donate. When our moving company did a walk through of our home prior to moving day, they estimated the weight of all of our items. This is what our rate was based on. If on the day you actually load, your items weigh less than what they estimated, you get a discount. If you don’t love it, use it, need it, then donate it to your local thrift store. You could also consider a yard sale.
8. Stay calm. Just go ahead and get used to the idea that this is going to be a process. You will get a window for when your items will arrive at their new home, but take a moment (or two) and accept in your heart that your items will not arrive on time.
We were given a window of 4-8 days. On day eight, our truck finally arrived with all of our stuff, or so we thought. We learned that all of our stuff wasn’t on that truck. Those items didn’t make it for another week (in case you were wondering, it was all of our one year old’s toys…).
Getting angry, yelling profanities, and kicking your movers won’t help the situation. It will guarantee that your stuff gets dropped a few extra times before arriving safely in your carpeted, echoing rooms.
9. Lay high traffic mats. Most moving companies will lay out mats and cardboard in high traffic areas. However, have some extra boxes on hand with some duct tape to cover your carpet and floors yourself just in case your movers aren’t interested in protecting your floors. You should cover your door frames and chair rails where furniture will be coming in and out to protect against nicks and scratches, as well.
10. Start early. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your boxes. The last thing you need to be doing is packing boxes as movers load the truck. You will get sloppy, and you need to make sure your boxes are packed tightly and your inventory list is complete. Plan for carry-out for at least 3-4 days prior to moving. Factor this into your cost of moving when you plan.
What about you? Do you have any tips for making your cross country move a little easier?
Leigh Ann’s life goal is to create a home where it is impossible to not think about God. At Intentional By Grace, she blogs about her journey of intentional living in order to make this goal a reality.
She is the wife of three years to the man of her prayers, Mark, and mama to a loveable little boy, Samuel. She takes joy in spending her days creating memorable moments with her husband, conducting kitchen experiments, researching every natural alternative known to man, and making her little boy laugh. She does it all by the grace of God.
*This post is linked at Frugal Friday on Life as Mom, at Works For Me Wednesday on We Are That Family, at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, and at Frugal Tuesday Tip on Learning The Frugal Life.