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On the Move. In the Move 2

An important element of being professionally moved is the rapport you establish with the movers. After all, those are the people who will be the custodians of your household items, possibly the bulk of your worldly possessions, as they slowly make their way from the home you leave to the one that will welcome you in your new location. And, their job is not an easy one.

When you are preparing for your move, if you are working with a moving company, your first contact will most likely be over the phone with someone who will schedule a walk-thru of your home in order to get you an estimate. If the company wants to give you an estimate based only on a phone call involving you walking through the home describing what you have, I would suggest finding another company. You are not a professional mover. To get a true estimate, you need someone who does this for a living to walk through your home to get a more accurate idea of the volume and weight of the items you will be moving.

The person they send will want to see EVERYTHING you intend to bring. They will open cabinets and closets, ask if appliances are staying or going. While they were telling me this over the phone the first time we moved, I began nervously glancing around my toy-strewn house, wondering what they might find in the crevices of my kids’ closets and drawers. I then hung up and panic-cleaned everything.

It is better to overestimate than to underestimate the items that will be moved. If you are not sure if your refrigerator will be coming, for example, let them know but make sure you get an estimate that includes the fridge. It is better to know the upper end of what you would be paying than to be hit later with a higher bill than you were expecting if the fridge does end up making the journey.

Also, you may have every intention of thinning out your personal items through donations and garage sales before you move. That is wonderful! I actually suggest you do that! Use the move as a chance to clean up and downsize! It may be painful to part with things at first, but you will feel so much lighter and freer after the fact. That said, the time to do so might not be in the cards. Let’s say, for example, someone in the family has a medical issue and you need to focus on that (true story). There will be plenty of things that you need to do before the move (getting records from medical offices, schools, the vet, to name a few), and together with the wack-a-mole style of problem-solving that can come with any move, you may not have the time to get rid of as many items as you’d hoped.

Try to get rid of things you no longer need before your estimate walk-thru. Then, include everything present during your walk-thru appointment. Trust me, the estimate you get will inspire you to do some more downsizing if you have the chance. If you end up not having time, at least you will have a clearer idea of what you will be paying. And if you are able to further downsize, you will have the pleasant reward of a less expensive move.

And now, a quick fast-forward to another walk-thru, while I’m thinking of it. Once all of your things are packed up and loaded onto the truck, you will need to do a walk-thru to make sure the house is empty. Remember when I told you in On the Move. In the Move that the packers pack everything … including things you might not necessarily want packed, like say, a poop rake? Well, sometimes in the cyclone of activity on packing day, things can also be over-looked.

Open every drawer and every cabinet to make sure everything is gone. Sometimes the smaller or less obvious places can be missed. Funny story: when we moved into one of our previous homes, the movers that had moved the sellers out of the house prior to our arrival apparently did not notice that the mirrors by the primary bathroom sinks were also cabinets. There were some very personal items in there. Let’s just say that I did not want to know that much about the previous owners… Anyhow, I gathered their items into a box and passed them on to our realtor, who blushed and passed them on to their realtor. Log story short, make sure you check all your drawers and cabinets.

Oh, the stories they could tell… And will, if you have the time and stomach for it. It is a good idea to establish a good rapport with the person who will be coordinating the actual move and driving the truck. Ask for tips, and listen. With every move, I add to my trove of great ideas (and cautionary tales). The driver knows the things that go right and the things that can go wrong … sometimes horribly. He or she also has tips and tricks for getting the most out of your move.

For example, as per advice from a driver, I now number each room in the house and write those numbers down in my “moving notebook” (yes, I still use paper, though I do now take a pic of it, as well). I then write those numbers on pieces of paper and tape them to their coresponding rooms for the packers to see. It is much easier for them all to write BR#1 or BR#2 than to have one packer write “boy’s bedroom?” and another “bedroom on right,” or to have each taking a guess at which room is the living room and which the family room. It also makes life much easier on the other end of the move. I simply put up the papers with the room numbers of where I want stuff to go in the new house. Maybe everything from room #3 now needs to go to the basement of the new place. Easy peasy, just tape up the number. This is especially useful if your items have to go into storage and the person eventually bringing them to the new place is not the same one that moved them out of the old one.

Am I going to tell you some of the horror stories I have heard from my drivers? Nope. Our stuff is currently in storage, and the superstitious part of me feels like that might be an invitation to become one of those stories… Besides, if you have been following you know that we have enough stories of our own for now.

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