Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Moving Advice

We have moved all our stuff seven times since college using everything from friend’s pickups to professional movers. I am going to put up a few thoughts for those who are thinking of moving (long distances).

I admit I would prefer a professional mover, then ABF, then Penske, last would be using U-haul and or our own vehicle.  (Though Ryan did buy a minivan just to move our fish and plants from St. Louis to Detroit.)  Buying and selling a vehicle is a smart way to do it, but make sure your insurance is up to date.

Now for some advantages and disadvantages of each method.

1) Do it yourself – your vehicle with found boxes
· Cost – Gas, your time
· This works if you have only a little stuff like when we left college, or special stuff movers wont move for you.  Putting a mattress on your roof and having your arm out is not a viable option in our minds.
· If something gets broke, it’s your fault.

2) Do it yourself U-Haul & found boxes
· Cost - $500 for the U-Haul including towing a car and then the cost of gas
· This is good if you don’t have a lot of cash and you don’t have a ton of stuff to move either. When we moved out of state we had more stuff that what their trucks could hold.
· Our experience with U-Haul is not good - in multiple cases, even with a reservation, they did not have what we wanted.  We had to drive an additional 50 miles away and still pay the gas.  If you are going to use a larger Uhaul truck just go to Penske or Budget, they bailed us out and had better trucks.
· When you use found boxes they are not all the same size. This is a problem when loading the truck.  It is a mess enough to load, playing Tetris with many different size boxes is a pain.  Equally sized boxes fill the space better.
· If something gets broke, it’s your fault.

3) Do it yourself Uline Boxes or Used Cardboard and ABF to drive the truck  (Our chosen self move method (sans fish))
· Cost $359 for the Deluxe Moving kit and $1,400 for the truck driven by someone else
· Uline sells a moving kit with boxes that are strong and pack neatly to each other including wardrobe and dish boxs. Bubble wrap, newspaper, knife and tape are also in the kit. I recommend also getting a roll of shrink wrap to protect the edges of beds and couches, and to keep moving blankets wrapped around the furniture and dresser drawers closed. or
· ABF drops off the trailer, you have two days to load, they drive the trailer to your destination and  then you get two days to unload.  ABF only charges for the space you use, extra space is used as parcel post or other comercial shipment space. 
· They also offer services like help unloading the truck. Our last move was this way and it went very well.
· Note that for all the above ways you will need moving blankets, lots of them. One for each chair, two for each larger piece of wood furniture. And more if it a really nice piece.  We own 30 of these blankets and if we move again will rent at least another 24 to 36 of them.
· I recommend packing as many boxes as you can in the weeks leading up to the move.  Then on truck filling day have two crews, one for the morning and one for the afternoon.  Each of 5 to 6 people.  The next day have a mop up crew of 3 to 4 to finish the job.  Professionals take 12 hours to load a truck, you will not do it any faster.  You will need two people in the truck Tetrising, and the rest bringing it out.  Rope or strap your load as you fill, every 4 to 8 feet as you work back.
· If something gets broke, it’s your fault.  If one of your helpers is doing a poor job stop them or give them the southern curse "bless his heart."

4) Professional Movers
· Cost $5,000 - $10,000  2 days to pack and load, a day to unpack.
· They take the things out of the kitchen cupboard for you, pack it and take it to your next place to unpack it, and set it all over the floor and cupboards etc. They make special boxes for artwork, fish tanks, marble tables etc. We have had 3 professional moves, and have learned a lot from them. We have even seen them pack our light bulbs.  They use hundreds of moving blankets each time.
· They don’t know what is important to you. We had a piece of artwork severely damaged because they didn’t listen. You may still want to pack the important stuff yourself.  The professionalism of each crew varies, we have had great but more often we have had movers who expect the insurance to catch their mess.
· If something gets broke, they pay for it because they packed it and they have insurance.  But what is the dollar value of your daughters first ceramic bowl?

Most moves are a combination of these.  Given the number of times we have moved, and have helped others move we are seasoned non-professionals who now have a pretty set opinion.