Moving sounds a lot easier than it actually is, and having been through it a few times myself, and guiding hundreds of clients through the process, I thought I’d share some very helpful tidbits…
Sounds easy, right?
You simply bring all of your possessions from property-A and move them to property-B.
How tough could that be?
I can’t imagine fighting with your significant other, breaking things, losing things, spending unnecessary money, hiring the wrong company, forgetting to book elevators and coordinate deliveries.
You’ve got it all figured out, right?
Well, I’ve yet to meet a client who didn’t think that moving would be a cinch, and I’d also like to think that I’ve learned from their mistakes and experiences, as well as mine.
Here are some very helpful moving tips:
Combine Pre-Moving With Staging For Sale
Kill two birds with one stone!
A Realtor like myself is going to come into the house or condo that you’re preparing to sell (and move out of), and tell you that you need to remove about 60% of all your possessions. It’s nothing personal, it just needs to be done in order to maximize the look and feel of the property in a buyer’s eyes.
But this is a blessing in disguise! Now instead of packing up everything at once, you’re doing some of it now instead of right before the big move. AND, you’re going to get more money for your existing property by doing it.
You simply have NO clue how much ‘stuff’ you own until it’s time to clean it out.
And while you’re at it – de-clutter too! Take some bags to Goodwill, or haven’t I made that point enough already?
Your mother loves you, unconditionally. You can do no wrong in her eyes, and she’ll do anything for you.
So, I suggest you take advantage of this!
Many people rent a storage locker for their belongings, but they always say the same thing, “I’m just gonna use it for 1-2 months while we’re in transition from the condo to the house, then move everything back.” But do you know how often that 1-2 months leads into 3-4 years? Once your stuff is comfortably in storage, the last thing you want to do is bring forty boxes into your nice new home and sort through them one at a time. People end up paying for storage lockers for months, if not years, and it could have all been avoided by putting everything in your mom’s basement.
First of all, your mom’s basement is free, unlike the storage facility. All you have to do is allow her to cook you lunch as you unload boxes, and update her on your life, and the storage is paid for!
Second of all, once you move into your new house or condo, your mom will call and email you every week and ask, “When are you going to come get your stuff?” The people running the storage facilities don’t give you these friendly reminders, but mom will!
Mom’s basement is a great, cost-effective, and friendly way to store some items during the staging and moving process.
This is the best piece of advice I will give you today.
Use banana boxes for all your moving. Plain and simple.
Banana boxes were created by God in 3,200 B.C. and handed down to Moventimus – the God of Moving, who in-turn gave them to mere mortals and made the world a better place.
Banana boxes are extremely durable, as I’ve personally filled them to the brim with books (approx 40-50 pounds) and I’ve never had the bottom fall off.
Banana boxes are uniform in size and thus stack perfectly in your basement, condo locker, storage facility, mother’s basement, or the second bedroom of your new condo where they stay for three months until it causes an issue with you and your girlfriend and you finally open up a bottle of Malbec one night and get to it. But I digress…
And the best part is – banana boxes are FREE!
Don’t spend $400 on plastic containers because they have “snap lids” and they have that ‘new car smell’ or ‘new book scent’ feeling to them. You’re moving – you don’t need this to be perfect and rosy. Just get some banana boxes, start packing, and when you unpack, you can recycle them.
Look at this beauty in all its glory:
(Sidebar: if you do a Google image search for “banana boxes,” one of the first search results is a photo of a naked man holding handguns. The rest of the photos are all of banana boxes. I still don’t understand the Internet…)
Now where you get banana boxes and when is what I’m here to help with!
Don’t go to your local grocer at 4pm on a weekday. They’re busy, and they don’t want to help you. You’ll be lucky to snag one banana box, and that’s a wasted trip.
Go to a Loblaw’s superstore like the one I visit at Jarvis & Queen’s Quay around 12pm on a weeknight, and simply walk into the back like you own the place. Tell the first person you see, “Hey there, so Johnny said to come back here and help myself to as many banana boxes as I can carry,” and you’re home free.
When you see something like this, you’re going to get that magnificent tingle in your leg:
Goddam – that’s a sexy sight if you’re in the process of moving. I can personally attest to that!
You should be able to fit a dozen of these in your car if you stack them right.
Know Your Movers And What Is Included
First and foremost, here is my recommendation:
S & Sons Moving
They’re three Eastern European guys who don’t make small talk, and they’re in and out faster than whatever was promised. They never break anything, and they’ll do the “extras” whether it was paid for or not.
And that’s the point I wanted to make here – find out in advance what is included in your payment.
How many home-owners have expected movers to show up with a truck full of cardboard boxes only to find out that they don’t have any, or that they cost extra? I might be inclined to blame the naive home-owner, but regardless, anybody who hires a mover should find out EXACTLY what is included.
Some movers don’t show up with so much as a roll of tape!
Boxes, bubble-wrap, tape, plastic wrap – all these things should be detailed in advance.
You should even ask them, “Do you have a trolley and a dolley?” The last thing you want is to hire somebody that doesn’t have the tools for the job or who shows up unprepared.
You can’t always trust the movers to be careful with your delicate, expensive, antique end-table, so it’s nice to know that when you say “Please don’t screw this up,” they’ll take a roll of plastic wrap and cover the item from top to bottom just in case they nudge it while being careful.
Ask as many questions as possible in advance, and you won’t be caught off guard.
Double And Triple Check Every Appointment & Booking
Not everybody is as smart and diligent as you are. There are a lot of people grinding out 9-to-5’s that hate what they do and really don’t care about the results. These people often work in furniture stores, for delivery companies, or at the front desk of your condominium.
I called G.H. Johnson’s four times in the space of five weeks to confirm the delivery of my couch, and it still didn’t show up on time. Why? Because the person booking the delivery didn’t think it was necessary to check with the person who is responsible for inventory. The couch was weeks behind schedule, but two departments in the same company don’t have any communication.
If you’re expecting deliveries, or have tradespeople (good luck with Rogers…) scheduled to show up, you shouldn’t be afraid to call two or three times to make sure everybody is on schedule.
If you’re moving into a condo, you get a three-hour window with the moving elevator, and the concierge will be there right as time expires to annoy you and demonstrate why he he failed the police officer’s exam and how he is a bouncer at a nightclub on weekends. He won’t look to help you, nor will he be sympathetic. He won’t provide answers to your seemingly rhetorical questions such as, “Really? And what should I do with the last truckload of my stuff – just leave it out in the street?”
It’s impossible to make sure everybody is on time and everything goes off without a hitch, but you can certainly try!