7 Tips for Moving into a College Dorm

For many students, moving into a college dorm room will mark the first time they’ve ever been away from family and old friends for the long term. It’s important to make dorm room surroundings familiar, cozy, and organized. That way they have somewhere to retreat to when school stress wears them out. However, resist the temptation to pack anything and everything you can into a U-Haul. It will only make moving out at the end of the semester a nightmare.

  1. Follow the move-in instructions.Van loaded full of student's possessions ready for moving into a college dorm

    Nearly all colleges and universities provide students with move-in information via mail before their arrival. Read these instructions thoroughly to make sure you understand where to park, what time the doors open, and where and how to check in.

  2. Only pack the essentials.

    Leaving home is hard. It’s understandable to want to bring as much of it with you as you can, but it’s not practical! Remember that dorms typically provide basic furniture like beds, desks, and wardrobes. Make a list of what you’ll need within your first two weeks, like bedding, toiletries, casual and dressy shoes (limit yourself to four or five pairs), two weeks’ worth of outfits (including loungewear, athletic clothes, and something formal just in case), laundry essentials, kitchen utensils, and a basic tool kit.

  3. Coordinate with your roommate.

    Does your new roomie have an awesome smart TV and a mini fridge that they’ve offered to share? Then don’t bring your own! Save the precious car space and the energy spent carrying them up and down the stairs.

  4. Ship what you can.

    Ask if you’ll be able to receive packages on move-in day. If you can, ship bulkier items ahead of your arrival, like mattress pads, pillows and blankets, black-out curtains, and towels. Don’t bother bringing your whole wardrobe – leave seasonal clothing behind so it can be shipped to you later in the year.

  5. Buy it online.

    If there’s something you won’t need right away but you’re worried you’ll need it eventually, consider whether you can buy it on Amazon and have it shipped to you at your convenience. Maybe by the time you’re finished moving in you’ll change your mind and save yourself from having to move it out again.

  6. Use storage bins.

    Buy organizers and bins ahead of time and pack all your items inside them. That way every item you bring with you will have a home, keeping you clutter-free throughout the semester. Not to mention how much easier it is to carry items in a storage bin with handles and a lid than in a garbage bag or open laundry basket.

  7. Bring some mementos from home.

    And by mementos, we don’t mean a bunch of fragile knickknacks, but a few pictures of parents, siblings, family pets, and other loved ones to post on the walls will go a long way in making this new space more welcoming. If you have a comfort object like a childhood stuffed animal or blanket that will make getting to sleep easier, don’t be embarrassed! Your roommate will probably have something too.

Want more tips about moving into a college dorm, or need some help on moving day? Feel free to contact us and ask us a question.

These Are Your 8 Packing Essentials

You’ve probably seen the typical “I’m moving. Need boxes!” plea on Facebook. Sometimes people come through with boxes left over from their own recent move, but more often adequate packing supplies are scarce and those friends have to resort to hauling their clothes in black garbage bags.8 essential packing supplies you need for your move.

If you’ve decided to do your packing alone, make it easy on yourself and get what you need. Maybe then you can be that friend who comes through for someone else with spare packing supplies. These are the eight packing essentials you can’t move without:

  1. Corrugated cardboard boxes in various sizes. When you pack boxes, avoid making them too heavy for the average person to carry. Large boxes are perfect for lightweight items like bedding, towels, and lampshades. Appliances and toys will fit fine in medium boxes. Finally, he smallest boxes are good for dense, heavy items like books and tools.
  2. A dish barrel. This tall, narrow cardboard carton is especially good for containing plates and glassware. Some come with cardboard dividers for your glasses, mugs, and stemware.
  3. A wardrobe box. Say goodbye to black garbage bags – this is, hands down, the easiest way to transport your clothes from one closet to another. You don’t even have to take your garments off their hangers; simply hang them on the bar across the top of the box.
  4. Flat boxes. There are large, shallow boxes specifically designed to transport flat screen TVs, decorative mirrors, and art. Use them to protect some of your most valuable items.
  5. Packing paper. This is one of the most versatile and useful packing tools that people often forget about. Unlike newspaper, packing paper won’t rub ink all over your belongings. It’s perfect for cushioning plates and glasses, and you can rip and crumple it to fit into any sized space or corner to prevent movement and provide extra cushioning.
  6. Bubble wrap. It’s lightweight, it provides superior cushioning, and it’s fun to pop when you’re finished moving. Use bubble wrap on your most fragile and precious items, and wrap it around things like wooden furniture legs to prevent chips and scratches.
  7. You’re going to be taping like a fiend, so don’t wrestle with a bargain bin packing tape dispenser with a dull blade – get yourself a tape gun and save the time and frustration normally expended on trying to find and peel back the end of the tape after losing track of it for the fifth time.
  8. Finally, you’ll need to mark your boxes. You can use a classic black felt tip marker, or you can strive for maximum efficiency by color-coding your labels. Make sure you write your labels on the sides of the boxes so you can still read them after stacking them.

Want more advice about what packing materials to use for your move, or where to get them? Just ask us and we’ll be happy to help you.

How to Have a Garage Sale Before Moving

Before you pack everything up in boxes and take it to your new home, you can do yourself a big favor by getting rid of the things you no longer need. Unless you are saving an item for someone else, if you haven’t used it in the last 3-5 years, there’s a good chance you never will. A garage sale or yard sale lets you make money, and also helps you save money by reducing the weight of your shipment.

Pick a date (Saturdays are prime) and advertise. There are several ways to get the word out.

  • You can use social media networks (Nextdoor is ideal)
  • Post/distribute flyers in the neighborhood
  • Put notices out through the local newspaper, church bulletins and bulletin boards

Publish the starting time and duration (e.g., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). When you open the garage door at 8 a.m., you’ll likely see a swarm of early birds—be prepared for the rush.

If parking is limited, you might contact your neighbors a few days before your event to ask if they would park their cars in their drives to free up space on the street. If you live on a narrow street or road with no shoulder for parking, assess the capacity for parking in your yard. Designate the parking area with highly visible signs.

Long, counter-height tables are ideal for displaying things. Keep kitchen things, tools, hardware, clothing, knick-knacks, books, etc. grouped together, as in departments. If something you wish to sell isn’t fully functional, note “as is” on the price to acknowledge it may need repair. However, most folks understand that garage sale items, especially in a moving sale, are sold “as is.”Containers labeled with prices hold merchandise being sold at a garage sale

How you price items can have a big impact on your success. In this era of eBay and online shopping, it’s easy to find a market price on just about anything you wish to sell. Remember, your goal is to get rid of things, so make your prices attractive.

Be prepared to consider offers below your asking price. A common mistake is to place a sentimental value on top of a market value. Books, for example, bring only pennies on the dollar, despite the fact that the enjoyment and enlightenment they offer can be immeasurable. If you are having a hard time parting with something, think of the enjoyment it will bring to someone else. A bit of charity in your outlook will serve you well.

If you are unsure of how to price some of your things, denote them with “make offer.” For items of relatively higher value, you may attach a piece of paper for bidders to write an amount they are willing to pay along with their contact info (phone or email) so they can be notified at the close of the sale.

Be aware that garage sales can be prime hunting grounds for sticky fingers and fraudsters. It pays to have several family members and friends on hand to help “mind the store” and keep things from walking off. A Dri-Mark® counterfeit detector pen is a worthwhile expense and can save you the embarrassment of ending up with funny money in your till.

Do you have a tip from your experience with garage sales and moving sales? Leave it in a comment to this post—I know our readers would like to hear from you!

Tips for a Cool Summer Move

When the days grow longer and warmer, more people are on the move. School is out, mom and/or dad have vacation time coming, and so summer seems the most convenient (or least inconvenient) time to relocate. With over a hundred years of providing moving services in Pittsburgh, Weleski Transfer has learned a few things to help you have a seamless summer move.

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a cool summer move.Weleski Transfer Ready for Summer Moving.

  • Be the early bird. Making a summer move is sort of like going swimming at the local pool; those who show up first get the best pick of chairs and umbrellas. Scheduling moves can get a little complicated in the summer, and wait times are typically longer. The best advice: schedule now. Our move schedulers plan weeks in advance, juggling resources and people to accommodate every customer as best as possible. Your business is important to us, and we want to help you move when you expect—so contact us as soon as you can.
  • Move it? Sell it! The more a shipment weighs, the more it costs to transport. So, instead of moving that two-hundred-pound solid wood picnic table your uncle gave you when he moved a few years back, why not turn it into cash? Summer is the best time to hold a yard or moving sale and unload all those things you’ve been accumulating but not longer need. Saturdays and Sundays in late May and early June are prime time. After the sale, you can donate leftovers to charity, give them away to friends and neighbors, or save them for a “moving sale sequel” on a subsequent weekend.
  • Don’t sweat it. Anyone who works at moving companies in Pittsburgh will tell you, summer days can get quite warm here. Daytime highs often reach into the nineties during July and August. During very warm weather, moving crews will prefer to load in the morning hours, before the full heat of the day. If your moving-related tasks require work outside or in spaces without air conditioning, avoid the hottest times of the day and drink plenty of water to keep from overheating and dehydration.
  • Protect your pets. Warm weather can be hazardous for animals, especially cats and dogs. It may be okay to put them in the yard while the movers are working, but make sure they have a way to get out of the sun and access to plenty of water. A sick pet will make everyone’s move miserable.
  • Make friends in the new hood. A summer move often means plenty of time in your new home before school starts. Take the opportunity to help your kids find things to do and to make new friends. Local neighborhood associations and social networks such as Nextdoor.com can be good resources for meeting families in your area. Check with the local parks department or recreation leagues about sports and other youth activities.

Are you planning to relocate this summer? Contact Weleski Transfer to get a cost and discuss scheduling. Our Pittsburgh movers will help you experience a cool move.

Finding the Right Neighborhood

When you undertake a move to a different city or town, you’ll be settling into a new neighborhood. Every neighborhood has its own character, a unique mix of homes and businesses, green spaces and recreational facilities, churches, and schools. Neighborhoods are as different as the people who comprise them. So how do you find a neighborhood you will be comfortable in? A place where you will feel more than a passing kinship with your neighbors?

Here are a few resources you may find useful as you go about finding your perfect fit.

Finding the right neighborhood with Weleski

Your real estate agent. In general, realtors who have earned the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) designation are more knowledgeable than agents who have not. Talk to your agent about your expectations for property values, schools, walkability, noise and light pollution, safety—any and all quality-of-living aspects that are important to you.

Online resources. Several websites compile information on neighborhoods precisely to let people know whether they might want to locate there.

  • Area Vibes lists statistics on livability, amenities, cost of living, crime, education, employment, and housing.
  • You can talk to residents and those with firsthand knowledge of a city’s neighborhoods via the discussion boards at www.city-data.com.
  • Neighborhood Scout offers a subscription service that lets you explore neighborhoods by zip code.
  • You can see how amenable an area is for walking, biking, and public transit via a score (0: worst to 100: best). For a map and table of cities (pop. 200,000 and above) where these scores are published, go here.
  • Where are the best schools located?Just enter a zip code and see for yourself at GreatSchools.org.
  • Atlas Van Lines provides quality-of-life research on many cities in the U.S. and Canada with city guides. You can view these here  (U.S. City Guides) and here (Canada City Guides).
  • You can see a fairly extensive set of data for areas by zip code at bestplaces.net. In addition to typical census-type information, the site also aggregates data on the cost of living, healthcare, and climate.
  • Google Maps provides photo views by address as well as a tool for locating nearby dining, lodging, and transportation resources.
  • Personal Visit. The best way to see what a neighborhood is like is to drive or walk around in it.

If you are planning a visit to the Pittsburgh or Cleveland areas, let us know. There are lots of great neighborhoods in both cities. Our Weleski storage and warehouse movers have been in and out of every local neighborhood many times. Tell us about your expectations and our furniture movers will recommend some areas you may like to consider.

Moving Q&A

Our furniture movers get a lot of questions from customers about what to expect with Atlas moving them. These usually come from families who are about to move for the first time. Here are answers to a few of the more common questions we hear.

How much does it cost to move?Questions and answers for moving

The answer depends on how much your shipment weighs and how far it travels. To give a detailed price quote, we visit your home and see exactly what items you will be moving. We’ll also talk about preparing and packing your things for shipment, what the cost would be for us to do it and what you can do yourself to save money. Weleski has been helping families move for over 100 years. We use our experience to not only make moving easy for you but to help you make it less expensive for yourself. By the way, we also provide quick, ballpark moving estimates here.

How long does it take to move?

Generally, smaller shipments move more quickly than big shipments do. Our warehouse movers at Weleski storage can usually move smaller shipments, those weighing less than 5,000 pounds (such as 2-bedroom apartments or small houses), across the country in ten days or less. Larger moves can take longer, simply because there are more preparation and handling involved. Equipment availability can also be a factor during the busiest moving months (when school is out of session). Moving also requires planning; four weeks typically provides ample time. Here’s a four-week checklist you may find helpful.

Are there things I shouldn’t move? Things I can’t move?

Yes. Now is the best time to let them go of items you no longer need, so they can be of use to someone else. Consider selling them and using the money to offset other expenses. You might like to donate things to charity or give them away to friends. Or, you may simply recycle them. (Nobody really wants that broken wall clock or that collection of empty wine bottles—you could make them vanish at the curb with a post under “free stuff” on Craigslist.)

As for things you can’t move, our furniture movers have a list of “non-allowables,” things they are unable to move or can move only under special circumstances. And there are certain things, like valuables and personal items, that should be moved. Here’s a page that explains all of this in detail.

What happens if something becomes damaged during moving?

Our warehouse movers take extreme care in preparing, handling, and transporting household goods. Still, we encourage every customer to take advantage of Full Value Protection. It’s affordable coverage that provides repair or replacement (market value) of any item that is lost or damaged while in our care. Such events are the exception, rather than the rule; in any case, Full Value Protection provides peace of mind that is relatively inexpensive.

Do you have a question about moving? Just ask us—we’ll get you the answer.

Why Book a Summer Move Now?

Get a Jump on Summer: Schedule Your Move Now.

As you might guess, more people move during the summer than any other season of the year. In fact, Atlas handles almost twice as many moves during the busiest moving month (July) compared to the slowest (February). There’s a good reason—families prefer to move when school is not in session so the kids won’t be disrupted in their studies. Too, the weather tends to be more agreeable for moving during warmer months. In much of the country, including Pittsburgh, long-distance movers must often battle the elements. Winter storms can make handling and transporting goods more labor-intensive, especially when ice or snow plays havoc with streets or impedes access to residences.

So, if you landed here after searching for “moving companies near me” or “cheap movers near me,” you are probably thinking about moving sometime in the next several weeks.Spring Movers are Ready Now If you want to move during the summer, don’t wait to get started. Get a free quote today and  do yourself a big favor by securing the help you need and knowing it will be available when you need it.

We emphasize planning because moving is a process that unfolds over several weeks. A lot has to happen before you can simply empty one home and occupy another.  Here are a few tips to help you get a head start on a successful move.

Shed the Excess. If you have lived in a residence for thirty, twenty, or even ten years, you’ve likely accumulated quite a few things. You may no longer need some of them—especially since the cost of moving correlates to weight. Lighten your load by selling, donating, or tossing things you no longer need. Hold a moving sale in late March or early April—before yard sales start popping up all over town like dandelions.

Sell Your Home. Real estate professionals agree that spring is the best time of year to sell a property. De-cluttering is essential to staging a home for sale. Pack up the bric-a-brac, the refrigerator magnets, and family photos. Go to school on staging a home for sale by looking at homes for sale online. Bottom line: make it possible for prospective buyers to stand in the vision of the house as theirs, not yours.

Start Packing. You can start boxing up things you know can live without until you get to your new home. These may include books, extra bedding, tableware, and other household items. Time is a luxury, and if you use it now to get as much of the packing done as you can, the final days leading up to moving day will feel much smoother.

Know Your New Neighborhood. If you know which neighborhood you will be moving into, use this time to become acquainted with its character and amenities. Scout the locations of grocery stores, schools, churches, libraries, post offices, pharmacies, parks, and public transportation. Visit the city’s website and familiarize yourself with local ordinances and policies. Will you need a permit to hold an after-moving sale? When are trash pickups scheduled for your street?

Get a Healthy Head Start. Now is a good time to ascertain referrals or recommendations and set appointments with health care providers—family doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. It’s also a good time for pet prep. Make sure your pet’s shots are current and you have the documentation your new vet will need.

Like I mentioned earlier, moving is a process. Planning now gives you the luxury of more time to handle all the details. We’ve helped thousands of families with the process. When you know you are going to move, get in touch and we’ll help you get a timely advantage.

Finding a Mover “Near Me”

Every move begins with the decision to move. Once you’ve crossed that threshold, you have to formulate a plan. Will you move yourself—or enlist the help of a local professional mover?  If you decide on the latter course, how can you locate the right mover near you?

It’s an important decision. There are many movers out there. I recommend a process I call REST to find capable local movers and storage professionals. (I always love using acronyms for finding local businesses & deals near me.)

Research local movers.Two local movers I found near me that helped move my family.

Start by doing an internet search for “local moving companies” or “moving companies near me” or “local storage facilities near me.” If you are researching movers in another market, such as one you will be moving to, search for “movers in Cleveland” or “moving companies in Pittsburgh,” for example. Spend a little time sifting through the search results. Based on your preliminary findings, do a search for moving companies by name and see what pops up.  Check to see if a company carries the ProMover designation, is rated by the Better Business Bureau, and is active in the community, such as supporting local charitable causes. (For example, Weleski helps local food banks through participation in Move for Hunger and they volunteered with a toy donation for Mount Saint Peter Parish.)

Get moving quotes.

Many movers offer the convenience of a free online quote. You can start with an estimate to get an idea of cost, but be advised that you will need an in-person visit from a representative or a video walk-through in order to provide an accurate assessment of cost. If a local mover does not offer this, you should scratch the company off your list. Beware of low-ball prices—often a signal that the mover will cut corners or operate unethically. The in-home estimate is a chance to form an impression about the mover’s professionalism. Go over every detail of the mover’s proposal and ask any questions you have about the service, especially your scheduling expectations.

Find customer reviews.

If you like what you see, ask the mover for the names of three customers they have moved within the last 60 days. Then, search for reviews online about their experience – sometimes you can even message them to get more details. Did the mover meet their expectations? Would they use the mover again? Would they recommend the mover to family members and friends? Were they pleased with the value they received based on the cost of service? Would they do anything differently the next time they move?

Move with the best.

Once you’ve assessed your local moving and storage companies to your satisfaction, you’re ready to flip the switch and sign the agreement. Then, follow the advice of your professional mover to proceed on schedule and make sure you are completely ready when moving day arrives. You can REST easy knowing you have chosen a professional local mover who will see the job through to your satisfaction.

If you want to know what our Weleski movers can do for you, give us a call. We’ll be happy to explain our moving process & walk you through the steps of REST!

Moving Internationally Can Be a Beautiful Thing

Watching the Olympic games unfold in Rio, I’m reminded of what a beautiful world ours is and what wonderful people inhabit it. Moving internationally enables people to explore the world while learning about themselves. When Weleski’s international movers help people relocate, I like to think we’re helping them to personally experience that beauty and wonder.

In one way, an overseas move can be like going to another world. Different language, unfamiliar customs, strange food. In another way, it can be like moving to another state. At least we try to make it seem that easy.

Amsterdam at Sunrise

It’s not the distance per se that makes an international relocation different. (Did you know it’s twice as far from New York to Los Angeles as it is from Miami to Panama City, Panama?) Rather, the red tape of differing legalities between countries is the primary differentiator.  Here are a few of the things to be mindful of.

Downsize your move. The extent of your downsizing can depend on how long you intend to be overseas. In general, the fewer things you take, the easier and more affordable your move will be. Establishing a furnished residence in your new country could end up saving you money.

Keep things separate. Don’t include these items when you pack your household goods:  passport or I.D., currency, important papers, jewelry, photos and keepsakes. For a more specific list of items you should transport yourself, check out Atlas’s list of personal belongings.

Important papers. You need ready access to several documents: such as your passport, work visa, birth certificate, marriage certificate, academic record, medical record, health insurance information, life insurance policy numbers, social security card, list of important contacts (personal and professional) and phone numbers. You might also snap a photo of each document to keep on your mobile device — and back the document images up with “cloud storage,” e.g., Google Drive.

Driving. What are the requirements for driving in your new country? Do you have to take a test before you can obtain a license? Be sure you are legally authorized and insured before you get behind the wheel.

London at nightMoney. How much will you need for miscellaneous expenses as you travel? If your bank doesn’t have international reach, you’ll often need your new address and your passport to open a bank account in a foreign country. Try looking into banking options before you leave so you can focus more on your international adventure.

Immunizations. Check the requirements for the country you are going to and make sure you are up to date on required vaccinations. The same goes for pets. Do they meet requirements for entry in the country? In the locale and housing unit?

Getting started. It’s a good idea to get estimates from at least two, if not three, moving companies with international capabilities. Ask questions, such as which insurance option is best for your circumstances. And ask for references, then contact those customers and ask if they would use the mover again.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything you will need to consider when moving internationally, but it’s a good start. You can read more about our international relocation services here. Or, send us a message with your question.  We’re glad to show you how moving internationally can be a beautiful thing.

Professional Movers vs. Renting a Moving Truck

Professional Moving Truck in front of a House

We all want to be wise consumers, try to save a dollar when we can. For this reason, it’s tempting to rent a moving truck rather than hire professional movers. I understand that—I’ve even helped people in such situations with professional packing supplies and services. (I don’t begrudge anyone trying to save money. In this day and age, every dollar counts!)

If you are thinking about doing your own hauling, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Availability. When moving day gets here, will the truck rental place have a truck available for you? Especially during the summer months, when moving is at its peak, truck rental companies cannot keep up with the demand. Even a “guaranteed” reservation is often no guarantee that a truck will be available when you need it. True, Weleski is subject to the same seasonal demands for equipment. However, when we commit to your move, we serve you as promised. We’ve built our reputation on being reliable and responsive.

Hidden Costs. As someone once said, “the large type giveth and the small type taketh away.” That boldly advertised truck price is a grabber. Be sure to factor in all the related expenses for mileage, seasonal price fluctuations, long-distance and one-way premiums. Then add in an unknown amount for the unexpected, such as a tire blowout or radiator leak. On the other hand, with Weleski professional movers the guaranteed price for service covers everything, with no surprises. If something unexpected happens in transit, we take care of it.

Damaged Goods. When you pack and load your own shipment, you are responsible for the safety of your goods. If items break or are damaged, you’re on the hook. With professional movers, you get experience and best practices for packing and loading. Plus, every shipment Weleski handles is covered by full value protection (unless you say otherwise). FVP guarantees you receive the replacement value of any item in the event of loss or damage.

Your Safety. I was once driving through Florida on I-75 behind a car pulling a popular brand of rented trailer.  Apparently the load inside was unsecured, causing the trailer and car to swerve wildly. Traffic behind slowed in anticipation of a jack-knife and rollover. Fortunately, the driver slowed down and pulled over before a catastrophe occurred. This is but one example of the dangers you can avoid with a professional mover in charge.

Faulty Equipment. Vicious price competition in the truck rental space encourages less-than-ethical operators to cut costs, even on essential vehicle maintenance. Be aware the truck you rent is driven by a different driver on every move—and is only as reliable as the company you get it from. Speaking for Weleski, we are diligent in maintaining our equipment for reliability and safety. The lives of our people and the motoring public depend on it.

I remember seeing a cartoon that illustrated a backhoe beside a roadside stand with a sign: “Fred’s Croissants and Fill Dirt.” In an attempt to be everywhere, truck rental places are often an appendage to some other concern, such as a convenience store or self-storage business. Weleski Transfer, on the other hand, is a full-service moving and storage company with a single focus on helping customers go new places.

True, a professional move on paper is typically more than the cost of a rental truck. But add everything up, and I think you’ll see the many advantages of our professional moving service give you an undeniable value. You can save yourself a lot of hassle and uncertainty—and even come out dollars ahead. Get a free moving quote to see what we can offer you.