Packing? Why Not Make it a Party?

So, you’re moving and you’ve decided to shoulder some of the work yourself, namely the task of getting things boxed up and ready to load onto the truck. Depending on how much you have, packing can be daunting. However, as the old saying goes, “many hands make light work.”  You might have enough people power in your own family to get the job done without stressing out. But you could also use the occasion to bring together good friends. You can enjoy the time together, share memories, and get a lot of busy work done in the process.

Pipacking party for movingck a day and time that works for everybody. A day or two before the truck is scheduled to arrive is ideal. You could even begin a week or two before your moving out day, with books, some tableware, clothing, linens—things you won’t need day-to-day until you get to your new home.

Have the packing supplies on hand when your guests arrive. Brown craft paper, clear packing tape, bubble wrap, foam peanuts, and cardboard cartons. Old newspaper can also come in handy, but beware—the ink may rub off and can smudge or stain.  You can also purchase packing supplies from your local moving company. You may also find used cartons at your favorite grocery. Most stores have a bin for recycling cardboard; just ask the manager.

Before work begins, decide exactly what you want to accomplish. Establish a convenient work area, with plenty of room. A big table works well. So does a wide open floor space, such as in the living room. You might turn on some music to establish a pleasant background.  As you work, mark the contents on the outside of cartons; it will make placing and unpacking things at your new home much easier.

Of course, a party isn’t a party without munchies and drinks. You might wish to finish off some food in your fridge or freezer, since you can’t take it with you (movers are not allowed to transport foods that can spoil). Or you might order in—sub sandwiches or pizza, for instance. If you start your gathering mid-morning or mid-afternoon, your guests will probably have eaten before they arrive. You can work up an appetite together and take a well-deserved break for lunch or dinner.  If you want to nibble while you work, consider foods that aren’t messy, such as raw veggies, pretzels, and finger sandwiches. In any case, have fun and enjoy your time together.

When you’re ready to start planning your move, contact Weleski Transfer of the Pittsburgh/Tarentum area for you free moving quote today!

Tips for Moving with Children

Family Moving In - Moving Tips for Moving with KidsWhat happens when moving with kids? The answers are as different as kids themselves. Some may be ready to wave goodbye to the old place with both hands. Others may be on a hair trigger for mutiny at the very mention of moving.

Keep in mind that kids are people, too. Respect their feelings, but be sincere. With that in mind, here are a few ideas that may help you get the right psychology going for your brood.

Younger kids are generally easier to enthuse about moving, especially if they are not yet acculturated to the world outside the home. Something as simple as a coloring book about moving day can help them look forward to the adventure. You might even draw a picture and talk about how strong men with a big moving truck are going to take your furniture to your new home. Little ones tend to take emotional cues from mom and dad. If you’re genuinely excited, chances are they will be, too.

Older kids, those in middle school or high school, can be a tougher sell. Some may even feel a little resentful, especially if they will have to leave a boyfriend or girlfriend behind. Or if they are looking forward to a special event, such as a school bash.

Total agreement may be elusive, but seek it anyway. Try to loop your kids into the decision-making where you can. Maybe they can be part of the house-hunting process. If not, a family visit to the new home can quell worries. Many properties nowadays can be viewed online, some even have video tours. Focus on the good and look for the positives. (Your new room is pretty cool. We have a lot less grass to cut now. The people next door have a daughter your age.)

Online tools like Google Earth can be a great way to create some excitement about the new neighborhood. Sit down together at the computer. Trace the route to your new home. Zoom in. What’s the neighborhood look like? Any swimming pools? Potential places for skateboarding? Parks or playgrounds? Trace the route to school. Where are the ball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts?

Explain to the kids that now is a good time to go through their things and weed out the old, outgrown, or broken stuff. Maybe they’d like to donate things to their school or a local charity. Or they could sell them and generate a little extra cash. Get the whole family involved in a moving sale with proceeds going into the kitty for next year’s vacation.

Saying goodbye to friends can be the hardest part about moving. Maybe you could throw a little get-together for everyone. A going away party, maybe, with good friends as guests of honor. Give them maps with your contact information. Or maybe a special “let’s-stay-in-touch” memento. Talk about the good times you’ve all had and remind everyone the best is yet to come. When you’re moving forward, life is always an adventure. No amount of distance or time can ever take away true friendships.

Valuation Options when Moving

What is “valuation”? And why is it important?Valuation Options when Moving

I like full things. A full tank of gas. A full serving of dessert. A full moon. Yes, I think full is generally best.

Especially when it comes to valuation. You see, valuation refers to the basis for reimbursement when something gets lost or damaged or destroyed during your move. (Yes, things can happen.)

With full value protection, you know you will be compensated appropriately for your loss. We’ll repair or replace the item. Or, we’ll pay you cash so you can have the item repaired or replaced yourself.

The settlement amount depends on the current value of the item. For instance, let’s say we’re transporting your belongings when a meteorite crashes into the truck trailer and totals your snowmobile. We’d pay to replace your sled based on its appraised market value, taking into account its age, mileage, and overall condition.

If, however, the meteorite took off the front ski assembly only, and we determined it could be fixed, we might choose to pay for a repair. We would only do this, however, if your vehicle could be returned in as good or better condition than it was before the damage.

There is another option, which I do not recommend, called Minimal Protection (some refer to it as “released value” or “basic value”). With this choice, reimbursement is based on a flat rate of 60 cents per pound. Let’s say that meteorite takes out your flat-screen TV, which weighs 40 pounds. Minimal Protection would reimburse you $24. Obviously, not enough to buy another TV.

Minimal Protection leaves a lot to be desired. That’s why we believe every move should be protected by full valuation. We figure Full Valuation Protection automatically when we quote you a price for our services. The only requirement is that the minimum declared value of your shipment is the greater of $5,000 or $4 times the total weight in pounds.

Technically, valuation is not insurance, because it is not governed by state insurance laws. But it is an important form of protection for your goods when you move. Unless you’re transporting things of very little value, make sure you say “yes” to full value protection. Otherwise, you could find yourself full of regret.

Moving Tips — Avoiding Rogue Movers (Part 2)

Trustworthy Movers

As I wrote in my previous post, I hope I can save you from getting scammed by a rogue mover. If you aren’t careful, your move can turn into a nightmare. Here are more safeguards you should know before you hire a mover.

Before a reputable mover quotes you a price, he will come to your home and see exactly what you plan to move. Shipping costs are based on size and weight, and walking through your home is the only way to accurately assess costs and give you a fair price. Reject any mover who wants to give you a firm price, sight unseen, whether over the phone or internet.

I recommend getting estimates from three different companies. Ask the representative before he or she comes to your home if their company will be doing the move themselves. If they plan to subcontract your move to another company, scratch them off your list.

When the representative comes to perform the estimate, it’s your chance to ask questions. How do they determine price? How much insurance is included? What is their policy on hiring? Do they check the background of the people who work for them?

Find out about the company. What is its official business name? Does it do business under any other names? Ask how long the company has been in business and where it is located. Ask for names of two or three customers and then call those customers and ask them if they would use the mover again.

Get the contact information phone number, website address, and an email address you can direct questions to. Most representatives carry a mobile phone and are glad to provide their personal contact information. It’s good salesmanship.

Also get the mover’s DOT and MC license numbers. Later, go online to SaferSys.org and verify the mover meets the legal requirements for license and insurance.

Here are a few other pointers:

  • Never hire a mover who gives you a quote based on cubic feet.
  • Never sign blank paperwork, or paperwork that hasn’t been fully explained.
  • Read the document, understand it, and don’t worry about inconveniencing the representative with questions. It’s their job to answer your questions.
  • If a representative can’t explain things to your satisfaction, or if they seem evasive, scratch that company off your list.

And remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Especially when it comes to low, low prices.

Moving Tips — Avoiding Rogue Movers

They’re out there. And they can make your life miserable.

Avoiding Rogue Movers

I’m talking about rogue movers— moving companies that look legitimate on the surface but in reality are about as ruthless as a tiger shark on an empty stomach. Such companies may hold your goods for ransom, refuse to make good on losses they are responsible for, even disappear with your things like the proverbial thief in the night.

The professional moving and storage industry has gone to great lengths to educate and protect consumers from getting scammed by such operators. But P. T. Barnum must have been right, because I continue to read and hear horror stories about unsuspecting consumers being victimized.

This is the first in what I plan to be a series of blog entries designed to help you avoid getting scammed. (Here is where I could say, simply, make sure you hire Weleski. While I believe that is a good idea, I don’t want to presume you will—so I will continue my entry in hopes of making you a better informed consumer and earning your business.)

I’ll get to some specifics in a moment, but first I want to share the single most important idea you can use to keep from becoming a victim yourself. This idea applies not just to moving, but to practically every product or service you will ever buy. Here it is: “If the price seems to good to be true, then it probably is not true.” If you get a low-ball price, expect trouble.

Before you hire a mover, perform a background check on the company. Ask them for references. Call those people and ask whether they were satisfied with their moving experience. Check with the Better Business Bureau. Do the mover’s customers have unresolved complaints? Check with your state’s moving association. Make sure the company is a member in good standing. (Here’s a list of such associations, compiled by the US DOT.)

I think one of the best safeguards is the ProMover credential administered by The American Moving & Storage Association. Movers who carry the ProMover designation have passed a background check and are bound by the AMSA’s Code of Ethics. (As you may guess, Weleski carries the ProMover credential.)

Before you hire a mover, be sure you aren’t dealing with a broker. A broker is simply a middle-man who buys and resells the actual moving services to you. Such a scenario is filled with danger, because enforceable consumer protections are poor or lacking. When you deal with a real mover, you have extensive protections. And, by law, your mover is required to provide you a copy of them. (FYI, here’s a link to  this information, courtesy of Atlas Van Lines.)

Keep in mind that good companies are proud of their good reputation. They answer the phone with the name of their company. And they are proud to display their name on their offices, trucks, and uniforms.  If you see no identity except, perhaps, a magnetic sign on the truck, beware.

What to Expect when Relocating for your Job

Moving Jobs

Moving can be both exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time, especially if you are relocating for a job. But don’t worry! Atlas Van Lines surveyed companies to reveal what you might expect in terms of reimbursement and relocation support.

Both moving and changing jobs have been identified as two of the top ten major stressors in life. Moving for a job, hits on both at the same time. But, Employers offer benefits, services and reimbursement to ease the transition.

The assistance comes in three forms: moving expense reimbursement, employment assistance for your spouse, and housing-related support.

1. Moving Expense Reimbursement

Moving Expenses: One thing that is not in short supply during a move.

A lot of the stress from moving is caused by the expenses! However, 96% of employers surveyed pay for part of the relocation and over 50% cover the entire move. This is great news whether your company covers it all or just partially, you do not have to bare the entire expense on your own. Some of the expenses included may be packing all your items, unpacking your items, moving an automobile (or two), and even moving pets. These inclusions may not seem all that important, but any expense you do not have to pay helps the bottom line.

2. Spousal Jobs 

Don’t let the fear of your spouse not having a job hold your family back.

Completely picking up your life and moving to a new location can be taxing for not only your bank account, but your spouse as well. 42% of companies surveyed said that they would assist the employee’s spouse in finding a new job. Some of the assistance provided could be anything ranging from networking assistance all the way to finding employment within the company. This is a great way to cut down on some of the stress relocation can cause on your entire family.

3. Housing-related issues

You may have a new home, but what happens with the old one?

The obvious goal associated with relocation is selling or renting the home you currently live in. 65% of the companies stated that they would help with the housing issues that may make it difficult for the employee to take the new position. Specifically if the sale is taking longer than anticipated, 72% said they would provide extended temporary housing benefits.

Life is all about constant changes and many companies are willing to help you make the next change easier.

Check out the So your job asked you to relocate infographic from Atlas Van Lines.

The Semester is coming to an End: Time to Move Out

Moving Tips to make Moving out Simple

The semester is finally over! Now all that’s left to do is rock your final paper, exams, and projects and move out of your college dorm or apartment. All of these things can create tons of stress, but moving doesn’t have to. By following these few steps, your move will be the easiest part of these last few weeks, providing more time to study and celebrate with friends.

  • Everyone’s schedule gets crazy. Don’t let something fall through the cracks Moving Out of College - Moving Tips
    • These last few weeks of the semester, professors pile on the papers, projects, and exams. If that isn’t enough to make you want to pull your hair out, adding work and socializing time on top of that surely will. By making a list or schedule of all the obligations you have, you will be less likely to forget something.
  • Clean the monster also known as your room
    • Organization is key here. Packing will go by so much quicker if your room is organized prior to trying to pack. Don’t worry about the heavy duty cleaning like mopping and vacuuming just yet, save that for the last few days.
  • Do you need extra storage?
    • You have a lot of stuff packed into a ridiculously small room. What are you going to do with all of it for the summer or until you land your big kid job? If taking it all back home isn’t the best option for you, the use of an additional storage company may be in your best interest. When packing for a storage unit, here are a few things to keep in mind:
      1. Using large, clearly labeled boxes will make moving in and out of the storage unit easy. Boxes with handles are even better!
      2. Wrap delicate things like picture frames and mirrors in bubble wrap to avoid that nasty seven years bad luck.
      3. If you are storing a fridge, make sure to defrost, clean, and dry the inside before shutting it in a storage unit for a few weeks or months. No one likes mold and mildew.
  • Let’s start packing!
    • It is never too early to start packing! The task may seem overwhelming, but don’t fret! Spreading the packing process out over a few weeks will eliminate an innumerable amount of stress. Packing can be turned into three phases: the non-essentials, the bedroom, and the food/kitchen
      • Phase 1- Non-essentials: These are the items like heavy winter clothing that you know you won’t need during the last few weeks of school. Once these items are out of your room, it will seem a lot bigger
      • Phase 2- The bedroom: the bulk of your packing can be found in your room. The good news is, you can divide your room into sections and pack one section every day or so. This makes labeling your boxes simpler and less time consuming.
      • Phase 3- The food/kitchen: We all try to eat as much of our food as possible before having to move out, but that doesn’t always happen. If you find any non-perishable food items, give them to your local or university food pantry. Cleaning and giving back all rolled into one!
  • It’s finally here: the last 24 hours
    • Night before: By this time, everything should be packed except the things needed to get ready in the morning (clothes, medicines, phone charger, etc.) Make sure to have a checklist of the moving out procedures and any other things that need to be done tomorrow.
    • Morning of: These few hours can be summed up into 4 steps:
      1. Get ready
      2. Pack your car
      3. Rock your finals
      4. Head off to your next adventure: Summer 2014