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What Is Your Moving Type?

Moving advice isn't one-size-fits-all.

In fact, there's a good chance you'll move several times in your life, and each move will likely find you in much different circumstances.

To help you move smart, Relocation.com's Karen Tooley takes a look at people moving at different stages of their life and the issues that are specific to them: the first-time mover, combining a household (newlyweds), moving with kids, and empty-nest movers. In Tooley's 20-plus years in the relocation industry, she's worked with folks along this entire spectrum.

First-Time Mover: Information Overload

If you've never moved with moving companies, the amount of information you encounter can be overwhelming. 

Stop, take a breath and work through a checklist of things you need to get done. Here are some starters: 

* If you've moving across state lines, most everything is priced based by the long-distance moving company on the weight of the shipment -- this article explains how a moving company sets your estimate for a long-distance move. Be sure to find out how these types of moves are priced. Also, every service you request comes at a cost, such as packing and unpacking services, bulky article transportation and any third-party services that you may need.  Ask ask ask: there are no stupid questions.

* Even though you might not have much stuff and you don't have a big home or apartment, always have at least three moving companies perform an in-home survey of your needs so that your moving quote is accurate – there are always unusual things that can inflate the cost of a move, and it's best to discover that beforehand, not after. Here are questions to ask your mover.  

* Assuming you have decided on a budget for your expenses, the moving company representative will be able to offer alternative ways of staying within your budget.  For example, pack your goods yourself instead of having someone else do it.  Or delete some items from your shipment that add extra weight or bulky article charges.  You may decide that the cost to move certain items is higher than the sentimental value of those items. 

* Always get an estimate in writing after a physical survey of your goods by your mover, and preferably ask for a guaranteed price.  Most moving companies are happy to give you a guarantee on the moving quote, and will outline all of the services to be included in their written estimate.  Be aware that any changes you make to those services or to the weight of your shipment may cause your guaranteed pricing to be voided.  Always discuss any changes with your moving company ahead of the move to avoid any surprises -- it pays to work with your mover.

* Start planning early, especially since this is a new experience for you.  Depending on the time of the year and your location, plan your move at least a month in advance.  Most moving companies will try to accommodate your needs, but the earlier the better to ensure that your requested dates can be met -- things can get busy in the summer, and they're always busy at month-end when  leases come due. See this article for more tips on saving money on a move.

Building That Love Nest

When two households combine – whether it's a young couple moving in together, second marriages, or any other situation – that essentially means TWO moves, and it increases the complexity, not to mention the cost.

As in other moves, costs are generally based on the weight of the shipment, so make a complete list of each household's items. If there are duplicates for joint household items such as appliances and electronics, large pieces of furniture, cookware and dishes, decide what to eliminate so you're not essentially shipping the same article twice (this is also a good first newlywed exercise in marital negotiations…) 

If you're using the same moving company for both moves, be sure your mover knows that.  The extra pick-up charge is usually small depending on the distance between the two locations.

And make sure the moving company knows the access to both locations.  If a large truck is used at one location, and the second location will not accommodate the large truck, there may be a need to have the second location's goods transferred to the first location in a smaller truck. Again -- these are all things the moving company will need to know in advance.

Items to be moved from both locations should be inventoried by the mover, and loaded in a manner that makes the unloading a smooth process.  Therefore, the mover should have a detailed listing of the furniture placement at the destination, if possible. 

When the goods are coming from two locations, it can be confusing where they're placed at the destination -- they may go to a different area of the new residence than where they come from at the original residence. Map this out for your movers.  

Bottom line: For this move, communication and planning with your mover are crucial. 

Honey, We're Moving With Kids

Statistics show that a move is one of the most stressful things any family goes through.  Uprooting a family's comfortable surroundings and placing them in a new, unfamiliar home will be difficult even for the most organized families. Here are the key points when moving with kids.

* Don't pack any items that are special or sensitive to a child. This would include items that a child might sleep with, or favorite toys. If your mover is doing the packing, make sure you have these items separated before the packing starts along with other items you may need to comfort the child during the process.  

* Separate and take with you clothing and necessities to care for the children during the move, because once items are packed and loaded you won't have access to them until you arrive at your new home.

* As your mover is packing, loading or unloading, have the child stay with a babysitter or relative. If that is not possible, prepare an area of your home for the children to stay out of the way. A child can be injured when a mover is moving a large item and cannot see the child while carrying it.

* In their "safe" area, have toys and other things to occupy their time, because the move may take awhile. Food and drinks should also be available. Prepare your children in advance for what to expect during the move, and what is expected of them.

Downsizing the Nest

People moving for retirement have a lot of things to consider. 

* Moving cost is based on weight, and over the years you might have collected a number of items that you probably won't use at your new house.  Do a complete inventory of your goods to determine the level of importance for each item. 

* Make a list of things that are necessities, important but not a necessity, things that you would like to keep, and items that you do not use or need.  This will help you decide what stays and what goes.

* Determine the amount of space you will have at your new home. Issues like storage space and number of rooms may determine what you can move with you. 

* After you decide which items you want to move, try to have the other items removed from your house prior to getting your estimate from the moving company.  Often people will tell a moving company the items to be shipped, and will say that some items will not go.  If you decide to change that at the last minute, your pricing can be affected greatly.  If you have already gotten rid of things, that temptation will be removed.

* Another important issue for this type of move is the value of the shipment.  You might have owned some of your belongings for a long time now, so they may be worth more because they are antiques. Pack and move them accordingly.  Also, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for these items.

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In the Press

A Moving Company's Moving Story
June, 2012

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