Moving & COVID-19

A Message from northAmerican® Van Lines

Over the past few weeks, the world has experienced a circumstance the likes of which none of us has seen before. The Coronavirus pandemic is not only threatening the fabric of our daily lives, but more importantly, the health of every member of our global community. At this time of uncertainty, we at northAmerican Van Lines, would like to reassure you of the following:

1. We recognize the gravity of this situation and are taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of our employees, agent family, customers, and clients. More information on the steps northAmerican has taken to protect against the virus can be found here.

2. We are in this together! Communication on both sides is vital to everyone’s safety. We have directed our crews to practice “social distancing”, and we are working to ensure that they have not visited high-risk areas or show any symptoms of illness. Our network can give you the option of performing our pre-move survey virtually. If you are moving, you can help us keep you safe by limiting the number of people in your home during the moving process (packing through delivery) to as few people as possible. Should you or someone in your home have been exposed to the virus”, call your northAmerican agent right away. We’re here to help. We will do everything in our power to be flexible with rescheduling and making your move successful.

3. We’re here and available to help with your moving needs. If you are looking for a full-service mover for yourself or an employee, our agent network of moving professionals is waiting and ready to help. When you’re ready to move or ready to relocate employees, northAmerican will be there to provide the professional, quality service you’ve come to expect.

History has shown that we can come through unbelievable challenges as a nation–and be stronger for it. Let this crisis be no different. Take care of yourself and your family and be safe.

You may also be interested in reading:  A note on Covid 19 and how we are taking care of our community

Moving House Myths Busted

 

When it comes to moving, there are a lot of people who will claim to be experts with tons of advice on what you should do. But the reality is this: many ideas we have about moving and the best way to move are actually myths. 

There are a lot of things you can do to make your move quicker and easier. But one of the best things you can do is to ignore these myths and go with actual facts that can assist with your move.

Here are moving myths we’re busting: 

  1. It Costs More to Hire Professional Movers than to Move Yourself 

When you look at this on paper, it may seem to be true. After all, yes, a moving van rental does cost less than hiring professional movers. 

But this doesn’t take into account a lot of “hidden expenses” when you decide to move yourself. To start, you will need van equipment such as a dolly, furniture pads, and moving straps. Most of these items will be extra rental items. 

Besides the van, you’re also going to pay for the gas and vehicle insurance for the van. If you’re going a long distance (or doing an overnight move) you can add in road tolls and overnight parking costs. If you’re doing a long-range move, you’ll also need to pay for food and lodging on the trip. And if you’re planning to use friends for the move, you’re going to need bribes like lots of pizza and beer. 

But the biggest expense is simply the cost of your time. How much is it worth to you to not have to break your back to move? When you look at it from this perspective, the costs make hiring professional movers a great investment. Check out our article on 6 tips for finding a moving company you can trust

2. You Don’t Need to Label Everything

We aren’t sure exactly where this myth came from, but it’s a bit of advice that started popping up and it’s absolutely insane. If you are moving, you need to label everything. 

You don’t want to get to your new home and have to search through everything to find one or two essential items you need right away. It’s also a good idea to get an inventory app so you can track every box, knowing what’s in each of them, and what rooms they should be placed in. Doing this will make your move so much easier and also make the unpacking a relative breeze.

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About Moving

These three myths have been spread by word-of-mouth and social media for years. But the reality is that following these bits of “advice” can actually cost you in time, money, and energy.

How to Avoid Surprise Moving Charges

Whether you’re moving to another city, state, country or just moving a couple of blocks down the road, the process of moving is still a rough one. It can take its toll on your nerves. 

But it should not take its toll on your wallet. Unfortunately, sometimes the bill you get for a professional move is not the last word on the costs. 

There are many hidden costs that you need to be aware of so that you can avoid those companies that would try to overbill you.

Packing Costs

The first big hidden cost involves packing up your belongings. In order to avoid this fee altogether, then you simply need to pack your own items yourself and have them ready when the movers show up. 

Most moving companies will not cover any possible damage to these items, however. (After all, it could have already been broken when you packed it in the box.) If you do have movers pack your belongings, you’ll end up with two charges—one for the time it takes the movers to pack and one for the supplies such as boxes and tape that is needed. 

Watch Out For: An unscrupulous moving company could try to claim you need special packing boxes or more boxes than are necessary just to pad this fee out.

Disassembly/Re-Assembly Fees 

Another possible fee you could be hit with is a fee to take apart your furniture and then put it back together. In order to avoid this one, simply take the furniture apart yourself and have it ready to go. Then, when you arrive at the new home, have the pieces placed in the room you want and don’t have them assemble the furniture. 

Even if a company doesn’t “charge” for this, you could end up with a higher cost if the company does charge by the hour. After all, it will take more time to break down and reassemble the furniture.

Heavy Items & Disposal Fees

 If you have one heavy item that cannot be easily moved with a dolly or hand truck, then you’re probably going to see a tacked-on fee. This includes large pieces of furniture like pianos or pool tables. Some of these may even require a specialized mover to ensure that the product is not damaged during the move.

Disposal fees have been cropping up a lot lately with companies that are really trying to add to the bills. This fee is meant to include “the safe disposal” of packing materials such as boxes, tape, and bubble wrap. This one has been added since the “green” environmental movement has picked up steam, so you may want to ask about this one before you get the final bill.

Miscellaneous Fees 

This one is where they say that the “devil is in the details.” Miscellaneous fees can cover a whole host of things. For instance, if you need to delay delivery to your new house, you may be asked to pay a storage facility fee. 

If you have a narrow driveway or entrance to your home, you may be charged a fee for transferring the items from a smaller van that will fit into a larger one that can carry more stuff (or vice versa). If you live in a second-floor apartment and don’t have elevator access, there may also be a charge to carry your things up several flights of stairs.

For all of these fees, the lesson to be learned is that all those who are moving should read the fine print before they sign any contract. Know exactly what you are getting into and what fees are reasonable. 

Some companies will try to add more on, but your contract can prevent this. But please know that the majority of professional movers are above board and will not charge hidden fees. Did you enjoy this article? You might also like our tips and timeline for  a low stress move

 

How to Pack and Move Wine

Packing your own things for a move may be the single most tedious job that a person can do. It seems like every single item in your home requires a specific way to pack it to ensure it arrives at the new location safely. This is especially true if you are a fan of wines and you have a large collection at home. 

If you simply throw your wine into a box, you are likely to end up with a lot of broken glass and stained carpeting. Even if the bottles don’t break, you may damage the quality of the wine inside the bottle. 

Let’s look at some things to consider when you are packing and moving wine:

Clear out before the move 

First, consider cleaning out your wine and liquor bottles before your moving day. All these items can be really heavy. If you’re using a professional mover, some charge by the pound, so it may not be cost effective to pack all of your bottles. The cheaper ones or the ones you know you will never open again can just go into the trash. 

Or, consider having one final blow-out in your old place with your friends and family. Make it a fancy dinner party or just a drop in with the intention of cleaning out as much as possible from the liquor cabinet, pantry and fridge so you don’t have to move these items. 

Assemble your supplies 

There are several different types of boxes you can use to pack your wine. Some stores make specially reinforced boxes meant to only ship wine bottles. If you can’t find any of these at your local moving store, then get several reinforced boxes that are meant to hold books. 

Remember the old adage: it is easier to move twenty light boxes with one item in each than to move one really heavy box with twenty items in it. You will also need A LOT of packing tape. Once you put together the boxes, you need to reinforce the bottoms with extra tape. Finally, invest in reliable bubble wrap or similar packing material.

Properly position the bottles 

Although it makes sense to pack bottles vertically (standing tall), many wine experts will tell you that this can damage the wines. Others will even suggest packing the bottles upside down for distribution of the sediment. We aren’t going to weigh in on these, but it does seem like the little time you are shipping your items will not cause long damage to the bottles. 

In addition to packing them heavily, however, we do suggest using cardboard dividers to split the box into “cells.” This makes the packing that much easier. (One of the best places to get these is to go to your local liquor or package shop. They will probably have lots of empty wine boxes complete with the dividers that you will need.)

Hire professional Movers

Finally, if you’re really concerned about shipping expensive wines or other liqueurs, then it’s a good idea to hire professional movers. These are experts in moving and will know the best ways to ensure that your wine goes undamaged.

Moving may not be a fun experience, but it doesn’t have to be a major hassle. If you take the time to pack your items, including your wines, carefully, they’ll make it to your new home and you can celebrate the move in style.

Overlooked Moving Essentials: Better for Your Move

So, you think you’re ready for a move and you have all of the essentials, right? 

  • Packing boxes—check. 
  • Packing tape—check. 
  • Movers Booked—check. 

But is that really all the essentials you need for a successful move?

Let’s take a look at some of the other items you need to get packed and moved into your new home:

  • Your Moving Checklist and/or App 

The top of any moving list should include either a moving checklist or an app that helps digitize that checklist for easier use. This should be a list of all of your important contacts (moving company, real estate agent, landlord/leasing company, utilities, etc.). These apps (or papers if you are old-school) can also include a list of the boxes, what is in each one, and where they should be placed.

  • Tool Kit 

Once you get moved in, the fun of unpacking begins. Some of your furniture and  belongings will need to be put back together. So, you need to pack a basic tool kit that can handle these quick fixes. This doesn’t have to be a giant toolbox. You’ll need a hammer, nails, a regular and Phillips head screwdriver, and a power drill with charger (at a minimum). A flashlight would also be a good choice as well.

  • Phones and Chargers 

Let’s face it: none of us can live without our cellphones. It makes sense that you would keep this item handy during the move, although you may have to set it aside when it comes time to do the heavy lifting. Make sure that you have a charger handy to keep it powered. The same goes if you have little kids and you need to keep them entertained with a tablet (and charger).

  • Kid’s Bag 

If you have children, you know they’re probably going to be bored out of their minds while you move. If you don’t have the Internet/TV hooked up when you first move in, this will be compounded. Pack a separate bag for your child. Include their clothes and toiletries for a few days. Also include one or two favorite toys (let them pick) and a favorite book that can keep them entertained while you work and unpack. (You may want to read “a parent’s guide to helping their children on moving day“)

  • Overnight Bag 

Once you move in, you’re probably going to be too tired to unpack much right away. But you are going to need a few essentials for the second day. Your overnight bag should include a full change of clothes and essential toiletries as well as any medicines you take regularly (as well as some for emergencies such as aspirin or ibuprofen).

  • Cleaning Supplies 

Chances are you’re going to need to do a clean-up in some of the rooms before you begin major unpacking. To help with this, pack some essential cleaning supplies to bring along for the move. These should include plastic bags (always handy for multiple functions including trash), paper towels, Clorox wipes, cleaning spray, hand towels/rags for dishes, detergent (laundry and dish), broom and dustpan, mop, toilet bowl/shower cleaner, and a small vacuum cleaner.

As you get ready to pack up your house and move out, these are the essential items you need to have set aside for your move. It’s also generally a good idea to transport these yourself so that you can have them ready to go when the movers arrive.

The True Cost of Moving Yourself vs. Hiring Movers

No one really likes the hassle and expense of moving, but it’s still one of those things (like death and taxes) you know you’ll experience at some point in your life. 

One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make early on in the process is if you want to move yourself or pay for professional movers. But that begs the question: which is cheaper? 

Let’s look at both methods of moving, their costs (both hidden and upfront) and the advantages and disadvantages of both:

Moving Yourself

Many people like the idea of packing themselves. There are advantages to doing this. 

First, you get to work on your own schedule. You can pack a little along throughout the weeks leading up to the move and get everything ready. And then, you can move whichever day you want and not have to worry about fitting into a moving company’s schedule. 

You can also have total control over the move. You can know that if something is lost or broken, then you have no one to blame but yourself. 

And of course, the biggest bonus is that it cost less. But does it really? 

Here are some of the costs you’ll have to pay even if you move yourself:

  • Moving supplies such as boxes, packing and tape;
  • Moving truck with a dolly or hand-truck;
  • Other safety/security equipment such as ropes and padding;
  • Fuel for the truck; and
  • Pizza for the friends you recruit into helping you.

Hiring Professional Movers

Hiring professional movers can take a lot of the stress and pressure off you. You can take all the physical pain off your shoulders by having someone else do the heavy lifting. 

But it goes way beyond that. Your movers are efficient experts at what they do. They can complete the move in a fraction of the time it would take you and your family or friends to do it. 

Many professional movers also include supplies such as boxes and packing into the fees for your move. But one of the biggest benefits is that it takes a lot of stress off your plate and that’s what you are paying for. 

There are aspects to hiring professional movers that need to be considered before you decide to hire experienced relocators. The most obvious is paying for movers. It can be hard to pay someone to do what you feel you can do, but if you look for reputable, experienced movers, you’ll know you’re getting value in a process that you have little experience in.

Some people have issues turning over precious belongings to complete strangers. This can fill a lot of people with anxiety and pain, especially if those items are lost or stolen. Again, this really isn’t an issue when hiring movers who have been in the business for many years, have great reviews and are licensed and bonded. Your “stuff” is more protected than if YOU moved it!

Movers Provide Value and Security During a Stressful Time

The bottom line is that, yes, moving yourself is generally cheaper than hiring professionals. But remember, you get what you pay for and it’s not without risks. If you cherish your furniture and sentimental items while taking considerable stress off your shoulders, reputable experienced movers provide great value.

5 Ways Technology Can Your Move Easier

For years, moving from one home to another has been all about brawn. You simply packed the boxes, moved them onto the truck and then repeated the process in reverse when you arrived at your new home. 

But now, rather than using your back, you can save yourself a lot of aggravation by using your brain. Through the use of apps and programs developed, technology can make the moving process even easier than before. 

Here are a few of the ways you can make your computer work during your move:

1.Plan Your Move — First, you’re going to want to get your actual move organized better. MoveAdvisor is one app that can help with this. This one helps you create checklists for every aspect of your move from packing your belongings to setting up utilities in your new home. This is the best way to get organized, so you aren’t cramming things into boxes the night before the move.

2. Get Rid of Unneeded Items — A lot of us have tons of stuff cluttering up our homes. This makes moving a real headache, especially if you’re paying your movers by the hour. The more stuff they have to move, the more it will cost you. Get rid of some of those unwanted items. If you don’t feel like having a yard sale, there are several apps to sell items.  Decluttr and Letgo are just two apps you can consider using.  Check out our blog post on packing up a cluttered house.

3. Organize Boxes — There are several apps currently on the market which help with organizing your moving boxes. One such app, Moving Van, allows you to do just this. When you pack a box, the app lets you generate a list of everything in that box. You can also take pictures of the contents, so you’re sure which items are in there. Then, you need only label the box so that when you go to unpack, you won’t have to dig through dozens of boxes looking for this one specific item.

4. Plan Your New Home — Another selection of apps allows you to map out your new home, so you know where everything goes. This fun app, Build App Pro, lets you create a 3D model of your rooms so you can plan out where you want to put everything. Moreover, this will help you know exactly which boxes should go in which locations and plan your move accordingly.

5. Know How to Avoid Downtime — Another major issue with your technology is the feeling of disconnection when you first move in. As soon as possible, make sure to get the Internet company to get your system up and running in your home. When putting together equipment, keep all your cables clearly labeled and in bags which can be put in with the devices in their boxes. (If at all possible, hold onto the original boxes your computer came in; these are perfect for boxing up for a move.) The faster you can get everything set up, the better you’ll feel about not missing out on important messages.

Technology has changed every aspect of our lives and moving is no exception. These apps and tips can assist you in getting your home ready and organized before your big move.

5 Tips for Moving Into A Rental Property

Moving into a rental house or apartment is a great option for the young and those who can’t afford the high down payments of home ownership.

As housing prices continue to climb, it makes sense that renting will continue to be a popular option. The key to finding a rental property which works well for you is to do your homework and have a plan. If you don’t, you could end up in a bind with a bad property, a bad landlord and end up having to move all over again!

rental property

Let’s look at specific actions you can take before you make your next move:

  1. Do your research — Before you sign your lease, do research on the property and your landlord/management company. Use the Internet to read online reviews of your landlord to see if they have any cases of mismanagement or shady dealings. Also, check out the property itself. Is it in a high crime area? If you have children, what are the schools like? These are things you need to know before signing on the dotted line.
  2. Do a walk-through with the landlord — Once you move in, you’re on the hook for any damages to the property. So, it’s important to document anything that’s wrong with the property before you actually move in. Get your landlord to do a walk-through inspection to see if there’s anything wrong. Scratches in the paint, dents in the walls, leaking pipes—all of these should be documented. Take pictures as you do this so you can’t be blamed later. If the landlord won’t do this, consider it a huge red flag.
  3. Read the fine print — Before agreeing to the lease, make sure you read it thoroughly. You should know exactly when your rent is due and how much it will be. You need to know your rights as a tenant. How much notice do they have to give you before you can be evicted for breaking the terms of the lease? What is the tenure of the lease and when can you renew it (or break it)? Be sure you understand all the details before entering into a binding agreement.
  4. Schedule your move — Once you sign your lease, discuss with the landlord when you can move in. Once you have a date, book a moving van and professional movers as quickly as possible. Weekend moves get booked up quickly, so the earlier you can book the better. If you’re using professional movers, be sure to do your diligence and research them as well. Make sure they’re licensed and bonded before you let them move your valuables. (Learn to keep your move on track and on time from our article: 17 Tips to have the most efficient moving day ever!)
  5. Clean your old property — Before you turn over the keys and leave for good, make sure you do a thorough cleaning of the old property. This will give you a good opportunity to check for any little items which may have been left in the corner of a closet or the top of a shelf. But it will also help endear you a little with your old landlord so you can possibly get your security deposit back.

Moving can be a pain, that’s for sure. But it’s important to protect yourself when moving into a new rental property by doing research and educating yourself about your rights before you get ready to pack up and move.

Tips for Moving into a New House Quickly

It’s often hard to plan for the curveball’s that life is going to throw at you. But if you find yourself having to move homes, doing so on a moment’s notice can be a daunting task.  (Especially if you are moving during the holiday season  check out our latest blog  on holiday moving tips here)

Generally, these rapid moves take two forms. First, some unforeseen situation has arisen like a family or work emergency that requires you to move rapidly. The other, however, comes from just putting everything off until the last minute. This type of procrastination can only add to your moving headaches.

Regardless of which type, here’s how to do a quick move into a new home:

  1. Book your movers/moving van — The first thing you need to do is get a booking for your movers and van. If you’re moving on a moment’s notice, you may be in for some bad news. Many moving companies fill up weeks in advance.

 

If you can get one, you may end up paying an extra fee for the last-minute notice. If you can’t hire movers, then you’ll need to get your own van to handle the move yourself. Don’t worry about pricing and finding the best deal. At this point, you’ll be lucky if you can get a van booking.

 

  1. Separate the essentials — Decide which items in your home are must haves that you will have to take with you separately. This will include medicines, toiletries, a change of clothes, and other essentials. Put these into a duffel bag or suitcase and keep them separate from the rest of your packed belongings.

 

  1. Go room-by-room — The next thing is to be as methodical as you possibly can. Go room-by-room and pack as you go. Here’s the important thing though: Don’t pack everything! Instead, clean out things as you go. Pack only what you need and put everything else into separate donate and trash piles. The less you actually have to pack up, the better.

 

  1. Don’t overthink the move — Now is not the best time to strategize. That opportunity has passed. Instead, simply pack things as you go. Make the quick judgement call to keep or donate something and, if you are keeping it, throw it into a box. If you have clothes mixed in with kitchen supplies, it will all sort out when you get to your new home. And don’t try to be neat about it. Throw clothes into boxes on the hangers or straight out of the drawers. If possible, throw some packing wrap around the drawers and take them whole with the clothes still inside. Just get the stuff packed as fast as possible.

 

  1. Get help — When your friend calls and asks to help with a move, you usually cringe at the idea. Now, it’s your turn to be that friend. Explain your situation and how you are in dire need of help. Bribe them any way that you can—free pizza or Chinese takeout is always a good bribe. But regardless of how you do it, get all hands-on deck to help pack boxes as well as load and unload the van.

If you are stuck moving at the drop of a hat, then the best advice we can give is not to panic. Doing that just leads to frustration and then you really won’t be able to work well. Take a deep breath, follow these steps, and get your belongings ready as quickly as possible for your move.

Tips For Moving During The Holidays

Moving from one house to another is stressful enough. But when you throw in trying to move during the holidays, it can be enough to make you break out in hives and run screaming at the sight of a moving box. Relax! It doesn’t have to be that way.

Preparing For A Move During the Holidays

If you have to move this holiday season, check out these tips to help you get better organized so that you can make this one a safe and sane move:

    • Use your time wisely — Many people already plan to take time off during the holidays. At this time of year, work may be slow, and the kids are out of school, so it’s natural to take a vacation day or two. Use this time  by spending it getting packed up and ready for the move. You may enjoy  our latest article on  17 tips on how to make your move more efficient 
    • Don’t decorate — One of the worst things you can do when your are moving during the holiday season is try to decorate. Sure, most folks like to have some wreaths up or the tree decorated. But not only do you have to use that energy to put it up, you also will have to turn right around and take it down quickly, pack it up, and then (possibly) put it back up at your new house. If you do want a few decorations, make it something simple like a wreath or a small, pre-decorated tree.
    • Don’t cancel traditions — If you have certain family holiday traditions, you can still enjoy them. Just be sure to plan accordingly. If you do a family movie night with It’s a Wonderful Life, then don’t pack up the DVDs until afterwards. If you like to go out visiting neighborhood Christmas Lights, be sure you have all of your coffee mugs unpacked so you can have hot chocolate when you get back. Some, however, may need an adjustment. For instance, if you plan a holiday party, you might have to relocate it to a family member’s home (or even consider renting a location).
    • Leave the unpacking for the New Year — Once you get moved in, don’t feel like you have to unpack everything instantly. Get the essentials unpacked but leave the rest for the New Year. It will all keep until then and you can still enjoy your family time.
    • Book your movers and van early — If you’re hiring movers or just renting your own moving van, be sure to book these early. Many moving companies work reduced schedules so their employees can spend the holidays with their families. The few appointment slots they have will fill up quickly.
    • Pick a staging center — Find an out of the way area, such as your garage or an unused bedroom, to serve as the centre point of the move. Bring all of the boxes you can into there and box things up as you go. Try to keep most of the “clutter” in this area while you keep the rest of the house open and as clutter-free as possible.
    • Budget accordingly — Moving isn’t cheap. House down payments or apartment deposits can eat into your budget. If you are moving during the holidays, then you may have to cut back on holiday gifts or other extravagant spending. If this bums you out, consider making it up to everyone by sending them Christmas in July gifts once you have finished your move.

Don’t let a holiday time move ruin your festivities. By planning and budgeting accordingly, you can still make time to move your family while also having a happy holiday.