Packing fine china

Fine china is often a family heirloom and has great value that cannot be priced with a tag. If you own any you are aware of how fragile it is. I am often asked about the best way to pack china. Here is the advice I give:

  • Don’t use newspapers to pack like you would your other dishes. The ink comes off easily and is greasy and difficult to wash off.  You can find paper made specifically for moving things like china. It’s very heavy and can absorb a fair amount of bumping and bouncing.
  • Don’t stack your china before you wrap it. Always wrap each piece individually.
  • Use packing chips in the box. If those are not available  rolled  up newspaper can do that job but don’t ball it up too tightly –  and heaven forbid don’t put it in the bottom of the box.
  • Use bubble wrap between each plate. You want to hedge all your bets.
  • Pack china in a box by itself and in small boxes. Small boxes are easier to pad. They are also lighter and less likely to be dropped.
  • Mark all the china boxes as china and fragile, so the movers know what to do.
  • Make sure that the boxes are tapes solidly.

Don’t assume local moves are that much easier than long distance moves

Most people think moving locally is a lot easier than moving long distance and out of state. There is a certain amount of truth to this, but the point should not be exaggerated.  This is because so many people underestimate how many details are involved with moving, that really it’s only the time frame that is easier.  Your costs may be less, but you still have to remember all the details like having your mail forwarded and setting up for the school where your kids will go.

. Another thing people underestimate is how soon in advance they should start the planning and packing process. Most think with a local move they always “have plenty of time” and don’t realize until it’s too late that they need to get going in order to make the deadline.

Also you should make sure that you have made your arrangements with the mover well in advance. This is particularly important if you live in a cold place. Often the weather can back thinks up for the mover in the winter, while he will probably be busy during the summer months. When it comes to local moving jobs, you still have to hammer down a date, and  make sure the mover makes a complete estimate out for you. It doesn’t hurt to get more than one, but never forget that the lowest price is usually not the best deal

Moving when you have pets

It is a curious fact that moving with pets is more difficult than moving with children, but it makes sense on closer examination. To a certain extent children can take care of themselves. Animals will usually be very confused, disoriented and afraid about the move. Here are a few tips the make the transition smoother for both of you:


  • Make sure your cat or dog is healthy. Take him to the vet before the move and tell the vet where you will be moving to (assuming it is far away). The vet will be able to inform you of pet health dangers in that region. Additionally, the vet can prescribe sedatives for when the animal is under particularly great amounts of stress.
  • Clear out a specific area of you vehicle that will serve as your animal’s “home” for the duration of the trip. It will not be anything like a real home of course, but it will allow you to introduce a space where at least some normalcy can be had. Get cages a large as possible for your pets and make sure they have someplace they can go into, like a box if space permits.
  • Always keep your animal on a leash when outside the car. This includes cats if you can get them to do it. Most people think their dogs will just come back when called, but being in a strange place makes dogs do strange things, and it is not uncommon for a dog to just take off and not come back. Cats will almost certainly run away if they are let outside without a leash.
  • Keep your pet with in eye view. If your pet can see you, it will make them feel more relaxed. Also, make sure that your animals are not baking under direct sun for long periods of time. Make sure that the widows are open or that the air conditioner is making its way back to their living space. Don’t assume, make sure!

One final thing, make sure you have a list of pet friendly hotels along the route to you new home. It will save you and your pet a lot of hassles.

How to be on the alert for bad moving companies

It’s not as if moving weren’t already stressful, but getting screwed by a moving company is the cherry on top of the sundae. Yet year after year complaints flood into government regulatory offices and review websites about how families’ belongings were damaged, or the mover held their stuff for hostage if they don’t pay a “surcharge,” you get the picture. Keep in mind that most movers are on the up and up, and if you have a legitimate problem, you will not generally have a problem. Still, you will be entrusting thousands of dollars of your belongings to someone who is essentially a stranger, so you should do at least a little investigating.

Here are a few things to look for when looking for a mover:

  • If you are moving out of state, your candidate moving company must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They have a pretty cool search feature that will give you the scoop on who’s gotten a lot of complaints and other relevant information
  • Beware interstate movers who give estimates without seeing the project first. There is not way a mover can know how much to charge a client until he sees how much work his crew will have to put into it (how many big items are there? Are there stairs? How much stuff has been packed, etc) This is not as much of an issue with local movers. For example, since the distance is not so far, you or the local mover will not incur and significant costs penalties for a job that takes a little longer. Nevertheless, if there is any doubt in your mind, any reputable mover will come out to have a look.
  • Make sure that your mover has the proper insurance for moving. All movers are required to have insurance, but don’t expect a 100% replacement cost. If full replacement is a necessity, you may purchase supplementary insurance through the mover to cover the difference. You may also purchase your own insurance if you feel the need.
  • Be alert to movers who demand full price up front. No reputable mover should demand the entire amount.
  • Inquire as to whether the mover hires temporary of permanent employees. This should not necessarily be a deal breaker, but generally it is better that a moving company employ a force, as opposed to contract workers. However, there are a significant number of moving companies that hire contract or temporary laborers, but the hire the same ones all the time, which is the next best thing to having a regular salaried workforce.

Remember, for interstate movers you are allowed to view a cope of

Hire a professional moving company or do-it-yourself

It’s  a tough decision to make when you’re moving: should I hire a moving company or do it myself? Well it depends. If you are really on a budget, you probably won’t be able to spare the money for a professional mover. But for the rest you really need to decide how much effort you personally want to put into it. If you are pressed for time, it might make sense to allow the mover to do the entire job. On the other hand, if you are a diligent person, you will be starting early packing. Some early packers start a couple of months before the move. But most people are not that diligent.

Fortunately there are options. The thing about using a moving company is that it’s not an all or nothing proposition. The reality is that you can  choose how much or how little you want to pack, and let the movers do the rest. As a rule you should probably pack the most important stuff and the stuff with the most sentimental feeling yourself. It’s not so much because your mover will break or lose it, but it simply brings more peace of mind when you do that aspect of the move yourself.

Don’t be the victim of moving company fraud

Tens of millions of Americans pick up stakes and move elsewhere every year, whether it’s for a new job or just want to live somewhere else. It’s well known that moving is one of the most stressful life events because of all the money and emotion humans attach to a residence. In short, when you move, you’re vulnerable. It’s also a time when  unscrupulous people prey on people who are in a vulnarable position. To avoid this you have to be aware and educated.

First off, most movers are legitimate. They want to do a good job because they want good referrals. However there has been a dramatic rise in complaints against movers who have indulged in fraudulent practices.  So if you are in the market for a mover, learn about the company you are planning on hiring. Look them up 0nline, check out their reviews, look up their business license if it’s available online. Make sure you get the owner’s name when inquiring.

Here are a few other thing you will find useful to know:

  • Make sure you know exactly what you will be paying up front, and get it in writing. It’s been known for unscrupulous movers to demand extra “service charges” or “assembly fees”.  On your side, always make sure you tell you tell your mover if you need boxes or you need something to be disassembled etc. so there are no surprises for either of you.
  • Make sure your mover gives you a phone number of address where you can file complaints. It must also have a clear description of the complaint process.
  • Anyone is entitled to an arbitration process by law. They should be able to provide you information on that process.
  • Make sure that your provider informs you of your rights and responsibilities under Federal Law

While it would be great if everyone were on the up and up, it’s your responsibility to make sure you hire the right people.


What stuff should you allow movers to pack?

Moving is the third stressful thing after death in the family and divorce, so it’s no coincidence that a lot of people freak out over what to do when packing for their next move.

  1. Some people like to do everything themselves, by packing everything including the kitchen sink.
  2. Some people don’t want to have anything too do with it and have the movers pack EVERYTHING.
  3. The third is between the two, pack most yourself and let the movers do the rest.

Type 1’s are either control freaks or trying to save money.  These are laudable aims, but not always the smartest. First off you tend to take way too much stuff. Second the things you do not pack correctly cannot be claimed for damage by movers, even if the DID drop the box of dishes.

Type 2’s don’t have the time to be bothered and want someone else to do everything. That’s ok too, but some things cannot be transported like any accelerants or explosive things like gasoline cans, propane tanks, etc. Another problem is that there is some stuff that you really SHOULD handle yourself, like keepsakes, jewelry, family photos, important paperwork, and anything else that cannot be replaced and has real value to you.

Type 3’s are usually the most prudent, especially if they take the time and do the packing right.  You should first have the packers pack stuff that is not really important, like the kitchen. A kitchen can be effective packed by three guys working at one time faster than one person by 3 times becuase they work together. But you should pack your own fine china. Some kinds of electronics can be a problem, like big tv sets, and don’t forget how much of a pain it is to keep track of the cords. Finally bulky things that need to be disassembled before moving should be  done by packers, because, well, they are bulky and heave and can’t pack them anyway.

How to cut moving costs

It hard enough moving, but not doing the most you can do to save money is ever worse. By following a few simple tips, you will not only save money, but a lot of hassles as well.

As someone who is about to move, your top priority should be to not move as much stuff as possible. There are two main factors to consider: weight, and handling service issues.  (Since we do only moves in the Phoenix and Chandler AZ area, we won’t worry about weight. ) Handling deals taking like furniture apart, putting all your belongings in the truck, and taking it back out and reassembly. So in order to keep things under control, think about these things:

  • Don’t think of it as moving, think of it as streamlining. Keep an eye towards throwing out as much stuff as you can possibly tolerate. You wouldn’t believe how much you have collected over the years that you really don’t need. This means taking a hard line on saying to yourself: “I’ll use this one of these days” syndrome;
  • Consider the comparative price of mailing heavy things you don’t need right away–bulky things like books.
  • If you think you’ll be buying new furniture  or redecorating soon after you move into your new place, think about just trashing some of the furniture. Sofas take up lot of room, and the fewer bulky items the better.
  • Make sure you know where most of your belongings will go in your  new place, and that means getting a floor plan. If you can’t find a place for any of the stuff you have, just ditch it.
  • Above all, don’t ship your stuff with an eye that you will decide on what to do with it when you get there. It will result in a disaster.