Do I have to empty my drawers?
It depends on the construction and size of the piece. In general, furniture is not designed to be moved with fully loaded drawers. Heavy drawers put a tremendous strain on the infrastructure of a piece of furniture, especially when furniture has to be tilted or turned upside down during the moving and loading process. Drawer stops and glides crack or break and glue joints come undone. Narrow or turned legs frequently snap when drawers are left loaded. Taking the drawers out and putting them back in a piece, once the piece is on the truck, is also not the answer. If the truck is going any distance at all, then concussion from the road transfers to the piece and can cause damage to overloaded pieces.
Should I wash my china before it gets packed?
No, unless it is really filthy and coming out of an attic or basement. Nice china and glassware from kitchen and dining room cabinets are clean enough to pack as is. If you want to wash everything, wait until you are unpacking. Then you can eliminate the fingerprints, ink from newspaper, etc., that resulted from the act of packing itself.
What about my plants?
Movers cannot transport live plants across state lines. Obliging moving companies are glad to transport plants locally. Some plants react very unfavorably to being moved so nobody ensures their condition, especially in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Do not water plants within two days of your move because plants uproot more easily in moist soil. Firm soil stabilizes them during a move. Small plant containers are moved in open boxes so they can breathe. Very large plants may need to be pruned or cut back if they are too tall or full to transport. Artificial plants are seldom a problem.
Do I have to put my TV back in its original box?
Movers can certainly use the original box, but it is not necessary. Movers come prepared to box or blanket TVs as needed in order to safely nestle them in the moving van. It is a good idea to tape the remote to the TV or pack all your remotes and cables together with the other components.
Do I need to purchase additional insurance?
The industry standard is to provide a valuation rate of $0.60 per pound for the average move. This is not insurance. The moving company is simply obliged to weigh any damaged item and reimburse the customer $0.60 a pound for that item. Rarely would that cover the costs associated with the damage.
The average homeowner’s policy does not cover items while they are being moved, so most people would want to purchase some insurance. This can be done through the moving company. You will be asked to value your goods, select a deductible, and pay a one-time premium that should provide for full repair or replacement should something get damaged. Some moving companies will provide a moving quote that includes full repair or replacement insurance, but make sure you get that in writing. Expect a mover to generate an inventory that shows prior damage if they are providing “free” insurance.
What if it rains or snows?
If there is bad weather on moving day, it may increase the cost of your move (if you have contracted at an hourly rate) because ice, snow, and torrential downpours can impede progress. A good mover comes prepared with carpet protectors and extra blankets or plastic to throw over furniture so they are prepared to move in even heavy rains. Snow and ice pose the greatest hazard. Walks and pathways must be salted and shoveled. Sometimes moves can be delayed until late morning to allow time for icy conditions to melt off. Moving trucks do not do well in slippery conditions, so a move may have to be postponed. (Moving while it is snowing is very dangerous because the ramps cannot stay cleared of snow.) A good mover will be watching the weather conditions and should be in contact with you within 24 hours of your move date to discuss the situation and alternative plans.
What if I have to change my move date?
You may lose a deposit if you do not give the moving company advance notice of at least five business days. Some companies require two weeks notice to change a move day. The bigger your move, the less flexible a moving company can be because, generally, several consecutive days are required and that may be harder to recreate on a moving calendar. As soon as you sense there might be a problem with your move day, communicate with the moving company so they can make suggestions. Give yourself plenty of time and don’t wait until the last minute to schedule a move. That might force you to settle for a moving day that is not convenient and may set you up for future problems.
How do I handle my pets on moving day?
Pets can feel the power of the transition long before move day and they can get unsettled. If the movers are coming to pack or move, crate your pet or find an out of the way room, label it, “Do Not Enter” and lock the pet inside. Do this before the movers even show up or it can become a hassle to catch a pet, especially a cat. Movers will have to leave exterior doors open and they cannot be responsible for escaping pets. Even if your pets are friendly and are not looking to run away, they are a hazard to movers. They get underfoot and a mover with an armload has limited vision. If you plan to tranquilize your pet, understand the mover’s loading and unloading schedule so you can get the dosage right to cover the time necessary.
What about food in the refrigerator or freezer?
The refrigerator has to be emptied. A good local mover will be able to supply coolers and will pack and unpack them for you if needed. Perishable food does not do well over long distance moves, so plan to give it all away. Small chest freezers can be moved with the frozen food inside, and it will stay frozen for at least two to three days. Upright freezers should be emptied into coolers or cardboard boxes with lots of paper for insulation and dry ice if needed. The plastic shelf supports in the upright freezers break under the food’s weight and they can be very expensive to replace. Take the time to empty your upright freezer.
How and when do I pay for my move?
Most moving companies will take a check for a local move. Moves are paid for immediately upon their conclusion, with the exception of some corporate moves that have different billing arrangements. If you are moving out of town, most moving companies will want a cashier’s check handed to them before they upload. (Some moving companies will take a local check on an intrastate move if they have pre-authorized a credit card, which will cover the amount in case the personal check is not good for any reason.) Credit and debit cards are commonly accepted by moving companies for both deposits and payments in full. But, check ahead of time to make sure that the company accepts the card you wish to use.