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Moving is a pain – plain and simple. Maybe you got a new job. Maybe you’re moving into a new house. Maybe you won the lottery! No matter why you’re moving, the simple fact is that it’s a hassle.
There are things you can do to make it a little less painful, both for you and the kind-hearted folks you’ve suckered into helping you.
The Rule of Favors and Furniture
There’s an unspoken rule of thumb when it comes to moving: If you’ve ever helped a friend move, they owe you.
And there’s no statute of limitations on this rule. You helped a college roommate lug a sleeper sofa down eight flights of stairs in August? In 1987? He owes you. Big time.
But be warned. This kind of labor-based trade is strictly on a one-to-one basis. One move for one move. And moving isn’t limited to furniture either. Keep in mind that if you call on your friend to help you lug your junk, you might be called upon to return the favor in the form of dirt, mulch or, god forbid, manure. Something to keep in mind, come spring.
Make Friends Fast
The running joke for lottery winners is that they never knew they had so many relatives until they won. The funny thing is, when you move, the opposite is true. You’re avoided like the plague.
People are busy. And let’s face it: Nobody wants to lug boxes of books from house to truck to house. That’s why it’s important to make sure your friends are on board when they tell you “Sure! I’ll be there at 8!”
Don’t get left holding your dolly with nobody to help ratchet your straps.
Rally the Forces
Do what you can to pool your resources for the big day. Call in favors, remind brothers or sisters of past kindnesses, butter up your officemates with some bagels – just do whatever it takes to make sure you’ve got the hands on deck to tackle your move.
Make it inviting too. Have you ever heard of Tom Sawyer whitewashing fences? By taking a mundane task and pitching it as something to take pride in, something that might even be fun, Ben Rogers actually asks to whitewash Aunt Polly’s fence for Tom – a task that was otherwise ruining a perfect day. It’s all in the sell.
Offer up free lunch, and set your friends up with all-they-can-drink water, carbonated beverages or frosty brews if they’re responsible enough for that. You can even hook them up with breakfast and coffee. If you make it worth their while, they’ll be happy to help.
Take Pity on Your Movers When You Pack
If you’re using your friends, you know they’re not pros (unless they are, then jackpot!). So make sure that you keep the heavier stuff in smaller boxes when you pack. You, or someone else who cares if grandma’s urn gets smashed, should pack fragile items in advance.
And for the love of all that is holy, clean out your fridge in advance. Nobody wants to pack up opened mayonnaise jars and 10-year-old Fla-vor-ice. Get rid of that junk before your friends show up, and avoid opening a mislabeled box of half-used condiments that’s been sitting on a truck for a while. Ew.
Unless you’ve arranged otherwise, your friends should be able to walk in your house, grab a box and load ‘er up. At the same time, don’t get caught packing while your friends are lugging. Not only will you find yourself scrambling to get your junk together, it’s not exactly fair to your friends.
Reward Your Laborers
A hearty handshake isn’t enough. You have to keep your help fueled up and happy to help.
Keep food on hand throughout the day, and keep it accessible. It could be as simple as a pile of McMuffins or as involved as a veggie tray and dip. The point is to not only show your moving buddies that they’re appreciated, but to give them the energy to keep going.
At lunch, take orders and get them what they want (within reason). At the end of the day, do something more than just pizza. Look into ordering wings, or, if the grill is the last thing to go, cook up some killer steaks.
If your friends feel the love, you can all look back on moving day as a great experience.
Pay for Help If You Can
The last nugget of advice is to hire movers if at all possible.
If you don’t have to put your friends out, it’s ideal. Moving is even better when the folks you hire to do the work are the ones doing the working.
When you hire help, it’s usually on a per person, per hour basis, with some additional surcharges, depending on the size and scope of the move.
Out of common courtesy, it’s polite to offer your crew
- All the cold water they can drink.
- Lunch (fast food is fine).
- Dinner, if it goes that long.
- A tip at the end of the day, depending on how great their service was.
If you really like the way he or she worked, write a letter to the moving company. A good word goes a long way.
Movers take pride in their work. The cost of having it done versus putting your friends out for a weekend day might be worth it. It’s a call you have to make.
Movers provide their own moving equipment (pads, dollies, etc.) and have the strength to do a job built in. Moving companies are usually insured against damages that happen as a result of the loading or transport. The policies might be outrageous, but when it comes to sad clown porcelain antiques, it might be more than worth the price of replacement.
Plan the Pain Away
Finally, don’t let your moving day sneak up on you. A well-thought-out plan will save some major headaches down the road. Lists are a huge help, especially where everyone can see what needs to be done. Post-it makes easel-sized notes that stick to the wall. There’s nothing worse than an unchecked to-do on an otherwise finished list. That is, unless it’s 3’ x 2’.
Moving is never painless, but it can go smoothly. Plan, provide and prepare for it all, and who knows? The next time you get the call to help a friend, they just might return the favor.
Share your best moving advice in the comments below, and if you’re moving in the next few months, best of luck!