Monday, December 29, 2014

How To Do A Move Out Clean In 20 Steps:

My absolute least favorite part of moving out is the move out clean. It seems so pointless. At the end of a brutal day or three of backbreaking cleaning, you end up with a spotless home that you have to leave behind. Why couldn't it have looked like that when you lived there?
Of course, the reason it didn't look like that when you lived there is because you lived there. People are messy. Just maintaining a decent amount of cleanliness is hard enough. Who has time to spit-polish the floors and appliances?
Unfortunately, if you rent, that’s what the landlord expects. If you own, the new owners didn't charge you a security deposit, but it is courteous to leave them a clean home, unless they are renovating.
I promised myself that the next time I move out, I will hire professionals. As with the entire moving process, you have to weigh the value of your time vs. the cost of the service. If you decide to do the cleaning yourself, here are some steps to make it easier, or at least more thorough.
1. Invite a friend. This had better be a close friend because it’s damned hard work, but it will make everything go so much quicker.
2. Once the home is completely empty, except for cleaning supplies and a source of music, vacuum thoroughly. Vacuum the walls and the blinds. Vacuum inside all drawers and cabinets. If the carpet is stained, hire a professional to clean it.
3. Remove nails and screws from the walls and putty them.
4. Clean the baseboards and clean any marks on the wall. If the marks don’t come out, you may need to paint – always use a neutral color, preferably the same color as when you moved in.
5. Clean the windows, both inside and out.
6. Wipe down wall switches, outlets and doorknobs.
7. Dust ceiling fans and wash light fixtures and replace burned out bulbs.
8. Thoroughly scrub inside all cabinets, re-line if necessary.
9. Remove soap scum from bathtub and shower and bleach the grout.
10. Clean the bathroom fixtures, floors and the mirror.
11. Vacuum the fan.
12. Thoroughly scrub inside all cabinets, re-line if necessary.
13. Scrub all appliances inside and out.
Remove all the shelves and drawers from the refrigerator and clean them thoroughly. Wipe down the inside of the refrigerator and freezer.
Run the oven cleaner, if there is an automatic one, but be sure to remove all the ash at the end of the cycle. The oven cleaning is best done before move out day, so it has time to run through the cycle and cool.
If you don’t have an automatic cleaning oven, you’ll have to buy oven cleaner. Be sure to wear a mask when you are spraying. Still, you’ll want to do this before the move out day, since it will need to sit for 24 hours and then you’ll need to thoroughly scrub it out. Remember, the broiler pan is made from the same metal as the oven, so it will withstand both the heat of a cleaning cycle and the oven cleaner in a can.
14. If the sink is not stainless, remove all stains (bleach if necessary).
15. Finish off all surfaces, including counters, chrome faucets, mirrors and sinks, with window cleaner. It will make them shine.
16. Pull out the appliances and sweep under them. Wipe down the sides and the back as they are pulled out.
17. Clean the tile and hardwood floors.
18. Run the vacuum one more time and you are done with the inside.
19. Tidy up the outside, including mowing the lawn and pulling weeds.
20. Sweep and hose down the garage, patio and driveway.
Once you’re done, take a lot of pictures in case your landlord claims you have damaged something or that the place is dirty. Oh, and be sure to empty the trash.

Monday, December 15, 2014

10 Ways to Move Your Stuff Without a Moving Truck:

Moving to a new location can get pretty expensive if you have to hire a moving truck. Depending on how much stuff you have and how far you’re going, it can be accomplished in many other ways. Before calling the movers, take a look at your situation and see if there’s a better way to accomplish this daunting task.
  1. Trailer – The first thing I would do is locate a trailer to use. You can rent one, of course, but ask around and see if someone you know has one you can borrow. If you have a lot to move, especially if it’s a long distance, you could possibly save money by purchasing a trailer. Enclosed trailers can be used for extra storage even after the move or you can sell it to someone else.
  2. Pickup – If you don’t own a pickup, you probably know someone who does. This is the most common method of moving stuff. Just make sure everything is securely fastened down before heading out on the highway.
  3. Van – If you don’t have access to a trailer or pickup, a van would be the next best thing. Depending on the size of the van, you might be somewhat limited on larger items like appliances, but for smaller furniture and the rest of your junk, it just might work.
  4. Your car – You’d be amazed how much stuff you can actually cram into an average sized car. It might take you a few trips, but for short moves without a lot of furniture, it can be done.
  5. Storage units – Portable storage units can be the way to go. They drop the unit off at your location and you can pack it yourself. This would work especially well for a situation where you have to move out before you can move into your new place.
  6. Ship it – If you don’t have any furniture or large items to move, you may want to just pack it up and ship it. Be careful to compare the cost to any of your other alternatives first.
  7. Friends – When moving time comes, you can always count on your friends to pitch in and help. By pooling their resources you might be able to get all your stuff moved without renting anything. Make sure you treat them right and throw a party when you’re done or you may find yourself friendless afterward.
  8. Anything with wheels – For short distances like just next door or down the block, start looking around for anything with wheels. Pallet jacks, two-wheel carts, wagons, and furniture dollies can all be used to move your stuff from one point to another.
  9. Carry it – If you’re just moving down the hall or across the street, a strong back may be all you need. For heavier items you may need a few strong backs. You might want to treat yourself and friends to a good massage afterward.
  10. RV – If you or someone you know has an RV this could be another option. You can load up all your stuff and hit the road. Then you have a place to stay while you get everything unpacked in your new home.
I don’t know anyone who thinks moving is fun, but you can save cash by doing it yourself. Instead of trusting your possessions to strangers who may not care about it like you do, take a look at your other options. With a little ingenuity you could be surprised at what you can accomplish with just a little help from your friends.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

6 Great Ways to Compare Moving Companies:

  • Compare movers prices

In many of our articles you can read our advice to check out several moving companies’ ratings, reviews and prices and to compare them. But what exactly does comparing mean and why would you need that? Lots of people who intend to move don’t pay enough attention to this important factor and consequently they risk hiring movers with whose work they’re not going to be happy. There are a few basic factors to have in mind when comparing moving companies and if you take them into consideration, you will significantly increase the chance of finding a reliable, professional mover for your relocation. Nobody wants scammers or irresponsible moving labor, right? Well, here’s how to avoid unpleasant situations with moving companies during your next move.

Comparing Moving Companies

Whether you are moving locally, long distance or internationally, making a moving company comparison is important for your home’s safe move. Here’s how to find out which mover can offer the best services to you.

Their presence on the internet.It may seem like an obvious thing, but to many people it isn’t. If a mover is reliable and trustworthy, the company will want as many people to know about it as possible, and what better way to do this than going online and creating a website? This is a sign that the moving company isn’t hiding anything. In their website you should see their name, address, phone numbers and other contact details, plus their USDOT, MC, etc. numbers. Of course, usually movers add on pages with positive feedback from customers, details on what services they offer, lists with packing materials and their costs, if they sell any. A scammer wouldn’t usually have a website. Companies that strive to show they are worth hiring will do their best to convince you through their website.

Compare the quotes by movers in order to find out which is more affordable and save money!
The service. Once you contact a mover, they will be helpful, kind and ready to answer every question you have. If you ask them about the moving company services, they will let you know; if you wish to see their office and the moving trucks, you will be welcome. A scammer wouldn’t have an office at all. On the other hand, a reliable mover would be happy to show you their office and where your household goods will be uploaded. In this way you can have confidence in the moving company.
Moving labor. The moving labor has to be experienced and well trained. If the moving company personnel is new, how and when did they got their training? Usually movers provide regular trainings to their staff but since these are going to be the people handling your house or apartment belongings, it is your right to ask and to make sure they will be doing this job well.
The USDOT number. Checking the USDOT number of a mover is important because it will give you information about how a moving company does its job. That is why before we ask you to compare movers quotes, we usually advice you to check the numbers in the system of the FMCSA. You can do this here. The USDOT number gives information like number of accidents, number of available trucks and drivers, general reliability assessment, etc.
Read reviews. Here is a list with the top websiteswhere you could find moving company reviews. Reading reviews when you want to compare moving options that you have is a great way to learn how professional a mover is. Since reviews are written by people who have moved, people like you, they will describe the work and generally the services provided by a removal firm. If the majority of the reviews are positive, then you may have come to the right moving company to ask for an estimate.

Before you sign a moving contract, take into consideration the tips in this article in order to make a better choice!
Compare movers quotes. This is the final thing to be done. Compare moving company prices after asking for a quote. Whether you needs pods, you want to move a motor vehicle, you are interested in storage, etc., the quotes are a great way for comparing movers because they give you information about the expected cost of your move. When you compare movers and packers’ quotes, you will find out which one has fair prices and which companies charge expensively compared to the others. Just be careful and beware of low-ball estimates – usually scammers give very low quotes and once you sign the moving contract, it comes out that many of the moving services you need are not included in the quote and sometimes extra taxes come up unexpectedly. Compare movers quotes before making your choice is something that will allow you to take a step in avoiding a possibly unpleasant situation that may take place if you choose a mover offering you a quote much lower than the other movers.

  • Ways to compare movers

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I am moving a motorcycle? Can U-Pack help?

How to Move a Motorcycle

Moving a motorcycle long distance requires some prep work. You'll need to find a moving company that's equipped to move bikes, get the supplies you'll need to get it ready to load, and prepare it for moving.

U-Pack® is a great solution for moving a motorcycle, especially if you're moving household goods too. We make it easy to load, easy to secure, and you don't have to drive the moving truck! 
how to ship a motorcycle

Why U-Pack is Ideal for Moving a Motorcycle

  • There’s Plenty of Space. With U-Pack, you pay only for the space you use, and while there’s a minimum space requirement of 5 linear feet in the moving trailer, or 1 ReloCube, you can use as much space as you need.
Use U-Pack’s Space Estimator Tools to estimate how much space your household goods and motorcycle will require.
  • Easy Loading. Both the trailer and the ReloCube are great options for motorcycle shipping. The ReloCube sits at ground level for easy loading, and the trailer comes equipped with a ramp with a 1,000 pound weight limit.
  • Tie-downs throughout. In order for your motorcycles (and household goods for that matter) to travel safely, you’ll need to make sure they're secured tightly inside the ReloCube or moving trailer. You don't want to rely on the kick-stand to hold your bike up while it's traveling across the country. The best way to secure a motorcycle is by using ratchet straps. All ReloCubes are equipped with anchor points throughout that make securing your shipment (and motorcycle) easier. Most trailers are equipped with anchor points along the walls; you can also create your own anchor points and bracings by using the wood strips along the trailer walls and floor. Before you start loading, make sure to check out U-Pack’s Loading Tips to ensure your shipment travels safely.  
  • Don’t worry about driving. U-Pack is a “you pack, we drive” service. That means you save money by doing the loading and unloading, and WE do the driving!

How do you move your motorcycle with U-Pack?

There are a few things you'll need to do before loading your motorcycle into the trailer or ReloCube. First, you'll need to drain the flammable fluids. This is something you can do on your own, or a local bike shop can do it at a reasonable price.
Then, to prepare it for moving, you'll need to cover it to protect the clear coat in transit. You can use a motorcycle cover (if you don't have one, check with your parts provider), or you can use moving blankets.
Once completely covered, it's ready to load into the Cube or trailer. Make sure the other household goods around it are secured very well. Items falling over in transit could cause damage to your motorcycle. Load it close to the wall and secure it using plenty of straps.

What is the cost of moving my motorcycle?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

4 Weeks Before Moving:

Donate furniture you don't want to charity. Many organizations will arrange pick-up.

 Contact insurance companies, doctors, and dentists about forwarding your records.

 Arrange cut-off dates for utilities, including phone, gas, electricity, water, and cable.

 Fill out a Post Office change of address kit online.

 Start taking apart outdoor furniture and outdoor children's equipment, like swing sets

Determine which things in your garage and/or storage shed need to be packed and which ones can be donated, recycled, or thrown out.

Designate a "moving room" to store boxes that have already been packed. Continue to pack and label boxes of things you can do without until the move.

 Notify your pastor, rabbi, priest, or imam of your move

 Arrange for a babysitter on moving day

 Determine how your pets will be moved on moving day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Packing Survival Guide:

  • Packing Boxes

There is no shortage of advice on moving. There are books devoted to the subject, ideas on the Internet and most moving companies offer tips. But there's nothing like benefiting from the wisdom of those who have gone before you. That's right, people who have made moves and are still coherent enough to talk about it.
The following 10 tips were culled from everyday people who gave their best advice in chat rooms and Internet forums.
  1. Start early. By far the top advice offered. Packing takes longer and is more difficult than most think. By starting to pack early, perhaps doing a room a day, there will not be the frantic rush at the end. You will also be more organized. When you run out of time or are burned out by doing everything at the end, you will throw the unpacked stuff in a box, tape it up and send it on its way.
  2. Think thin. Go through your belongings and decide what you really need and want to keep. Get rid of anything that you haven’t used in a year or so, unless it has sentimental value. Movers charge by weight, so the lighter the load the more money you save. Plan to go through everything at least twice, with a week or more break between. You should find a lot to cull on your first pass. After getting used to the idea, do it again a couple weeks later.
  3. Label everything. Don't just label each box with the room in which it belongs. Write down the contents. You will be glad you did when you try finding the hair dryer or a specific kitchen utensil. Bonus hint: Don't overuse the "miscellaneous" label. Otherwise you'll get to your new home and have a dozen boxes of miscellaneous and almost no idea what's in them.
  4. One at a time. Stay organized and pack one room fully and then move on to the next. If you don't, you'll end up with boxes full of miscellaneous items from several rooms.
  5. Gang box. Put smaller items in small boxes and put small boxes into a bigger box. Small boxes are more easily lost or damaged.
  6. Take it with you. Any personal financial information and important papers should be taken with you or shipped to you by family or a friend after your move-in. Identity theft is one reason, but so is the difficulty in replacing important documents, recreating bank statements or losing passports.
  7. Value valuables. Most moving companies would rather you not ship your highly valuable items, such as jewelry, artwork and collections. Many times expanded moving insurance through the carrier or a third party will be needed.
  8. Essential fact. Always have a box for essentials that you will want or need when everything is delivered to your new home. Remember: Last on, first off. So make sure the well-marked essentials box is the last one loaded onto the truck. Some recommendations: Towels, soap, toilet paper, sheets, coffee maker, drinking cups, eating utensils, pens and notepad.
  9. Inventory. Make a list of every item/box that goes on the moving van and take it with you. Have a family member mark the boxes and items as they come off the truck. This is especially important if your belongings will be transferred from the truck to storage before being delivered. If a box is missing, lost or left behind it could be months before it's realized. The mover must do the inventory for an interstate move. Note any damage at the time of delivery.
  10. Think outside the box. For items you think will be stored in the attic, garage or closet at your next home, consider getting inexpensive plastic storage bins. The home improvement and general merchandise stores usually carry them. This will save you on buying extra boxes and unpacking them when you get to your new home. Also, for stuffed animals, towels and other soft items, consider using large trash bags, they are much cheaper than moving boxes.
  • Questions to ask moving companies

Friday, October 31, 2014

Easy, inexpensive, and eco-friendly DIY Halloween box costumes:

The little ghouls and goblins are gearing up for their favorite time of year, Halloween! This holiday definitely isn’t just for the kiddos, so we’ve come up with a few Halloween costume ideas to involve you parents as well. These costumes are a fun and creative way to get your entire family involved this year.

Family of s’mores

Are you looking for a cohesive Halloween costume theme for the entire family? This s’mores-themed get-up allows everyone to be involved and is very simple to make. All you need is:
  • Smores2 large boxes
  • 1 dish pack box
  • Elastic or string
  • Brown paint
  • White paint
  • 2 white pillows
Begin with taking your two large boxes and cut four square pieces about 2.5’x2.5’ in size. These will become the parent’s graham cracker portion of the costume. Since I was using our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® boxes, I just flipped over the box so the tan side was up. Next, I took the brown paint and began painting the dashes and indents to transform the cardboard into the giant graham crackers. Then cut two holes about a foot to foot-and-a-half apart for the straps. I used elastic for the straps but you could also use string or Velcro.
Next, take the dish pack and cut two rectangular panels to create the Hershey’s bar. Make sure the rectangle isn’t too big so your child can easily walk and trick-or-treat. Then, spray paint both panels brown. Once one panel is dry, take the white paint and write HERSHEY’S across it. Next, just like with the graham crackers, cut holes or tape straps to the cardboard panels.
For the marshmallow, all you need are two white pillows and string to make transform your child into a plump marshmallow.

Milk & cookies

milk & cookiesContinuing with the food theme, I love this idea of having a parent dressed as the milk and all the kids dressed up as cookies. The awesome thing with this costume is it’s perfect no matter how many kids you have. The items needed are:
  • 1 medium box
  • 1 small box
  • White paint
  • Black paint
  • Brown paint
  • Elastic or string
Creating the milk carton is super-simple. All you have to do is cut off the box flaps of our medium box. Even though our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® boxes are already white, I wanted to cover up the writing so I quickly spray painted it white. Once dry add a few black cow spots and the words MILK. Unlike the picture here, I decided to go without the hat portion. the The last step is to add straps. Same with the s’mores costumes; I used elastic since it’s more comfortable and adjustable.
For the cookie, take the small box and cut out two circle pieces. I flipped them over so the brown side was facing up and added chocolate chips using the brown paint. You can just draw circles but I wanted to have fun and draw the chip shape. Just add the straps and your little tike is ready to become a scrumptious treat.


LegoIf you’re not thrilled about dressing up this year, we have one just for the kiddos as well. For the Lego costume you will need:
  • 1 small box
  • 6 small plastic cups
  • Tape
  • Spray paint
  • Elastic or string
For the Lego costume I chose to cut off all the box flaps, but you could also tape up the box and cut out a head and arm holes instead. Then I used tape to affix the six cups to one side of the box and spray painted it red. Lastly, I added the straps last. And it’s as simple as that!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Popularity Growing for DIY Moving and Keeping Costs Low:

With many U.S. homeowners embracing a DIY attitude, it’s no surprise that there’s been a surge in DIY moving as well.
A major reason for the trend toward DIY is that while hiring a full-service mover may be easier on your back, self moves cost about half the price of a van-line move.
In addition, people who handle their own moves have confidence in knowing their belongings will arrive as expected.
If you decide to make your own move, consider these two options: self move or a hybrid move.

Self Moves

When you choose to do it yourself, the burden rests entirely on your shoulders.
Unlike full-service moves that handle your relocation from start to finish, you have complete control how your belongings are handled, packed and moved into your new space.
For example, you’re responsible for securing your own packing materials and moving vehicle.
While this option is the least expensive, you’ll probably need to recruit friends or family members to help do the heavy lifting.

Hybrid Moves

A growing number of companies are offering a moving option to blend the conveniences of the full-service mover with the pricing of truck rental.
Once you make a reservation, a trailer is dropped off at your home. You generally have a few days to pack, load and secure your belongings in the trailer. When you’ve finished packing, professional drivers pick up and drive your belongings to your new home. You then have another few days to unload your possessions.
As with full-service moves, hybrid moves offer the perk of having someone else do the driving. The cost is similar to truck rental, because you pay only for the space you use. Because you pack your belongings in the trailer, you have direct control over your expenses.
You may be able to get a better price during the “off-peak season” from September through April when demand for moving services is lower—and movers can be more flexible in their pickup and delivery dates.
However, most people move during the peak spring and summer months when weather is warm—and they have time off from work and school.

DIY Moving Basics

As always, you need to stick to the fundamentals of a smooth move—plan ahead and enlist the help of others when you need it.
Your choice to do it yourself will boil down to dollars and whether you’re willing to drive your belongings to your new home. You might find hiring someone else to drive your goods is a burden on your budget. Or you might be leery of driving a big truck, especially if you’re moving long-distance.
Whichever option you choose, make a mental note of how happy you were with the moving process as you settle into your new home. The average person moves 11 times in a lifetime, so if you weren’t satisfied by your first choice, there will likely be plenty of future opportunities for you to change your strategy for your next move.