By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
DIY as a life philosophy is all well and good--we all should have a comfortable bit of self-sufficiency--until it's time to pack up every single thing you own and move it. At that point, it's a good idea to get by with a little help from your friends--or your professional movers
, who will become your best friends by the time the trucks are loaded.
Deciding to DIY or Hire Professionals
Your life circumstance is one of the main factors in deciding who's going to pack you up. If you're heading to your first job out of college, chances are pretty good you and a couple of friends can manage the whole thing--you don't have a lot of stuff, and what you have is probably not terribly valuable. But if you're leaving a five-bedroom house, and have three kids, two dogs, and a lifetime of stuff, you might want to consider hiring a team to do the packing.
The Hidden Costs of DIY
Budget is the driving force for most families who opt to do their own packing--at first glance, it appears to be much less expensive to do it yourself. The reality is that most people's estimates of the costs to do their own packing are woefully short--they forget to account for all the packing materials they'll need, and amateurs are not nearly as efficient at packing a box as an experienced professional moving company. Expect a lot of wasted materials if you do it yourself--one of the tricks of the trade is knowing which insulation and padding to use for a given item--when to use paper, when to pull out the bubble wrap, or use the foam. And what about packing peanuts? Should you even use those?
Another point to consider is the fragile things that demand more care and expertise to wrap and pack--you don't want your crystal to arrive at the new house in a thousand pieces. There really is an art to packing; it's a little bit physics, a smattering of chemistry, and a lot of common sense--and it takes years to perfect the skills. Artwork and mirrors require unusual or custom sized boxes; breakables need to be wrapped in a way that the glass can expand without shattering, and electronics should be packed so there's no danger of an electrical fire.
When you do choose to hire a professional mover for your packing, they are typically part of the moving company's team and are bonded and insured--this means that anything they pack is covered by their insurance, should there be any breakage or damage.
What to Expect from a Packing Team
The main thing you'll get is efficiency. Yes, they are strangers (at least until they start packing up your Christmas decorations and the kid's art projects), but they're going to get the job done quickly and correctly. This is what to expect from your crew, assuming you've already decluttered and organized. You should be there to direct the project and answer any questions they have; a seasoned crew can pack 100-150 boxes in a day.
Before they arrive, have all the laundry done, and the dishwasher empty. If you're going to hold a few things back until moving day, put them aside and let the packers know. Pack overnight bags with all your necessities for a few days, don't forget towels and hair dryers.
- Some teams work together in a room, while others split up.
- Boxes will be completely full--there's no wasted space.
- Some items will be in odd boxes--that is to ensure all cartons are at capacity.
- Things are less likely to break or be damaged in a box that doesn't have any wiggle room.
- Several household doodads can't be packed--nail polish remover, cleaning supplies, and other chemicals. They can't be transported on a moving van, so will not be packed. The moving company will provide a list of forbidden items.
The Hidden Benefits of Professional Packing
If any of the above information caught your eye, it was probably the part about a team packing 150 boxes in a day. When you do hire a professional moving company, you can live in your house until right before the moving vans come--it's a lot less stressful than crawling around and over boxes for weeks and forgetting where you packed the toaster. Moving is enough stress--let the professionals do the packing for you so you can relax, or at least focus on other things.
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