The Mistakes We Make When Moving

Moving to a new home can be very stressful and can wreak havoc on your life. But the process is old hat to a sometimes invisible group of people who have seen it all: the doers.

“When you move people, they’re not always at their best,” said Finn Murphy, author of The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road, who also performs high-end, long-distance moving Joyce Van Lines. “Your whole feeling of security will be unraveled. People really get attached to things that have permeated them out of their own mind and experience and that have no objective value at all. ”

But that doesn’t mean that people pack these items well or carefully. Here are some common mistakes movers have seen packing people, as well as some suggestions on how to avoid breaking your belongings (and heart).

Mistake # 1: noise

Jamie Viggiano, owner of Philadelphia-based J. Viggiano & Co. Furniture Delivery, has worked in moving for 30 years and said the biggest mistake people make is not being ready when the moving companies show up.

“Everyone waits until the last minute and then they just throw things in a box and it isn’t packed properly,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into a house and there are just things all over the desk.”

He said almost every hardware store and warehouse sells packaging materials, including item-specific materials like dish sleeves and bags for framed pictures. Between the widely available materials and videos online showing how to pack cardboard boxes efficiently and carefully, you can drastically reduce the chance of breaking something along the way by giving yourself enough time to pack things properly.

Mistake # 2: Leaving the fragile parts fragile

Mr. Murphy said dishes are almost always wrongly packed. “Dishes have to be packed at the ends, not flat,” he said. “I’ve seen some people just take dishes and lay them flat and put stemmed glasses on them. It’s guaranteed to break. ”

Michael McAlhany, founder and president of UNITS Moving and Portable Storage, Inc., said he saw people packing coffee machines while the coffee pot was still in the machine.

Another often fragile element: grandfather clocks. “We’re asking them to hire a local watch company to secure this swing arm,” McAlhany said. “If you drive down the freeway and you hit the brakes, the arm will break the clock if it swings.”

Mirrors can go between mattresses, he said. If mattresses are not available, the mirrors should be cocooned in bubble wrap or at least in a newspaper.

Mistake # 3: No support for top heavy items

Mr McAlhany said when people are moving, the items that are most at risk are those with a lot of weight on narrow legs, like pianos and pinball machines.

“They have so much weight on the top and it’s fine if it stagnates in a playroom or your home – it doesn’t sway back and forth like it does with brakes or traffic lights,” he said. “All the pressure is on the legs of the piano and the pinball machine. One leg gives up and the thing collapses. ”

To keep these items safe, he recommended stacking packed boxes between the legs and to the bottom of the object so that the boxes become supports for the heavy top.

Mr McAlhany said he saw the same problem with an oddly popular home decoration: the leg lamp from “A Christmas Story”. “We see this all the time,” he said. People will “put it straight in, like it is on your table next to your chair in the living room, and then it will fall over or something will fall on it because it is not strapped in.”

Mistake # 4: Don’t get divorced

Moving companies say they sometimes get caught between a couple breaking up and sharing their belongings. “You go around and see white sticky notes and red sticky notes, and then I often stand there while people argue with red and white sticky notes,” said Mr. Murphy.

Try to determine ownership in advance and remember that the movers do not take sides.

“People think that moving the furniture will give us the OK to involve ourselves as a tool in this entire transaction, and we’re just kind of a builder in the game,” said Lior Rachmany, founder and general manager of New York Dumbo Moving + Storage . Moving companies should limit themselves to the name of whoever is on the moving contract, just as a package would go to the person whose name is on it.

Mr Rachmany said he called from the police and his crew when one partner believed the other partner was trying to steal their belongings.

Mistake # 5: About this aquarium

The strangest thing Mr. McAlhany has come across is customers who pack their aquarium completely with water and fish. He’s seen it more than once.

To say the obvious, empty the water from the aquarium before moving it. But don’t just let the water out: “We recommend putting the water in a 5 gallon water jug,” he said, then added the fish and moved it that way.

Ultimately, Mr. McAlhany said, “It’s hard to do anything dummy-proof.”

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