Moving Stressing You Out? Here Are 5 Move-Planning Apps to Make Your Life Easier

What can eclipse the excitement of moving to a new home? The headache of packing and unpacking, deciding what to toss, and actually transporting all of your prized possessions, that’s what. It’s a big job, and someone has to do it—but that doesn’t make the impending stress of moving any less overwhelming.

What will help take the pain out of preparing to relocate are move-planning apps. Like other productivity apps that can be downloaded on your smartphone, move-planning apps will help you keep everything organized.

“Move-planning apps work great for preparation and organization, because they help you break up your move into small, actionable steps, so you can be prepared on your move day,” says Jason Burroughs, founder and CEO at Able Body Moving and Delivery in Birmingham, AL. “This can greatly save you on the cost of your move, because the less the movers do, the more money you keep in your pocket.”

Below are five of the best move-planning apps to help make moving day as hassle-free as possible.

1. Sortly

Sortly is an app that helps you keep inventory for your move.
Sortly is an app that helps you keep inventory for your move.

Sortly

The beauty of this app is its attention to detail; it allows you to compartmentalize every inch of your house. You can create a moving checklist (which can be exported for movers), photograph items and categorize them by location (room, closet, box, etc.), and you can add value and condition for specific items (i.e. your prized dolphin painting).

For $3.99 a month, one user can catalogue an unlimited number of items on three devices. The $25-a-month plan allows three users to catalog unlimited items, with the option of adding users $3 a month per user. The app also has a two-week free trial and a free version that allows one user to catalogue 100 items on one device.

Sortly is available on the App Store for iPhones and iPads, and the Google Play Store for Androids.

2. Unpakt

Find a moving company with Unpakt
Find a moving company with Unpakt

Unpakt

This app helps you find a moving company. Enter basic details—when, where, and what you’re moving—and you’ll see real prices (not estimates) from verified firms. Unpakt offers a price guarantee that only changes if you add or remove an item or service.

Booking a service is simple: Just select a mover, enter your billing information, and your move is reserved. Your credit card will be charged two business days before the day of the move. Unpakt guarantees that moving companies are screened to ensure that they’re reputable; you can also read reviews from other consumers on the app.

Unpakt is free and is available on the App Store for iPhones and iPads and the Google Play Store for Androids.

3. MakeSpace

MakeSpace is a great storage solution.
MakeSpace is a great storage solution.

MakeSpace

If you’re downsizing or moving to a home short on storage space, MakeSpace will come in handy. “We take care of the hauling and heavy lifting, at a price that’s comparable to traditional, DIY self-storage,” says Amory Wooden, VP of brand at MakeSpace.

The app makes the process as simple as possible: Just book an appointment, and its team of professional movers will come to pick up your stuff and haul it off to storage. When you want your items back, schedule a delivery, and the team will return your goods.

As an added bonus, Wooden says MakeSpace will bring complimentary supplies, like bubble wrap and free MakeSpace bins.

When the items arrive at the storage facility, the company sends photos of everything—and the photos can be used to request specific items that you want to get out of storage.

The storage plans range from $69 per month for a 2-foot by 2-foot unit, to $469 per month for a 10-foot by 20-foot unit.

The MakeSpace app is free and is available for download on the App Store for iPhones and iPads.

4. Flying Ruler

Flying Ruler will help you measure anything in your home.
Flying Ruler will help you measure anything in your home.

Flying Ruler

Not sure if that sofa will fit in your new living room? Is it too large to come through the front door? Flying Ruler can help you be sure. This app is a tape measure, ruler, protractor, and a goniometer (otherwise known as an angle-measurer).

After you calibrate your phone—a simple process that the app walks you through—you can take measurements merely by moving your phone from one point to the next. The measurement is then displayed on the interface in either inches or centimeters. You can also take a photo of the measurements. The Flying Ruler app has a high accuracy rate, but the company recommends that you measure more than once.

FlyingRuler costs $1.99 and is available for download on the App Store for iPhones and iPads.

5. Dolly

Hire someone to help you move with Dolly.
Hire someone to help you move with Dolly.

Dolly

Dolly helps you find vetted and insured pick-up truck owners to help you with moving, furniture pick-up, and even hauling off your trash. Found your perfect sofa at a store that doesn’t deliver? Dolly can help you hire someone to transport your purchase home.

In addition, Dolly can match you with someone for a “labor-only move,” if you need some extra muscle to move stuff around your home.

The app is extremely simple to navigate: Enter your details (what/where/when you need something picked up and delivered) and receive a quote for the service. If you agree to the price, simply book the Dolly. You can book a same-day delivery, or schedule the delivery for the next day, or even the next month.

You can ask for almost anything to be moved, with the exception of a few items, such as gun safes, pianos, and alcohol.

Dolly is free. It is available for download on the App Store for iPhones and iPads, and the Google Play Store for Androids.

Source: realtor.com

Flat-Rate Movers vs. Hourly Movers: Which One Saves More Money?

Are you thinking of moving? As the customer, it makes sense for you to review each company and the prices. Flat-rate movers may sound like the best deal. You pay one moving rate, no matter what. But when hiring a moving company, you want to save money, right? Sometimes hiring the flat-rate movers can end up sending your moving costs through the roof.

It turns out that the whole hourly versus flat-rate moving question largely boils down to the size of your current home and the distance you’re traveling. Here’s how to weigh each moving company option and decide which one is right for you (the customer!)—plus measures to take to keep the price low and get the best offer in either case.

When to hire hourly movers

Here’s a sample scenario: If you’re moving across New York state to a new home or within the same New York City apartment building, this is considered a local move, and therefore the hourly option is better.

A price based on time, which can range from $100 to $150 for two or three movers, often starts with a minimum of three hours, plus an hour for travel. A two-bedroom apartment might take three to four hours to move; a three-bedroom house could take seven or eight.

If you’re worried about your moving costs spiraling out of control, ask the moving company whether it can cap the cost for customers at a certain amount, even if the time spills over.

When to hire a flat-rate moving company

A flat rate is exactly that—a number that’s determined after an in-home or virtual assessment by the moving company of the size of your space and the amount and type of furniture you own.

A flat rate is typically the right choice if you’re planning an interstate or cross-country move, or moving a greater distance, like to a new apartment a couple of hours away, since moving like this contains more unknowns. If your moving truck gets stuck in gridlock traffic, we doubt you’ll enjoy paying your movers an hourly rate for this added time.

But don’t be fooled: The flat-rate price or flat offer you get from a mover may not include all the costs associated with your move.

“In many cases, flat rates are not flat at all,” warns Manuela Irwin, a moving expert with MyMovingReviews.com. Sometimes professional movers will charge unexpected fees for things you might assume are included (e.g., moving furniture up stairs or moving specialty items such as a pool table, piano, or bulky exercise equipment).

To avoid getting blindsided by hidden company fees or a surprise rate from your movers, it’s better to take the time and have an in-home estimate of your move. This way the movers can’t say that you hadn’t mentioned you have a piano when they saw it for themselves.

Also be sure to ask the movers or the customer service office if there are any extra fees if they end up moving certain items or providing extra services or spending more time (like unpacking your belongings, hauling away packing materials, or disassembling furniture). The more details you can provide about your move, the less likely it is that you’ll end up being surprised by unknown moving charges from the company.

To get an estimate of how much it will cost to move into your new place, check out this moving cost calculator, where you can punch in your number of bedrooms, beginning and ending ZIP codes, and move date.

Or use the phone number for your moving company and ask for a free quote. Ask movers about their fees for interstate and local moving so you end up with great service and a (relatively) stress-free move.

Source: realtor.com

7 Surprising Items Many Moving Companies Won’t Ship

A long-distance move can be tricky. In addition to having to pack up every possession you own, you’ll also have to figure out how to get it all to your new home. While some people choose to drive their stuff themselves across state lines, that might not be feasible with an entire household’s possessions. That’s why shipping is sometimes the preferred method when moving a considerable distance. It’s simple, really: The bulk of your possessions get boxed up and shipped to your new home, and you take all the invaluable items (e.g., your ID, birth certificate, medications, etc.) with you on the plane.

Many homeowners will hire a moving company, but did you know there are limits to what most companies will ship? Some items are just too fragile, valuable, or hazardous, and your movers won’t be allowed to take responsibility for them.

Of course, different moving companies will have their own rules for the types of items they won’t ship.

“Talk directly to the moving company and ask them what they are willing and not willing to do,” says Justin Hodge, co-founder and president of Muscular Moving Men based in Phoenix. Good communication with your movers will help reduce the number of last-minute surprises on move-out day.

While you’re in the throes of planning your move, consider the following items many movers won’t touch—and then plan accordingly!

1. Photos and photo albums

Photos and photo albums are very fragile and could easily get destroyed. Although they might not be of high monetary value, photos can have high sentimental value. Plus, once photos are ruined, they’re likely gone for good.

“If there was a situation where everything was damaged, you would have peace of mind of knowing you’re in your own control, not the moving company you’re working with,” Hodge says. Many movers opt to avoid the risk.

2. Unsealed personal care products

As obvious as it may seem, unsealed lotions, shampoos, and skincare products will likely give your moving company pause. If one were to spill, it could ruin your entire shipment, and your moving company doesn’t want to be on the hook for that.

Hodge says you could pack sealed personal care products in your suitcase, give them to a friend, or just throw them out if they’re nearly empty. Hey, you have a new place to live—buy some new stuff!

3. Expensive clothes and accessories

If you own any expensive or unique designer clothes, formalwear, or accessories, it might be better to take them with you on the plane.

Nancy Zafrani, general manager of Oz Moving & Storage in New York, recommends creating an inventory of your truly upscale items.

4. Flat-screen TVs

Many movers are reluctant to ship flat-screen TVs because they’re pricey and notoriously fragile. Plasma-screen TVs are especially delicate and need to be kept upright to avoid damaging the glass panels inside. If you do have a flat screen you need to ship, be sure to mention it from the get-go before hiring a moving company

5. Nail polish

If you have an extensive nail polish collection, you’ll probably have to transport it in your luggage on the plane. Zafrani says polish is a perfect storm of shipping badness.

“It’s a liquid and in a glass bottle, and if the bottle is not securely tightened, it can leak and cause damage,” she says. It’s also flammable and could catch fire during the move. Pack it with you it, toss it, or give it to a friend.

6. Fine art

Need to ship a one-of-a-kind Picasso? While fine art doesn’t show up on everyone’s inventory list, if you do need to transport artwork of value, your standard moving company probably won’t be up for the task.

To make sure your precious cargo gets to your place safely, look into professional art shipping services. Many of these companies will offer insurance and white-glove service.

7. Food in glass containers

You know that fancy bottle of olive oil you brought back from Tuscany this summer? Delicious! Too bad it’s simply too fragile to ship. The same goes for other glass containers filled with food.

“Glass bottles are pretty thin, and if the box is accidentally dropped, the bottle can crack,” says Zafrani.

Broken glass—and spilled food—will be the last thing you’ll want to contend with when unpacking. You already have enough to worry about.

Source: realtor.com

5 Terrible Mistakes People Make Moving During a Pandemic

So much can go wrong during a move. Add a coronavirus pandemic, and a lot more can go off the rails, and the consequences can extend far beyond a broken lampshade. They can affect your health.

Nonetheless, according to a survey conducted in late March by apartment listing site RENTCafe.com, 60% of renters planned to go ahead with their move, while just 9% are putting it off until the crisis is over.

“Not everyone gets the choice of when to move,” says Mike Glanz, founder of HireAHelper, an online moving services marketplace. “Predetermined corporate relocations and moves due to evictions or escrow closings are forcing some people to keep their move dates in place.”

Plus, transportation has been designated an essential service by the federal government, and that includes moving companies, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. Yet Glanz urges anyone planning to move soon to check with their state or city government to make sure no limitations or regulations exist preventing movers from operating.

And the truth is that moving can be done relatively safely right now, if you take some precautions. To help point you to the pitfalls, here are some common coronavirus-related moving mistakes to avoid.

1. Assuming a DIY move is safer than hiring help

Hiring movers can be pricey, costing between $600 and $1,700 for a move less than 100 miles away, according to HomeAdvisor. Add the possibility that movers might be sick, and it might seem safer and smarter to go the DIY route.

True, renting a truck and rounding up a few friends or family to help you move may be cheaper—but it won’t necessarily be safer. For one, your friends and family might just likely be as sick as the movers. And odds are, professional movers should have the training and equipment (including gloves and face masks) to move things as safely as possible.

If you’re determined to move your possessions yourself, make sure to take all the same precautions. If you rent a moving truck, you’ll have to spend time cleaning it. Ask local truck rental offices about their process for sanitizing vehicles between customers, Glanz says.

Bring your own sanitation supplies to clean and wipe down the steering wheel, door handles, and any other high-touch areas. Use gloves when driving the truck and while opening and closing the back door and loading ramp.

And since the novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces, “I would recommend disinfecting the walls and floors of the truck before loading your items,” adds Justin Carpenter, owner of Modern Maids, a housecleaning service in Dallas and Austin, TX, specializing in move-in and move-out cleaning.

2. Not vetting your movers

If you do hire movers, you should vet them thoroughly. Glanz suggests checking to make sure a company is licensed and insured, for starters, and also checking for wording on companies’ websites about their commitment to sanitation and safety.

“That tells you they are taking their responsibility to everybody’s safety seriously,” Glanz says. “If a moving company has a history of positive, active interaction with customers, they’ll shine even brighter under tough circumstances.”

Make sure the moving company you use is taking extra steps to ensure safety during the coronavirus outbreak, including providing virtual rather than in-home estimates and no-contact options, according to AMSA.

3. Using recycled boxes and packing supplies

The novel coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours, according to recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Using boxes and plastic bins that you already have on hand should be fine. But, if you need extra moving supplies, AMSA recommends purchasing new moving boxes and packing tape, and avoiding picking up free, recycled boxes from supermarkets and liquor stores.

Moving companies may also let you rent plastic bins, so be sure to wipe them down, inside and out, with disinfectant before packing your things.

4. Not prepping for your movers

Make sure you do what you can to pack and prep your boxes so they’re ready to go once the movers arrive. The reason: The less time spent moving your items means lower exposure risks.

“The faster a move can get done, the better and safer it is,” says Lior Rachmany, founder of Dumbo Moving and Storage in New York City.

This is also a decent argument to not DIY your move.

“The movers will do one straight transaction from point A to point B in less time than it takes the average person to do a DIY move,” Rachmany adds.

5. Moving in without deep cleaning first (and hiring help here, too)

Similar to hiring movers, hiring a professional cleaning service can be a cost-effective time saver, letting you focus on the move. A one-time housecleaning before moving into a new home averages $125 to $300, according to HomeAdvisor. And at a time like this, that may be money well-spent.

“A professional cleaning service already has years of experience cleaning hard-to-reach places or forgotten surfaces,” Glanz points out. “That comes in twice as handy now that it’s more important than ever to keep every touchable area cleaned.”

Before hiring a cleaning service, check online reviews and ask lots of questions.

“We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the products we use to clean and if we are taking any extra precautions,” Carpenter says. “Ask the company for recent references that have been served since shelter-in-place directives started rolling out. Call those customers and ask if they’d hire the service again.”

If you’re cleaning the place yourself, make sure to use products that actively disinfect and include ingredients such as sodium hypochlorite, ethanol, pine oil, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, and quaternary ammonium compounds. And, don’t forget high-touch areas like doorknobs, light switches, faucets, and cabinet pulls.

Source: realtor.com

Everything You Need to Know About Relocating With a Portable Moving Container

Portable moving and storage containers are growing in popularity as a convenient way to move. Instead of loading boxes and furniture into a moving truck, many people are opting to pack all their items in a portable moving container and ship it to their new home. With moving being as stressful as it is, a portable moving container can help relieve some of the anxiety.

The beauty of portable moving containers is their versatility. In a traditional move, you’re on a tight schedule; but if you choose to rent a portable container, you can pack it at your own convenience and take as long as you need.

“If you’re presented with a scenario where your lease is ending before your next place is ready, moving containers are an ingenious solution,” says Mike Glanz, co-founder and CEO of Oceanside, CA–based HireAHelper, which also has a Move Helpers division that loads and unloads moving trucks and containers.

“Many moving container companies offer multiple sizes and terms to their boxes, so this moving option is likely to fit your personal move,” he says. And, since most companies will transport the containers for you, Glanz says the experience is quite similar to a full-service move, especially if you also hire movers.

How to rent a moving container

You need to find companies that serve the locations you’re moving to and from.

Glanz says the American Moving & Storage Association can help you find a ProMover, aka a certified moving company that has passed a background check and agrees to uphold the organization’s code of ethics. Glanz recommends looking at major companies that serve your area, but also checking to see if a smaller competitor is available for a better price.

When choosing a company, he says, you need to figure out what’s important to you, be it moving dates, the sturdiness of the boxes, prices, discounts, user reviews, or something else. Individual company profiles are also on the site, and Glanz says that info is based on reported invoices and reviews from people who have used the companies.

After you decide what you want, you can book online or by phone.

The process of using a portable storage container goes a little like this: You book the container, it gets dropped off to you to fill, and then the container is taken to the location of your choice. But there are a few additional wrinkles.

“You need to make sure your drop-off and pick-up locations are cleared with your street, homeowners association, or the city, depending on where you live,” Glanz says.

How much do portable moving containers cost?

The price you’ll pay for a container is based on a number of factors, including the size of the container, the distance you need it shipped, and how long you’ll be renting it. Do your homework and reach out to a number of portable moving container companies for quotes based on your specific needs.

But to give you a frame of reference, the cost of renting a portable container from PODS, a moving storage company that rents and ships containers, is usually between $299 and $499. According to PODS, a long-distance move averages $1,237 to $2,999 and includes a month of storage.

Tips for packing a moving container

Believe it or not, there’s a right way to pack a portable container that will ensure your belongings will still be in good shape when you unpack them. The first step is to distribute the weight evenly.

“It’s tempting to place all of your heavy things in the unit first, but spread out the furniture, appliances, and other large items in the container so all the weight isn’t on one side, says Nathan Chandler, CEO of Zippy Shell Louisiana, a moving and storage company in New Orleans. “Use fabric pads for wooden furniture that could easily get scratched, and make sure to place boxes with fragile items on top of heavier, more durable objects.”

You should also put your important items in the front of the storage container.

“When moving, it’s easy to focus only on getting your things out of your old house and not on what you’ll do when you arrive at your new home,” Chandler says. But you’ll want to have access to your essential items like plates, mattresses, linens, and clothes first.

And when it comes to family heirlooms and important documents, he says it’s best to keep them with you, if possible.

“Although portable storage containers are secure and durable, there’s always a chance that something could get damaged,” Chandler says. “These objects are safer with you during your move.”

Source: realtor.com

What Size Storage Unit Do I Need? And Other Questions to Ask When Picking a Facility

If you need a storage unit, there are many questions you should ask before you pick one. For example: What size unit do you need? How much does a storage unit cost?

Choosing a storage unit may seem daunting at first, but if you’ve reached that point where you’ve run out of space in your home for all of your belongings, it’s time to dive in. Here are some questions to ask to ensure you find the right storage unit for you.

What size storage unit do I need?

Before you begin your search for the right unit, make a list of all the items you’ll be storing. This way you can save time by focusing only on storage facilities that meet your needs in terms of size.

Storage units generally range in size from 5-by-5 to 10-by-25 feet, and some may be even larger. Wondering which size is best for you? Picture these:

  • A 5-by-5 unit is the size of a small closet and could hold several small- to medium-size boxes, a dresser, or a single bed.
  • A 5-by-10 unit is comparable to a walk-in closet, which could hold larger furnishings such as a queen-size bed or couch.
  • A 10-by-10 unit could hold two bedrooms’ worth of furnishings.
  • A 10-by-20 unit is equal to a standard one-car garage, and could hold the contents of a multiple-bedroom house.

Prefer not to climb over mountains of tubs and boxes to track down something stashed at the far reaches of that space? Choose a unit that allows entry on either side.

“How many times do you put something in the back of a closet only to find that you need it? The same thing happens with a storage unit,” explains Willie Dvorak, owner of AAA Storage in Mellette, SD. “Ensuring you can access your goodies from both sides of the unit makes it that much easier to find what you need quickly and safely.”

How much does a storage unit cost?

Unless you’re filthy rich (and then you probably have a big house with ample storage), you’ll want to know how much this unit will set you back each month. CostHelper.com breaks down how much you can expect to pay on average:

  • A 5-by-5 unit costs about $40 to $50 a month.
  • A 10-by-20 unit costs about $95 to $155 a month.
  • A 20-by-20 unit costs about $225 a month.

Is this storage unit easily accessible?

What good is having a storage unit if it’s hard to access, both in terms of its location and its design? Dvorak outlines what to look for when selecting a facility.

“If you can’t get your vehicle close enough to the unit, you’ll be lugging your stuff feet—even yards—in both directions,” he says. “While it may not seem like a long walk as you look at the unit, imagine carrying all of your stuff back and forth all of that way. When you’re storing stuff, every step is a nuisance. And, when you are stressed, you’re more prone to accidents. Turning that rental truck around just adds to the stress. Be sure you can pull up the unit and get your vehicle turned around without any trouble.”

What are the storage facility’s hours?

Once you’ve unloaded your belongings, you still want to know that you can reach them in a hurry should you have the desire.

“It’s hard to predict when you’ll need that hiking gear you haven’t used for years, Grandma’s scrapbook, or that special award you want to show off,” Dvorak notes. “Don’t miss out because you think of it after they’ve locked things up for the night (or weekend). Make sure you can access your stuff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

What’s the payment policy?

Fred Levine, founder of Little Hard Hats, recommends reading all of the fine print of the contract to determine how long the price is guaranteed.

“They routinely get you in, then shortly thereafter, once you’ve moved all your stuff in, they sometimes raise the rates,” he cautions.

“Understanding the payment policy can also help you make decisions about a storage facility,” says Caitlin Hoff of consumersafety.org. “What is the late fee or policy? Some facilities will auction your storage unit if rent is not paid after a certain amount of time. Does your facility allow for online payments? If it doesn’t, do you have to pay in person? Knowing the full extent of the policy can narrow down a list of facilities.”

What type of security is used?

Ask how the storage unit facility is secured. Is there a guard? Video surveillance? Alarms? Is the area well-lit? Also, don’t assume the facility is going to cover damages to your possessions inside the storage unit in case of an accident. Check your homeowners policy, and purchase a rider if necessary.

Is it climate-controlled?

Depending on the items you are looking to store, you might debate whether or not you want a climate-controlled storage unit. A climate-controlled unit is better for items such as appliances or antiques that might be damaged in extreme temperatures.

How are pests handled?

No one wants to find that a family of critters has turned your family heirlooms into their home.

“If you are looking at an outdoor storage unit, you want to ask about pest control,” says Hoff. “Ask if they have had issues with any insects or critters, and find out how they handle these situations.”

Eric Hoffer, president of Hoffer Pest Solutions, suggests doing your own detective work when you preview the facility.

“Overgrown bushes, unkempt landscaping brushing up against the side of the building, and overflowing trash cans are not only a sign that maintenance may not be a priority for a storage facility, but these can be things that attract pests like rodents and roaches close to the building,” he says. “All it takes is a small crack or gap in the wall to allow pests inside.”

If you’re going to the trouble of storing your items for later use, you want to know they’ll be in the best shape possible when you want them. Finding the right facility can make all the difference.

Source: realtor.com

9 Moving Announcements That Say ‘We Moved’ in Hilarious, Unforgettable Ways

Moving announcements are just one of those things you have to take care of—otherwise how will people know where you live? Sure, you can just do a mass email to all your friends and family. Alternatively, you can show off your wild creativity with one of the far more memorable moving announcements below. Odds are, one of them sums up your own style or sense of humor to a tee.

For people who move a ton…

It's time to break out yet another new Rolodex card.
It’s time to break out yet another new Rolodex card.

Etsy

This hilarious card ($6.50, Etsy), which comes as a printable download, lets friends and family know that yes, your entry in their address book looks like a confused jumble of crossed-out streets and cities. And that while you’re sorry about that, you’d still enjoy a holiday greeting (or a housewarming gift).

For the scent-loving and/or GPS-minded…

Burn your new coordinates into their memory.
Burn your new coordinates into their memory.

Etsy

If you want to go all out, send a moving announcement in the form of a soy candle ($16, Etsy) in a calming scent with your latitude and longitude printed on the label. Just remember, 39° N is not a USPS-approved mailing address.

For movers (and shakers)…

Dancing with boxes on your head is not recommended.
Dancing with boxes on your head is not recommended.

Minted.com

Show people all that packing and unpacking all those boxes hasn’t dulled your sense of humor, or slowed your dance moves. These cards (85 for $132, Minted) can also be custom-printed to include a family photo on the other side.

If you truly love visitors…

Let friends know they are still welcome.
Let friends know they are still welcome.

Monique Harps

When real estate agent Monique Harps moved, her priority was letting potential visitors know they still had a warm bed to stay in. Her process was simple—a friend took a photo of her new home, then she designed the template and emailed or texted the announcement. Here’s to hoping recipients call first before they come a-calling.

For punsters…

Steer people to your new location.
Steer people to your new location.

Etsy

This printable postcard ($16, Etsy) comes in colors ranging from “bumblebee” to “flamingo” (clearly, this designer loves animals). Meanwhile, this card shows off your own cornball sense of humor.

For those who enjoy a frosty one…

Let friends know you care about their fingertips staying warm.
Let friends know you care about their fingertips staying warm.

Totally Promotional

Instead of sending cards, simply order a collapsible can cooler personalized with your new address and a phrase like “Help us toast our new home!” ($3.71 each per order of 25, Totally Promotional). This lets your old friends (and new neighbors) know you care about them down to the temperature of their beverages. It also leaves no room for anyone to make excuses about losing your mailing address (not until they run out of beer, anyway).

If you’re moving out of state…

The time zones they are a changin'.
The time zones they are a changin’.

Etsy

If you’re moving between any states in the union, why not give people a visual representation of your new boundaries? This instantly downloadable PDF ($5, Etsy) can be customized with any state from Alabama to Wyoming.

For the romantics…

The keyhole cutout makes this adorable card even cuter.
The keyhole cutout makes this adorable card even cuter.

Minted.com

Give everyone a peek into your home life with this “Love Is Key” ($1.92 each, Minted) moving announcement. Each greeting is fully customizable, so if you want to show a picture of what really goes on in your not-always-picture-perfect life through the keyhole, that’s an option, too!

If you want an excuse to show off a cute baby pic…

Baby, it's time to move.
Baby, it’s time to move.

Minted.com

If you and your new baby both have a new crib, let everyone in on it with this clever card ($1.92 each, Minted). Fun fact: Calling a home a crib comes not from “MTV Cribs” but Shakespeare himself. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, crib defined as “a small dwelling” first appeared in the following lines of the famous playwright’s 1597 play “Henry VI”: “Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee.” (Feel free to point this fact out in your moving announcement!)

Source: realtor.com

4 Hard Lessons I Learned Helping Mom Move

This year, I helped my mom sell our family home. The hardest part? Going through decades worth of old belongings, deciding what to keep … and what to chuck.

Before this move, I never thought of myself as an especially sentimental person. Yet, as I opened boxes to uncover stuffed animals from my childhood or a box of family photos, packing would come to a screeching halt while I sat down and studied every object and image with care. While a small part of me longed to keep everything, I knew that my mom’s new place lacked the space, and my own home was already cluttered enough. This forced me to make some tough decisions.

In the end, we got it done—and I learned a ton in the process. Here are a few hard-won lessons to help declutter and move without sacrificing all those memories.

1. Save just one memento to represent the whole

Though I had moved out, gotten married, and bought my own place years ago, my old room, and a good chunk of the garage, were still full of my stuff. I expected to find a bunch of too-small clothes and outdated high school textbooks; what I got were mountains of childhood treasures. There were framed photos of family trips, yearbooks, and so much more.

I found myself collecting too many of what I deemed “irreplaceable” memories. The “keep” box overflowed as the “give away” box sported nothing but an old pair of sneakers and a purse with a broken strap.

One jewelry box from my teenage years made it into the “keep” pile because I had such a sweet memory of an aunt giving it to me for my birthday. I found an old Beanie Babies toy I simply couldn’t part with because it was a present from my best friend in grade school.

The Beanie Babies toy I got from a friend in elementary school, with the tag still attached, could be worth a fortune now, right?
The Beanie Babies toy I got from a friend in elementary school, with the tag still attached, could be worth a fortune now, right?

Jilly Pretzel

But of course, I couldn’t keep all these things.

I ended up taking everything out of my closet, from my dresser, and out from under my bed, in an attempt to sort through them all at once. I made piles, and soon, I noticed patterns. For instance, I had a whole pile of band shirts that reminded me of the music I loved in high school. That’s when it occurred to me that maybe just one representative T-shirt was enough. I also had a massive collection of mouse ears from Disney World visits; clearly I didn’t need them all.

So I went through each pile of similar things and picked just one “favorite”—one band shirt, one set of mouse ears—to represent those memories as a whole.

While this is a good tip for sorting through mementos, you could apply the same idea to your things even before you move. I know a family who uses this method for their children’s art. At the end of each school year, the parents collect all their kids’ drawings and encourage each child to pick one favorite piece. They have that one picture framed and throw the rest away. This allows the kids to display their art without it overwhelming the house.

Mom and I spent a lot of time packing and unpacking.
Mom and I spent a lot of time packing and unpacking.

Jilly Pretzel

2. Snap photos and share your memories with others

Yet even with some whittling, there was still a ton of stuff I found myself wanting to keep for old times’ sake, like my collection of movie stubs and collectible cups from baseball games.

While I knew all this should be easy to toss, I couldn’t get over the fact that I’d kept these things for a reason, and that’s when it dawned on me: I was keeping them so I could look back on them later, and there was no better time to reminisce than right now!

I ended up snapping photos of old flyers and ticket stubs and then posting them on Facebook or texting them to the old friends I’d shared that memory with—usually someone I hadn’t seen since high school. We’d have fun reminiscing, and feeling satisfied, then I was finally able to throw those mementos away.

3. Save room for a few surprises

When we were boxing up the garage, we found a lot of forgotten pictures that my mom wanted to hang in the living room in her new house. We knew we couldn’t just pack these pictures with the rest of the garage stuff because we’d forget about them. We needed to put them in the living room boxes. The only problem was we’d already taped those boxes closed.

After tearing open some living room boxes and resealing them with the pictures inside, we started a new system. Instead of going room to room and packing up everything, we’d leave a few boxes unsealed and half-packed in each room. That way, when we found a blanket that my mom wanted in a bedroom instead of the hall closet, it would be packed in the right box and ready to open in its new spot in the new house.

Mom and I outside her new house
Mom and I outside her new house

Jilly Pretzel

4. Consider ditching old for new

Sometimes clutter is more than clothes, toys, and books. Sometimes it’s furniture.

When I was growing up, we loved our old dining table. I have so many memories of eating dinners there, and of spreading out my homework. But when it came time to move, my mom looked at the old table, at its scratches and nicks, and said, “Maybe it’s time for something new.”

Before you sell your house, ask yourself which pieces you want in your next place, and what you’re ready to replace.

We ended up donating a lot of furniture and went shopping. Mom and I found some stylish new couches, chairs, and even a dining table.

In the end, we learned that refreshing the furniture was an important part of leaving an old home. It helped us break away from the past, and see her new home as a place to create a whole new batch of memories.

Source: realtor.com

Love Decluttering, Hate Craigslist? 4 Far Easier Ways to Sell Your Stuff

Decluttering is a constant battle—and if you’re downsizing to smaller digs, it can be an all-out war. One way many people make the process less painful is by selling their castoffs—because parting with old possessions doesn’t feel half as bad with a cash kickback, right?

There’s just one problem: Many find the old standby of hawking their wares on Craigslist to be more of a pain than it’s worth. Plus, the act of having to invite random strangers into your home can feel kind of creepy—and if those randos want to haggle, the headache really isn’t worth it.

But you’re in luck! Plenty of apps have filled the void by making the process of selling your possessions much easier—often with a better payoff to boot. So whether you’re lightening your load before a move, downsizing to a smaller space, or just decluttering, here’s how to sell the items topping your get-it-outta-here list.

1. Trove

Best for selling: Furniture

Think of Trove as a virtual consignment shop for furniture. Sign up through your Facebook or Google account, and answer a series of questions before your item is listed: title and description, price (and if you’re willing to negotiate), type of payment accepted, where you’re located, and when you’re available for the buyer to pick up the item. You’ll also need to upload at least one photo—the more, the better. If you check the box for negotiating, you receive notifications of all offers, and then you can accept the one you like best based on price, mutual connections, and the buyer’s reviews.

Any downsides? Similar to Craigslist, an in-person meeting and inspection are required to complete the transaction. A helpful tip: Never let a buyer leave with your item until the transaction has been marked as approved in the app—that’s how you’ll get paid if the buyer has chosen a debit or credit payment. Listing is free, and although Trove takes a 10% fee from credit card transactions, it doesn’t charge for other payment methods (e.g., PayPal).

2. Decluttr

Best for selling: Tech

Want to sell your old cellphones, DVDs, CDs, and video games you have lying around without the hassle of finding a buyer yourself? Download the free Decluttr app, use your phone’s camera to scan the bar code, and you’ll get an instant selling price. The app has a Tech Price Promise, which guarantees you the first price it offers—or you get your item back for free.

Any downsides? You do have to actually pack your item(s) into a box and mail it to Decluttr. But hey, it provides a free shipping label, and once your box arrives at the warehouse, the Decluttr team checks the item(s), then sends payment through direct deposit, PayPal, or check (or donates it to charity upon your request).

3. ThredUp

Best for selling: Old clothes

Rather than hauling all your unwanted or ill-fitting clothes and accessories to a local consignment store, you can create an account at ThredUp and request a “kit.” In a nutshell: ThredUp sends you a giant, polka-dot plastic bag, which you can fill up with women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, handbags, fashion jewelry, or other accessories. (Menswear is not yet accepted, but check the site for updates on the items that are in demand.) Ship the filled bag for free by dropping it at any U.S. Postal Service or FedEx location, and once your bag is processed, you’ll earn cash or credit in your account for the items that are accepted.

Any downsides? There’s one caveat: Any items that aren’t accepted will be donated (i.e., you won’t get them back). But honestly, do you really want them back?

4. 5miles

Best for selling: Anything locally

Described as Craigslist meets Nextdoor (a private social network for neighborhoods), the 5miles app has 14 million buyers across the United States, yet it focuses on the ones in your immediate area. It’s safer to use than Craigslist, though, with features such as online payment, shipping options for people who don’t want to meet, and a tool to locate nearby police stations where you can do in-person transactions. The app also prides itself on a 24/7 “Awesome Experience” customer service team to help with issues.

Nice plus: Prefer the old-fashioned method of decluttering, aka garage or yard sales? You can list your sale in a special section of the app, where buyers can search for sales in their area and come check out your goods in person. It’s way more effective than newspaper classifieds.

Any downsides? While there’s a category on 5miles for just about anything you might want to sell before a move, keep in mind that you may not sell everything. Top sellers include furniture, household wares, electronics, and sports/outdoor items. While it’s free for both buyers and sellers, there is a fee on some automotive listings, in case that’s on your to-sell list.

Source: realtor.com

How to Get a Moving Estimate That Won’t Become a Moving Target

Newsflash: Moving stinks—and it can be even worse when you don’t know how to get a moving estimate you can trust. This can lead to massive misunderstandings, when movers quote you one price before you move, and whole different (and much higher!) number after it’s over.

So what gives?

The fact is, there are many ways to get a moving estimate, and each come with their pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know to get an estimate that won’t become a moving target.

How a moving cost calculator can help

For starters, you can get an instant estimate for your move using a moving cost calculator, which will ballpark the cost of your move based on the number rooms you have, how far you’re moving, and other variables.

In general, the average cost of a professional in-state household move is $2,300, according to the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). That number climbs to a whopping $4,300 for an out-of-state move, based on an average weight of 7,400 pounds and an average distance of 1,225 miles.

But keep in mind that a moving calculator is just a ballpark start. To get a more accurate estimate, you’ll have to actually contact a moving company and get its take on the situation.

Binding vs. nonbinding estimate: What’s the difference?

So you want to know precisely how much your move is going to cost? Get a binding estimate, where a moving company tells you upfront all of your moving costs, including fees, taxes, and insurance. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), movers who provide a binding estimate can’t require consumers to pay any more than the estimated amount at delivery.

There are a couple of caveats, though. Getting a binding estimate upfront may incur an initial fee. And with a binding estimate, “movers will often charge more money to build in an extra cushion, in case the move takes longer than expected,” says Scott Michael, AMSA’s president and CEO.

By comparison, a nonbinding estimate is free, but the cost that you’re quoted is only an estimate, and is subject to change. If the nonbinding estimate is based on weight, the movers can charge up to 10% more once they get the official weight on your goods, after packing them into the vehicle and stopping at a weigh station.

How to get a moving estimate that won’t change later

You can obtain a moving estimate over the phone, by email, or in person. Michael recommends getting estimates from at least three movers in person.

“Doing it in person ensures that the mover will see all the items that need to be shipped, and can identify any complications in advance,” Michael says. “For instance, if there are low-hanging tree branches that would prevent the moving truck from being able to pull up to your house, that’s something you want to know ahead of time.”

To obtain an accurate estimate, you’ll want to do a walk-through of your home with the mover a couple of weeks before your move. Michael recommends going room to room with the mover, “showing the person every single item the company is going to move.”

Point out items that you plan to transport yourself, and flag valuables, like artwork or antiques, that need to be handled differently or insured at a higher rate. “You may need to get an insurance policy from a third party to cover extraordinary artwork,” Michael says.

How to find reputable movers

To find a reputable moving company, make sure it has a state license to operate—and it should be happy to show you proof.

If you’re moving out of state, you’ll need a mover that also has a unique license number, issued by the United States Department of Transportation.

Unfortunately, every year, thousands of people fall victim to moving fraud, according to the FMCSA’s “Protect Your Move” campaign. To avoid getting scammed, steer clear of moving companies that ask for a deposit, list a P.O. Box or a residential address, or offer a ridiculously lowball estimate.

Once you have an estimate, it should be part of a written contract that’s signed by both parties before the move. That way, if the numbers come back different after your move is done, you have documentation that argues otherwise.

Source: realtor.com