You Pack and They Drive

Okay. First option: You pack, they drive, and you unpack. If this is your idea of fun (or saving money) read the sections on these topics. They were written for the do-it-yourselfer who plans to take on the whole moving job. But they can be valuable to anyone considering doing only the front or back end of the move.

Sure, it's great to have some burly guys come into your home and gently pack and move everything without a chip or scratch. However, and that's a big however, many of us can't afford to have a mover take on all the responsibility. And some of us just don't want to entrust our "things" to strangers.

So, yes, you can save money by packing some or all of your possessions yourself. If you choose to do so, you can purchase from your mover standard moving boxes, as well as all the specialty cartons necessary. Such boxes and cartons will protect your goods much more effectively than liquor store or grocery store boxes.

Second option: Pack most of your things yourself, but leave the most valuable and most breakable for the professional packers. You will then both save money and be assured that everything will arrive at the new house in the same condition in which it left the old home. And if it doesn't, the mover is responsible—not you.

Before you decide to do your own packing, find out from your mover how it will affect your insurance coverage. It may be that your mover will only guarantee safe arrival of items their professional packers handle.

Remember, if you run into trouble or run out of time, you can probably call your mover at the last minute and arrange for packers to come to your home and pack those final items.

It's Not My Job!

Who does what? It's entirely up to you. The movers will do as much as you will pay them to do. Well, almost. Tempting as it may be to try, they probably won't agree to clean your oven before they move it or your carpets after they move all the furniture out. But, if you want them to, they will pack anything and everything in your house, garage, and yard. They will pick up, pack up, and load onto the truck anything that is on the premises at the time they arrive to move you. They don't care whether or not you have decluttered first.

If it's there and they are contracted to pack and move, it goes. In other words, make sure all your sorting is done well before the movers arrive. Anything headed to the dump, the Salvation Army, or Aunt Flo's should already be there. If it's not, make sure it's clearly marked to stay, or you may end up paying to move it and then unpacking it at your new home. And paying for the privilege.

It's All Your Fault!

Who's responsible for what? That depends on who does what. Your mover is responsible for the safe arrival of your possessions only if its employees have packed them and only to the extent of the insurance covered in the contract.

Make sure that you and all others involved in the move clearly understand not only who will do what, but also who is responsible if something doesn't get done—or gets damaged.

If you choose to do most or all of the packing yourself, you can start weeks or even months early sorting, collecting boxes, and even packing boxes of things you want to keep but won't need or use until after the move. Mark boxes for their eventual destination room. Do be wary of packing too much too far in advance. Otherwise you might end up unpacking boxes to find that special item you use just once in a blue moon. Blue moons are more common than they used to be!

Some movers are more helpful than others—similar to the way some restaurants say "Have it your way" and others say "No substitutions." If you want to do all the packing yourself, a mover may assist you in determining your packing material needs and can offer the materials to you at a fair price.

Even if you want to do the majority of your packing yourself, you may want to call on your mover to pack fragile and valuable items such as mirrors, paintings, collections, electronics, and art objects. And if you plan to pack it all yourself, but run out of time, give your mover a call. You can probably get last-minute help to make sure you meet your deadline.

You also can turn to your mover for help during many last-minute crises. A representative of your moving company can probably recommend specialists for crating your most delicate, valuable items and for safely preparing your appliances.

Even if you don't have a mover and you get into trouble at the eleventh hour, you may be able to get help from professionals. If moving day is approaching rapidly and you realize you will not complete all the work, call a few movers. If they are not booked solid, they can probably send a crew to your house to help with the final packing and loading. You may pay a higher hourly rate than if you had scheduled in advance, but it may make the difference in meeting your deadlines and getting to your new home town in time for your first day at the new job.

Hiring a professional moving company for some or all of the job can greatly reduce the stress and the work that you invest in your move. Even if you expect to do all the work yourself, you will be able to make a more informed decision if you get estimates from some moving companies. Then, if you completely handle the move, you will know just how much money you saved. Or you may even decide that the extra expense is justified by time saving and by simplifying your family's life during a hectic period.

 
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