Sunday, July 23, 2017

Moving to Alaska:

So you’ve decided to move to Alaska. You may be dreaming of the breathtaking sights and the new possibilities, but before planning out life in the Last Frontier, start with planning your move. Even if you’ve completed a long distance move before, moving to Alaska can be an entirely different experience. The distance, terrain and weather can make moving a bit more challenging. Dive into this guide to learn all about moving to and living in Alaska so you can plan your adventure. 
move to Alaska

Moving to Alaska guide

Places to live

Alaska covers a lot of ground. It’s twice as big as Texas, but it’s the least densely populated state in the country, with an average of less than two people per square mile. Unless you’re looking to move to a remote location, most moving companies can get to just about any town without major issues. Learn more about living in Alaska by exploring what popular spots such as Anchorage and Fairbanks are like.

How to get there​

Getting yourself and your belongings to Alaska are two different things. For traveling yourself, you can drive (which means crossing through Canada, and weather can be an issue depending on the time of year), fly (the fastest option, but will require shipping personal vehicles) or sail (the Alaska Marine Highway travels from Bellingham, WA to several port communities).
Note: Unless you’re traveling through Canada, you won’t need a passport to move to Alaska from the lower 48.  
When it comes to getting your household goods and furniture to Alaska, you also have three options: full-service movers, a rental truck or a self-moving service. Full-service is typically the most expensive way to move, and that can be especially true when you’re looking at moving such a long distance.  However, driving a rental truck to Alaska can be strenuous (and potentially dangerous in severe weather). Instead, you may consider a self-moving service that combines the convenience of full-service with the affordability of a rental truck.

Moving with U-Pack — the cheapest way to move

U-Pack is one of the fastest, easiest and most affordable ways to move to Alaska. It’s a “you pack, we drive” self-moving service that works like this:
  • We bring the moving equipment to your home (or you can load at a service center).
  • You get it for three business days to load, and then we take care of transportation.
  • The shipment travels to Tacoma, WA and then sets sail for Anchorage.
  • From Anchorage, the shipment will be delivered (to a service center or to your door).
  • You have three business days for unloading and then we pick up the empty equipment.
Shipments sail out of Tacoma twice per week, so transit times average 8-15 business days, depending on where you’re moving from.
Moving rates are based on a number of factors (where you’re moving to/from, how much you’re moving, when you’re moving), and because of these factors, prices will vary. The best way to determine how much your move to Alaska would cost is to get a moving quote — many find it a great value because of what’s included (moving equipment, fuel, transportation, taxes and liability coverage).

Shipping containers and moving equipment

U-Pack offers three different moving containers for shipments going in and out of Alaska: Moving trailersReloCube® moving containers and ocean containers.
Learn more about each type of equipment:
  • The 28 ft. trailer can be delivered to most major Alaskan cities (and some small ones), and military bases like JBER (Fort Richardson and Elmendorf AFB), Fort WainwrightFort Greely and Eielson AFB. With the trailer, you pay only for the space you use (down to a 5 ft. minimum), making it a great option for small and large moves.
  • The ReloCube, or CubeTM, is best for smaller moves and moves that don’t require door delivery (you can save up to $300 by unloading at the terminal). One 6’ x 7’ x 8’ container holds a single room of furnishings. Reserve as many Cubes as you want and only pay for the ones you use.
  • The ocean container is ideal for large moves. It can be delivered door-to-door in many areas where the trailer isn’t able to go. Unlike the trailer, the cost for a 40’ ocean container is on a “per container” basis.
Need help choosing the right equipment? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Military moves

Doing a Personally Procured Move (or PPM) with U-Pack is essentially the same as doing a civilian move (though you’ll need empty and full weight tickets for reimbursement, and we can provide them). Check out this guide for PCSing to Alaskafor more details.

Motorcycles and snowmobiles

U-Pack can ship motorcycles, snowmobiles and other ATVs to Alaska, too. This type of equipment can be placed into a trailer, ReloCube or ocean container, as long as you drain the fluids before moving. Read more about moving motorcycles.

Auto shipping

Though we don’t ship automobiles, we do refer customers with auto shipping needs to Mr. Car Shipper®. Contact them at 877-528-9627 for a quote.

Plan your move now!

Because of equipment availability and scheduling, it’s best to plan an Alaskan move early. We recommend booking 4-8 weeks in advance, especially for moves that require an ocean container. While we can handle last-minute moves, things go much more smoothly with a little planning.
Start by getting a moving quote, then give us a call or book online. If you have any questions or need help getting a quote, please call us at 800-413-4799. We’re here to help!

Friday, June 23, 2017

9 Smart Things to Do Before You Move:

You've just signed the paperwork on a new home (congrats!). But soon the excitement of getting settled at your new place will wear off, and the panic of packing up boxes will set it. We've rounded up expert-approved tips to keep you sane and totally prepared during the move.
1. Manage packing smartly. 
"For my recent move, I gave myself a daily box quota to prevent a draining weekend of non-stop packing," says Amy Azzarito, design writer and author of Past & Present. Avoid boxing up your old place in one fell swoop, if you have the time. Remember, you'lll need some energy left to unpack, too.
2. Skip the cardboard boxes. 
Target Home Style expert and blogger Emily Henderson used California-based company rentagreenbox.com for her most recent move. "A week before I moved, they dropped off sturdy boxes with attachable lids and came back to collect them once I unpacked," she says. "No cardboard boxes, taping, or bubble wrap. Plus, its eco-friendly and can be cheaper than buying pricy moving boxes." If you're not in Los Angeles, companies with similar business models are popping up around the country and are just a Google search away.

3. Don't pack your closet. 
"If you use professional movers, ask them to bring several wardrobe boxes on the day of the move," suggests Emily Schuman, author of the blog Cupcakes and Cashmere. "The movers take clothing right on the hangers and, woosh, your clothes will be in and out." Bonus: You can skip a full day of ironing once you're settled.
4. Switch your utilities.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but Brendon DeSimone, author of Next Generation Real Estate, says the timing is key: "As soon as you have a closing date, call the utility companies and set up a service switch." This is especially important if you're moving into a home that is newly built or previously vacant: Arranging a maintenance call to reestablish service might be necessary.

5. Make saying goodbye easier.
Moving from a home with sentimental value (your kids' growth-mark notches in the doorframe!) can be gut wrenching. To ease the pain, Azzarito suggests creating a Pinterest board with things you're excited to do in the new home, like dream decorating or new things to do in that part of town. If you have young kids, personal organizing guru Barbara Reich suggests taking a video of each child talking about their favorite part of the house to preserve the memories.
6. Haul the basics before the moving truck comes. 
If your new place is within driving distance of your current home, plan to take basic supplies over the day before, says Reich. "Unpacking the bathrooms in advance and having pajamas and clothes for the next two days set aside will bring some normalcy to the chaos of the boxes," she says.
7. Visualize life in your new home. 
"Confession: I've been known to hang pictures while the movers have been unrolling rugs," says interior designer Nate Berkus. While Berkus attributes his hyper-organization to his Virgo star sign, we think he has a pretty good point: "The sooner you get unpacked and organized, the sooner it feels like home." If you move at a slower pace than Nate, plan out spots for your favoriate pieces of art and d├ęcor in advance. You'll feel more accomplished and settled if you do.

8. Meet your neighbors the fun way.
Sure, baked goods and a friendly hello will do the trick, but if you're going to be painting the interior walls, Henderson has a fun party idea: "It's called a graffiti party and guests are given paint samples or markers to scribble games and notes on the wall." Don't be shy about hosting a gig sans furniture; this relaxed party theme is built around pizza and folding chairs.
9. Discover the local resources. 
Take a walk around your new neighborhood and be sure to introduce yourself to people you pass by. DeSimone says this is the best way to get a recommendation for a handy man, neighborhood favorite babysitter and get to know the lay of the land. If your life was an ABC Sunday night drama, these meet-and-greets would be peppered with salacious gossip on the community's comings and goings (ha!).
TELL US: What made your last move easier?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

How to Tip Your Movers:

Money Bowl

We tip at restaurants, where a server brings the food to and from our tables. And we tip at hair salons, where a stylist cuts hair that you can’t even reach some days. But how (and when!) do you tip the guys carrying all your furniture and boxes for you?

Should I Tip My Movers?

The best advice we can give you is that every moving company is different, and the way they’ll want you to handle tipping is different. If you are interested in tipping your movers, call the moving company’s main office and ask politely about their tipping policy.
Money Bowl
Image by Eric Heath/Flickr
But most importantly — respect what they say. If for some reason or another, the company asks that you do not tip their movers, don’t think you’re doing movers a favor by slipping them a twenty. That puts them in an awkward position with their managers, and makes you seem like you’re trying too hard.

Rules of Thumb

What do I tip movers?

If you’re not comfortable offering them money (or let’s be honest – you just paid a lot of money to move; maybe you can’t afford another expense), you can always offer them cold water or sports drinks on a hot day, ask if they have a meal planned and offer to buy lunch, or offer them gift cards/movie tickets/coupons you think they might enjoy. This is kind of iffy territory though – most companies prefer you offer them a cash tip, a cold beverage, or nothing.

When do I tip my movers?

Always tip your moving team after they’ve completed the job. We recommend you even walk through the house with them, making sure all the pieces are present and accounted for, and in good shape. If you have an antique grandfather clock or a fragile piece you were worried about in the move, double-check it to make sure they handled it with care. Then sign your final paperwork before tipping them. Think of a tip as the dinner mint or toothpick on your way out of a restaurant – it’s the very last thing you take away, after the meal is eaten and the bill is settled.

How much should I tip movers?

Every industry has a slightly different, unspoken standard. In restaurants, the tip should be 15-20%, but if you tip 20% of your moving costs, that’s a big chunk of money! We like moving company Gentle Giant’s recommendation: assume $4-6 per person on the moving team, per hour they are on the job. If they do a great job and you’re really happy, go with $6 or even $8/hour. If they do ok, stick with the $4/hour range. So if it takes a team of three people 8 hours to move your home and they do a satisfactory job, that’s $5/hour per person, or $40 each (and only $120 out of your pocket).
Money Jug
Image by wewon31/Flickr

But how should I tip the movers? (I don’t want to just hand them cash.)

We get it - offering people money for services can be awkward! If your moving team has a foreman or one person who’s clearly in charge, it’s ok to hand him an envelope with everyone’s tips and ask him to split it evenly across his team. But most moving companies that encourage tipping recommend tipping each mover individually.
Here’s a way to make this easier on you: watch the movers as they carry boxes and furniture, and think of one thing you can thank each of them for. Then, when you’re offering them a tip, say, "Thank you for covering my table before you took it through that hallway!" or "I appreciate the way you handled my china boxes so carefully." Even a simple "Thank you for having such a great attitude today" is nice to hear. Think of it from their point of view – the words almost mean more than the money at that point.

Tipping on Long Distance Moves

Moving across the country is where tipping gets confusing. You may have two sets of movers – the guys that load the truck at your old location and the guys that drive your stuff cross-country and unload at the new location. Or maybe it’s the same guys loading, driving, and unloading. But if you’re moving across the country, should you tip them more for their effort?
Call ahead to your moving company and ask if you’ll have one crew or two – it’s a good practice that if you’re tipping at all, you should tip both crews. On cross-country moves, don’t feel like you have to tip a percentage of the entire move cost. The model we mentioned previously works just fine - $5/hour per mover, or round it out to about $40/day per mover. But remember ? if your move is difficult (lots of heavy or extremely fragile items) or the movers went above and beyond with taking care of your belongings, be sure to show them your thanks with a little extra cash.

After You’ve Tipped

Good news! Tips are tax deductible as part of a move. (Actually, your whole move may be tax deductible.) So you get a little bonus for being a nice person.
And if you had a moving experience worth tipping for, you can go a step further and leave a positive review for the moving company. Google reviews carry a lot of weight online when people are searching for moving companies, and Yelp reviews are a local’s go-to for insider information. Whatever platform you choose (even if it’s just a glowing Facebook post that tags the company or shares their website), the positive review does good for the company as a whole. (And we’re pretty sure there are crazy karma points in there somewhere, too.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

3 Simple Tips To Make Moving Day A Breeze:

Moving day is the culmination of major efforts to get everything boxed up, secured and otherwise ready for the trip to your new home. It's often a long day filled with hard work, too. How can you make moving day easier and simpler? Consider this advice:

Plan ahead and prepare

While some moves have to happen quickly, many involve some lead time that can be put to good use. If  you use a professional, reliable packing service, this major obligation will be taken care of for you - you just need to handle the items movers can't bring on their trucks. If you decide to fill boxes yourself, get to work early and try to do a little each day. If you can have everything that isn't used on a daily basis boxed up a few days before the move, you'll have far less to worry about. 
Similarly, a plan for managing a move if the weather is uncooperative is also important. This strategy can be as simple as ensuring everyone has raincoats and a hand-off point is in place to stop wet or muddy shoes from entering your new home. Having these details nailed down ahead of time means a simple and straightforward moving day.
A balanced breakfast and a full night's sleep will give you the energy you need for moving day.A balanced breakfast and a full night's sleep will give you the energy you need for moving day.

Be rested, well-fed and ready to go 

There's lots of excitement and sometimes stress before a move. It can be hard to get a restful night of sleep before the big day, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Eat a nutritionally balanced meal for dinner and budget for a full eight hours of rest to get off on the right foot.
You should also make sure you and your family can easily grab breakfast and, if you're a coffee drinker, some java to help wake up the morning of. A clear head and a full stomach go a long way toward making moving day less worrisome and more productive.

Work with a professional, courteous and secure moving company

It's possible to move yourself, but taking that path guarantees more work on moving day and during the weeks leading up to it. Partnering with the safe, respectful and qualified professionals at Atlas means your moving day is far less complicated and labor-intensive than it otherwise would be. To make the most of your new home, leave the heavy lifting of moving day to the professionals and simply oversee the process. You'll start things off in your new home on the right foot. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Bay Area and California: Home to America’s Happiest Residents:



Homebuyers flock to California for its plentiful jobs, pleasant year-round climate, stunning natural beauty, and multitude of outdoor-recreation opportunities. That all adds up to the happiest residents in the nation, with Bay Area cities at the top of the pack.
A recent analysis by WalletHub ranks 150 U.S. cities on a scale of 100 based on how happy (or unhappy) the people that live there are. The study uses 30 different metrics across three major categories to gauge happiness: physical and emotional well-being, community and environment, and income and employment. WalletHub notes that finances only influence happiness up to an annual income level of $75,000, then cease to have an effect.
The nation’s happiest residents can be found in Fremont, with an overall score of 77.55. The Alameda County city ranks No. 1 in the nation for community and employment — the latter criteria no doubt aided by the presence of Tesla Motors — and No. 2 for emotional and physical well-being. When considering individual criteria, Fremont has the nation’s smallest divorce and separation rate and ties Irvine, California for the lowest obesity rate.
The Bay Area’s two largest cities also rank among America’s five happiest places. With an overall score of 75.79 San Jose ranks No. 2 and is the country’s top city for emotional and physical well-being and third best for employment. At No. 4, San Francisco scores a 69.20, with the country’s second best employment ranking and third best state of well-being. San Francisco also has one of the lowest obesity rates in the U.S., hardly a surprise given that WalletHub recently named the city as the country’s healthiest.
California cities account for eight of the nation’s 10 happiest places and 13 of the top 20. Irvine ranks No. 3, followed by Huntington Beach (No. 6), San Diego (No. 7), Oakland (No. 8), Santa Rosa (No. 9), Chula Vista (No. 11), Santa Clarita (No. 12), Garden Grove (No. 14), Anaheim (No. 18), and Glendale (No. 20).
So if Californians are all smiles, where can the country’s least content residents be found? Nine of the 10 unhappiest cities are located in the Midwest or the South, with Detroit earning the dubious distinction as America’s most downtrodden place to call home.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Packing Timeline For Moving: Your Own Packing Checklist:



Moving house is an extremely busy period where the success often depends on the ability to tackle one tough task after another. Time management is crucial and failure to optimize the weeks, days, and hours you are given could can lead to catastrophic results.

The solution is simple: you do need a personalized and prioritized moving checklist to keep you as organized and motivated as humanly possible. And when it comes to the toughest pre-move jobs of them all (P-A-C-K-I-N-G), you must be in possession of good packing timeline for moving that will lead you to a successful end.

Take advantage of the following general packing timeline, borrow the ideas that best work in your case, and turn it into your personal packing checklist.

Yes, it’s as simple as that.

4 weeks prior to Moving day

Having one full month before the scheduled move-out day is a reason enough to consider yourself lucky, at least luckier than anyone who only has a few days to box all of their belongings. If you manage to keep things organized and succeed in keeping your focus when packing up your home for moving, then you should be able to finish the packing process comfortably ahead of time.

4 weeks or more prior to Moving day is all about one of the best packing hacks ever: pre-packing. Here are the things you can pre-pack and get out of your way very early in the packing marathon:

Out of the season stuff. Box any items that you know you definitely won’t need until it’s time to move out. Usually, those are out-of-season things such as clothes, shoes, clothes accessories, and so on.
Special tools. If you happen to own special equipment (usually stored away in your storage areas), then it’s time to get them ready for transportation. Such pieces of specialized equipment may include sports equipment, fishing tackle, electric power tools, lawn equipment, and so on.
Collectible items. You probably won’t be in the mood to marvel at your coin and stamp collections in the period leading up to your move day. Pack up all types of collectibles you have in your home – figurines, dolls, art collections, coins, stamps, and so on. Note that most of those things are very delicate and fragile, so pay special attention to their safe packing.
3 weeks prior to Moving day

Once you have taken care of all the items that can be safely pre-packed, turn your attention to the non-essentials found in your home – anything that you won’t really come to need in the next few weeks.


Think you’ll have time to read books prior to Moving day?
Books. Yes, it’s safe to say that you won’t find time for reading books before your move is well behind your back. And even somehow if you do find some reading time, setting aside one or two books should be enough.

Spare bedding. Pack up all the spare bedding you have stored in closets, including bed covers, sheets, blankets, pillow cases, and so on. Also, consider packing up any spare towels and table covers you own.
CDs and DVDs. If you own a neat collection of disks, either films or games, it’s time to place them in suitable boxes and get them out of your way. Similar to books, the chances are you won’t find any time to enjoy them.
Kitchenware. As you might suspect, your kitchen will be one of the hardest rooms to sort out and pack up safely. Make things easier for you by packing in advance all the kitchen items you won’t really need for the next 3 weeks or so. Starting from more specialized cooking utensils and extra sets and finishing with all types of extra plates, glasses, cups, pans, pots, and whatnot – start packing them early to win the race with time.
2 weeks prior to Moving day

Two weeks before the arrival of the most important day of your household move is a good time to start packing any items that you rarely use. Keep in mind that 2 weeks may seem like enough time at first but that is the period when time seems to be quickening its pace and you won’t even realize when your move day comes banging on your front door.

There isn’t a single day to lose!

Games and toys. If you have children, then there will most likely be plenty of games and toys to get ready for transport. Ask your kids to set aside a few of their best toys for the last couple of weeks and pack up the rest – board games, constructor sets, jigsaw puzzles, dolls, model cars, stuffed toys – you name it.
Office supplies. Consider cleaning out your work desk – notebooks, copy paper, pens, pencils, and all kinds of writing materials. Keep a few essential stationery close at hand and box up the other supplies to fit into your preliminary packing checklist.
Jewelry. Sure, there’s still enough time for you to wear your favorite jewelry pieces but that’s it – you’d better pack up the earrings, rings, bracelets, and necklaces you wear on more special occasions. Don’t leave packing your jewelry for the last possible moment.
1 week prior to Moving day

The moment you are left with only 7 days until it’s time to move out, things can get suddenly much more stressful. To keep up with your packing timeline, it’s a good idea to stop for a second or two and assess your packing progress before continuing.


Kitchens can be really tough to pack up for a move.
If you find out that you’ve fallen a bit behind schedule, you have a few viable options to choose from: 1) double your packing efforts, 2) ask a few friends for help, and 3) pay for professional packers to take care of the household items you can’t really pack safely on your own.

Kitchen items (what’s left of them). It’s a serious packing mistake to leave the kitchen for last, so leave only the absolute essential pieces of kitchenware and pack up the rest. Box up your small kitchen devices such as a toaster, a blender, a mixer, and so on. In most cases, it’s best to leave the microwave for the day before moving day.
Clothes (what’s left of them). Leave enough pieces of clothing for the next few days and place the rest of them in suitable boxes or arrange them inside clothes boxes. Figure out what you want to wear on moving day too.
Medicines. Go through your medicine cabinet and pack up all the medications you don’t need on a daily basis. The sorting process alone will take up a considerable amount of time, so act in a proactive way.
Furniture pieces. If you own large furniture that requires disassembly, this is about the right time to start thinking about how you will approach that issue. Re-assess the need to move the furniture pieces you intend to take with you because that is the moment that can save you loads of money in the long run. Consult professional packers or furniture store specialists if you’re not sure what to do.
2 days prior to Moving day

Okay, this is a really crucial period where the packing pressure can reach dangerous values. You should be finished or almost finished with packing up your house for moving. If not, you should definitely consider calling for backup.

Electronics. Most of the electronic devices in your apartment or house should be packed up safely in their original packaging with sufficient padding for extra protection. You can leave your portable computer un-boxed until the very end as you’ll be taking it with you anyway.
Bathroom items. Go into your bathroom and pack up everything that you’re taking with you to your new home. Your medicines and toiletries should be all packed up by now.
Furniture and household appliances. All of them should be packed up by now and 100% for transportation. If not, contact a reputable moving company right away to get the qualified packing help you need.
Essentials box. The idea of preparing an essentials box (or boxes) is to have your absolute essentials by your side even when the rest of your earthly possessions are packed up in boxes – that is, inaccessible. Keep such Open-First boxes by your side at all times until you reach your new residence.
Miscellaneous items. Make one more exploratory trip around your home and make sure that everything you are taking with you has already been packed or will be packed in the next day or so.
Moving day

Your move-out day has finally come, maybe much faster than you would have wanted. The important thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t leave anything to pack for the Big day. At least not anything that will take you more than a few minutes to throw into a plastic bag and place into your essentials box, like your toothbrush and toothpaste. Just in case, keep one empty box close by for last minute additions. Finally, it’s time for the very last tour around your entire living space in search of forgotten items.

It’s moving day and your packing timeline for moving should now be over and done with. Hopefully, the packing checklist above will have helped you organize your packing process in a highly logical and systematic way.

Bonus packing tips

In conclusion, let us offer you some invaluable packing tips to further aid you during the hardest and most time-consuming task in your moving calendar. The following brief answers to the most frequently asked questions when packing a home for a move can serve you as guidelines rather than rules set in stone. The reason? Each relocation scenario is unique and nobody but you will know what will work in your case, and what will not.


It’s important not to lose your focus when packing, especially when Moving day happens to be breathing down your neck.
When to start packing for a move? If you’re not entirely sure how far in advance to start packing, then it’ll be useful to remember that the earlier you start boxing up your stuff, the easier it’ll be for you when Moving day starts breathing down your neck. As a rule of thumb, you are strongly advised to start packing immediately after your household move is confirmed. One of the costliest packing mistakes you can make is to underestimate the time it takes to pack up your entire home.

Where to start packing for a move? A perfectly good question is which rooms to pack first when moving – after all, you can’t just start placing your stuff in cardboard boxes on a random principle, can you? Initiate the packing marathon from the storage areas such as a basement, a garage, an attic, or a tool shed. The reason? They are likely to be filled up with all kinds of stuff you may have even forgotten about, and the mere process of sorting out your odds and ends can take up forever. After the storage areas, move on to the rooms you use less frequently. Don’t underestimate the kitchen either! Leave the bathroom and bedroom for last.
What things to pack first when moving? Logic dictates that the items to pack first when moving should be the very things you use least often. Remember the notion of pre-packing explained above? Follow that with the idea of packing up all your non-essentials before coming to the stuff you use daily.
What to pack last when moving house? Speaking of the things you use most frequently, those are the ones you should leave for last, of course. Also, remember to set aside the belongings you can’t do without even for a day and pack them all into one or a few essentials boxes. Those boxes will also contain important documents and valuables, so don’t even think about entrusting them to unknown movers even if you know the moving company you’ve hired is as reputable as it can be. All valuables stay with you, period.