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 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.)