How to Pack and Move your Holiday Decorations

Home decorations really make the holidays come alive in a home. Be it colored lights, ornaments on a Christmas tree, a Menorah for Hanukkah, or paper snowflakes on the window for the solstice, these bright and colorful heirlooms bring out the spirit of the season. Most people have a system to store them for the offseason, but what do you do when it’s time to move? Packing holiday decorations takes a little more care, but with the right approach, they will be in perfect condition for next year.

 

Use durable containers

Worn-out boxes with the ends flapping open are a normal way to pack holiday decorations when moving them from the living room to the back of a closet, but those decade-old boxes are too soft and fragile for a moving truck where they could be stacked four deep. Invest in a strong, crisp, new packing box to weather the coming road bumps and brake taps from the truck.

 

Keep things separate

Most of us can remember growing up with that big cardboard box with all the decorations heaped into the center. That may cut it when you have a handful of decorations that all need to come out at the same time, but the risk of individual items chipping, cracking, and breaking goes up when the box is moved across several states.

Keep an open mind for potential storage solutions that will help you keep ornaments separated and organized, such as egg cartons and muffin tins. Strings of lights can be wrapped around a spool, even if it’s just an H-shaped piece of cardboard. Don’t reuse old newspapers, as the ink can rub off and stain light-colored decorations.

 

Prepare for travel

Remember, you’re not just setting your delicate decorations in a box in an attic undisturbed for another 11 months, you’re putting them into the back of a truck and they will need more support and protection. Bubble wrap, foam sheets and pieces of cloth can keep hard times from contacting one another and fragile ornaments from breaking under pressure.

Make sure you label your decoration boxes, as they will likely be moving with many other boxes. That way, if you want to decorate immediately after moving in, you will have no trouble finding them.

Labeling will also come in handy when the holiday is over and you want to put the decorations away in the same boxes you moved with.

 

Retire with honors

Getting new holiday decorations can be addictive, and it’s common for people to give little ornaments as gifts. Preparing for a move is often a time to purge needless belongings, and that is especially true for holiday decorations. If you’re not sure if you can part with a particular item, consider taking a digital photo of it and save backup copies in a few places. That way you can look at it whenever you feel nostalgic, but still have more space in your house.

If you need some packing supplies to protect your holiday decorations or any other items, stop by our location on Central Avenue in Ayer or give us a call at 1 (800) 233-MOVE.

 

 

How to move a couch upstairs without getting frustrated

Moving a couch up the stairs is the classic moving day challenge. It’s a heavy, bulky object that can be a big hassle if you don’t plan ahead. Perhaps you moved to an apartment building without an elevator, or maybe you have a room upstairs that needs a good place to sit. Whatever the reason, here’s how you tackle it like a pro:

 

In Preparation:

You will need two people to make this work. You could put your furniture, your walls and your own body at risk if you try to muscle it up on your own. Don’t go it alone. 

If you’re buying new furniture, don’t just measure the room the couch will be placed – measure any bottlenecks on the route to get there so you won’t get stuck.

Scout out the route ahead of time and move any small tables or items out of the way. If you’re in an apartment building, consider telling any neighbors along the way what you’re doing. If needed, you can ask them to open their door to let you have a little more space to turn the furniture around. 

Couches often have wooden legs that are held in place with screws. Remove them before you get started and your couch will be significantly easier to move. Anything that can come off, including cushions, needs to come off before you lift it up

If you have blankets to wrap around the couch, secure them in place with a spool of stretch film. This will help keep your grip tight. Make sure to cover up and wooden armrests with the blankets to avoid gouging the walls.

Talk it over with your helper which part of the couch is the left and which part is the right. The top, bottom, front, and back are universal. Decide what it means to rotate it clockwise and counterclockwise. That way if you get in a jam and need to advise each other which way to move it, you’ll have a clear, common vocabulary.

 

Time to move: 

Do not carry the couch parallel to the ground, as this is unstable and wobbly. Instead, have the person in front carry their end high and the person in the back carry their end low. This will help both partners keep the furniture under control.

Take it slow when you get to the actual stairs and remember to think in terms of 3-D. In some spaces you will need to wedge the couch in diagonally or standing on its end. Softer couches can also be squeezed to make them a little slimmer when space is tight.

Be careful when pressing the couch against a wall, as a tight fit can leave impressions on some types of walls.

When you get to a doorframe, try standing the couch on one end and “hooking” it around the frame. This will require less space to maneuver.

Of course, if all of this seems like more bother than you want to deal with, you could hire an experienced, insured moving company based out of Massachusetts to place your couch upstairs for you, along with any tables, bed frames, mattresses, or other large pieces of furniture you have on hand. We also sell moving supplies and can be reached at 1 (800) 233-6683.

Halloween Decorations Made from Used Cardboard

If you just moved in you’ll have plenty of leftover cardboard boxes on hand. Most of these boxes are destined for the dumpster, but before you toss them, consider making them into Halloween decorations so they can pull double duty before you’re done with them.

 

Cardboard Tombstones

First, you’ll have to figure out the sizes and shapes you want your tombstones to be. Cut out two of that shape to make it 3D and be sure to leave some cardboard at the bottom to fold over.

Use two pieces of cardboard the same length as your tombstones, each with a slit in the middle so you can put them together to created an X shape. Next, stand up the two tombstone pieces, fold over the bottom and tape them together with packing tape. Measure the width and height you’ll need to fill the sides of the tombstone and tape them to the sides.

Put the cardboard X inside your tombstone and tape it to one side to keep int standing and stop it from collapsing inwards. You’ll also want to put some small bags of sand or bricks in the base so it doesn’t fall over or blow away.

Next, you’ll want to give the tombstone a consistent exterior. You can coat it with a layer of paper mache to cover up the joints. Once it’s dry you can paint it, but you may want to coat it with some textured paint first to give it a rocky finish.

Use some stencils to add RIP or anything else you want on the tombstone. You can spray paint them with a darker color directly to the surface, or hot glue cut outs of letters to the tombstone. You can add some extra details if you like using other cardboard pieces or create a spiderweb effect with hot glue. Then stand them up and creepify your front lawn! For more detailed directions and pictures, check out this link.

 

Simple Little Ghosts

Cut out some little ghost shapes from cardboard boxes. You can make as many as you want. Slip these shapes into a white plastic bag and tape the back so that the plastic pulls taught. Use black construction paper to cut out a face and glue to the ghost. You can prop these ghosts in windows, tape them to the glass, or even hang them from the ceiling with a bit of string to haunt the room.

 

Spooky Ghost Town

With clean milk cartons and newspaper, you can make your own mini ghost town decorations. Glue the newspaper onto the milk cartons and paint windows and doors onto cardstock to glue onto the front of the newspaper-covered milk cartons. You can draw in creepy people, cats, ghosts, or pumpkins and even fill the cartons with candy for fun.

Just make sure the milk cartons have been thoroughly washed and dried before you start.

 

Robot Costume

Take a big cardboard box and cut out holes for arms, legs, and the head. Then cover the box in aluminum foil and secure it with tape. You can hunt around your house for shiny objects like CDs, or balls of tin foil or little buttons to tape or glue to the box to add details.

Take another smaller cardboard box, like a wide square shoe box, to make a headpiece. Decorate that as well and tape a string or strap to go under your chin so that it stays in place.

 

Wheelchair Costume Ideas

Cardboard boxes are the perfect way to make an elaborate costume for any kid that uses a wheelchair. The boxes are versatile and can do transform into a lot of different vehicles and platforms for your trick-or-treater.

Use a big box and some paints and make a pizza delivery truck or get fancy and shape some cardboard into The Batmobile. You can make Cinderella’s carriage with a cardboard pumpkin and cut out wheels, with painted-on doors and details. If your kids love Mario Kart, build the kart around their chair and press them and get the character’s costume so they can zoom from house to house on Halloween.

Picking a Moving Date That’s Right For Your Needs

Deciding when you’re going to move is stressful. There are so many factors to consider to come up with the perfect date and you want to make your move as easy as you can on everyone involved. With a move already putting a strain on your everyday life, it is important to pick the perfect moving day that suits all of your needs.

Here’s what you need to consider:

If You Have Kids

If you have kids you’ll want to consider when is best for them. Most kids find it more difficult to move in the middle of the school year because curriculums are unlikely to line up at both schools. The stress of starting school in the middle of the year with no friends can often be overwhelming and result in a lot of stress and low grades. Because of this, it is a good idea to move during the summer.

You may be eager to get going right after your child completes a grade but it is likely they don’t feel the same way. Give them a week or two to say goodbye to all their friends, in and out of the neighborhood, and to allow them to adapt to the idea of moving. If you want to move at the end of the summer, be sure that it is a few weeks before school starts back up for your kid. Give them some time to get acquainted with the new house and the people in the neighborhood before throwing them back into school.

Unfortunately, the almost universal desire to avoid breaking up a school year leads most families to prefer to pick a moving date during summer break, and this means…

 

If You’re Worried About Cost

The summer is the most costly time of the year to move because it’s the busiest. With most people moving in late May to early October, and the absolute busiest days at the end of June and July, the rush of people hiring moving trucks in the summer results in higher rates. There’s only so many moving companies and vehicles to hire and the demand pushes up prices.

The weekends are also an expensive time to move with most people trying to make the switch when they aren’t working. It is best to avoid the holidays when it comes to moving because any time off will result in an influx of people trying to hire companies. The most cost effective time of the year is likely to be late fall before Christmas and Hannukah and winter.

Don’t wait until the last minute to hire your moving company. If you really need a specific day, you are going to want to hire them weeks ahead of time to ensure that you get the day and the company you want.

 

If You’re Renting

Most people try to rent during spring and summer. This is when people get off of work and out of school so you have many college students leaving their apartments. This means that there will be a lot on the market during these busy months so you will have the most options.

However, with so many people looking for a place, it gives you less time to decide if you really want to rent. You will likely not have the time to negotiate a lower price so renting in the spring and summer will be the most expensive.

The winter can be a very good time to rent because fewer people have a desire to move in the cold. Renters will be eager to get their places under contract and therefore will be much more likely to negotiate a lower cost.

 

If You’re Worried About The Weather

The weather is a very big factor when considering when you want to move. If you don’t want to get caught in the rain or snow or are incredibly opposed to moving in the cold, then you will want to schedule your move for summer. If you have wooden or even some plastic items that are very important to you, special preparations may be needed to protect them from the elements.

Moving somewhere cold to somewhere warm and vice versa can damage some of your belongings if the temperature changes are very extreme, so consider a summer moving date when temperatures are more forgiving might be a good idea. However, you’ll want to take into account that, in addition to moving companies costing more because of the number of people hiring them in the summer, they will also charge more due to the extreme heat.

 

If You’re Worried About Traffic

While during the day on the weekends there are fewer people out and about, moving between Monday and Thursday will be your best bet. Not only will it save you money because it is during the week but, if you go at the right times, you can also avoid rush hour. The best time of day to move is early to late morning.

Although you may run into some morning traffic with people rushing to work if you leave early, it will also give you ample time to get where you’re going. Leaving mid to late morning will allow you to avoid morning traffic and rush hour so you’ll arrive at your destination faster and not have to deal with the frustration of traffic.

 

The one trick you need to know when packing dishes

Dishes are notoriously fragile. That’s true if they’re heirloom China or if you picked them up cheaply at a department store. They’re also heavy and hard and a stack of them packed poorly will crash into one another and break into shards while being shipped for moving day. Fortunately, there is one dead-simple approach when shipping them that will make sure they arrive safe, sound and whole.

The trick is to load them in the box on their sides, like you’re loading a dishwasher, instead of stacking them in a pile. This will prevent too much weight from accumulating on the bottom dishes and puts any pressure on where the dishes are the strongest, their sides, instead of the fragile middle.

Now, the dishes are still going to need padding to keep them from bumping each other and chipping. If you have access to bubble wrap, place a layer on the bottom of the box and then wrap each dish and bowl with bubble wrap or crumpled shipping paper. Make sure you fill any gaps in the box with balled up paper to prevent the plates, bowls, and cups from shifting during transport. You will also need to label the box with an arrow to make sure everyone know how fragile it is and which end needs to be up.

Consider using a special dish packing box, which has twice the thickness in cardboard to protect the vulnerable contents. With a little planning and know-how, your dishes will look just as good at your new home once your move is completed.

 

How to move your stove (and a few other big objects)

The first piece of advice on moving a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine or dryer is don’t do it by yourself. Hiring a moving company is your best bet, especially for a gas stove which will need to be disconnected safely. But even if you don’t want professional help, you will still need at least one extra set of hands. These appliances are large objects that can hurt you if they fall over while you try to tip them or lift them by yourself.

Once the appliances are unplugged and disconnected, pull them away from the wall and clean them inside and out. Things that fill up with water like a dishwasher or washing machine should be left ajar for 24 hours to let any moisture dry. While you’re at it, make sure the path from the appliance to the trailer or truck is as clean as possible to avoid any slips or accidental sliding.

Use tape to secure all cords to the body of the appliance and hold any doors shut so they don’t flap open while you’re loading it. If there are any parts that can be removed, like the drawers of a refrigerator or oven racks, pull them out.

The most effective way to physically move the large appliance is with a special hand truck that is both wide enough to accommodate the machine and has a strap to secure it in place. Load the appliance onto the hand truck with the help of an assistant and tip it back so all the weight falls onto the wheels. If you encounter any stairs, make sure you have someone there to help you slowly and safely descend with your heavy load.

Another approach is to use a square of carpet to slide the appliance across a surface of plywood. You only need a few pieces of cardboard and some heavy lifting to move the appliance onto the upside-down carpet, but the wooly carpet surface will slide easily across the plywood. Once you come to the edge of your plywood surface, pick up the plywood from behind you and continue the path until you reach the loading vehicle.

If you don’t have a power lift like a hydraulic tailgate on your truck or trailer, you will need a ramp to load the appliance. A longer ramp is preferred to decrease the amount of strength needed. Once on board, strap the large appliance down to keep it upright during the journey.

If it’s heavy enough and you’re driving the truck, please remember that the additional mass will give the vehicle more momentum and reduce your stopping time. Once you arrive at the destination, be it a new home or a storage facility, simply repeat the steps in reverse and you’re done.

How to tip a mover like a pro

For most people, moving to a new home is an irregular experience. The average American moves about 11 times in their entire life, and because of that irregularity, it can be difficult to pick up all of the social customs and routine practices associate with moving. Compare that to more common activities like going to a restaurant or getting a haircut that people do over and over again. They have plenty of chances to learn how and when to tip at a coffee shop, but little when moving.

As a result, most people don’t know what to tip their movers, or even if they should tip at all.

Tipping is common in the moving world, but it is never mandatory. If you don’t like the service you received, don’t leave a tip and contact the company to make sure your message gets through. If the service was acceptable but not above and beyond, it’s entirely your call if you should tip or not.

Remember, it’s your gift as a sign of satisfaction. It is not a requirement.

If you decide you do want to tip, you should do so at the tail-end of the job when all the work has been completed. The standard for a local move is around 15% to 20% for the entire crew. Try to give it when they are all together as a group and if you don’t have small bills to divide up on the spot, don’t worry, they’ll be happy to break them up on their own.

If you are moving a few states away or even cross country, consider upping the tip. Remember that when the movers are tied up with your move, they can’t be working on another one. A long enough move could keep them from doing several small jobs in the local area, so try looking at it from their perspective.

Also consider punching up your tip a little if you threw some difficult tasks at them, such as moving a grand piano. If your hot tub arrived at your new home without a dent or scuff, dig a little deeper.

It’s also common to buy the crew food around lunchtime. Pizza is a common choice, so if you decide to go this route ask them if there’s any specific takeout food they’re hankering for, like Indian cuisine or Italian sandwiches.

Score free moving boxes for your next relocation

Storage or moving boxes are as essential to moving as a spoon is to a eating a bowl of soup. You need to find a rich supply of medium sized cardboard moving boxes, as many items are too large to fit in tiny boxes and larger boxes are too unwieldy and heavy for moving.

Score Moving Boxes from your supermarket

A lot of people will hit up the supermarket and ask for spare banana boxes from the produce department. These are decent boxes for moving, despite the large hole in the top and bottom, but unfortunately they’re often a victim of their own success. Simply put, too many people know about banana boxes for you to be able to rely on getting enough of them from a supermarket. They can provide some supplemental help, but don’t expect to get enough to complete your whole move with them.

What you will need to find is a business that regularly receives deliveries in medium-sized cardboard moving boxes that will be able to give you some for free that they would otherwise throw out. One of the easiest ways to find such a store is to look for businesses with a designated cardboard-only dumpster out back. Only use this as a way to identify businesses that could help you; taking items from a dumpster without the owner’s permission is a crime.

Score Moving Boxes from local retailers

Some typical stores that have useful boxes include tool and appliance stores, hardware stores, restaurants, liquor stores, supermarkets, bookstores and office supply stores. Typically, these stores will be happy to let you have them to avoid letting the boxes go to waste.

When you find the right store, ask the manager for permission and be prepared to come back multiple times when they have spare boxes on hand. Bring a box cutter with you in case you need to break some of the boxes down to transport them.

Try searching for boxes weeks in advance so you have time to build up a supply and pack before your move. However long it takes, thank the people at the store and make sure you have enough packing tape on hand to reassemble and seal the boxes.