Moving in 2017? How to Plan Your Move

It’s only a couple of months in, but already 2017 is proving to be a dramatic time in the national news and world events. Perhaps that’s not on your list of concerns right now, and you’re more focused on getting your belongings from your old home to your new one. Have no fear, because the modern world has given you a lot of new tools. Moving in 2017 can be easier than it ever has been, but it requires a little effort to make it work.

Easily Available Moving Guides

Gone are the days when you need to physically visit businesses and office parks to get ahold of helpful brochures or documents. Our detailed moving guides are available for free on our website, such as our general overview guide on the common moving tasks you will need to address and how we can help you with them. We also have an essential checklist that will make sure you have all of your bases covered. This includes everything from ending your snow plowing contract to defrosting your freezer.


The smartphone era has given people who plan to move in 2017 a collection of free tools to help make relocating as easy as possible. From Google Maps to tracking apps to free apps, the number of digital tools people have at their disposal is phenomenal.

Most people know how important it is to label their moving boxes with a permanent market. Well, the smartphone app Sortly can provide a list of what is in every box, assuming you are willing to enter that information into your phone. There’s also a paid version that allows you to print out QR codes so you can scan individual boxes and read what’s inside them without opening them.

If you and your family members are working together on a complex checklist, consider making a shared document in a Google Spreadsheet. This will allow instant updates on each family member’s smart phone so the list can be updated dynamically and quickly.

Moving in 2017

Even with all of the exciting and powerful tools you have available, the fundamentals of moving still haven’t changed. You need to start planning six to eight weeks before your move-out date, and you will need boxes to pack your belongings and a truck to move them in. Someone will have to load and unload this truck. Your electricity will still need to be shut off at the old home and turned off at the new one.

It’s entirely up to you how many of these tasks you take on and how many you hire a moving company to perform. It’s common for busy, successful people to make their lives easier by hiring our workers to load the truck and drive it to the destination. People on a tighter budget can rent a truck from us and drive it themselves. It all depends on your circumstances.

People with even busier lives can hire our packing professionals to box up their possessions safely and ensure it arrives safely. People who want to pack for themselves can purchase all of the needed items from our store, including special boxes made to safely transport fragile household items and sturdy packing tape to hold the boxes together.

Regardless, whatever options you choose, you will benefit from starting with our moving tips brochure and utilizing our moving checklist to ensure every last task is taken care of. The modern world has made moving easier, but it still requires people to use the tools available to them.

Need More Help?

Do you still need help planning your 2017 move, such as needing a storage site to hold on to some of your belongings? You can reach us at 1-(800) 233-6683 or visit your local Massachusetts moving company to learn more about what we can do to help you.

Managing Your Time During a Move

Efficiently managing your time is essential to a stress-free move. With all the things you have to deal with, it’s easy for them to spiral out of control if you don’t plan ahead. Here are some things you can do to maximize your time in the months leading up to your move and on moving day itself.

Work Out Your Schedule

Organize your schedule in the months and weeks leading up to your move. Make a list of all the important tasks you need to complete for moving day. Also look at everything that you do in your normal daily schedule. You’ll want to see what you can cut from your daily tasks to get ready for your move instead. Make goals for what you’ll do for your move each week: cancel all subscriptions, contact doctors and dentists to inform them you’re moving, pack up the attic, etc.

Write It All Down

Write down everything that you need to get done and use reminders on your phone so that you don’t forget. Make a list of what you need to pack and when it needs to be packed. It’s best to pack the things you won’t need leading up to the move first to get them out of the way. Write down any deadlines for moving utilities or companies, and any subscriptions you’ll need to cancel before the move.

Make a list of moving supplies you’ll need, like bubble wrap, boxes, or tape. Make sure that you have this planned for everything so that you can get it all done in one trip to the store. Going shopping more than once will just limit the time you have to do everything else.


Make a file with all of the important papers you need to take with you such as doctors papers, birth and marriage certificates, insurance, school records and any other important documentation. This way you’ll know where everything is and won’t lose anything or spend time trying to find scattered papers.

You should label the boxes as you pack them, as well as what room they will go in when you reach your destination. It will save you the time of searching for something if you realized you packed something you desperately need right away after the move.

Consider a Moving Company

No one does moving better than a moving company, especially your local experts at Ayer Moving & Storage. Get help from experts and organize your belongings ahead of time. They will help make sure everything runs smoothly and you’ll have a group of experts to entrust your items with. This will help ease your stress and give you less to worry about come moving day.

Enlist Help

Whether you are getting some help from a moving company or doing it yourself, you’ll want to enlist the help of friends and family. You’ll have the piece-of-mind knowing that you won’t be the only one responsible for everything on the day of your big move. Recruit them ahead of time and make sure they know everything they need to do. Write it down so no one forgets.

Keep Valuables Close

Anything extremely valuable and portable, like grandmother’s pearls, or stock certificates, should be kept separately in your own possession. Movers won’t always know what to prioritize and have to divide their attention between the entire contents of your home. If there is anything incredibly important to you or that you know you need right away, take it with you.

Moving Day

For moving day, you’ll want a time schedule written out to manage your time. Write it out in short time increments including when you get up and when you need to eat. You’ll want to get up early to get the most out of your day and don’t want to run out of fuel during the process.

You should also be prepared for things to go wrong throughout the day. No moving day can go perfectly, so it’s best to expect at least a few mistakes. This will keep you from stressing too much when they happen. Have a backup plan for anything you’re really worried about. Things will get where you need them to go; you just need to stay calm.
Lastly, make sure that you have EVERYTHING packed up before moving day hits. Your day will be full enough without having to pack up those last few things. You won’t need to stress about forgetting that one thing you left to the last minute if you don’t leave anything to the last minute.

In order to manage your time well and efficiently, you need to stay calm, and procrastination will certainly have the opposite effect.


Need More Help?

You can reach us at 1 (800) 233-6683 or visit your local Massachusetts moving company to learn more about what we can do to help you. Download the Ayer Moving & Storage Timeline for a Stress-Free Move!

Aquarium of Fish to Move? No Problem

Moving an aquarium full of fish is an intimidating process. As you prepare for the move, you’ll want to consider whether or not you’re are ready to take on the challenge yourself or if you should hire a professional mover. If you decide you’re up to the task, here’s what you need to know to do it right and help ensure the safety of your fish.

You Should Know

There are a few things you should be aware of before you make the move.

Fish are very sensitive and delicate creatures, especially regarding changes in their environment. Moving is a stressful time for them too and they are often too stressed to eat. If you do it right, you can preserve many of your fish, but be aware that some may not survive the trip. For the best odds, you’ll want to minimize the amount of time they are out of their aquarium. Pack your aquarium last before moving and set it up first when you get there.

If you have a long move ahead of you, there is one option you may want to consider: Start fresh with a new collection of fish. The chances of the majority of your fish dying during your journey increases the further away you move. Your best option may be to give them away before you move and then visit a local pet store at your new home. If you don’t know anyone who would like to take your fish, try an online classifieds page like

Before The Move

When looking at your new home, scope out a location for your fish. Find a spot that is protected from the sun and has access to electricity. Make sure to check that the surface is sturdy and smooth to support your tank.

Your fish won’t want to eat during the move and it is a good idea to not feed them a full day in advance. You want to keep the water as clear as you can. Don’t worry, fish can go a week without eating so you are not putting them at risk by not feeding them.

Emptying the Aquarium

Make sure that you have a siphon hose, several 5-gallon buckets and a fish net for getting everything out of your aquarium.

Use the siphon hose to drain some of the water into the 5-gallon buckets. Only fill them about two-thirds of the way to make sure they don’t spill during the move. Then, catch your fish with the fish net and gently place them in one of the newly filled water buckets. Depending on how many fish you have, you may want to put them in more than one bucket. Please don’t forget any fish.

If you have them, put the tops on the buckets. Make sure that fresh air can still get in. You can poke holes in the top or get an air pump to make sure there is enough oxygen in the water. If you don’t have a top to the container, you can use grocery bags, which will keep the water in and still allow air through.

Next, remove any decorations from the fish tank and dry them thoroughly. Then wrap them in packing paper or bubble wrap. You can pack them in another bucket or just in a cardboard box. If you have any living plants you can put them in a plastic bag with some water and move them by hand.

Drain all the remaining water into the remaining buckets and get as much as you can. Any water left in the aquarium can crack or shatter the bottom when you move it. Remove any sand or gravel at the bottom of the aquarium and put it in a spare bucket to transport.

Packing the Aquarium

To pack up the glass structure you will want to thoroughly wrap it in bubble wrap. Be sure to seal it with tape so the bubble wrap doesn’t fall off. You’ll also want to wrap it thickly in blankets to make sure it stays safe.

If it is a large aquarium, enlist some help from friends or family to move it to the moving vehicle.


As said before, unpack your aquarium first when you arrive at the new home. Ignore all other boxes. Move the tank carefully to your previously picked out spot. Once in place, double check to make sure that the structure and what it’s sitting on is sturdy and intact.

Once you carefully remove all the blankets and bubble wrap, you can put the transported gravel back in. Set up your pumps, lights, filters, and heaters but do not turn anything on. Doing so without water in the tank can injure you and your fish.

You can now put all the decorations back in the tank and refill it with the water that you transported. After the aquarium is filled with some of the water, catch your fish with the fish net and gently set them back into the tank. Fill the aquarium up with the rest of the water. You may need to add some dechlorinated tap water to finish filling the tank.

Allow the tank to sit for approximately, a half hour so that the water can equalize with the room temperature before you turn the heaters on. After that, you will want to check that everything is functioning properly and continue to check on your tank and the fish for the next few days.

It is a good idea to find a fish store in your area. If you have any problems with your fish or tank, or if there is something you need to replace, you’ll know just where to go.

Sound Like a Lot of Work?

Good luck! If that sounds like too much work, call us at 1 (800) 233-6683  or visit your local Massachusetts moving company to discuss hiring expert help. Also, consider downloading our packing guide for more expert moving advice.

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.

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.


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.

6 Tips to get the most out of your Self-Storage Unit

Maybe you’re considering a storage unit as a way to hold onto your couch and tables in preparation for an upcoming move, or you want to put your birdbath or garden decor someplace warm for the winter. Maybe you’ve just got too much stuff. Whatever your reason is, we offer climate-controlled storage space to help you protect your possessions. If this is your first time using a storage unit here are some tips to help you prepare.

Let nothing touch the ground

Much like a basement, storage units are designed to stay dry but accidents happen and it’s better to be prepared for the worst case scenario. While most floors are sloped to keep water from pooling within the units, rare accidents are possible, such as something spilling in the next unit over. Get your hands on some wooden shipping pallets or blocks so your possessions will remain above the floor.

Bring a hardy lock

Just like in the changing room at the gym, your storage unit will need a lock that you control. Make sure it has a short elbow so someone, such as another storage unit renter, can’t simply snip it off with a pair of bolt cutters. (At Ayer Moving and Storage, we supply the lock for you.)

Bring packing materials

A storage unit isn’t just another room in your house where you can move objects, so don’t treat it like one. You need to prepare by bringing packing materials like thick sheets of flexible plastic, cardboard boxes and bubble wrap to make sure everything is protected. Be careful with wrapping things in old newspapers as the ink can come off.

Disassemble and stack high

The legs will come off most tables, so save space by breaking items down into easy-to-store segments. You can get the most out of your unit if you place items in safe, secure stacks, so bring some plywood or boards to place between layers of items to help make sure everything stays flat and firm.

Get organized

Leave an empty channel down the center of the storage unit so you can walk through the middle and access items without juggling too many objects. If items are in cardboard boxes, label them, especially if you plan to keep items in the storage unit for more than a few months. If you have something that could possibly leak fluids, like oil from a lawn mower, make sure you put them away or below items like clothing, furniture and sheets.

Check your insurance

Some homeowners’ insurance policies will cover items in a storage unit. Others won’t, so check your policy to see if you should purchase any insurance for your unit. You can also modify your homeowners’ insurance policy, or you can try to purchase one through the storage unit.

10 Tips to ensure a smooth and safe move in Winter

When planning a move during the winter months, keep these tips in mind to help ensure a smooth and safe move for all.

1) Keep an eye on the weather.

Winter can pay a surprise visit so be aware of any changing conditions that might impact your move.

2) Set aside winter supplies.

Pack a box to include gloves, hats and scarves, as well as an ice scraper and salt.  Keep this box in the car with you, along with a snow shovel.  If your driveway or walkways at your new house are snow covered, you’ll have what you need on hand.

3) Board the pets.

If you have pets, it is a good idea to board them during the move.  You don’t want them underfoot and with doors open, you don’t want pets to get out and go missing!  Moving is often an emotional trauma for pets, so it is best to bring pets to your new home when the household is calm and filled with familiar scents.

4) Let there be light (and heat).

Be sure that all utilities have been called well in advance so that the electricity and heat can be turned on a couple of days before move-in day.

5) Have a back-up plan.

Talk to your mover about a “Plan B” if a winter storm threatens your move.  Movers are used to winter weather conditions, but if a move must be postponed, you will want to have discussed this with your realtor, landlord, and the movers beforehand. The movers may be able to pick up your things, but not be able to deliver them to your new home.  If this is the case, you will need short-term accommodations.

6) Clear the way.

Make sure the sidewalks, walkways and driveways are cleared of snow and use salt or ice-melt so that the movers have clear and safe access to your home to move your belongings to the truck.

7) Plan your route.

Know how to get where you are going and check with the local authorities in the event of bad weather to be sure there are no road closures.  Know where overnight accommodations are located along your route should you need to stop.

8) Keep everything tidy.

Have old towels and paper towels on hand in the car so that you can wipe snow and/or rain off the boxes as they are being carried into your new home.  Be sure to have padding on the floors to soak up moisture from inclement weather.

9) Offer hot drinks.

Hot chocolate, tea and coffee will be most welcomed by everyone who’s helping with your move.

10) Prepare your car for winter.

Have your car winterized, topping up all fluids and checking the brakes and tires.  Be sure to put on snow tires just in case.  Carry extra windshield fluid as well.

If you have concerns about the weather on moving day, talk to your movers.  They have experience moving in all seasons
and can answer your questions.

What not to pack when moving

Moving is always an intimidating process. People have to pack everything they own into cardboard boxes and load them into the back of a large truck. It’s a colossal task

One thing to keep in mind is you shouldn’t put everything in that truck. There are some items that are too valuable or volatile to pack next to your socks and Lonesome Dove DVD. In general, you should avoid items that are:


Not just in terms of cash value, but of personal value to you. Irreplaceable items like photo albums, small heirlooms and your wedding video should be set aside and put in your personal vehicle for the move. Also things like cash, jewelry, legal documents and stocks and bonds are too valuable to place in the moving truck, which could be targeted by thieves.


Don’t load a moving truck with combustible materials like gasoline, matches, ammunition, paint thinners and aerosol cans because of the potential fire hazard. Also, be careful to exclude pressured containers like propane tanks, fire extinguishers and oxygen tanks. Hazardous chemicals like bleach, ammonia or car batteries should also be left behind. Contact your public works department for advice on how to safely dispose of them before you leave.


Some foods like canned green beans can certainly make the journey, but when you’re cleaning out your cupboard don’t try to chance it with items like frozen food in a cooler. You may get delayed or arrive too tired to unload and end up attracting insects or rodents. The same goes for produce, dairy products and anything in a breakable glass jar.

Moving is a big process and unfortunately, some materials simply won’t survive a long journey. Fortunately, most of those items are inexpensive and easily replaced and the risk of harming the rest of your stuff they present makes the decision to leave them behind an easy one.

Decluttering before you move

Chances are somewhere in your home is a big cup full of pens. Pens with business names, ballpoint tips, felt tips, clickable and capped pens, black and blue ink, and a few pencils. It’s usually a plastic cup, but it sometimes a large glass or a mug. Once in a while it’s a shallow box at the front of a drawer bursting with pens. Whatever the variations are, you probably have one right now.

Now imagine your life without that cup of pens.

We all accumulate little things here and there over time. A lot of those things are useful, but only up to a point or for very specific circumstances. The life you imagined without that cup of pens should not be any different because you would still have other pens to use.

However, when you move, every item adds weight and volume to your boxes, regardless of the item’s actual usefulness. That’s one of the many reasons generations of people have used moving time as a chance to get rid of excess stuff.

The trick is convincing yourself that you can get rid of perfectly good items, many of which you paid for with real money. Let that thought go and ask yourself if the item is doing you any good today, or if it’s just taking up space.

Here’s some more good questions to ask yourself: Do I have something else that does the same thing as this item? Do these clothes actually fit me anymore and how often do I actually wear them? When was the last time I used this thing? Is this a broken thing I said I’d fix but never did? If I lost this item would I even bother to replace it? Is this a nostalgic item I could take a digital photo of instead of keeping?

Try leaving your home and imagining that you lost everything and had to start over. Write down what you would need – everything from a toothbrush to a bed frame. Be specific, and add anything you would like to have, like your photo albums. When you get home look very hard at the items that you did not include. If you forgot about them, perhaps they’re not so important after all.

What you actually do with the excess stuff is up to you: Moving sales, Craigslist ads, donations to thrift stores and landfills are all popular choices (Usually in that order). The important thing is to get rid of it. In time, your place can look more like something from an interior design magazine with lots of free space and simple, clean rooms.