moving

Sherry Brown, Professional Organizer

Prepare For Packing a Senior

If you decide to do some or all of the packing for your move yourself, it’s important to become familiar with the techniques that will best protect your possessions.

Here are a few general suggestions from that may make packing easier:

  • First pack items that aren’t used often or are out-of-season.
  • Start packing as soon as possible with help of family and friends.
  • Don’t pack any flammable items.
  • Use generous amounts of paper inside the carton on the top and bottom to provide good cushion.
  • List contents and room on the outside of the carton.
  • Clearly mark “Fragile” on the outside of cartons.
  • Use clean newsprint paper. Old newspapers work in some cases, but use carefully because the ink may rub off onto items.
  • Write “Open First” on cartons containing essential items such as cooking utensils, toiletries, etc.
  • Separate breakables and non-breakables.
  • Pack cartons tightly so items don’t shift.
  • Use professional packing tape. Masking tape isn’t strong enough to support fully packed cartons.

Moving for some seniors is one of life’s most difficult experiences. Leaving a home after 30, 40, or even 50 years of time is not only a physical change of place, but also often an emotional experience. Moving requires physical effort, mental sharpness for all those minute decisions, and lots of lots of energy. It can become completely overwhelming at the prospect of making decisions about so many things.

Using the services of a Senior Move Manager can lift the heavy burden from your shoulders. If you are considering a move for yourself or a loved one and need assistance, we are here to answer your questions.

12 Steps to Hiring a Mover

The process of finding a good mover can seem daunting. But doing a little research is worth it. By shopping around, you can save money (sometimes more than $1,000) and avoid scams. RealSimple.com has put together 12 steps to help you through the process. If you or a loved one is downsizing, Sherry Brown and Organizing This! Can help you through the process. Call today – 765-625-0480!

1.Get recommendations. Ask friends, coworkers, and local real estate agents. Look in the phone book for moving companies that have offices near your home. You’re going to want to get an in-person estimate of how much your move will cost. Don’t rely on any estimate that comes from someone who hasn’t looked in every one of your closets. Don’t assume that big-name companies are best. Do not get estimates through websites that offer to “find you a mover.” Find the mover yourself and avoid the numerous scams associated with some of these sites. And don’t use household-goods brokerage services that find a moving company for you―they are not regulated by the laws that movers must follow.

2. Do an initial screening. When you have a list of recommended movers, go online to do a quick background check (you can do a more thorough check later). Call or go to the website of the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org). You also can call or e-mail the American Moving and Storage Association (moving.org, 703-683-7410, info@moving.org) to see if a moving company is a member, which means it has agreed to abide by the organization’s published tariffs and to participate in its arbitration program. AMSA membership is voluntary. As long as a moving company checks out in all other ways, the fact that it is not a member shouldn’t rule it out.

Be sure to check the consumer-advocacy sites movingscam.com. Each of these has a blacklist of companies with a history of consumer complaints, as well as tips and general information about the moving industry. You can also do a search using the company name at Rip-off Report (ripoffreport.com).

3. You should end up with at least three or four companies to call for an in-home estimate. If you’re moving to another state, ask if the company will give you a written binding estimate or, even better, a binding not-to-exceed estimate. Both types of estimates put a guaranteed cap on what you will pay for your move. While nonbinding estimates are legal (as long as they’re given free), as the U.S. Department of Transportation moving guide warns, “You should expect the final cost to be more than the estimate.” And while interstate movers are allowed to charge you for binding estimates, most will offer them free. Estimates for interstate moves will be based on the weight of the items you’re moving and the distance of the move. For moves within the same state, rules about estimates vary: Some states (such as California) require that movers give a written and signed binding estimate; others (like Illinois) forbid them to. Either way, estimates for these movers are based on the amount of time the move will take.

Want a timeline to keep the hiring process on track? See the Moving Checklist.

4. When an estimator comes to your home, show him everything you want to have moved―in the closets, the backyard, the basement, the attic. If on your moving day the foreman believes you have significantly more stuff than was calculated in your estimate, he can “challenge” the original estimate (before everything is on the truck, not after). He can’t force you to pay a higher amount, but he doesn’t have to move your stuff for the original amount, either. And at that point you probably don’t have a lot of other options. Also, make sure the estimator knows about any conditions at your new home that might complicate the move, such as stairs, elevators, or a significant distance from the curb to the closest door. While the estimator is at your home, get as much information as you can about the company. Make sure it will be moving you itself, not contracting the job out to another mover. Find out how long the company has been in business. (You want one that’s been around a few years at least, and ideally 10 or more.) By the time the estimator leaves, you should have collected all of the following:

  • The company’s full name and any other names under which it does business.
  • The company’s address, phone numbers, and e-mail and website addresses.
  • Names and contact information for the company’s references.
  • USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) and MC (motor carrier) license numbers.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation booklet called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” Federal law requires any interstate mover to provide you with this guide, which is the official rule book of the interstate moving industry. (You can download a copy at dot.gov.) For in-state moves, movers are regulated by the state’s department of transportation or its public utilities or commerce commission. Some states publish their own moving-guide pamphlets.

5. Review the estimate. The estimate may be a combined document that, when signed by you and the moving-company representative, serves as your order for service and bill of lading, too. These, along with the inventory list created when your goods are loaded, are the basic documents any mover should provide you with. Make sure you see the words “written binding estimate” up top, as well as the mover’s signature with a date at the bottom. For an interstate move, the estimate should clearly describe the type and quantity of goods you’re shipping, the distance to your new home, when your things will be picked up and delivered, and any additional services (such as packing) and supplies the moving company is providing. If you want to purchase additional insurance from your mover (above the standard 60 cents a pound that the mover’s insurance covers), make sure you understand the costs and details of that coverage. For an in-state move, for which you can’t get a binding estimate, you should still get a written estimate that sets out the hourly rates and any additional costs you may incur (for supplies, tolls, driving time to and from the mover’s facilities). If you’re not sure about anything in the estimate, call and ask. And have the company send you a revised written estimate if necessary―don’t just take someone’s word for anything.

6. As you get estimates, collect them in a brightly colored (that is, hard-to-lose) moving folder. Keep this folder open in plain sight as later estimators come in. This shows them you’re doing your homework, which encourages them to be honest and perhaps give you a more competitive quote.

7. When you’ve gotten all your estimates in, compare the bids. Be wary of any company that comes in much lower than the others. Look at high bids to see where the extra costs are coming from. Call and ask questions if you don’t understand anything. If you have several reasonable-sounding bids from reputable companies, don’t be afraid to negotiate to get the best possible rate. Especially in a market where there’s lots of competition, most movers will work with you on pricing.

8. Now check out the contenders in more detail. Take the information you’ve gathered and get back online. First, make sure they’re incorporated in your state―and confirm how long they’ve been in business―by checking your secretary of state’s office. Some have searchable databases of businesses online; if not, call the number in the government pages of the phone book.

9. Next, make sure your moving company has the license and insurance it needs to move you legally. (Yes, there are movers who solicit business without the legal authority to do so.) Go to safersys.org, the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and enter the company’s USDOT number and click on “Search” (you can also search by name or MC number). If you have an accurate DOT number, you’ll be shown a screen with lots of information on the company. Here’s what to look for:

  • The company’s name, address, and phone numbers. Are they the same ones the company gave you?
  • The “Out of Service” field, at the upper left of the form, should say “No.”
  • The fields labeled “Power Units” and “Drivers” tell you how many trucks and drivers the company has. A company that claims to do 100 moves a month but has only two trucks deserves skeptical treatment.
  • Under “Operation Classification,” there should be an X next to “Auth. for Hire.”
  • Under “Carrier Operation,” if you are moving out of state, there should be an X next to “Interstate.”
  • Under “Cargo Carried,” there should be an X next to “Household Goods.”
  • Farther down, in the “Inspections/Crashes” section, you should be concerned if the company’s average is much higher than the national average shown. In the “Safety Rating” section, if there has been a review, the results should be “Satisfactory.”
  • At the bottom of the page, click on the “FMCSA Licensing & Insurance site” link. On the next page, click on either the “HTML” or the “Report” button under “View Details” to get to the “Motor Carrier Details” page. Under the column “Authority Type,” there are three listings: “Common,” “Contract,” and “Broker.” The “Authority Status” column to the right tells you if the company’s authority is active. At least “Common” should be listed as active, with “No” under “Application Pending.”
  • In the next table down, there should be a “Yes” under “Household Goods.”
  • The bottom table contains insurance information. A moving company is required to have both bodily-injury and property-damage (BIPD) insurance ($750,000 minimum) and cargo insurance filed. Under the heading “Insurance on File,” BIPD should be at least $750,000, and “Cargo” should say “Yes.”
  • You can also call the FMCSA to get information on the status of a company’s licensing (202-366-9805) and insurance (202-385-2423).

10. Finally, call the FMCSA’s Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 888-368-7238 (open 24/7) and ask about complaints against your moving company. And, if possible, go to the company’s address and check out the facilities in person.

11. Now you can select a mover. You should feel confident about any company you’ve run through the checks above. Confirm the dates and details of your move, and make sure you get a signed order for service and a bill of lading.

12. On moving day, get a written copy of the mover’s inventory list, provide the movers with specific directions for getting to your new home, and make sure you have a number where you can reach the movers throughout the move.

 

Parts of this article can be found at http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/moving/12-steps-hiring-mover

 

Downsizing Made Easy

Whether you’re an empty nester moving from a house into assisted living, or a renter trading in a two-bedroom for a apartment, you’ll need to say goodbye to some of your stuff. Worried about that? Don’t be. Sherry Brown from Organize This! Has nine easy tips to make downsizing easy!

Make a list of all the items you can’t live without; it will help you get rid of the things that didn’t make the list. “It’s hard to convince people they can’t take everything with them,” Sherry says. “But if you keep the things on your list, you won’t be upset about the things you can’t keep.”

Start getting rid of things at least three months before the move. Take some time each day, or one morning each week, to go through that cluttered closet or overflowing drawers. “Paper is a real downer,” Sherry says, so tackle it a little at a time. The same goes for photos, which require a lot of attention.

Get a feel for the size of your new rooms by comparing them to rooms of similar dimensions in your present home.For instance, your living-room-to-be might be roughly the same size as your current bedroom. You may think you can squeeze in two sofas, but this kind of reality check could help you realize that only one will fit comfortably.

Heavily edit areas with items that don’t have as much sentimental value.Take the kitchen, for example; most people don’t need 10 mixing bowls and won’t get teary-eyed over losing a second spatula. If you’re downsizing from a house to an apartment, work on the garage. Snow shovels, rakes, lawn mowers – not your worry anymore!

Don’t throw anything in the trash. Recycle, reuse, sell and donate instead. As tempting and easy as it is to pitch wire hangers, musty clothes and shabby furnishings, be environmentally responsible and find a home for everything. A can of Comet with a few shakes of powder left could make someone else’s sink sparkle if you don’t want it; consider giving supplies to a shelter, neighbor or cleaning lady.

Create and label three bins – Keep, Sell and Donate(bins should be manageable when full). For the average downsize, keep only one-third to one-half of your belongings, says Sherry.

Get an objective opinion.If you just can’t make a decision on whether to keep or get rid of that ratty old chair, Sherry says, “It’s good to have have an honest friend who will say, ‘Oh, please, you never use that!'” It might just be the kick you need.

Use floor plans to prearrange your furniture before the move. To start, draw plans if you don’t have any, and sketch in a furniture layout. Remember which way doors open. Then look at the plans realistically; if you’ve crammed in side tables, armoires and chairs, you need to edit more. Don’t wait until after you move to contend with furniture you’ll just end up tripping over.

Once you get to the packing stage, use a color-coded system to organize all of your boxes. Choose a color for each room and mark the boxes destined for that room with a coordinating color sticker. You can also do the same thing numerically; for example, if room No. 1 is the kitchen, then all boxes marked No. 1 will go there. A simple and efficient organizing idea to make the move that much easier!

Tips for Moving in Winter

Indiana hasn’t had much of a winter this year, but you know the old saying, “Stick around a few minutes and it will change.” So to be prepared, Organize This! Found this article on “Tips for Moving in Winter”.

While winter is a great time to move (i.e., it’s cheaper and an easier time to rent a moving truck or hire movers, see: Best Time to Move), you need to be aware of possible moving issues so that you can avoid them before they occur. Here are my suggestions for moving during the winter.

Get Your New Home Ready for the Cold Weather Move

Before moving day, it’s a good idea to check with the real estate agent or the rental property manager of your new home to ensure the place is ready for you on moving day.

  1. Make sure you have heat and lights. This is a task you don’t want to forget to do. You should ensure that all utilities have been set-up and are fully functioning. I suggest having the heat and hydro turned on a couple of days before your arrival just to make sure everything is functioning and that the house is warm for the day you move in. While this is true for anytime that you move, regardless of the season, it’s even more important when the cold winds are blowing and the days are much shorter and darker.
  2. Clear the snow from walkways. Make sure the walks and sidewalks are clear in front of your new home. If you’re moving locally, it’s a good idea to visit your new place the day before the move in date to make sure the walkways are clear and free of ice. If needed, salt or sand the area. If you’re moving to another town or city and can’t visit your new home prior to the move-in date, have your agent or property manager check the area for you.
  3. Check that parking area and/or lane-ways are clear. Regardless of what time of year you move, you should always ensure there’s parking available for the moving truck. This may mean negotiating with your new neighbors, or hiring someone (or doing it yourself) to clear the back lane-way or driveway of snow.

Prepare Your Old Home for Moving Out

  1. Clear snow. Make sure sidewalks, walkways and driveways are free of snow. Use salt or sand to ensure areas are free of icy and slippery conditions. Parking area should also be cleared with ample room for movers to use dollies. Check the area first thing on moving day just in case it snowed overnight or that conditions changed.
  2. Protect inside space. Use large pieces of cardboard or plastic sheeting to ensure high traffic areas are protected from snow, sand and water. If your floors can withstand heavy duty tape (test in a corner spot first), tape plastic sheets to the floor. Cardboard works best for carpeted areas as small tacks can be used to secure it to the floor. Experiment first before the movers arrive.
  3. Keep sand/salt and shovels on hand. It’s a good idea to stock up on winter supplies in case your vehicle or the moving truck becomes stuck or it starts to snow. Throughout the move, you should be monitoring conditions and acting on any changes as needed.
  4. Have hot drinks on hand. Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring movers, make sure you have hot liquids available. Hot chocolate, tea and coffee will be most welcomed by everyone who’s helping with your move. Extra mittens and hats are a good idea, too.
  5. Keep an eye on the weather. While this seems like common sense, on moving day you’ll be so wrapped up in the move that you may forget that conditions might change. Check the weather well in advance of moving day, then follow it closely right up until the movers arrive. If there’s a possibility of inclement weather, keep the radio on during the move to ensure you’re receiving the latest updates.

What If a Storm Blows In?

  1. Have a back-up plan. If a winter storm is threatening your move, make sure you have a back-up plan in case you need to reschedule your move. If you’ve hired movers, talk to the company to see what their policy is in terms of winter conditions. Some movers are used to winter weather and may not be willing to postpone the move. If the movers do want to postpone, make sure you speak to your real estate agent or landlord to see if you can stay a few extra days. Typically, if you’re not able to move out, no one is able to move in, either. But arrange this ahead of time. If you can’t negotiate extra days, speak to the movers about your options. They may be able to still pick up your things, but not deliver them to your new home. If this is the case, you’ll need short-term accommodation.
  2. Plan your travel route carefully. Know your travel route and make sure you contact the local authorities to determine if highways are open and safe to travel on. Each state or province has a phone number and website to check with regular updates provided. You should also know the location of overnight accommodation in case you need to stop.
  3. Get your car serviced and have all the necessary equipment with you. Make sure you have your car winterized, including all fluids topped up, and tires and brakes checked. It’s a good idea to carry chains (if allowed) and know how to put them on quickly. Practice in your garage before you leave. You should also carry a gas can, extra windshield fluid, and salt or kitty litter (works great if you get stuck). Have a good snow shovel, emergency blanket and membership to a roadside assistance service, too.
  4. Have an emergency contact list with you. Make sure you have all the necessary phone numbers with you, including roadside assistance, highway patrol and a number for reports on highway conditions. You should also ensure that someone who isn’t moving with you has a copy of your travel plans. Make a call-in schedule with that person so they’ll know where you are and when you should be arriving.

Article can be found at http://moving.about.com/od/youremovingnowwhat/a/Tips-For-Moving-In-Winter.htm