4 Simple Tips for Unpacking After Your Move

You made it. Everything was packed, loaded, unloaded, and the movers sent on their way. The hard part is over. Or is it? You’re in your new space, surrounded by boxes, and the sight can be overwhelming. Below are a few tips to make this next step in the moving process go smoother.

Packing Moving Boxes Continue reading


Plan Your Entire Move Online With These Tools

I put in a lot of hours over the last few weeks, shoulder to shoulder with HireAHelper CEO Mike Glanz and teammates Ryan and Victoria, piecing together a list of all the free web tools available that make planning a move online easier than ever. Everything from change of address help and mail forwarding to self-storage and truck rental reservations can be handled online, believe it or not. Well, the day has come! The list is complete and we were honored to see it published on Monday to the Huffington Post! If you or your friends are moving soon we hope it helps you find everything you need. Leave a comment or tweet at us if something you needed isn’t covered on that list – we probably know where to find it.

As always, you can find me on Google + as Daniel Horning.

How Should I Prepare For My First Move?

First time moving? Awesome. I’ve moved a few times and luckily the excitement of the next, new phase makes up for all the work involved in moving process! The one good thing about having a few moves under my belt is that I now have a pretty good idea of how to prepare and what to expect. Hopefully the lessons I learned the hard way will benefit you in some small way.


Start Early – Financial

The first thing I would say is to begin planning ahead by a couple months. Start putting away some extra cash for the expense.  Moving is not cheap, even if you handle all the labor yourself. When you move into a new place, there are tons of fees like your new rent payment and deposit as well as all the other deposits required for the electric, gas, and internet companies. And if you’re not doing all the labor yourself, consider the cost of your movers and rental truck. Start your research of moving labor and trucks early so you can budget enough to get it all done.

Assess Your Needs: If you will need help loading and unloading your truck, how many movers and how much stuff do you have to load? And if you don’t happen to own a moving truck, how large of a truck will you need to rent? These two things are the main issues to consider when planning this aspect of your move.  Here are two sweet help guides from Hireahelper if you have no idea what you will need:

Truck Size Guide

Labor Guide

Unexpected costs: Once you figure out how many movers and what size truck you’ll need, you can begin to think about all the other costs that are often after thoughts! For instance, make sure to ask your mover what kind of fees they charge for insurance, packing materials, and other fees for flights of stairs and carrying loads to your truck if you can’t get your truck right by the front door. These questions will help you get a full picture of exactly how much everything will cost, instead of being surprised by extra fees later on. By getting a jumpstart on saving for your move, you won’t have to stress about the costs at the time of your move!

boxes boxes

Start Early – Packing

Another thing you can start about a month in advance is packing prep. Think of the materials you’ll need – boxes, paper/cloths/peanuts used to keep breakables safe, markers for labeling, packing tape, etc. Plot out how you will pack and organize your things. Packing things up according to rooms is a great way to organize. Box and label. No matter how big or small of a place you have, it always seems to take longer than you think. So give yourself time and invite a friend or two to help! Crank the music and get started. As you begin packing and organizing, you’ll probably run across things you haven’t used in a year (or five). If you can let go of these things, you just have that much less to pack and carry! Moving is a great time to purge.


Create a Checklist and Timeline

In the beginning stages, creating a checklist and timeline will help keep you organized through the process. You can list hiring movers and even include each room and the goal for when you want it to be packed by. Setting up a timeline will help you maintain some sanity as you go.

Here are a few things you don’t want to forget on your list: Call the electric, gas, internet, phone, satellite/cable companies to switch your address. You don’t want to be without electricity at your new place or continue to receive a bill at your old residence. These aren’t difficult things to do but they are easily lost in the shuffle. Write them down on your “to do” list.  In addition to those changes, make sure you call any other important companies to let them know about your change of address – Post Office, magazines/newspapers, insurance companies, and anything else you can think of.  Fill in the blank! Or, if that sounds too time consuming or complicated, checkout Updater.com. They offer a service that changes your address and updates any subscription services you have with your new address.


Survival Kit!

Last, but not least, make sure you pack a survival kit for your first week at your new place. Unless you are superhuman, you probably won’t unpack all your things the very day you move in. So pack a couple suitcases or boxes of everything you’ll need during those first few days – daily vitamins, a pillow, blankets, clothes, phone charger, laptop, alarm clock, toiletries, silverware, plate, glass, and snacks (unless you plan to eat out until you unpack kitchen items!). I’m sure you can add to this “necessities” list! Everyone has their own specific list of needs.  Like for me, I would need my nespresso machine and a coffee cup!

These are the few things I’ve learned about packing and moving over the years. I’d love to hear the things you’ve learned from your own moves! What is the top tip you’ve picked up about moving? Share them below!

About the Author: Victoria grew up in rural Nebraska but has lived in Iowa, Hawaii, China, and Montana. She aspires to move somewhere warmer after grad school! At the moment, she works for HireAHelper and lives vicariously through her co-workers who live in Southern California.

(Photo Courtesy: Peretz Partensky, 401(K) 2012, Becky Stern, Chris Potter, and Jeff Keyzer

Where to Get Free Moving Boxes

I recently had a friend ask me where the best places are to pick up free moving boxes. If you’ve ever had to move before, you know what it’s like to hunt down boxes for everything.  No one ever KEEPS their boxes from the last time because there is never room for a million boxes!  I did a bit of thinking and researching to come up with eight categories of where you’ll have the best luck.


1. Social Mediasocial media

First, access your social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Throw out a quick blip about needing moving boxes. Chances are that someone in your area just moved and would be happy to have you pick up their boxes rather than having to break them all down and hall them to the dump!



2. Local Grocery & SupercentersThis Wal-mart sells paddleboats!

Next, try local grocery and super centers. Walmart, Target, and your local grocery stores go through countless boxes each day. Make a list of those closest and give them a call before driving all around town. You may not have to look any farther!




3. Liquor Storesliquor crates

If you’re still not having any luck, there are still several places left to call. Liquor stores are a good place to check out because they use sturdy boxes so the glass bottles don’t break! Again, I’m sure most employees would be happy to give the boxes away rather than taking the time to break them all down!




4. Coffee ShopsStarbucks

Coffee shops are another good place to check out, as they are constantly receiving shipments of syrup bottles and other merchandise. Call your local Starbucks or Caribou store to see when a good time would be to come in.




5. Book Storesbooks

This was not an idea that came to mind right away but it makes perfect sense. Have you ever had to move boxes of books?  It only takes one time to learn that A) books should be packed in SMALL boxes and B) those boxes better be darn sturdy. So, like liquor stores, book stores are definitely a good place to find sturdy boxes.



6. Apartment Complexesapartments

If you live in a fairly large city, there are likely people moving around all the time. Apartment complexes would naturally have new people coming in and therefore needing to get rid of their used boxes. Call or stop by these different complexes and ask if there are any you can have.



7. Office Supply Stores and Newspapers

paper boxes

I grew up in a Newspaper family and we had tons of people coming to us over the years asking for used boxes. All paper reams come in sturdy boxes, typically with handles and lids. In my opinion, they’re only one grade down from plastic bins! Office supply stores obviously sell the same merchandise and so have the same type of boxes. These are the best boxes!



8. Online Resourceswww

Finally, you can search Craigslist and FreeCycle for local areas and people who have free boxes. As always, use caution and common sense when meeting people through sites like these. They can be fantastic resources when used wisely!

I hope this makes the process a little bit easier on those of you facing a big move. It’s a lot of work but having the inside scoop can lighten the load! I am also uploading a checklist sheet for you as you search local spots for your boxes. It is at the bottom of this page.


And if you happen to be an expert mover, please feel free to share some of your secrets to finding free boxes in the comments below.



About the author: Victoria is currently a grad student studying in Nebraska and working part time for Hire A Helper. She loves music, road trips, and reading.

(Photo courtesy: Jason A. Howie, Amit Patel, Raymond Shobe, Marco Pakoeningrat, Grand Canyon NP, Greg Goebel, Medil DC, and Chris RubberDragon).