General Question

Jeruba's avatar

How do you find a home moving consultant who can help you plan a move?

Asked by Jeruba (55570points) April 4th, 2016

My husband and I want to relocate. We own our present home outright, but we’ve never bought a house together before. By now we’ve been in one place for so long—decades—that we have a huge amount of stuff to deal with (and purge), and we don’t know the best order of steps for purchasing and vacating. We pretty much don’t know anything except the area we want to live in, which is about 45 minutes’ drive from our present address.

Where do we start? How do we find someone who can help us plan? Where do we find honest muscle for the physical parts that we can’t handle? We’re not just talking about packing and loading; there has to be a lot of sorting and disposing, and we’re not physically up to it. We need lots of help.

First, though, we need information.

If you have relevant experience, or know how to find reliable support (and can give us a rough ballpark on cost), you could give us a major assist.

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20 Answers

janbb's avatar

I would start by looking for a good realtor in each of your buying and selling areas. After they look at your house and what needs doing, they should have some good ideas about what you need to sort out before getting it ready to show. I would imagine they would also have good leads on how to find workers to help with the sorting and clearing out.

canidmajor's avatar

A friend in her sixties recently did this, after 30 years in her house. I’ll ask her. May take a few days. What’s your time frame?

flutherother's avatar

There is a National Association of Senior Move Managers in the US. I’m sure a member company will give you all the help you need. They are a bit shy about quoting prices as they say every move is different and it depends on what exactly you are asking them to do.

CWOTUS's avatar

In my working career I’ve made at least 6 “whole house” coast-to-coast moves, and several others of temporary duration and “less than everything”. But my circumstances were probably quite different from yours. In each of those moves, the employer had moving policies that would essentially pay the whole cost of packing, loading, transporting and unloading at the destination. So there was no incentive (then) to winnow and limit as I would do now.

If I were doing this again – which I will, someday – and on my own nickel – which will also be the case – then I’ll do it differently.

In the first place, I will probably opt to donate or discard a lot of my old, large, heavy and not-worth-the-cost-of-the-move furniture: couches and most of the accumulated mattresses I’ve accumulated at the top of the list. (Then I’d plan to replace those as needed, and with suitable pieces, at the new location.) That saves a lot of cubic footage and weight, both of which are costly in the moving process.

I need the same help as you with “organization and winnowing”, so I have no good advice to offer there. I accumulate a lot, because I’m a saver, re-user and alternate-user, so where lots of people see “junk” I see “potential” – which is usually un-utilized, so “junk” is apropos. And books; I hate to give away books, and those are also expensive to move because of the accumulated weight. I expect that this may be difficult for you, too.

But before all of that, the thing that always helped the most in the process was making and using a checklist and schedule. On that I listed all of the services that I had to turn off / turn on, and when that should occur. That included making lists of vendors to stop automatic deliveries – and when – such as heating oil delivery, mail forwarding addresses (and notify the subscribers’ services of all periodicals to give them the new address as soon as possible, or forwarding costs for magazines and other non-first class mail can add up – or the mail just be lost entirely). At the same time, I’d be listing the vendors to turn “on” at the new location, and when that should happen: cable television, water and power, etc.

When we moved – family moves – one thing that was always vital was maintaining a “must have / first unpack” set of bags and boxes, and that usually traveled with us. That included most of the daily-use bathroom items, prescription medications, dried and unopened cans of pet food, a few days’ worth of suitable clothing, etc. Your needs will dictate what goes in those boxes for you.

As for the furniture that you will take with you, a lot of that can be disassembled (save and label all of the fasteners in sturdy bags attached to the items!) and readied ahead of the movers having to do it. Disassembling also helps you to reassemble at the other end if you want to reduce costs.

Dressers should be unpacked of clothing and the clothing boxed separately. You can pack bulky, non-breakable items in dresser drawers to save box space and so you’ll know where they are: pillows, for example, and kids’ stuffed toys make the dressers easier to move, weight-wise, and centralize those items. Quilts and fluffy blankets pack well in some dressers, too.

You can obtain tall “wardrobe boxes” from moving supply stores (U-Haul is a good source) which enable you to pack clothes on hangers as an alternative to folding and boxing. The box contains a “rod” at the top for the hangers. Very convenient.

If you’re going to take your heavy appliances: refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer, for example, you may need to schedule the gas company to come out to disconnect them if that applies for the stove and dryer, for example. Obviously you’ll need to clean out and empty and defrost the fridge well ahead of time. Make sure that glass shelves are removed, banded or taped together to strengthen the group, and packed separately.

As for hiring independent muscle, that I can’t really help with. It would not hurt to get some quotes from the professional moving companies in your area, which will give you a yardstick to measure others’ quotes against. I’d ask friends for recommendations. Surely you know the expression, that “A friend will help you move; a good friend will help you move – a body.” Got any good friends?

canidmajor's avatar

@flutherother: Thanks for the resource! I am at the age where numbers of people I know are doing this, this group might suit some of them. I’ll pass on the info.

picante's avatar

Congratulations on setting your course. This is a big and exciting change, and I likely have a recent experience that is similar enough to assist. I made a “big move” late last year, an effort that included significant downsizing and a far more complicated move than I would have chosen (two moves with interim storage).

I think a good realtor is critical. If you have a strong peer network in the area, please ask around. Others of similar age will likely have gone through the experience and have some recommendations for you. Our realtor was able to provide recommendations in all phases of our exhausting process. One of her specialties is assisting in the downsizing/retirement scenario.

Your realtor should have strong knowledge of the markets in which you wish to purchase and the area where you’ll be selling (I assume you’re selling your current home).

I needed to get rid of well over half of my worldly possessions, and I utilized the services of a professional organizer who was able to assist with the physical components as well as provide spiritual support with the trash/donate/sell/keep decisions. She also worked with several local charities and could deal with E-bay, for those items I desired to donate or sell. She got me well down the path of downsizing.

In the early stages of getting rid of a lifetime of “stuff,” I hosted a luncheon at my home, inviting friends and coworkers to what was billed as a “box lunch.” Their charge was to bring boxes. I provided lunch, lots of tissue paper and sealing tape, and I asked everyone to walk through my home and pick out things they wanted. With very few exceptions, items were for the taking with my permission. They only had to ask if they could have it.

Ditto for furniture – I had identified some things I wanted to keep, but everything else was available to my friends, simply for the asking and their ability to transport it to the new location(s).

As your realtor works with you in the sale of your home, he/she will likely want to stage the home for maximum appeal, and that process is going to force continued downsizing. You’ll pitch some hissy fits, but your interests will be best-served if you trust in his/her expertise.
Your realtor can likely recommend moving companies. You should get several bids and work through any special needs you have. The more they do, the more you’ll pay.

As to cost estimates – that will vary greatly depending on the many twists and turns your project will require. You should plan to spend a couple of thousand dollars with the organizer. The moving experience will likely run between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on the quantity of items you have and any special needs (and how much packing/unpacking you desire them to do; the $10,000 rather assumes they do everything – you just show up at the new house that is all unpacked for you). Your preparation to sell your home will likely be costly unless your home is in pristine condition (few are).

A wonderful realtor is the best decision you can make at this point; and he/she can assist with all the rest.

Best of luck!

Jeruba's avatar

So helpful already! Thank you so much. This is great. More information is still most welcome.

@canidmajor, we’re just, you might say, turning the key in the ignition. It’s been a year since we actually inserted the key, figuratively speaking, and then we had to have a long think. So right now we’re finally ready to get serious. One big question is if we’re going to kill ourselves with the exertion, in which case maybe we shouldn’t. Amount and kind of help is a huge factor there.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Wife and I are gearing up for that very thing. We have already de-cluttered and filled up an entire 10X15 storage unit with stuff. House on the market in a couple of weeks. The best planner for this is my friend Jack, he is from Lynchburg Tennessee and he has been very helpful. He has a way of easing anxiety and smoothing out all of the little bumps and my what-if fears. He even helped me setup a huge yard sale. He does travel and will be available to help, I don’t even need to ask him. I would not rely on him too much. He can cause problems if you let him stay around too long. You also find out who your real friends are when moving day comes, be sure you take notes because it says so much

canidmajor's avatar

I’ve got a sort-of 10 year plan, but the years just zoooop by.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@canidmajor haha us too. We have been “about ready to move” for like five years now.

JLeslie's avatar

Will you be moving furniture and other items that if they damage or break it will be extremely upsetting? Do you have many breakables? Many valuables you will be trusting to movers? I ask because executive moving companies (companies that to corporate relocations) protect your floors and wrap and pack up your household goods in a way that the average moving company doesn’t. They probably could help you sort and throw away things too, they do some of that during any move.

However, another option is to call a professional organizer if you need to sort and trash a lot of stuff. Here is a link to the national association of professional organizers if you want to search for one in your area. Possible, they can also help you set up a dumpster at your house, although you could also call your regular trash company for options. They may have dumpsters or be able to do large pick ups. A professional organizer will help you make decisions and how to store what you keep. If you don’t need someone like that, you can always do it yourself and hire a clean up company to remove everything you separate out to be thrown out. If there is some stuff worth money in what needs to be thrown a company that deals with estates might pay you and haul everything. Otherwise, you will be paying a company.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I didn’t get ten minutes to fix my typos. I hate that.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie: Thanks for that link, I’ve been kind of considering that possible option…

JLeslie's avatar

^^I’ve used professional organizers and it’s been well worth the money spent.

canidmajor's avatar

So, @Jeruba, it’s 2+ years later. Did you move? Did you stay? Are you still pondering the possibilities?

@ARE_you_kidding_me, what about you?

I seem to be no closer, but I do talk about it more. <eyeroll>

janbb's avatar

I think and talk about it too but so far, me and my poison ivy and fleas are pretty comfortable here!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

We moved and it was the best decision we have made as a couple. It has basically rekindled our marriage, brought us closer to our families and generally improved the quality of our lives. We did not realize how cramped and isolated we were in that small space away from everything.

canidmajor's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: You are my hero. I count it as a great triumph when I get a box of coffee mugs off to Goodwill. And books. I can box them up, but I can’t seem to get them out of my house!

JLeslie's avatar

I just got rid of two huge bags of clothes. It was difficult.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Oh, we have been accumulating “stuff” for our now two year old “new house.” We spend at least one day a week cruising yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores. Pretty well have it all furnished and decorated now.

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