‘Move For Hunger’ Saved 2.4 Million Pounds of Food From People Moving in 2017

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Move For Hunger is a charitable organization dead-set on fighting two unbelievable stats: 42 million Americans (many children) are food insecure, and 40% of all food grown, processed and transported in the United States is wasted.

Move For Hunger recently released their annual report. Inside, it dissects the way both of those statistics are being brought down simply by

connecting the dots. What they target hits home for us as, unfortunately, a huge chunk of food loss occurs during peoples’ moves. From Adam Lowy, their executive director:

Our network, which now includes 840 moving companies, delivered 2.4 million pounds of food last year, more than we ever have before. We organized a record number of food drives, which helped to raise awareness about hunger in hundreds of communities all across the United States and Canada. We launched our Apartment Community Program, and provided thousands of renters in Seattle and San Francisco with the opportunity to donate their food when they move. And, in the final days of December, we recorded another major milestone by delivering our 10 millionth pound of food.

To recap their 2017, that’s:

  • 840+ movers now contributing
  • 300,000 pounds of food going to victims of hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico
  • 4,899 pounds of food saved from apartment communities
  • 4,536 pounds of food saved from corporate housing
  • 204,153 pounds of food from racing events

All of that good comes in addition to the plethora of personal donations that have come their way, both of food and currency. And the best part about helping them to connect the dots is that you have to do next to nothing to join in. Just ask your mover if you can donate the extra food from your pantry.

You can check out this video to see how Move For Hunger works.

How to Survive Driving a Rental Truck in the Snow

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Driving a car through snow and ice ain’t no one’s idea of a picnic. You have to watch your speed. You have to constantly glance in your mirrors. You’ve got to stash the phone away and keep a careful eye out for all the death-defying maniacs out there. (You people in the northeast understand.)

Now, if driving your regular car into the teeth of winter’s fury makes you feel like you’ll never see another spring, imagine how it’s going to feel piloting that rental truck. The weight of your entire material world leaning and swaying behind you as you roll down those same icy roads and onto the unforgiving highway.

Maybe you’re absolutely obligated to move now. Maybe you just think it’s time. Either way, across much of the country the elements can be snarling. Before you load up and put that rental truck in gear, make sure you have all the supplies (and do what you need to do) to make it safely to your new home.

Stuff You Should Have

Here’s a list of essential items. It may seem long, but I’ve needed every single one of these at some point in my long moving career.

  • Good boots
  • Warm clothes—and bring extra everything.
  • Sunglasses (Hats do nothing for you when the sun is reflecting off the snow all over the ground.)
  • Food, water and a first aid kit
  • Flashlight, batteries and blankets
  • Ice scraper
  • Toolkit with basic tools
  • Matches in a plastic bag
  • Wiper fluid, windshield de-icer and a jug of anti-freeze

Additional Emergency Equipment

  • Shovel
  • Bag of sand
  • Set of jumper cables
  • Tow straps

And while getting all this stuff together may seem like a hassle, keep in mind: these things aren’t necessarily just for you. Having them may just mean you save another driver’s day.

Protip: If you are stuck in a snowdrift and need traction to get out, sand is what you want. Rock salt is meant to melt snow, not provide traction. So unless you’re willing to hang around and wait for that rock salt to do its chemical reaction thing, make sure you get some sand.

Maintenance You Should Get

Truck rental places don’t always have their stuff in order, so before you drive off the rental truck lot, make sure all these things are done:

  • Check the anti-freeze and wiper fluid (don’t trust that it’s been done for you). If they’re low, get it taken care of
  • Make sure your truck is properly stocked with spare tire, a jack and a tire iron (You’d be surprised.)
  • Flares and those reflective triangles are critical in the event you break down on the road at night. Your rental truck company may not supply them (Flares, by the way, can also be used to start a fire in an extreme situation, while reflectors become even more important if and when your flares go out.)

Also, are you in a snowy and mountainous region? Tire chains are recommended or, sometimes, required. Check this resource for a state-by-state rundown.

Stuff You Should Remember

  • Drive extra slow. Your loaded rental truck is not going to stop on a dime 
  • Leave extra room ahead of you—Other drivers will try to stop on a dime
  • Be extra aware of icy spots, snow build-up, and drivers who are paying attention to none of it
  • Keep your lights and your mirrors clear of ice, frost and fog (Trust me.)
  • Keep your gas tank no emptier than half full – low fuel levels can lead to water condensation in the fuel line
  • Keep your power usage to a minimum. Cold weather decreases a battery’s output, and when it’s freezing out you’re going to want all the power you can get
  • Keep up to date with future weather conditions and forecasts. Clear weather now doesn’t mean blue skies forever

Final Must-Do’s

  • Make sure you have a mobile phone charger that adapts to whatever type of outlet you have in your truck. When you’re really stuck, that phone might be your last resort. Consider keeping an extra phone, fully-charged, on hand for twice the security
  • Any kind of map is critical. Whether it’s a road atlas or a GPS, be able to determine where you are and where you are going. Know your route as best you can before you even get into that seat

And finally … have a clear head. Be relaxed, be awake and stay alert. Your smarts and your reflexes are your first and best defenses in the face of winter’s fury.

For a New York Mover, a New Form of Payment Accepted: Bitcoin

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The Roadway Moving Company in New York has a new question for their customers:

“Would you like to pay by cash, credit card or Bitcoin?”

From this Business Insider report, it sounds as though Roadway is not the very first moving company to begin accepting payment in Bitcoin. Apparently, there are others, which points to the birth of a new trend in the moving industry.

Roadway owner Ross Sapir (yup, the very same Ross Sapir) says the acceptance and use of Bitcoin is a sign of advancement and progress. He points to several advantages in using the cryptocurrency, including

  • Safety – Bitcoin transactions don’t involve personal, identifying information.
  • No third-party involvement – meaning no banks or other institutions to get in the way of – or extract fees from – the transaction.
  • Low fees – lower than using credit cards or other forms of virtual payment.
  • Untaxed purchases – with no identifying information tied to transactions, they cannot be traced and therefore cannot be taxed.

“We as a company are always looking to be the leader in providing the newest and most advanced services to our client,” Sapir tells us. “I’m confident that this form of currency will soon be mainstream in the moving industry and I’m thrilled to be leading the charge into this new era.”

If you want to start using and accepting Bitcoin, or just want to learn more, this is a good place to begin if you want to take the plunge like they are.


Cover photo by Alister & Paine Magazine

What I Learned Moving at the End of My Second Trimester

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Moving while pregnant is an adventure! When my husband and I found out the exciting news that we were expecting a baby, our first thoughts were obviously to be beyond thrilled and extremely grateful. Can you tell?

However, soon after the initial news that we were having a precious baby boy, we discovered a house for sale in our dream neighborhood, which then immediately prompted us to put our current house on the market. The sellers of our dream house accepted our offer and within 48 hours, we also accepted an offer on our current home, which we had lived in and loved for the past five years.

All while we had planned to do nothing other than being pregnant!

This series of somewhat unexpected developments was a complete whirlwind and still has us looking at one another thinking, “Oh boy! What just happened?!” That was quickly followed by, “How are we going to do this?”

Luckily, we managed to do it all. Yep, I accomplished moving while I was pregnant.

Overwhelmed by the thought of moving while pregnant? I was too.

Baby on the way—check!

New house in our dream neighborhood—check!

Moving while pregnant … eek! 

I didn’t exactly see that coming. And I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of tackling a move with a baby on the way. For the record, I was in my second trimester when I began planning for my move, heading rapidly towards my third trimester.

Spending the final months leading up to our first child packing, moving, unpacking, and renovating was overwhelming to me. But life happens and I had no choice but to make the best of it. And I’m here to report that I survived! I learned a lot along the way.

I turned out not to be completely useless while helping.

My biggest fear when I found out we were moving while I was pregnant was that I wouldn’t be able to help with anything! For context, I’m a “Type A” personality who enjoys being busy. A surprising source of stress? The thought of leaving my husband with our entire to-do list while I sat back and watched was extremely stressful!

But I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was far from useless during this time.

My husband and I worked out a system where he would build the boxes, I would organize, pack and label the boxes, then he would stack them all up. Packing was a total team effort, which made me feel productive and my husband was genuinely grateful for my help.

Yes, I made sure to take care of my body, take it slow and avoid lifting heavy boxes during the process, but honestly, I was fully capable of just about everything else. If you find you might be moving while pregnant, one solid teammate might be the only thing you need.

Me on moving day.

Moving day was also a stressor for me because again, I felt like I was going to be totally in the way. I’m happy to report ladies that once again, I was wrong! We opted for a Hybrid Move, which is hiring movers and renting a truck separately to save a lot of money. I was fully capable of picking up the U-Haul and driving it all day. So although I couldn’t lift heavy boxes, I absolutely was contributing in a big way by driving the truck.

I was also able to help oversee the move by organizing which boxes and furniture ended up where. It turned out that it was really helpful having one point-person that wasn’t carrying boxes, but rather solely focused on making sure everything ended up in the spot we had planned.

Plus, getting each box into the correct room was super helpful towards keeping me involved in the unpacking process. I highly recommend this point-person/direction technique, pregnant or not! I didn’t have to bring a certain box to a specific room for unpacking, which meant the boxes were already there, which made getting set up in our new house a lot more efficient!

Hiring movers ended up being necessary.

Although I felt like I contributed a lot before, during and after moving day, I don’t want to give anyone an unrealistic expectation that you’ll be able to do everything on your own, given how intense moving a home truly is. I can honestly say that hiring Helpers as a part of our Hybrid Move was the best investment we could have ever made, pregnant or not. We needed them that day and appreciated their help more than we could have ever anticipated.

Having them to do all of the heavy lifting took the responsibility off of my husband, but it also kept me from feeling bad about not being able to help him with the big stuff. Our Helpers were able to pick up all of our stuff from the old house and bring it to our new house in less than three hours!

My husband and I weren’t stressed at all, which made the process a lot more enjoyable and probably kept the baby healthier. I would definitely recommend hiring help, regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not. But if you are expecting a little one, I have firsthand experience that this is money well spent.

Leaving my old home was harder than I thought it was going to be.

Okay, I blame this part on my pregnancy a little. But in all actuality, the emotional roller coaster that came with leaving our old house will probably be the case for many of you even if you aren’t pregnant. Leaving our old house for the last time was a lot harder than I ever expected.

My husband and I bought this house when we got married and I guess I always pictured we’d someday bring our baby home here. But we were already outgrowing this 1,000 square foot house well before we got the exciting baby news.

Cue all the tears here!

I guess the baby was the excuse we needed to finally make the move. But that still didn’t make leaving this house any easier, and whatever your own circumstances are, it might not be easy for you either. The good news is that the sadness didn’t last too long because there were exciting things ahead.

Starting fresh was amazing.

Those exciting things? Starting a new journey by preparing the new house for your new family! The nesting phase is no joke and may come at the perfect time if you’re pregnant and moving, like me.

I’ve been able to get so much done in the new house because of the baby deadline that is coming closer. Sure, setting up a new house is a ton – especially while pregnant –  but I’m feeling a constant fire under me to get as much done as possible so we’re settled in before the baby arrives.

Of course, I still need to be conscious of my body’s limits, and you should be too. I’m working hard to stay busy throughout my second and now third trimester. Thanks to all that hard work, I survived moving while being pregnant and now I am so thankful we were able to get the move out of the way before the baby comes. Now I can’t wait to invite our new baby into our new home!

Want Your Stuff in Self-Storage to Be Safe? Here’s What You Need to Ask

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Imagine you’re standing outside a self-storage facility. What do you see in front of you? Thick-walled buildings with metal doors bolted and locked up tight? Security cameras? Access code keypads? A tall fence with iron spikes? Heavy front gates and a sign warning would-be burglars about the 24-hour surveillance system?

All self-storage facilities have … some of this stuff. Some places have all of it and even more, providing maybe some peace of mind to anyone storing there.

That’s the idea anyway. But that’s not how it always works.

Colorado’s KDVR News tells us that a certain Denver-area self-storage facility has been burglarized at least fifteen times since January of 2017. That’s right, fifteen! (Which is exactly how many games the Cleveland Browns have won since January of 2013.) From the report,

“In many of the cases, the locks had been cut off and people renting the units weren’t aware their things had been stolen until Public Storage alerted them.

One renter told us he lost everything from leather chairs to sports equipment in February while another renter even lost her deceased parents ashes.

Another man lost $8,000 in items.”

The facility in question? They have iron gates that will not open without the required code. They have surveillance cameras in place. Some of the units are located along the interior corridors of the restricted-access building, providing an even extra layer of security.

So how does even one theft occur, let alone fifteen thefts?

For starters, in at least one instance the facility’s security cameras were, according to the police reports, “not plugged in.” In many instances, the locks on the doors to the burglarized units had been cut, which requires nothing more sophisticated than a stout pair of bolt cutters.

But come on … fifteen times?

We see two possible explanations. Someone who is renting a unit, and therefore has the necessary codes to get into the place, is going in at night (or maybe even the middle of the day) and popping other people’s locks. Assuming the facility’s management is interested in putting a stop to things, they would have checked their security footage and shared what they saw with the authorities.

In terms of that place in Denver, according to KDVR’s report, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Which leads us to our second possibility: the series of thefts could just be an inside job by anyone from a low paid employee to a corrupt head of the company.

No, we don’t have proof of either of these happening at the facility in question, and we aren’t making any direct accusations here. Maybe there are a couple of guys out there who are really good at hopping fences and slipping into locked buildings – and then slipping back out and hopping back over the fence carrying their loot which, in one of those cases, included leather chairs. I’m just saying.

So how can we protect our stored belongings when we don’t even know who we’re protecting it from?

The simple answer to how to best protect yourself is to eliminate as many potential culprits as humanly possible. Look for these things in mass in a self-storage facility:

  • Serious exterior security
  • High fences with iron spikes
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Code-controlled gates and doorways

But even these offer varying degrees of security. Questions to consider include: Do the cameras record grainy still-shots of moving objects or HD video resolution? Is the footage monitored in real time by a human being (who is not sleeping) or does it just get stored somewhere until a theft has already occurred? Are the codes for the gates and doorways changed regularly? Is each customer assigned a unique code to detail who has come and gone when?

You should even ask if a facility records the license plates of vehicles entering and exiting the premises, or whether they check photo IDs of people on their way in. Also, is there is a backup power supply for all those codes and cameras in case of an outage? Don’t be shy about asking such questions. These are things you are paying money for and need to know.

What else should I know?

Other important variables (which you don’t even have to ask about) include

  • If the facility is well-lit at night
  • If the facility is located in a higher-crime area
  • What the surrounding environment consists of, such as, does it stand in developed suburbia or out in a landscape of abandoned lots and industrial parks?

There are also things you can do yourself to decrease your chances of being victimized. Using a lock the facility provides may be convenient, but your better bet is to get your own lock. Law enforcement types and criminals alike will tell you that a padlock is no match for the well-equipped thief. A disc lock or a cylinder lock (if the facility can accommodate one) is much more difficult to cut.

While we don’t recommend it, if you must put certain valuable or irreplaceable items into storage, put them in the rear of your unit to make them less visible and thus less vulnerable. And for the protection of everything you are storing, be aware that while a self-storage provider may offer some kind of coverage against fire, flood or catastrophe, they are under no legal obligation to do so. What’s more, they will, by and large, refuse to be held accountable for any loss due to theft. Most facilities will require renters to have their own insurance policy for their belongings, but your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, even if it covers stored items, may not allow for reimbursement for items damaged by mold, mildew or infestation, regardless of who may be at fault.

And finally, do a little searching at home.

A quick Internet query may turn up some bad news about the self-storage facility that looked so good in person. Now, whether one incident at this or that place may not be grounds for outright rejection in your book. That’s your call. But fifteen thefts in ten months?

You might want to keep on searching.

The Hard Numbers Behind the Self-Storage Explosion

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NEWS FLASH!! The self-storage business is BOOMING!!

Okay, this is hardly news to anyone in or around the moving industry. Still, the latest numbers are staggering, which means a lot of you out there are probably noticing the trend in your day-to-day operations.

SpareFoot recently reported the construction of new storage facilities exceeded $1.9 billion in 2016. That’s a lot of money spent to store a lot of stuff. But that was just a warm-up. In only the first eight months of 2017, self-storage construction surpassed $2.27 billion – which translates into over three billion dollars worth of new self-storage units being built this year alone.

So what does a few billion dollars of storage look like? Simply Self Storage quotes Statistic Brain in telling us that, as of September 2016, there were 2.3 billion square feet of storage space in the U.S. “That’s equal to 82,5 square miles,” they say, which is about the size of Las Vegas.

With all the construction happening this year, that total area will probably stretch halfway to the Hoover Dam.

Meanwhile, there are 164 projects in some stage of development totaling 9 million new square feet of space in the Dallas area alone. This is a bit of a head-scratcher, since Dallas, according to this Self Storage Construction and Development Analysis, has already reached over-supplied status in half of its districts. (Interestingly, so has Vegas.)

More eyebrow-raising is the fact that the five metro areas seeing the most development in 2017 – Dallas, Miami, New York, Houston, Atlanta – account for a whopping 40% of all construction happening nationwide. With four of these five cities considered over-supplied (Miami is the only one not yet statistically saturated), you might start to wonder, “Why all the new facilities?”

Ben Vestal, who authored the abovementioned analysis, says in his introduction that there are still areas within these over-supplied markets that are ripe for successful new projects.

Perhaps time – and next year’s reports – will tell us where the recent self-storage building binge is taking us.

If you’d like to know more regarding the self-storage industry – real juicy stuff, like growth patterns across the US over decades, costs and operating expenses for a facility – check out this comprehensive report by the Self-Storage Association.

But despite all the construction and all the information, one thing remains constant: At the core of the industry are the people who need space for their stuff. People who may be our customers. Or maybe potential customers. If you run a moving company, it pays to know where your local storage facilities are – and who is running them.

Meet the World’s Most Expensive Movers

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Tired of hearing about how expensive it is to move? “Why is there a charge for shrink wrap?” “I shouldn’t have to buy more boxes, you guys should fit everything in the ones out in the garage!” “What do you mean furniture pads aren’t free?!”

Well, believe it or not, there is a cure for these experiences. Their names are Stephanie, Sara and Cassio, and apparently, they are more than happy to pay all kinds of extra charges for what they are being told is a “white-glove move”.

Courtesy of the New York Times, here are some examples of what this white glove mover service in New York City is willing to help you out with.

  • $150 extra per move for a special “low-noise” box tape: For people who “don’t like the screeching sound of regular packing tape.” (Bonus guarantee: If the low-noise tape runs out, someone will hold their white-gloved hands over your poor delicate ears for you.)
  • $180 per hour (!) to figure out your move: That means they’ll do “…everything from taking an inventory of your home, to creating a budget and interviewing moving companies.” (Just don’t expect them to lift anything heavier than a pair of white gloves.)
  • $200 for a ride to your new home: Because, my god, have you ever seen how dirty a cabbies hands can get?
  • $500 per day to call the cable and gas companies to inform them of your new address: Yup, someone out there will pay you 500 clams to be put on hold for you.

To prove that people are willing to toss their money around like this, the Times also offers a few quotes, including a couple beauties from private citizen Stephanie:

“As with many of us,” says Stephanie, “my moves have often been hideous experiences.” (My god! They’re not even wearing white gloves!)

This type of service is “extremely helpful,” she continues. “Not like having boxes in a dark basement that are stuffed with 50 dining room dishes and a lampshade.” 

Pamela Muller, co-owner of NouvelleView, the company in question that specializes in suckering customers into thinking they can’t handle an address change, says her firm will “oversee every aspect, from the initial strategic plan to seeing that every box is unpacked.” (Especially the ones in that dark, scary basement.)

“I always say to clients that we are the most expensive in the business,” says Michael Jaque, a director at the shipping company Gander & White. At least they know what’s coming.

The funniest part about all this? NouvelleView says many of their clientele, with their delicate ears and their taxi cab allergies, still hire a traditional moving company to handle the bulk of the items!

And this is where you come in. Charge Stephanie, Sara and Cassio whatever you want for that shrink wrap, those boxes and the furniture pads you’re getting back anyway.

Just make sure you pick up some white gloves at Wal-Mart on your way over.


Cover photo from The New York Times.

Bubble Wrap 101: Protips, What It Doesnt Work With, and Solid Alternatives

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For keeping your most valuable, most expensive stuff protected when you move, it may seem like there’s nothing better than bubble wrap. But we’ll let you in on a little secret. 

Movers very rarely – if ever – use the stuff.

Not because it doesn’t work. It does. But the pros know, all those little bubbles add up to some bulky and relatively expensive bit of cushioning. Packing paper, used correctly, will serve most any packing purpose and save you both space and money.

Still, you may be more comfortable enveloping your flat screen TV, your electronics, your stemware and your china in bubble wrap. That’s totally understandable. So if you decide to go this route, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Using Bubble Wrap: 5 Quick Tips

  1. Put a layer of packing paper between your TV and that bubble wrap. Plastic can leave marks on your screen, particularly in extreme temperatures. This goes for anything you wrap in bubbles. For items with sharp edges or corners, some extra paper can help keep those sharp areas from poking right through the plastic.
  2. Wrap your items with the bubbles facing inward for better protection against exterior pressure and accidental impact. The flat side is easier to write on (in case you want to be able to identify each item quickly) and will hold the tape in place much more effectively.
  3. Don’t bank on one layer of bubble wrap. Two layers of small bubble sheeting might be enough for a piece of stemware, though this would be in addition to packing them with plenty of packing paper and, for extra peace of mind, individual cells inside your cardboard box. If you are using the stuff with the bigger bubbles for heavier items like a large framed mirror or your CPU, one layer may suffice – but again, only in addition to some crumpled packing paper for extra cushioning on all sides.
  4. Keep that bubble wrap firmly in place by taping not just along the edges, but all the way around the item. You splurged on that bubble wrap, don’t start skimping on the tape!
  5. Have a pair of scissors on hand when you are unpacking. It would be a real bummer to break something – or drop and break something – while trying to tear that bubble wrap off using only your hands. 

You might love our:

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What to Pack in Bubble Wrap

bubble wrap

Valuable items. Fragile items. Heavy and hard-to-replace items. If you’re staring at something and you can’t decide whether to bubble wrap it, err on the side of caution and wrap it.

Specifically, you’ll want to consider bubble wrap for:

  • Large picture frames and mirrors
  • Flat screen TVs
  • Glass tabletops and shelving
  • Electronics and computers
  • Stemware and fine china
  • Fragile decorative items

Remember, bubble wrap alone will not do the trick. Even surrounded by two or three layers of air pockets, the things on this list will still need to be packed firmly in cardboard cartons with enough crumpled packing paper on all sides to keep them from shifting and bouncing in transit while keeping them safe from exterior impact.

After the bubble wrapping is done, use the right kind of box.

There’s no point in being safe if you use the wrong box for your stuff. Finish the job right by packing each bubble-wrapped item properly, surrounded by plenty of crumpled packing paper. Moving boxes come in specific shapes and sizes for your items, use accordingly.

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Mirror Cartons

Picture frames, mirrors, glass shelves and flat-screen TVs go in mirror cartons – sets of two, if not four pieces that you can use to form a custom-sized box.

Double-Walled Dish Pack Cartons

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Electronics and computer components are best protected when packed in double-walled dish pack cartons, the same boxes we use for dishes, plates and glasses. And yes! This includes your china and stemware. Fragile decorative items like statuettes and ceramics can still be packed in medium (3 cubic foot) boxes, provided they are cushioned well and the boxes are clearly marked to minimize the chances of someone putting a box of books on top.

Cardboard Cells

A note about stemware: Nothing gets broken more often than this stuff. Wrapping each piece well is crucial, but so is packing it all correctly into your dish pack as the items on the bottom will have to support the weight of everything else in there.

bubble wrap

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The best thing to do is get your hands on some of those cardboard cells, which not only keep your wine glasses from knocking against each other but offer an appreciable amount of vertical support, keeping all the weight of those glasses off the ones at the bottom of the box.

If you can’t find any cardboard cells, don’t despair! A thick layer of crumpled packing paper on the bottom of your dish pack and another layer of crumpled paper on top of each successive tier of firmly-packed stemware is what the pros use to keep everything safe. If you aren’t comfortable with that, line your entire dish pack with bubble wrap and put a couple of sheets in between your tiers of glasses. This isn’t the most cost-efficient way to pack your stemware, but it beats a box full of expensive shards of glass.

Alternatives

If not bubble wrap, then what? As stated earlier, packing paper is the standard. However, towels, crumpled newspaper, or virtually anything form-fitting, sturdy and that’s plenty soft can often do the trick for cheaper. Sound too simple? It really is. As long as you pad your items in a balanced way, it doesn’t need to be as expensive as bubble wrap. Just as long as “this one, extra towel” isn’t the only thing keeping your priceless vase safe. Check the moving supplies section at your local hardware store for bubble wrap alternatives.

A Note on Packing Peanuts

bubble wrapYou may like the idea of those Styrofoam nuggets, but in general, they are bulky, costly, and non-biodegradable. The eco-friendly alternative cornstarch peanuts are even more expensive and don’t make for a very satisfying snack, no matter how hungry you are at the end of your move. Plus, they end up getting scattered all over the floor and clinging to your clothes. In short, use (and eat) them if you like, but I don’t recommend them.


Admit it. It’s hard to resist popping those plastic bubbles once you’re done with that bubble wrap. But think for a moment how easy it is to pop them – and how much all the boxes you are packing must weigh.

Keep this in mind when you are packing up all those valuable, expensive, fragile items. On its own, a sheet of bubble wrap can’t adequately protect your stuff. You’re going to need plenty of packing paper (or towels or clothes) in a pinch. Pack those items firmly in the center of your box, protected on all sides.

And really, save yourself a headache (and maybe the stomachache) and stay away from those peanuts!

Every Last Thing You Should Know About Driving Your Moving Truck in the Fall

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Moving in the fall is easier on the schedule, but harder on basically everything else. As such, we offer the following morsels of random fall knowledge. Well actually, it’s knowledge that can make the difference between a safe drive and an accident. Knowing this stuff can prevent disaster, making your off-season move an uneventful success. Remember…

Keep these things on hand when you move during the fall.

A good place to start is a list of the bits and pieces to have on hand during cold weather driving and moving:

  • Flashlight
  • Blankets
  • Ice scraper
  • Charged cell phone
  • Emergency flares
  • (Working) spare tire
  • Tools to apply spare tires
  • Salt or sand
  • Shovel
  • Cash

A flashlight, blankets and an ice scraper are obvious items. Also have a charged-up cell phone, emergency flares, a (working) spare tire and all the necessary tools and skills to put that spare on. Salt or sand can get you out of a slippery spot, and a shovel can get you out of a deep and powdery one. Food, drink and cash are good to have too.

The fall is when deer mate.

moving in the fall

Research by the Pennsylvania Game Commission found that the “rut” – the mating season for deer – occurs between mid-October and mid-December, with the peak coming in mid-November. This means as autumn creeps toward winter, the bucks are chasing the does all over the forest – and all over the road. At dusk or dawn is when they are generally most active.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tells us that around 1.5 million deer-vehicle crashes occur annually on U.S. roads, most of them occurring during this annual rut. While a moving truck might do more damage to a deer than vice versa, losing control of your vehicle after hitting or avoiding a deer, then plowing into a stationary object and/or overturning is a common and very real danger. Be on the lookout for deer and other nocturnal critters, particularly along rural roads, and while driving through forested areas.

The optimal air pressure for your tires is NOT what’s molded into your tires’ sidewalls.

moving in the fall

That psi figure on your Michelins is the maximum air pressure they are designed to handle, not what they should be inflated to. For that information, check the decal on the door jamb of your vehicle’s driver side door or the specs laid out in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Then get your tires checked.

Why is this a problem? Over-inflated tires have less contact surface with the road, which is bad news for a loaded box truck on wet, potentially icy pavement. Excess air pressure also increases your chances of having a blowout. This is in addition to the harsh, uncomfortable ride that stiff, over-inflated tires provide.

On the flip side, under-inflated tires can lower steering precision and cornering stability, things you don’t want to lose in any conditions, let alone on a slippery road. Interestingly, low air pressure, just like high air pressure, can heighten the possibility of a blowout. In addition, keep in mind that cooler temperatures can further decrease air pressure, so check your tires as the weather turns colder.

Be careful where you park. (Also, what’s a catalytic converter?) 

moving in the fall

Did you know if your catalytic converter is clogged or being over-worked, it can get hotter than 1,600 degrees? (A catalytic converter, by the way, is a wonderful bit of chemistry and science that converts toxic by-products of engine combustion into less harmful gases.) Catalytic converters on your car are built and installed with a heat shield, but at those temps, there can still be more than enough heat emanating from the bottom of your vehicle to set a pile of leaves smoking. A moving truck sits relatively high off the ground, so the converter – located along the exhaust pipe between the engine and the muffler – may not pose as big a threat to a pile of leaves as the one on your car.

Either way, all this to say that parking on a pile of leaves is never a good idea. Aside from the potential for fire, leaf piles can hide things like potholes, debris and playful little children.

Sticking with the subject of leaves, never forget that they don’t have to be in a pile to be a hazard. Wet leaves can make for a mighty slick surface that can turn icy and even more slippery during the chilly late-year night. Dry, new-fallen leaves can hide puddles and ice patches as well.

Black ice is sneaky and terrible.

moving in the fall

There’s a special term for water that freezes without air bubbles getting trapped inside; It’s called black ice. (Okay, so maybe you’ve heard of it.) Black ice, of course, is not actually black, but that absence of air bubbles combined with our vantage point as we roll along the pavement makes it appear black. It also looks like nothing more than a wet spot on the road, which is what makes it so innocuous, and therefore extremely dangerous.

Black ice is able to form on road surfaces when there is little to no traffic to disrupt the freezing process. Early morning, then, is when the danger is particularly prevalent. Be alert on those quiet country roads as well!

Consider what you wipe condensation off with.

Cloth diapers are better than disposable ones. I’m talking, of course, about clearing the condensation off the inside of your windshield. Particularly when you combine the cool and moist fall weather with a malfunctioning rental truck defroster, having a cotton rag or an old t-shirt (or a throwback from the pre-Pamper days) can help you keep your windshield clean and your visibility high. In a pinch, wiping your windshield with your hand is a temporary fix during the day. But at night, the smears your skin leaves behind creates a nasty situation when the headlights from oncoming cars begin to shine through.

Worried about glare? Driving west in the morning – or east in the evening – will not help.

moving in the fall

This is a consideration all throughout the year, but during the shorter days of the year, the sun can still be on the rise while we head out in the morning and can start sinking long before it’s time to call it a day. And while driving straight into the sun is no fun, facing away from it doesn’t completely save us either.

That’s because the sudden glare in the side view mirror as we turn can be blinding and can affect our vision even when that glare is gone. A bright sun behind us can also make it difficult to see what color that traffic signal is in front of us, let alone see if it’s changing. Also consider that when the sun is behind you, it’s directly in front of everybody going the other way!

Even when the sun is higher in the sky, any snow on the ground can produce a headache-inducing glare. Simply put? Those Ray-Bans aren’t just for summer.

Freezing fog is a real thing.

moving in the fall

No, it’s not the latest trend in teenage mischief. Freezing fog, as the NOAA puts it, is made of “tiny, super-cooled liquid water droplets (that) can freeze instantly on exposed surfaces (and) can cause black ice to form on roadways.” So if a thick fog weren’t tough enough to drive in, there’s also the potential for black ice forming on the road surface when it’s cold enough.

In any event, reduced visibility from fog demands lower speeds and low headlights (not high beams, which cause more glare than visibility). And since fog is a result of the mixture of moisture and cool air, it is most prevalent at dawn in the colder months, particularly in hilly or mountainous terrain.

Even if you think visibility is not all that bad, remember that your headlights do more than just help you see the road. They also help others see you. And keep in mind that when you turn on your headlights, your tail lights come on too, which can keep speedy and inattentive drivers from slamming into you from behind.

If you don’t know all the specifics – of how catalytic converters work, how black ice forms, or how a doe chooses her buck – that’s quite all right. Just remember that the first can be hot, the second can be deceptive, and those deer can come out of nowhere fast. So make sure you’re prepared for them, and everything else these cooler, shorter days throw at us during your chilly move.

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