The Top 5 Rental Truck Companies

If you’ve decided to move yourself, and you want to hire a rental truck, you should know what options are available to you. While most cities will have many local options for you to choose from, there are five major national rental truck companies: U-Haul, Budget, Penske, Ryder and Enterprise.

Here’s what you need to know about each one:

U-Haul

U-Haul is by far the most popular and well-known rental truck company out there. Here are some notes…

  • Over 20,000 locations across the U.S.
  • Widest selection of truck rental options: pickup trucks, cargo vans, 10’, 15’, 17’, 20’, 26’ trucks. Added bonus: even their smallest truck (10’) can tow vehicles.
  • A number of cargo, utility and car trailers available for rent.
  • U-Box containers: these are basically portable storage containers.
  • One month of free self-storage with one-way equipment rentals.
  • Guaranteed reservations: if the equipment you reserved is unavailable when you need it, you get $50.
  • Storage/packing materials available for purchase: boxes, tape, furniture pads, plastic wrap, bubble wrap, etc.
  • Reserve with cash, credit or debit cards.
  • Offers one-way move options (good for long distance moves).

Budget

  • Four different vehicle options: cargo van, 12’ 16’ and 24’ trucks. The 16’ and 24’ trucks both have 3 seats available in the cab, tow capacity and a loading ramp for easy loading.
  • Car carriers and tow dollies available for rental.
  • You can also rent furniture pads and hand trucks (dollies).
  • No reservation guarantees. Of course, Budget claims they do not overbook, but sometimes overlap can happen, and if it does, you’re left in the dust.
  • Credit card required for reservations.
  • Offers one-way move options (good for long distance moves).
  • Discounts for military, veterans, students, police, fire and EMT, AARP, motor club and Bar Association members.

Penske

  • Large fleet of over 50,000 trucks, which Penske claims are the newest and best-maintained vehicles in the business.
  • 2000 pick-up/drop-off locations, including all Home Depot locations.
  • 12’, 16’, 22’, 24’ truck rental options. Loading ramps and vehicle towing available on the three largest truck options.
  • Packing supplies available for purchase, including boxes, tape, furniture pads, mattress bags, hand trucks, box cutters, bubble wrap, etc.
  • Offers vehicle towing equipment rentals and self-storage options.
  • Guaranteed reservations if made 48 hours in advance.
  • Offers one-way move options (good for long distance moves).
  • Discounts for military, veterans, students.

Ryder

  • 500 pick-up locations across the continental US.
  • Rental options include cargo vans and 20’ and 26’ trucks, both of which have lift-gates.
  • No vehicle towing options available for rental and you are not allowed to tow your own trailer if you have one.
  • Does not offer one-way move options, so best for local moves. You can take the truck as far as you want, but you’ll have to return it to the same place from which you picked it up.
  • Credit card required for reservations.

Enterprise

  • 250 pick-up locations across the continental US.
  • Many rental options: 15’, 16’, 24’, and 26’ trucks, ½ ton, ¾ ton and 1 ton pickup trucks and five cargo van options. The largest three trucks have lift gates.
  • No vehicle-towing equipment available for rent. To tow your vehicle, you’d need to rent the ¾ ton or 1-ton pickup truck and use your own car carrier or tow dolly.
  • No one-way rental options, so only good for local moves.

For more information on rental trucks, check out our guide on Finding the Best Rental Truck Deal.

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How to Work with the Moving Company

A professional moving company can certainly take a lot of the work and stress of a move off your plate. However, there are still a number of things you’ll need to do to ensure the entire process moves along smoothly and efficiently. Here’s what you should do:


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Before the Movers Arrive

  • Clear a space for the moving truck: Make sure the moving truck has space to park in front of your house, or if that’s not possible, as close to your home as possible. Move your cars if you need to. The farther the truck is away from your home, the more work you’re creating for your movers. Many moving companies will also charge you extra if they have to park down the street.

  • Clear walkways: Remove plants, hanging plants, toys, wind-chimes, rugs, etc. The last thing you want is for a mover (or yourself for that matter) to trip over a stray toy while carrying your TV!

  • Create a moving inventory: This is a detailed list of everything you own, and what you want to do with it. Separate items into categories: what you want to move yourself, what you want packed in the moving truck, etc.

  • Clearly mark what will be packed vs. not packed: Save your movers the hassle of wondering which boxes and items are supposed to be left untouched and clearly label everything beforehand. Or better yet, section off an entire room to be off-limits.

  • Keep important documents with you: Moving contracts, insurance papers, etc. You don’t want to lose these in the packing process!

  • Engage in some targeted pre-packing: Depending on what service you’ve purchased, you may not be obligated to do anything before a move. But little things can make the process move along much more smoothly, such as:

Unplugging electronics

Removing batteries

Taking artwork and photos off the wall

Disassembling furniture

Pre-packing small items, such as office supplies, knick-knacks, refrigerator magnets, etc.

Stripping beds

Emptying the trash

  • Keep pets and kids out of the way! Avoid accidents and unnecessary havoc and arrange to have them stay in a separate room on moving day, or better yet, out of the house with friends or family.

During the Move

  • Let movers know which boxes are most valuable. Quality moving companies will handle all your goods with care. That said, a box of pillows will be handled differently than a box of China. Let your movers know what they need to take extra care handling.

  • Be present during the packing process: If you plan ahead well, you shouldn’t run into too much confusion or too many problems. But moves are tricky, and issues are bound to arise. Everything will go much more smoothly if you’re around to answer questions.

  • Let your movers know which bathroom to use!

  • Take care of your movers! These guys are working hard, and will appreciate some pampering. Massages and spa treatments aren’t necessary (though they’d probably be welcomed!) — simple, weather-appropriate food and drinks will go a long way. Fresh-baked cookies get you bonus points!

  • Make sure the truck driver has your contact info. And make sure you have his/her contact info as well. If the driver gets lost or in an accident, you’ll want to be the first to know.

  • Compare inventories: Before the truck leaves for your new home, compare your inventory with the moving company’s to ensure nothing is left behind or missing.

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3 DIY Home Repair Tips to Get Your Security Deposit Back

You may think you’ve been a model tenant these past months.

But once the question of getting your security deposit back comes around, you start noticing things. Like that dent in the kitchen from when you slipped and plunged your elbow into the wall. And that scratch in the floor from trying to find an outlet behind your dresser. And the nail and screw holes all over the walls!

Fear not — we’ve put together the following list of DIY home repair tips for you. Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to get your security deposit back!

Patching Small Holes in Walls

What you’ll need: putty knife, spackle/joint compound/caulk, patch kit, sandpaper, paint

What to do: For holes quarter-sized and smaller, simply scrape away loose debris from the hole, then fill with joint compound. Smooth it out with the putty knife, wait for it to dry, then smooth it completely with sandpaper. Paint over the patch and you’re done!

For larger, doorknob-sized holes, you’ll need a patch kit. This is a square of self-adhesive mesh. Cover the hole with this patch, then cover the patch with joint compound, feathering the edges so it blends into the wall. Let dry, sand smooth, and repeat with a second coat. Let dry and paint over.

Patching Large Holes in Walls

What you’ll need: utility knife, putty knife, spackle/joint compound, drywall, drywall tape, wood board, saw, electric drill, wood screws, sandpaper, paint

What to do: Use the utility knife to cut out a square/rectangle around the hole. Cut a piece of drywall to fit the square/rectangle you just cut. For holes around 6-inches, you can get away with just popping in the drywall patch you cut.

For holes larger than 6-inches, you’ll be better off using a wood board to support your drywall patch, so it doesn’t crack. If you need to, cut a wood board to be a few inches longer than the height of your patch hole. Place the wood board in the wall, behind the drywall, and screw it into place, top and bottom.

Place your drywall patch in the square/rectangle you cut, screwing it into the wooden board if applicable. Tape around the edges of the patch with drywall tape, then use the putty knife to spread some spackle/joint compound along the drywall tape. Let dry, sand till smooth and repeat with a second coat. Let dry again, then paint over.

Fill Scratches in Wood Floors/Furniture

What you’ll need: Steel wool, sandpaper, mineral spirits, plastic putty knife, wood filler, natural bristle brush, varnish/ polyurethane. Or crayons!

What to do: Smooth out the scratch with steel wool (for lighter scratches) or sandpaper (for deeper scratches). Make sure to follow the wood grain when doing this. Rub mineral spirits over the scratch to further smooth it out and clean up the fine dust from sanding.

Using a plastic putty knife (to avoid further scratches), fill in the scratch with wood filler that matches the color of the rest of the floor/furniture. Let dry, smooth out with light sandpaper and clean up the dust. Finish off with varnish or polyurethane to match the rest of the floor.

Or, pick a crayon that closely matches the color of the scratched wood, melt it in a microwave over greaseproof paper, and then use a putty knife to fill in the scratch!

For more help getting that security deposit back, make sure to read our two guides on properly vacating an apartment, here and here.

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Finding the Best Rental Truck Deal

So you’ve decided to move yourself — congratulations! Now it’s time to find a rental truck.

In this article we lay out the different options available to you, what is typically offered by most companies, and some tips to make sure you get the best deal out there.

What Can You Get

Vehicles — This is where rental truck companies most clearly differ. Most companies offer cargo vans, and couple truck options, ranging in size from 10 feet to 26 feet.

  • Cargo vans and trucks in the 10–12ft range are usually enough for kids moving to and from college and those moving out of studio apartments.

  • Medium-sized trucks in the 14–17ft range are good for small apartment or homes in the 1–2 bedroom range.

  • Large trucks, 12–26 feet are perfect for larger, 3–4 bedroom places.

Other rental options — Some companies also offer other rental options, such as portable storage units, trailers, and car-towing. There are two car-towing options: the tow dolly, where the car’s back wheels roll along the road, and the car carrier, the more expensive option in which the vehicle is fully off the ground.

Local vs. long-distance — Some truck rental companies offer both local and long-distance move options, but not all. For local moves, you’re required to drop off the truck at the same location from which you picked it up. Long-distance moves allow you to drop off the truck at a new location nearby your home. Making sure there is a location near your new home will factor in your choice of rental truck companies.

Insurance — Most basic contracts will include minimum liability insurance, but this usually won’t cover much. You do have multiple options for extra insurance:

  • Supplemental liability insurance — Generally maxes out at $1 million.

  • Damage waivers — Covers accidental damage to rental truck, and usually includes theft.

  • Auto tow protection — Covers damages to car-towing equipment.

  • Personal accident insurance — Covers your medical costs, though these will usually be covered already by your health insurance or car insurance if you have medical coverage

  • Cargo insurance — Covers your belongings in case of damages

How to Get the Best Deal

Be realistic — First things first: forget about the stickers you’ve seen on the sides of rental trucks advertising $19.99! Depending on the specifics of your move, a few hundred dollars is a much more reasonable amount to budget for. If you’re moving a large house long-distance, you could be looking at $1000–2000.

Book in advance — Truck rental prices are based on demand, a lot like airline tickets. This means that booking right before the move will be more expensive. The companies know you need the truck, so they’ll jack up the price. So book far in advance for the best price.

Book at the right time — Just like with moving companies, the cheapest time to rent a truck is in the middle of the month, in the middle of the week, in the middle of winter. As much as you can, avoid booking on weekends, at the end of the month and during summer, when demand is highest.

Look around — Make sure to get quotes from every moving truck company, and try playing around with different dates, and different pickup and drop-off locations in each city. Some companies offer competitive pricing, so once you find an especially cheap rate (say, from a coupon or discount deal), bring it to another company and see if they’ll offer you a better deal.

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What to Throw Away When You Move

Why do we hold to things we haven’t used in years, even things that are broken and utterly useless?

Perhaps it’s human nature, perhaps it’s resistance to change, perhaps it’s that ever-present rationale: “just in case!”. Whatever the reason, we often talk on the Moved blog about how moving time is purging time. So roll up your sleeves and get out the trash-bags.

These are the things you should throw away when you move:

Magazines — Chances are you have stacks of old magazines lying around your house. Newer magazines you could try donating to doctor’s offices, nail salons, libraries, etc., but if they’re more than a couple years old, it’s time to toss ’em. Same goes for old calendars.

Receipts/Bills/Paychecks — Admit it: you’re never going to categorize all those receipts as part of your budgeting plan. Old bills are just cluttering up your space, and paychecks older than two years are deadweight. Get rid of them!

Cosmetics — Just because cosmetic companies are not required to include expiration dates on their packaging doesn’t mean their products don’t expire! Use the following guidelines to know if it’s time to ditch your old makeup: powders (two years), blushes (12–18 months), oil-free foundation (one year), cream compact foundation (18 months), concealers (12–18 months), lipstick/lip liner (one year), lip gloss (18–24 months), pencil eyeliner (two years), liquid or gel eyeliner (three months), mascara (three months).

Underwear — We all have the “just-in-case” pairs full of holes that we never actually wear; time to throw them away for good.

Greeting/Birthday Cards — Yes, some are super sentimental and you’ll cherish them for life. Most of them are clutter. Be ruthless, people!

Spices — While spices and dried herbs won’t go “bad” necessarily, they will get stale and lose their flavor. Use your senses for help, but as a general rule, if you’ve had seasonings, herbs and ground spices for more than 2–3 years, it’s probably time to replace them.

Shoes — Everyone seems to have a pair (or four) of worn out shoes that they never wear anymore but can’t seem to get rid of. Well, now’s the time! Same goes for old flip-flops.

Holiday Decorations — The weird Thanksgiving turkey statue your aunt inexplicably gave you as a gift one year, the broken Christmas lights, the box of cheap plastic Halloween decorations — all destined for the trashcan.

The Junk Drawer — Every home has one. Full of matchboxes, scraps of paper, expired coupons, dried-out markers and pens, thumbtacks, white-out bottles, dried up super glue, broken rubber bands, half-used tubes of Chapstick, paperweights, random collections of string, etc. etc. Save the one or two items in there you actually use and dump the rest!

If you’re having trouble letting go of something, follow the advice of Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She says to lay everything out you own, and only keep the things that bring you joy to look at. If something makes you feel tired, guilty, unhappy, etc. get rid of it!

For more help getting rid of your unwanted and unneeded items when moving, check out our guides on What to Sell and What to Donate.

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What to Donate When You Move

As we’ve said many times on this blog, moving is the perfect time to purge your life and home of unwanted, unneeded clutter. Donating things is a win-win situation, where you benefit from a lighter load to move and less clutter in your new home, and others benefit from access to items they truly need.

Here’s a of things you can donate:

Clothes — If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in the last couple months (or years!), and you can’t sell it for a profit, donate it! Goodwill and The Salvation Army were built for times like these. Most likely there is someone out there who could benefit more from that old sweater hanging in the closet than you currently do. Baby clothes are also perfect to donate.

Socks — Socks are often the most needed but least donated piece of clothing in donation centers and homeless shelters. Of course, if they’re full of holes and falling apart, throw them away. But if they’re still in good condition, you just don’t ever wear them, definitely donate them!

Books — Use the same rules for books as for clothes: if you haven’t touched it for months, or for years, then get rid of it. The smiles you’ll get from librarians and bookstore owners when you walk in with a box of books will make it all worth it.

Blankets — Blankets are extremely valuable items to people out there with no access to heating. If you’re looking for a valuable donation, consider parting ways with some of your blankets.

School Supplies — There are many schools in dire need of pencils, erasers, pens, notebooks and backpacks, especially in the middle of the school year.

Cellphones — Most old phones you won’t be able to sell anyway, so why not donate them? Folks are always in need of working phones for emergencies and day-to-day life.

Grocery Bags — Sturdy, reusable bags make buying groceries much easier for families that rely on public transportation to get around. Donate unused bags that could be used to carry food to your local food pantry.

Toilet Paper — Toilet paper and other basic hygiene items are almost always out of stock at donation centers. Consider donating your extra rolls and buying new ones in your new hometown.

Toys — If they’re still in workable condition, there are always families in need of new toys for their children to play with. Complete board games are a favorite at donation centers.

Furniture — Many people think thrift stores and places like Goodwill only want clothes and other small items. Not so! They will happily accept donated tables, chairs, couches, bed frames and clean mattresses as well.

Appliances — As always, only if they’re in working condition! Large appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and dryers are in especially high demand, though smaller items like coffee makers, toasters, and vacuums will also be quickly adopted by someone in need.

Food — Many people have extra food in their kitchen when they move. Support the Move for Hunger cause and put that food to good use!

For more help getting rid of your unwanted and unneeded items when moving, check out our guides on What to Sell and What to Throw Away.

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4 Tips to Stay Organized During a Move

Staying organized can make the difference between a hair-pulling nervous breakdown and a calm, efficient move by the books. Here are four tips to help you stay centered and focused amidst the whirlwind of tasks required during the moving process.

1. Create and Use a Moving Binder/Notebook

You’ll be juggling a lot of balls throughout the moving process — best to keep everything organized in one place. A solid binder/notebook (or the Moved app) can serve as your central hub of all things move-related. Here is a sample list of things to include and keep track of:

  • Lay out your master moving checklist.

  • Plan your budget and refer back to it regularly.

  • Keep an inventory of everything you’re moving, selling, donating, throwing away, etc.

  • Write down and compare quotes of different moving companies, rental trucks, storage units, insurance options, etc.

  • Take notes on the pros and cons of different places during the home/apartment hunt.

  • Gather important phone numbers: moving company, insurance company, truck driver, real estate agent, broker, new landlord, handymen, etc.

  • Keep important papers: receipts, bill-of-lading, insurance contracts, paint swatches, etc.

2. Go Digital

Given the world we live in, what would an activity be without a new app to help you out?! Of course there is the Moved app which we highly recommend :). Along with that, Evernote and Wunderlist are two of the most popular planning apps in the world, and work great as a digital to-do lists. Both Sortly and Snap N Pack are designed for moving and allow you to easily print scannable QR codes to put on boxes, which sync with photos you’ve taken of the box’ contents. Never again will you wonder what’s in all those boxes you labelled “Misc”!

3. Label Boxes

Labelling boxes makes the experience better for everyone, you, your family/friends and the movers. Not only will a solid labelling system help you remember what’s in the boxes for easy unpacking, it will help you keep track of everything you’ve packed/unpacked, and it will speed up the moving-in process by letting the movers know clearly where the boxes are going. They won’t need to ask you for directions every two minutes, leaving you free to wield your organizational magic elsewhere. There are many label systems out there — you can use computer labels, stickers, or a good old-fashioned large marker to get the job done. You can also use a color-coding system, e.g. yellow for the kitchen, blue for bathrooms, green for the living room, etc. Here are some more tips on how to pack for a stress-free move.

4. Pre-Plan Your Furniture Layout

This tip will require a measuring tape, and a bit of upfront work — but trust me, it will pay off in the end! What you want to do is get a clear layout of your new home/apartment, with accurate measurements. You can draw this out yourself, or use a site like Urban Barn or Plan Your Room to speed up the process. Then, once you measure all your major pieces of furniture, you’re free to experiment with different floor plans!

While measuring everything will feel like a hassle, ultimately you will save yourself lots of time and effort. Moving furniture around on paper or a computer is certainly easier than lugging it around your place. And as an added bonus, you’ll be sure that everything will fit! You don’t want to show up at your new place only to realize your couch won’t fit through the door.

For more help keeping your move running smoothly, make sure to check out our guides on Proper Packing and Planning Ahead.

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5 Tips to Crush a Move All by Yourself

So you’ve taken the leap and decided to tackle your move by yourself, huh?

Well, we applaud your courage and can-do attitude, as we know all too well the craziness of a moving on your own. To keep you sane, organized and moving forward, here are 5 tips to keep in mind:

1. Write Everything Down

One of the most difficult parts of moving yourself is keeping things organized. Not only do you have to keep track of all your stuff, but you have to remember all the little tasks that moving brings along with it, such as updating your address with the government, setting up utilities, and getting rid of extra stuff (a Moved concierge can do all of this 😉).

So help yourself out and create a massive to-do list early on in the moving process. Start with all the questions you need to ask (who can help me move?, where will I stay on my way to my new house?, what do I want to bring?, etc.) and all the tasks you can think of that you will need to complete.

Keep this in a notebook, on your computer, or in the Moved app so you can update it and cross things off throughout the processs.

2. Purge

We’ve said it many times before on this blog, and we’ll say it again: the less stuff you have, the less you have to move! Check out our other guides for help on what to get rid of and how to properly sell, donate, or throw away your stuff.

3. Use What You Have

Why buy moving pads when you have a house full of linens, blankets and towels? Save some money and use what you’ve got lying around to protect your things while moving. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll be setting yourself up for a ton of laundry to do on the other end.

You can also use all the boxes, trunks, laundry baskets, etc. you already own to move your things. Keeping your clothes in dresser drawers will save you a lot of packing time! Just take out the drawers, tape a blanket or towel on top to keep everything inside, and you’re good to go!

4. Get the Right Tools

Rent a dolly from U-Haul or a moving company, and you (and your back) will be thankful later, I promise! Box dollies are two wheeled, stand upright and are great for moving multiple boxes at once. Flat furniture dollies are basically wooden rectangles with four wheels on them. These babies can hold up to 900lbs and are essential for moving heavy items like large screen TVs and dressers.

Make your life easier and rent reusable boxes from a company like Gorilla Bins or Bin-It. The boxes will be delivered to you and picked up when you’re done with them, saving you the hassle of buying boxes, hunting for used ones or figuring out what to do with them when you’re done.

5. Pack and Load Smart

Don’t leave yourself a mammoth packing job to finish at the last minute or you’ll be overwhelmed and nearly crazy by the end of the day. Plan ahead, slowly packing everything you own over the weeks leading up to the move. Starting with what you rarely use and finish with the daily essentials.

Finally, when loading your truck, remember that heavier items go in first, and on the bottom. Strap everything down and don’t exceed your truck’s weight capacity.

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7 Tips for a Successful International Move

Moving is usually stressful and complicated, but moving internationally is a different beast altogether! After all, you’re dealing with a whole new country, with a different set of laws and regulations, governing everything from banking practices and medical insurance to traffic laws and school systems.

To help you with your upcoming international move, we’ve put together the following list of 7 tips. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’ll certainly get you started.

  1. Plan, and budget, far in advance: This is a good tip for any move, but it is especially prudent advice for those moving internationally. The costs of flights and shipping alone call for extreme budgetary measures, and the bureaucratic complications of passports and visas can take months to deal with.

  2. Lock down cheap airfare: Sign up for travel alerts on budget travel sites to receive emails letting you know when your flight is selling for an especially low price. Our favorite sites to use for this are Kayak and Skyscanner. Skyscanner is particularly helpful, as it can find you the cheapest flight in an entire month. Splitting up your travel can save you a lot of money as well.

  3. Stock up on your favorite brands: No need to go overboard here, as you do have to carry all this stuff with you! But if you’re attached to a particular brand of shampoo, peanut butter, candy, face wash, etc., you may want to bring some along.

  4. Stay aware of baggage-weight limits: While you may get lucky and find a nice staff member who will waive your overweight baggage fees, I wouldn’t count on it. Airlines typically charge $50–200 for overweight bags, so plan ahead and pack your bags using one of these handy tools.

  5. Storage or shipping?: While price is an obvious factor in this decision, it also depends on how long you’re moving abroad for, and where you’re moving. For example, if you’re moving to Europe for multiple years, it might be worth it to ship your vehicles and all your furniture abroad. But if you’re moving to Canada for a year-long stint at a new job, you might be better off leaving your stuff in storage.

  6. Pack smart: Certain things you’ll want to keep with you in your carry-on bags, just in case your checked bags are sent to the wrong place!

  7. Carryon bags: Essential items to bring with you on board include: laptops, phones, chargers, medicines and prescriptions, important documents (birth/marriage certificates, medical records, school records, insurance documents, etc.), jewelry and other small valuables.

  8. Checked bags: If you’re freight shipping the bulk of your stuff, your checked bags should include everything you’ll need to live comfortably until the freight arrives. That means clothes, shoes, toiletries, books, toys and schools supplies, etc. If you’re not shipping anything, then your checked bags will include everything else you own!

  9. Research the culture: There are many small cultural quirks you won’t experience or fully understand until you’re actually living abroad, but there is plenty you can learn before you arrive to ease the transition. Ask friends who have lived or traveled there, and scour the internet for helpful blogs and guides. And if they speak another language where you’re moving, 5–10 minutes a day on Duolingo or Memrise can work wonders in just a few short weeks!

For more help with your international move, most of the other guides on this site will still apply to you, so check them out!

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How to Properly Load a Pick-Up Truck for a Move

Moving with a pick-up truck is not quite as simple as tossing your stuff in the back and riding off into the sunset. To avoid damaging your vehicle or losing your items on the road and causing accidents, you need to prepare adequately and load your things safely and correctly.

Here’s how to do so:

  • Don’t overload your truck. Check the edge of your driver’s side door panel for a factory sticker that will list your vehicle’s load capacity, or GVWR. This number will be the vehicle’s weight plus the maximum weight it can carry. So, if your Toyota Tundra has a GVWR of 6200 lbs, and weighs 4100 pounds, then its load capacity is 2100 lbs, including the driver and passengers. If there is no sticker on your door, check the owner’s manual or look online. Whatever the load capacity is, don’t exceed it! You could seriously damage your vehicle otherwise.

  • Add air pressure to your tires to compensate for the extra weight. Too much weight and your tires will start to bulge, decreasing their handling and steering capacity at high speeds. Estimate how much weight you’ll be adding to the truck and check your owner’s manual for details on the appropriate amount of air pressure to add.

  • Load the heaviest items, like refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, etc., first, and try to keep the weight evenly balanced on each side. Put lighter boxes in the back and on top, but don’t stack things too high, or they will blow off on the road. Keeping the heavy items up front will keep the front of the vehicle weighted down, which helps steering and handling stay effective. I don’t know about you, but I find steering to be pretty important when driving!

  • Disassemble bed-frames, furniture, etc. and tape or tie them together before loading them up.

  • Strap everything down so it does not move around (or fly away!) during the drive, using the holes/hooks in the interior bed. For local moves, simple rope and bungee cords will do fine, but for longer moves, it’s best to invest in some high-quality ratchet straps. You can rest assured your stuff will not move an inch when using these, even if you have to swerve or screech to a halt.

  • Tape all boxes shut, even plastic containers, and avoid packing the truck with lots of random, small items. Small items are more prone to being picked up by the airstream and flying out of your vehicle. Even if you are sure this won’t happen, act on the safe side and keep things securely packed in boxes or inside your vehicle. If anything flies out and causes an accident, it will be your responsibility. If you have no other option, at least use a sturdy cargo net or tarp to keep everything secured.

  • Ideally electronics and valuables should be packed inside your vehicle, so that you can keep them safe if/when you stop for a meal or stay in a hotel overnight. If you can’t fit everything inside, load boxes so that the labels are hidden. You don’t want would-be thieves to be tempted by boxes clearly advertising “Electronics”.

  • Finally, don’t be this guy!

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What to Sell Before You Move

There is something extremely satisfying about purging yourself of clutter. It’s one of the best parts of the moving process. Making money in the process is just icing on the cake!

Because it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out not only what you want to sell but what you can sell, we’ve put together the following guidelines. Read on, and make some money!

Electronics

Electronics are some of the easiest things to make a profit from selling. Depending on their age and condition, old computers, TVs and phones are great for some quick cash. Kitchen appliances, like blenders, juicers, and microwaves, are also in high demand.

Use eBay, Craigslist or Amazon for any small electronics, and Craigslist for larger items. In general, you’ll have an easier time selling electronics in their original packaging, and selling phones and computers with any accessories you picked up for them along the way is a good way to increase their value in the eyes of potential buyers.

Video Games

There are many sites dedicated to selling and trading-in video games, and there are always plenty of gamers looking for a cheap new game to try out. Amazon, Craigslist, eBay and Glyde are all great places to sell your old games, either individually or in bundles (best for old games).

Books

Books are a bit harder to sell, but if they’re in demand and in good condition, Amazon makes it easy for you to set up a listing. You’ll have better luck with textbooks, using sites like Chegg.

Clothes

Vintage and unique clothes sell quite well on sites like Etsy, ThredUp and Poshmark. A simple trick with hangers can help you decide which clothes to sell. Reverse all the hangers in your closet, and each time you wear something, flip the hanger around. After a few months, you’ll be able to clearly see what clothes you never wear! Sell these.

Children’s Toys

Games and puzzles still in their boxes are easiest to sell, on eBay and Amazon. Otherwise you could package toys together and sell them as a lot — yard-sales/garage-sales work especially well for this.

Furniture

There are always people moving and looking for couches, beds, dressers, dining room chairs, and the like — you might be one of them! For these sales, stick to local sales on Craigslist or at garage-/yard-sales. Unless you’re selling a highly valuable antique, in most cases the shipping costs of selling a piece of furniture online would offset any money you made from the sale.

Valuables

Antiques and jewelry are tricky. On the one hand, they are obviously worth money, and thus you can be fairly sure someone will want to buy them. On the other hand, correctly valuing used valuables is difficult. Unless you remember exactly what you paid for these items, consider going to a professional to have them valued. Sites like Craigslist and eBay work well for valuable items, though exercise caution when using Craigslist. Meet with potential buyers in public places, during the day, and bring a friend with you if possible. You can also sell valuables at local auctions.

For more pre-move selling tips, make sure to check out How to Sell Things When You Move!

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Moving by Yourself? How to Ask Your Friends for Help

Just because you’re not using a moving company doesn’t mean you have to move all by yourself! What else are friends and family for, if not to help you move?

Follow these guidelines to ensure that the friends who help you move continue to be your friends when the move is done!

Ask Early

When asking your friends for help, don’t wait until the last minute — ask well in advance of the move. Give them a timeframe of when you want to move, and ask when would be convenient for them. If you absolutely need help with heavy items, you’re going to need to be flexible and work around their schedules.

Give Them Choices

Make a list of what you need help with and ask them what they’d like to do. Different friends and family could help with planning, organizing, packing, moving heavy items, or driving. Giving them the freedom to choose is a powerful move, even in small scenarios like this. It gives them some space to do what they want to do, and what they’re best at.

Just be honest when you tell them what you need help with. They’re already doing you a favor by helping out — don’t give them a nasty surprise when they show up!

Be Prepared

Once you’ve told friends what you need help with, and you’ve all settled on a moving date, make sure you’re ready for them. Get up early, have supplies ready and boxes organized, and make sure everything you can pack yourself (clothes, silverware, dishes, small items, etc.) is packed. Unless people have agreed to help you pack, get everything done so that basically all that’s left when they show up is to load the truck.

Keep Them Fed and Hydrated

Keep your friends well-fed and hydrated throughout the day, especially if the weather is extreme. Nothing keeps up spirits like hot coffee on a freezing cold day or an ice-cold lemonade during a brutal summer. Snacks will keep everyone happy and energized so that the move keeps moving.

Make sure to keep your speakers unpacked and the music blasting as well! The whole moving process will go by quicker and will be more enjoyable with some good music. Invite your friends to play DJ throughout the day so that everyone’s favorite tunes are included.

Reward Them Afterward

Finally, consider giving everyone a nice reward after a job well-done. Pizza and beer is fine for college buddies, but if you’re a bit older, or perhaps all your friends are gluten-free, then you need to step it up a notch.

A meal at an established restaurant is always a good idea, or you can personalize your gifts, asking each friend what they’d like (within reason!). Some good ideas: Starbucks gift card, a new book, borrow the Xbox for a week, 2 rounds of drinks, etc.

Remember…

Moving is a long, difficult process, and dragging friends into the mix can be a touchy business. Above all else, remember that they are taking time out of their lives to help you out. Show your gratitude, and be ready to help them move when the time comes!

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How to Move Safely in Extreme Weather

In most cases of extreme weather, we recommend biting the bullet and postponing your move. The hassle of waiting a day or two is not worth the risk of seriously injuring yourself or damaging some of your precious items.

Moving companies may or may not be flexible, so make sure to talk to them about your rescheduling options should a major storm hit on your scheduled moving day.

If they refuse to change the date, or for whatever reason you simply must stick to your planned moving day, we’ve put together the following guidelines to help you execute your move safely.

First Things First

Extreme weather makes routine moving steps, thing you should be doing anyway, even more essential to check off your list. Whether you’ll be dealing with extreme heat or cold, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Keep track of weather reports in the week leading up to the move and check them frequently the day before and day of the move. Keep an eye on where big storms are headed and plan your route accordingly, going out of your way to avoid the worst of it if possible.

  • Wear proper foot-wear in rainy/snowy weather.

  • Lay down cardboard, old carpet, blankets, etc. to protect your floors and carpets from mud and water. You can also set up an assembly line, so that clean shoes stay inside and dirty shoes outside.

  • Keep temperature-sensitive electronics, artwork, and furniture in climate-controlled areas (i.e. not the back of a moving truck) whenever possible to avoid damages.

  • Make sure the utilities are on and working in your new home. Water, electricity, AC, and heating!

Moving in the Snow

  • Make sure all walkways are clear of snow or ice, and spread with sand/salt if necessary to prevent slips and falls.

  • Keep hot drinks on hand for everyone helping you move.

  • Service your car before the move, and make sure you have car insurance with roadside assistance.

  • Have a safety kit for the drive: rock salt, kitty litter, shovels, flares, tire-chains, extra gas, an emergency blanket, jumper cables, pocket warmers, a flashlight, extra batteries, cell phone chargers, food, extra clothing and a first-aid kit.

Moving in the Rain

  • If it’s especially wet outside, consider plastic wrapping your furniture, mattress, and cardboard boxes to protect them from water damage.

  • You can buy large rolls of plastic at stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s for much cheaper than what moving companies will charge for the service, or you can rent reusable plastic moving bins from companies like Gorilla Bins and Bin-It!

  • Have towels on hand to dry off yourself and your belongings.

  • If your cardboard boxes end up getting wet, unpack them as soon as possible to avoid mold buildup.

Moving in Hot Weather

  • Start your move as early as possible to take advantage of cooler morning temperatures.

  • Have water and other cold drinks on hand to stay hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

  • Avoid sunburns by covering up, using sunblock and taking regular breaks in the shade.

  • Have a change of clothes, towels and toiletries ready for a shower at the end of the day, because you’re going to get sweaty!

It’s easy to get caught up in the energy of a move, and lose yourself in the desire to finish everything as quickly as possible. This is dangerous behavior during extreme weather.

Follow these guidelines, and above all else, be smart, take breaks when you need to, and be safe!

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How to Make a New House Feel Like Home

You did it! You pulled off your big move, without forgetting or damaging anything, and you’re fully unpacked. And yet, in some ways, successfully moving into a new place is only the beginning.

Read on for some tips and guidelines for the next big item on your moving checklist: making your new house/apartment feel like home.

Check Off the Official Stuff

  • Make sure important papers are organized. This means everything related to the move (insurance contracts, bill of lading, moving contracts, leases, etc.), as well as all your personal documents (medical, dental, school records, etc.)

  • Complete your change of address with everyone you need to: insurance companies, banks, the DMV, employers, etc.

  • Register to vote!

Ensure Your Safety

  • Install new locks and security systems. If you’re renting, talk with your landlord before doing so.

  • Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and you have a full fire-extinguisher.

  • Locate your water shutoff valve and circuit breaker board.

Get Your Bearings

  • Locate the nearest hospital, police station, fire station, pet hospital, gas station, grocery store, bank and post office.

  • Find a new doctor, dentist, pediatrician and veterinarian.

  • Find out the trash/recycling pickup times.

  • A great way to start feeling like a local is to act like one! That means going to the best places to eat, relaxing in the most beautiful spots, hiking the best trails, etc. You can talk to your neighbors, chat up the locals (use the always well-received “I just moved here” line) or use the wonders of the internet. Try sites like Yelp or Zomato for great food, seek advice on Facebook/Twitter, or check local blogs for the inside scoop.

Get Your Kids and Pets Settled

  • Organize Skype calls with friends, family and favorite babysitters from your prior hometown.

  • If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to find new schools for your kids! Definitely include older children in the selection process.

  • Volunteer at schools, go to parks to find friends and setup playdates for your pets and young ones.

  • Moving is stressful for everyone, so expect some level of regression and difficult behavior.

  • Give both your kids and pets time and space to adjust. Accept that it could be weeks or months until they feel fully settled and at home.

Connect with Your Community

  • Throw a house-warming party to get to know your new neighbors, who could one day become your future babysitters, friends, pet-sitters and even fellow survivors in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse!

  • Check with your local Home Owner’s Association to see if there are any rules you should know about (such as what you can or cannot add to your home).

  • Join clubs/activities organized by the community. Check out the community board at the local library and sign up for local magazines and newspapers. Meetup is also great for both keeping up old hobbies and starting new ones.

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The Best Way to Unpack for a Stress-Free Move

Moving into a new home is certainly an accomplishment, one to be acknowledged and appreciated. But the moving process doesn’t stop there! Unfortunately, you are only halfway done — now you have to un-pack.

Just like packing, there’s a smart way to unpack, and plenty of not-so-smart ways! Follow these guidelines for the smart way to unpack:

Upon Arriving

  1. Explore — Take some time to look around and feel the space out before you dive into the unpacking frenzy, especially if you have kids. Appreciate the calm before the storm.

  2. Check utilities — Make sure the utilities are all on and working.

  3. Clean — Consider cleaning before you bring anything inside and start the unpacking process. Yes, your landlord or the last tenants or owners most likely did so already, but this way, you know it’s clean!

  4. Check for damages — As you or movers bring your things inside, be on the lookout for any obviously damaged boxes. Check major appliances like dryers, washing machines, etc. for damages as well.

Unpacking

To avoid overwhelm and minor breakdowns, break the unpacking process down into manageable chunks.

Start with your essentials box(es) — (you packed one of those, right?) Open it up and divvy up its contents into various rooms. I like to set things up in the following order:

  1. Beds — Decorations and clothes can wait, but at the very least make sure you have a bed to crash into at the end of the day!

  2. Food — Once your beds are ready for later, it’s time to make sure you can eat. Again, leave the bulk of your kitchen-ware for later, and for now, just unpack enough for basic meals for the next day or two.

  3. Bathrooms — Next on the essentials list is the bathroom. Get at least one bathroom in working order so that everyone can shower, brush their teeth, etc.

  4. Living Room — For many, a couch and working TV is close behind sleep, food and showers in terms of essentials! A well-deserved family movie is a great way to unwind after a long day of unpacking, as well as a good incentive for kids to help you out during the day.

  5. Decorations — Before you dive into the thick of the unpacking, take some time to set up a few family photos, children’s artwork and homey knick-knacks around the house, to help you feel more at home.

  6. Tackle the rest of the house — Now that you have a functional kitchen, living room, and bedrooms and bathrooms for everyone, it’s time to dive in!

Move from the ground up: rugs, furniture, things to fill cabinets, drawers, etc., and then decorations (artwork, posters, etc.). Leave closet and storage space-items for last.

Common areas like the kitchen, living room, dining room, hallways are best to tackle during the day, when everyone is energized. Leave individual rooms for the evening/night-time to give everyone a chance to unwind and settle into their personal space at the end of the day.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll find yourself unpacked and box-free in no time! For help with what to do next, check out our guide: Tips for Settling into Your New Home.

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