Moving is a big job. That’s true whether you’re making a local or long-distance move, and whether you’re moving the contents of a studio apartment or a multi-bedroom home. It’s also expensive. Beyond the cost of buying a new home or putting down the deposit on a rental, there’s buying moving supplies, taking possibly unpaid time off work, renting a moving truck, and renting a storage unit. On top of that, you may not be able to afford a moving company, though you probably still need help.
When you get friends to help, we do encourage you to spend money on certain things that we’ll cover below. This should still cost much less than hiring a moving company.
Self Storage and Moving
A self storage unit can be a great place to stash boxes you plan to move. This makes extra space at home and can allow you to space your move out over days or seeks, especially if you’re making a local move. Basically, self storage makes moving easier. You won’t need to ask as many friends for help, either, and they can focus on the things you really can’t move, like large items of furniture or appliances.
When we talk about asking friends to help move, we really mean family and friends. And, as a friend, you will want to put them out as little as possible. Don’t spring on them that you need their help just a week before the move or even two weeks. We suggest asking a month or more in advance. As soon as you know you’ll be moving, let them know you’ll need assistance bringing large items and boxes into the moving truck. This way, they have a better chance of fitting it into their schedules and will feel less put-out.
Reserve Your Truck
Reserve a truck at least a week before the day of the move. That way, you’ll be able to go pick it up with as few issues as possible.
Be Honest About the Work
What are the big things you’ll need to move? Will you have a lot of boxes that need to be packed in the truck as well? Be honest with your helpers about how much you have to put in the truck and how long you think it will take. If you spring work on them they didn’t expect, they’re likely to feel resentful, so let them know what you expect upfront.
Do your packing in the weeks before the move. This will serve two goals. First, you won’t feel rushed. Second, your helpers will see that all they have to do is help put things in the truck. They’ll appreciate that you did this huge part of the job before they even arrived.
Get the Right Tools
Another part of being as prepared as possible for your friends is getting the right moving equipment. Ideally, you’ll want a platform truck, a hand truck, moving blankets, and a ramp. Most truck rental places will have many if not all of these and will rent them to you for an extra fee. By the time most of your helpers get to your place, you should already have the truck and tools. However, you may need to have one of your friends go with you to pick them up, so that one of you can drive the truck back, and one can drive your car.
Have a Plan
Your helpers will mostly just want to take instructions and get the work done, so have a plan for how you’re going to pack that moving truck.
More than Just Work
Make sure your friends know that while there will be hard work, there will also be fun! Then, make that happen. Provide healthy snacks and drinks that your friends will enjoy and that will help keep their energy steady. You should have plenty of bottled water. Also, put on some music everyone can agree on.
You should also have a thank-you gift for each helper. This might be an Amazon or iTunes gift card or something else. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Spending $10 per person is plenty. The point is to make sure they feel appreciated.
Also, if you haven’t already discarded things you don’t plan to bring with you, put them in boxes, and give your helpers first dibs. They may find clothing, DVDs, books, and so on they’d love to keep.
Return the Favor
Let them know you’re willing to help them with a future move or something else important if possible. Maybe a friend will need someone to house-sit for them. If you move far away and they have business in your new city, maybe you can let them stay with you for a few nights. Of course, if you live nearby, you can help them when they need to move.
Best of luck, and have a safe move!