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Moving Tips

Let's just say it.  Moving is a nightmare.  No one enjoys the process.  You may be happy to be moving to your new place, but getting there is a pain.  These tips will help ease the pain, but nothing will eliminate it completely. 

Packing Yourself

Should I pack or hire someone to pack up for me?  It depends. 

Packing is tedious and to do it well, particularly day in and day out, requires a person who is detail oriented and takes genuine pleasure in organizing minutia.  If you can do this, or can make yourself do it for one move, then you will save money by doing it yourself.  If you choose to hire a packer, beware.  (Read the next column on why Two Strong Arms Moving does not offer packing). 

If you choose to pack for yourself, keep these things in mind:

  • Use boxes that stack well.  We highly recommend U-Haul boxes.  U-Haul knows the world of moving and its boxes are designed to be stacked well.  A ton of space can be saved in a truck when boxes fit together neatly. 

  • Put Everything in Boxes if Possible!  Boxes make it possible to use all of the space in a truck because you can stack small things (in boxes) vertically.  You cannot do this with loose items, so the truck bed is covered, with no ability to stack above the floor.  If you have a lot of stuff, boxing everything is critical.  Also, it takes a lot more mover time to move multiple loose items than one large box. 

  • Close and Tape Up Your Boxes!  Putting things in boxes does not help if they are not closed into a nice cube shape that stacks.  If things are sticking out of the top and the top cannot close it saves almost no space over just having loose items.  Moreover, if the boxes are not taped up, they are prone to falling apart, spilling and breaking your goods.  If you hire a laborer to pack your things, educate them on the importance of closing and sealing boxes.    

  • Pack boxes based on the rooms they will go in and label clearly.  This will save you lots of time when you are unpacking and it will make it easier for movers to know where everything goes so they can work more efficiently when unloading. 

  • Do not underestimate the time it will take to pack.  Frequently, people think they can pack more quickly than they can and they run out of time. 

  • Label boxes as fragile, heavy, or light.  Good movers take these things into account when loading your truck and knowing the answer at a glance makes it easier to pack and protect your belongings from breaking in transit while still working quickly. 

  • Fragile/valuable goods should be packed properly.  Again, we highly recommend U-Haul if you have fragile or valuable goods that you need to protect in packing.  It is their job to assist people in self-packing and they have spent much time coming up with good packing ideas.  On the other hand, if your stuff is not really that expensive, it doesn't make sense to spend more on packing materials than it would cost to replace a glass or two if they break in transit.

Hiring a Packer

Why doesn't Two Strong Arms Moving do packing? 


Because good and happy movers do not make good packers.  A person who enjoys moving work is naturally physical, enjoys lifting things, thrives on natural physical challenges, and likes to be in motion.  A great mover is the grown up version of the boy or girl who could never stop moving.  When moving companies use movers as packers, they are making both their movers and their clients unhappy. Because we are independent movers, we choose to make neither our client's nor ourselves unhappy doing something we are not good at.    

Excellent packers are highly detail oriented, love organizing minutia, and can do these things quickly and naturally.  Moreover, they do not mind sitting or standing in the same area for a few hours while they get lost in what they view as an organizational wonderland.  These persons are rare. 


If we, at Two Strong Arms Moving, find a group that does this well we will begin recommending them, but until then we honestly believe you are better off packing your own things.  You will save money and you are more motivated to protect your own things than a laborer from Craigslist who has no real skill in packing.  Moreover, for you it is only one job that (hopefully) you will not have to do again for some time so it is easier to manage the tediousness when you know there is a quick end to it.     



What other moving equipment or supplies do I need to get aside from a truck?  It depends but consider the following:

  • Blankets.  We do our best to pack your belongings so they are protected, but to insure things are safely transported, blankets are sometimes imperative.  Again, these can be purchased specifically for moving from U-Haul and how many you need will depend on what you have.  U-Haul can help you.  We do not provide blankets but happily use the ones you provide. 

  • Rope and Tie-Downs - Provided for In-Town Moves.  These are sometimes needed to keep things from shifting.  Good packing minimizes the need, but to be safe, some should be available.  We provide rope for out of town moves and tie-downs for in-town moves.   

  • Appliance Dolly, Hand Truck, Four Wheel Dollies - Provided.  We have a variety of dollies and hand trucks that we provide for your move.  Of course, if you are moving out of town, you will not be able to take our equipment with you, so you may need to rent them for use when you arrive at your destination. 

  • Tools.  We bring tools with us to each site to assist when needed for assembly or disassembly.  However, if any specialty tools are needed you should let us know beforehand. 

Renting Your Truck

Local "full service" companies cost much more than hiring Two Strong Arms Moving because they have dramatic overhead costs associated with providing what is described as full service.  If you have the money to pay moving costs associated with this additional overhead and you prefer the convenience it offers, then we will not begrudge your choosing a full service moving company.  However, from a cost standpoint, it is incredibly inefficient. 

As the client, what you care most about on moving day is insuring that your truck is loaded well and properly, that your movers arrive, and arrive on time, that they don't dally to extract more money in hourly costs, and that they are pleasant to get along with.  In essence, the heart of any moving service is quality movers. 

Unfortunately, this is not what clients pay for with a "full service" moving company.  They pay for the overhead associated with trucks, maintaining trucks and truck insurance, offices, as well as secretaries and bosses who occupy the offices while the movers, often the lowest paid employees, are out in the field doing what you actually need done.


By renting your own truck and driving yourself, spending just $35 to $100 in rental charges, you save $500 to a $1000 over what a full service moving company would charge.  Moreover, the average person can simply not afford to pay what moving companies charge and so they have to do the work themselves, and hope a friend will help.  By working together as independent movers, we make it possible for you to avoid tormenting your friends.  

Where should we rent our truck from?

We strongly recommend using U-Haul to rent your trucks.  U-Haul has been around longer than any of the other truck rental companies.  Consequently, they have a very efficient system in place to serve you and they do an excellent job of maintaining their trucks in good working order. 

How big of a truck should I get?

Generally, I would say to follow the recommendations of U-Haul, but lean toward a bigger truck rather than trying to save a few dollars getting an undersized truck.  U-Haul does not know how much stuff you have in your space or how well you have packed, neither do we usually. 


It is much quicker and more efficient to do a job in one load than two and the money you save by getting a slightly smaller truck will be paid out double or triple in what you must pay to us because the move will take longer.  Moreover, if you are headed out of town, and have rented a truck that is too small, you may discover you have to make some hard choices about what you can take with you if your truck is too small. 

When homes are well packed (see packing tips), we can use most of the space in a truck, but we cannot work miracles. 

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