This is the second part of the series. You can read the first part here if you haven’t already, Tips for moving the house – Part I. The first part focussed on issues that specifically on choosing a service provider. In this post, we are going to discuss things that you should take care of yourself. I always thought that it’s going to be an easy job since the people from the moving company will take care of packing all the stuff. I just have to stand there and supervise them. I was completely wrong. If you are not prepared, there would be loads of surprises when your packed boxes arrive at your new house.
1. Pack all your documents yourself
This is the one thing I had done myself, well before the moving exercise started. And that saved me hours of effort while unpacking. I started working on it at least a month before. First, I collected all the important papers, documents, and bills from all around the house, sorted them, discarded the unimportant ones like, and packed them into separate envelopes. I also separated out the documents that I needed to carry like ID proofs, passports, etc with me instead of sending them with other items. You should also keep a few copies of each important document since you would generally need them sooner than you can imagine. It’s better to be prepared in advance rather than running around in the new city, searching for a copier machine.
These are the things that I kept with me:
- Passports of all members: Original and 2 copies of each
- PAN Card: Original and 2 copies each
- Aadhaar Card: Original and 5 copies each (Most sought after document nowadays)
- Copies of vehicle’s RC, insurance policy in case you are moving your vehicles as well
- Medical Files: Especially if you have kids (vaccination schedule and important prescriptions)
2. Surrender/apply for relocation for your services
- Surrender your gas connection. The whole process might take a few days, but if you are lucky you might get it done in a day or two. Call your provider and check how many days they would need to process your request.
- Apply for a relocation of your broadband and TV connections. I had paid advance rentals on both of these, so it made sense for me to apply for relocating. But, call them first and check the feasibility at your new place. The better option would be to close your accounts, and when you finally settle down at your new house, apply for new connections.
3. Electronics and other valuables
I had packed my TV, Desktop, laptop, all electronic accessories like desk phones, speakers, cables, chargers, power adapters etc on my own. And since I had kept all the original boxes with me, it was easy to pack them. It turned out to be a good decision. When I reached my new home, I could see the boxes that were packed by me, clearly marked with its contents. I also had listed out individual items on the boxes, in case it contained multiple items. The movers and packers people will never take care of your things as you would. Although it might take a few extra hours, it’s always a better choice to do it on your own.
Valuables: Obviously have to be carried with you and not with your other stuff. But it does help if you can sort them out into boxes if you already haven’t.
Large appliances like refrigerator, gas stove, microwave, washing machine can be left for the so-called pros. These things are generally more durable, and can’t withstand the tortures. Don’t be surprised if you see some new scratches or dents when they arrive at your new house. These damages are not avoidable.
Kitchen glassware, photo frames, and other glass items should be packed under your supervision. You probably cannot do it yourself, but you should keep a close eye on how they are being packed. Although the guys are a bit more extra careful with these items, you need to tell them to add more layers of bubble wrap whenever you feel so. They would most of the times acknowledge your request only if you are around.
5. Food item and groceries
Try to avoid packing up opened packets of food. All liquid containers should be properly sealed. Again, your supervision is important here as well. You should also be aware of rats. The carriers would make multiple stops at warehouses and godowns where rats are plenty. They would try to feast on your food. Even if one of them manages to get into your boxes, you would end up having a lot of food to throw away.
Clothes are the only items which can be easily managed while moving your house. But, I would suggest that you make separate boxes for each kind and each member of your family. That will help you to unpack and re-arrange them again at your new place. If they get mixed up, it will take a lot of time to find and sort everything again.
If you can manage to organize them yourself before they are put into boxes. It will save you lots of time when you search for your things like staplers, gum or tapes when you need them at your new house.
Handling children can be pretty tough when everything is being packed. My suggestion would be again to sort and make boxes for the toys. You can also involve your children here. My daughter cried a lot when all her toys were being packed. She calmed down only after I ensured that all of the toys will be fine. I also asked her to remember which toy was in which box, and we were very surprised when she was able to figure the contents when our boxes arrived at our new house. This is also probably the right time to discard those old and broken toys to reduce the clutter, although you might find it hard to convince your little ones.
9. Beds, Mattresses, Sofa
These are the big items that should be left for the so-called pros. Although they would probably do a good job at this, a little supervision will surely help.
Make sure they dismantle your bed properly, mark all the items and safely keep the nuts and bolts so that they can be easily found. Dismantling a bed is easy. Before that, take some photos of your bed which will give you a rough idea how it was set up, especially, if you have a bed with drawers. In my case, the guy who had dismantled the bed didn’t turn up at my new place. It was a hard time for me to figure out how to set it up. I had no pictures of it, so I had to try all combinations possible. Spent a good 5 hours at that.
Same applies to other furniture which can be dismantled. Small tables, show pieces, etc.
Mattresses: Do not let them fold or roll your mattresses in any case. Ask them to put extra layers of bubble wraps on them so that they don’t get torn accidentally.
Sofa: Ask them to put extra layers of bubble wraps to prevent accidental damage.
10. Mark all boxes
Mark all the boxes and items yourself and be as descriptive as possible about the items. Also, tag the boxes with the room where you plan to keep it in while unloading. Although, it’s not possible for all your stuff, doing this would make sure that you don’t pile up all the boxes at a single place in your new house.
If you can follow all these tips, I am quite sure that you will see very fewer damages, you can’t avoid them completely. The most important thing is your supervision. If you can get help from your friends or family, that would really help. There would be around 4-5 packers storming into your house and try to pack up everything as fast as they can. Having a few extra hands on your side will help you instruct them and make sure everything is being packed safely.
On the day when the things are being packed, you should be relaxed. Do not try to hurry up, take your time to ensure that everything happens under your nose. If the packing guys are in a hurry, offer them some water or tea, ask them to rest and then resume. Let them know clearly that you want everything to be packed safely. Don’t fall for their serious assurances of safety. You would probably never get hold of the same guys at your new place. The guys who come to deliver your stuff would most probably be a different set of people, especially if you are shifting to another city.
While unloading, ask them to put the boxes in different rooms. If you have tagged your boxes, it would be easier. Ask them to put the large items in their intended places. Before they arrive, you need to have a good idea where to put what instead of deciding on the fly. Spend some time discussing the rooms at your new place, which stuff goes where, and who takes which cupboards.
A lot of things mentioned here might seem obvious. It did, for me too. But it’s quite easy to miss all these points when a lot of things are happening around you.
Again, I would stress on that fact that you should start preparing for this exercise at-least a month before. Make a plan, not just in your head, but put it down on paper. Plan in detail as much as possible. And hope that you shift to your brand new home peacefully.
Here are some links that you can also go through:
Shifting houses is hard. And it’s even harder if you are not well prepared. Recently, I had to move from Bangalore to Faridabad. It’s been about a month now that I have shifted to my new house, but I really can’t say that we have settled in yet. Many would think, moving houses is an easy task. Enquire and finalize a Movers & Packers, finalize a date and you are done. That’s probably true for a bachelor. But if you have a family, I would suggest you plan for it at least a month in advance.
In this post, I will only write about things that you will need to know about choosing a moving company. I will also do follow-up posts covering other aspects of moving your house and how you can plan it so that you are not frustrated in your new home.
1. Choose a Movers and Packers company
This is probably the hardest part. Choosing a vendor is not at all easy or straight-forward. This business is still quite unorganized and most of them will disappoint you. If you go by their reviews, you won’t find even a single reliable vendor who you can trust with your items. Once you call them, they will ask for an appointment to survey your house and give an estimate. They would just talk and talk, give you an estimate and give you all possible assurances.
You might get very cheap estimates, and some might quote you exorbitant prices. Do not always go for the cheapest or the costliest one expecting them to give you a trouble-free experience. Read reviews about them on the internet. You should never shortlist a company if it has less than 50 reviews(good or bad). If they mention something which is not written in their terms and conditions, ask them to give it in writing.
Note: 80% of their words are plain lies. Please don’t believe their words. Ask for written commitments and terms and conditions. Never go by their words.
2. Household items: Avail insurance or not
For household items, the insurance amount that you normally have to pay is 3% of the declared value of items. They would force you to declare a higher value for your items so that they can earn commission from the insurance companies, it at all they insure your items.
What could go wrong here? Well, as I said earlier, don’t believe these guys. I would suggest not to spend anything on insurance. But if you still want to, make sure you first get your insurance policy from them before the shifting date. Go through all the terms and conditions before you let them touch any of your belongings.
Note: For me, they took insurance charges from me on the day of the shifting, and never gave me any insurance policy details even after following up with them for weeks. Some items were damaged during transit, and I was never able to claim anything. What they probably did? They pocketed all the insurance premium that I had paid, about 6000 INR.
3. Payment schedule for the Movers and Packers
Most of them ask for 80% payment on the day of shifting. 20% or so needs to be paid when you get the delivery. Although this is a highly unfair payment schedule for you, there’s nothing much you can do here. They will accept all methods of payment: Cheque, Cash, Online Transfer etc, which is quite convenient.
Note: Keep all your estimates, payment receipts and other documents related to this in safe custody. It is very easy to misplace these documents while moving.
4. Full-Loading or Part-Loading
Full-load is obviously going to be costly in theory, where the vehicle which loads your items is the one that is going to deliver it, and it would only contain your items. Part-load is usually cheaper since a single truck can contain household items of multiple persons who are moving.
Part-load can be riskier because:
- Your items can be easily mixed up with others’.
- Your items can be damaged since they will be loaded and unloaded multiple times due to change of trucks or carriers which ply to different destinations.
If they are promising you a “Full Load” carrier, make sure you note down the number of the carrier that leaves your house. Verify at your destination if it’s the same carrier.
Note: For me, they promised a single carrier for my items, but when they finally delivered the goods, I realized that I had been taken for a ride. I lost 2 items in transit, which they haven’t been able to track down yet. The carrier wasn’t the same one which had picked up my items. And I did see several damages on various items, which clearly suggested that they have been loaded and unloaded multiple times.
5. Moving your car or driving
It is a tough decision. It was for me. But if you are adventurous, I would suggest that you drive it to your new house yourself. Trusting your car with these guys is very risky. Driving could be tiring and costly, but it can also be economical since you would save on your air tickets. However, if you are still shifting your car through any moving company, please take care of the following.
- Insurance or not: Please refer above where I have talked about insuring your household goods.
- Take note of your odometer. Although, this doesn’t make any difference. If they need to misuse your vehicle, they will drive it around by taking out the cables attached to the wheels.
- Take note the fuel in the tank. If there’s a big difference, ask them to explain.
- Please mark the tires in front of them which cannot be easily tampered or reproduced. I have heard about incidents where they steal your new tyres and replace them with old ones.
- Do not leave any accessories inside the car.
- Take note of all current damages and scratches. Take lots of pictures of your car, both inside and outside.
For moving a car, they generally would ask for your RC in original and the Insurance Policy document in duplicate. That’s normal.
It is very easy to skip all these things. You would probably be very busy when they come to pick up your car. So, please plan for all these points well in advance.
Note: For me, my driver’s seat cover was torn at 2 places. The toolkit was missing. My car phone charger was gone. Tires seemed to be replaced by old ones, although I am not very sure about this. The fuel tank was almost empty. The delivery guy at least had the courtesy to remind me that I had an almost empty tank: it was half-tank when I had handed over the keys to them.
These are the things that you should definitely plan for and keep in mind. Also, check with your friends. Most of them would probably know a moving company which they might have used before.
This is only the first part of your preparation, and probably the most important one. If you happen to succesfully choose a great moving company, by luck or by research, 90% of your hassles are gone. In the follow-up posts, I will talk about other things that you need to keep in mind.
Weekends are generally my turn to surprise my wife and daughter. Today, this is what I made. Khaman Dhokla. Here’s a picture of what was expected and what the outcome was. It spoiled my years of reputation as a cook in my house. This is the worst disaster ever in the kitchen for me.
I was trying to multitask, entertain the kid and make lunch as well. And I lost track of time, till I saw smoke coming out of the microwave. The wife burst out in anger, which quickly turned into laughter, when my 2-year-old daughter asked, “Papa, Ye Dhokla Tha?”
This wasn’t the second batch of Dhokla. My wife made the first ones, and my daughter knew what a Dhokla looked and tasted like. It was yummy. Unfortunately, I didn’t click a picture of it.
There were days when I just slept for the weekends. I don’t even remember the last time I slept for an hour during the day. All these days, it’s been late night sleeping, and waking up early, trying to beat the morning traffic to the office. The one good thing about being busy: you are never bored. You are either doing something or sleeping. Your brain is either working or sleeping. It never rests.
I love being busy, as compared to lying on the couch the whole day, and watching those eternally repeating movies on TV. The only time I am relatively less busy is when I am commuting. My commute to the office is about 50 minutes one way. That 100 minutes daily, is the time when I do a lot of thinking, singing and sitting. Oh, and sometimes, just waiting at the red lights, praying and pleading to God to let me move on.
But I also know someone personally who is busier than me. I envy her. Her days are more interesting than mine, or so I feel. She doesn’t tell, but I can feel it. As much I hate going out and getting stuck in the traffic, she loves all the time that she gets to spend at home.
She sleeps as much as she wants. She doesn’t want to sleepy at all, but when she sleeps, even the loudest noises on earth can’t make her turn over. Her days are not monotonous, each day is new experience for her.
Here I am, trying to catch up on all my missed gym routines, sitting on the cycle and finishing my unfinished post that I had started 2 weeks back.