Multipart move, ideally with movers - 50% house, 50% storage
June 28, 2017 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Multistep move, probably from a house to a shorter-term rental and then back into a house. (This has to do with school start dates, job change dates, and minimizing family disruption.) Problem: House amount of stuff that probably won't fit into an apartment. But I really desperately want to use movers and not move myself. What are my options?

In an ideal world I'd do the sort of moving where the movers come to your house, pack up everything including whatever's currently in your wastebaskets, and unpack it at your new house. But I almost certainly won't be doing a house-to-house move; I'll be going house, to an apartment while some of my stuff is in storage for a few months, back to a house or townhouse or whatever. What are my options?

(I have never moved with movers before -- always a U-Haul -- but now I have 3 kids and 12 years of house-accretion and the process of moving myself is way, way too much to think about, someone is going to have to haul all this furniture for me, and ideally box up a lot of the stuff too. Assume I know nothing about moving as an adult. Also assume I am willing to throw money at this problem -- not an absurd amount, but a reasonable amount. Obviously I'm already engaged in a mass clean-out so there's less to move.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is there any way you can rent a furnished apartment and just take with you what you can fit into suitcases? That way the movers could just put everything into storage and then move everything from storage into the new house several weeks later. You could pack up the suitcase stuff earlier and have it in your car when the movers come.
posted by rainbowbrite at 1:16 PM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure how to accomplish getting other people to pack stuff into boxes, since presumably you'll have to decide what's going to the apartment and what's going to storage. Getting professionals to do the actual move itself (particularly all the furniture schlepping) should not be a problem. I have done a similar "complex" move (2 apartments into one) and no one batted an eye.
posted by quaking fajita at 1:18 PM on June 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

Check with the movers. We had to have some appliances stored for over a year (move from house to temporary smaller house, back to permanent larger house) and the movers were able to pack things and store them for us.

When we moved back we just used the same movers and they brought our stuff back. They charged us a storage fee but any storage place will do that.

Most movers will also happily sell you boxes and pack your stuff. They generally charge by the hour anyway so it just takes more hours. You'd probably need to be around to coordinate things and maybe pack away the precious china yourself.
posted by bondcliff at 1:33 PM on June 28, 2017

Our movers had a specific fee schedule for "two stop" moves where some things were going to storage and other things were going to another location, so that shouldn't be a problem. If you can make it easy for the packers by clearly communicating which things go to which place (stickers? move most of the storage things to one area?), that shouldn't be a problem, either.
posted by ldthomps at 1:37 PM on June 28, 2017

Maybe look at something like PODS?
posted by solotoro at 1:45 PM on June 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

Agree about a furnished place. That's how I recently accomplished this. I brought my own mattress, though, because ew.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:00 PM on June 28, 2017

All of our moves in recent history have been full service with pack and unpack. I have never done exactly what you're describing, but based on my experience with those movers, I'm fairly sure that they would be able to accommodate moving some stuff to one location and some to another (or some to their own storage). Pick a couple of reputable moving companies and discuss it with them. They are used to "weird" situations.
posted by primethyme at 2:01 PM on June 28, 2017

Also, as part of your mass clean-out, be thinking about cost to store vs. cost to replace. It's possible that there are some items that will cost more to store than they're worth (or at least the cost difference is small enough that you might as well replace them).
posted by primethyme at 2:04 PM on June 28, 2017

Most movers will have some kind of hookup to a storage place and can move one set of belongings to the new apartment and the other to the storage place. Then you'll have to do it in reverse when you move to the final place.
posted by praemunire at 2:11 PM on June 28, 2017

I Have done pretty much exactly this, tho it's been 10+ years. Sold the house we were living in before buying the house we were moving into, so lived in a furnished rental for about 6 months. Had two toddlers at the time. It's common, and a moving company won't be bother by it at all. They have a storage facility, trucks of all sizes, and plenty of labor. I've also be re-located a couple times by employers, always using moving companies to do everything. A few things to keep in mind:

Said storage facility is likely nothing more than a big warehouse, probably not well climate controlled, and minimally secured. We had them store a fridge, and did a poor job cleaning it out. When we got it back is was moldy beyond belief. Assume your stuff will be kept out of the rain/snow -- and not much else! I wouldn't use their storage for anything that couldn't be easily replaced, like a family heirloom.

Less scrupulous moving companies have been known to essentially hold your stuff for ransom (Google for some real horror stories). Seriously consider going with a big name like United or Mayflower, not "Joe's moving." You want a 'home office' to call if needed.

That said, moving companies are franchises. If you do have a problem, you can escalate to corporate -- or sometimes get results just by threatening to do so. I had a mover drop a TV, and they were practically begging me to NOT file a claim, willing to just hand me enough cash that I was happy to let them off the hook.

This isn't cheap, IIRC we paid close to $4,000 by the time we were done. Local moves are done on a per-hour basis, and the storage comes at a premium. Get a couple of quotes.

If they pack a box, said box is covered against loss or damage by their insurance. If you pack a box, it is not, and movers are not known for being gentle. So if you consider packing some stuff yourself to save some money, keep that in mind.
posted by Frayed Knot at 2:30 PM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

In an ideal world I'd do the sort of moving where the movers come to your house, pack up everything including whatever's currently in your wastebaskets, and unpack it at your new house.

I had movers do this once, when my company was paying for relocation. (Except we packed the books and the wine ourselves, because those are the Important Things and because I can't imagine trying to get our library back into some sort of order if the movers just threw the books into boxes arbitrarily. The books were in wine boxes. The wine was also in wine boxes, with "fragile" written on them.) I thought that they'd be good at packing. They weren't. They came equipped with, basically, some boxes and some giant rolls of paper. They wrapped everything in paper. Everything. They wrapped individual forks in giant sheets of paper. After we moved we seemed to have less forks than before.

That being said, you are covered for loss or damage if they pack the box, but not if you do. Maybe it's worth losing a few forks.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:40 PM on June 28, 2017

Just chiming in with the others; we've moved twice in the past couple years, both times paid for by an employer. We're a small household (just the two of us and a terrier), which cut costs. We packed everything ourselves except the art (paintings and ceramics) because we felt the movers could do it better, and the insurance. Both moves they took all of our stuff into storage, save for some clothing and other essentials we hauled ourselves to hold us over in temporary, furnished, digs. When we found our permanent spots, they delivered it. This last time they even came and picked up the essentials from our temporary place on the way to this current place. So easy.

I was impressed with our movers; efficient, careful, unphased by weird asks. They'll have dealt with your situation and will have some suggestions about how to manage it.

Good luck!
posted by notyou at 2:52 PM on June 28, 2017

I used the add-on movers booking service now available through U-Haul (movinghelpers) and was very pleased with the price-to-value ratio. It was far, far cheaper than what I was quoted from a comprehensive moving service or a place like Two Guys and a Truck/College Hunks--about $500 in labor plus $300 for truck/dolly rental, mileage, and gas (about a 45 mile distance between old place and new place). That got me a 3-person crew on each end for 2 hours, and they were able to load/unload about 1000 sq ft of moderately dense furnishings/possessions in that time frame. I did my own packing/furniture disassembly but if you want help with that you can just book a crew for a longer period of time. Aside from being super easy to book and schedule without sitting on the phone for 15 minutes with 3 different companies listing how many couches you own. The thing I liked best was that you can easily compare rates for many moving services--I picked well-rated outfits in the middle of the price band that had a business presence outside of Moving Helpers. If you go through a local u-haul attached to a storage facility it can all be very convenient.
posted by drlith at 3:49 PM on June 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

We did this and it was easy. Things were labeled to indicate if they were headed to storage (most of it) or the temporary apartment (the minimum). It was simple and no drama at all.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:55 PM on June 28, 2017

We did this and it was easy.

To be clearer -- we hired movers to do every step of this. They packed (though we did the major sorting first to make it easy to keep things headed to storage separate), they moved the stuff to both the storage place and the temporary apartment, and then later we hired different movers to bring everything to the new place. It was entirely normal and didn't raise any eyebrows, or even seem to add much cost. (They aren't moving more stuff, they are just making two stops with the truck, was I guess the logic.)

We prearranged the storage space, but if for some reason you need to move to the new place first and then rent the storage space, it should work fine as long as you stay in front of the movers.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:43 PM on June 28, 2017

I'm sure you've considered this, but is there any possibility of minimising the amount of stuff you actually need to move, by employing the single best removalist that there is: the garbage man?
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:00 PM on June 28, 2017

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