Chicago Moving Tips & Resources

Here are some helpful Chicago moving tips & resources for your upcoming move:

Packing Tips

Do-it-yourself packing is a big job, but it can be a worthwhile way to save money on your relocation costs. With the right materials and a little help from Chicago Mobility in the form of packing tips, you can achieve professional results and maximize the protection of your possessions.

Packing tips are extremely useful when it comes time to box up your household. By packing things appropriately and in an organized fashion, damage can be prevented. Plus, the better you pack, the easier it will be to unpack at your new residence.

Tips For Packing: Preparation

First, we recommend you start with professional materials, including:

  • Tissue paper
  • Packing paper (plain newsprint)
  • 2" packing tape
  • Masking tape
  • A utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Permanent markers
  • Professional quality boxes

Tips for Packing: The Right Stuff

Chicago Mobility has a wide range of boxes and professional packing materials available for purchase to help you organize and safeguard your belongings, including:

  • Dishpack (or China Barrel): Heavy duty carton used for dishes/china, crystal and glassware
  • Double-wall cartons: Extra protective cartons made especially for fine china, crystal, and other high-value, hard to replace items
  • 1.5 cu. ft. cartons: Small carton for heavy items such as books, files, music CDs and DVDs/video tapes
  • 3.0 cu. ft. cartons: Medium utility carton often used for pots and pans, toys, and small appliances
  • 4.5 cu. ft. cartons: For bulky items, such as linens, towels or toys
  • 6.0 cu. ft. cartons: For large, bulky, or lightweight articles, such as pillows or large lampshades
  • Wardrobe cartons: A "portable closet" that keeps clothes or draperies hanging on a built-in bar
  • Mirror cartons: Several sizes of telescoping cartons for framed pictures, mirrors or glass
  • Mattress cartons: Available in queen/king, double, single (twin) and crib sizes. A separate carton is necessary for box springs
  • Stretchwrap: A special plastic covering that safely adheres to furniture and protects it from snags, tears, and dirt

Use newspaper only for cushioning-never place newspaper against items as the ink will rub off. It can get embedded in fine china, so be wary!

Tips For Packing: Basic Training

If you decide to do the packing yourself, you will need to have everything properly packed and ready for loading when the moving van arrives. All packing should be completed the evening before moving day. Only essential personal items you'll need that night, the next morning and immediately at your destination should be left for last minute packing.

Some basic packing tips to keep in mind:

  • Follow a timetable - people often underestimate how long it takes to pack!
  • Start with items you won't need right away, such as belongings stored in the basement, garage or attic
  • Packing room-by-room will help you stay organized
  • Establish work areas in each room
  • As you complete a room, sort packed boxes by weight (light, medium, heavy) to make loading the moving van easier and quicker
  • Limit cartons to a maximum weight of 50 pounds
  • For best results, have your mover pack:
  • Marble or glass tabletops, heavy wall ornaments and mirrors 40" x 60" or larger
  • Pool tables and pianos
  • Bulky, fragile items like large trophies, statues, chandeliers, etc.
  • Major appliances

Tips For Packing: Techniques

Our Chicago Mobility professionals will check your packed boxes to ensure safe transportation. If it is their opinion that items are improperly packed or cartons are susceptible to damage, they may ask you to re-pack these items.

  • Provide plenty of cushioning by packing loosely crumpled, plain newsprint in the bottom of boxes - leave room at the top for more crumpled paper
  • Wrap all fragile, breakable items in paper before packing them in boxes
  • Pack large and heavy items first, smaller items next, filling in all empty spaces with plain newsprint
  • Use only sturdy cartons that can be easily closed (don't over stuff), then tape top seams securely - do not use plastic containers to pack your belongings
  • Label boxes clearly: Your name, room where the box should go in your new home and a brief description of the contents

Tips For Packing: Electronics Care

  • When packing a large screen TV and other electronics:
  • If you no longer have the original carton and packing materials, carefully pack the item in a sturdy carton that has been lined with newsprint or styrofoam "peanuts"
  • Securely seal the carton and mark the outside "Extremely Fragile"
  • When packing your personal computer, printer, scanner, or other equipment:
  • Disconnect and mark all wires and cables for easy assembly
  • Detach paper holders/feeders from printers and wrap monitors and additional hardware as you would other home electronics
  • Remove toner and ink cartridges
  • Back up all of your computer files on DVDs or other file storage disks/devices
  • Consult your PC user manual for additional instructions and precautions

Tips For Packing: Labeling Hints

Each and every carton must be labeled:

  • Use a broad, felt-tipped marker.
  • Clearly mark room and contents.
  • Indicate "FRAGILE" on delicates; "THIS END UP" where appropriate.
  • If available, include your bill of lading number on every box.
  • As you finish with each carton, list the contents on the side of the carton (for easy viewing while stacked) and in a special notebook. You might want to number and/or code the cartons as well.
  • Indicate your name and the room to which each carton should be delivered at destination. Tape a sign on the door of each room at destination corresponding to the carton labels so movers can get the cartons into the proper rooms quickly.
  • Put a special mark (the number 1, or the letter A) on cartons you want to unpack first at destination.

Tips For Packing: Tips From the Pros

  • Start with out-of-season items. Next, pack things used infrequently. Leave until the last minute things you'll need until moving day.
  • Empty drawers of breakables, spillables, non-transportable items and anything that would puncture or damage other items.
  • Pack similar items together. Do not pack a delicate china figurine in the same carton with cast-iron frying pans, for example.
  • Keep all parts or pairs of things together. For example, curtain rod hangers, mirror bolts and other small hardware items should be placed in plastic bags and taped or tied securely to the article to which they belong.
  • Wind electrical cords, fastening them so they do not dangle.
  • Wrap items individually in clean paper; use tissue paper, paper towels or even facial tissue for fine china, crystal and delicate items. Colored wrapping paper draws attention to very small things that might otherwise get lost in a carton. Use a double layer of newsprint for a good outer wrapping.
  • Place a two- or three-inch layer of crushed paper in the bottom of cartons for cushioning.
  • Build up the layers, with the heaviest things on the bottom, medium weight next and lightest on top.
  • As each layer is completed, fill in empty spaces firmly with crushed paper and add more crushed paper to make a level base for the next layer, or use sheets of cardboard cut from cartons as dividers.
  • Cushion well with crushed paper; towels and lightweight blankets may also be used for padding and cushioning. The more fragile the item, the more cushioning needed. Be sure no sharp points, edges or rims are left uncovered.
  • Pack small, fragile, individually-wrapped items separately or a few together in small boxes, cushioning with crushed or shredded paper. Place small boxes in a single large box, filling in spaces with crushed paper.
  • Avoid overloading cartons, but strive for a firm pack that will prevent items from shifting; the cover should close easily without force, but should not bend inward.
  • Seal cartons tightly with tape except for those containing items that must be left open for the van operator's inspection. We know the most efficient way to pack, providing you with the best results. By utilizing the proper packing tips, your belongings will not be damaged during transport, and you will have a much easier time unpacking your possessions at your new residence.

Moving Timeline

We want you to start preparing early for your move with our moving checklist. It's really never too soon to begin planning for a move, and veteran movers have found that a comprehensive moving timeline and checklist is the best strategy to ensure a smooth relocation. Our moving checklist and timeline is also a great way to involve the entire family in the move and to spread some of the responsibilities to each person, including your children.

Timeline for Moving: Eight Weeks Before Move

  • Contact your mover to make arrangements for moving day.
  • Remove items from your attic, basement, storage shed, etc.
  • Start to use up things you can't move, such as frozen foods and cleaning supplies.
  • Contact the chamber of commerce or visitor's and tourism bureaus in your new community for information on your new city.

Timeline for Moving: Six Weeks Before Move

  • If you're moving at an employer's request, verify what expenses and responsibilities are theirs and which are yours.
  • Contact the IRS and/or your accountant for information on what moving expenses may be tax-deductible.
  • Begin to inventory and evaluate your possessions. What can be sold or donated to a charitable organization? What haven't you used within the last year?
  • Make a list of everyone you need to notify about your move: friends, professionals, creditors, subscriptions, etc.
  • Obtain a mail subscription to the local paper in your new community to familiarize yourself with local government, community and social news and activities.
  • Locate all motor vehicle registration and licensing documents.
  • If some of your goods are to be stored, make the necessary arrangements now. (Your relocation consultant should be able to help.)
  • Contact schools, doctors, dentists, lawyers and accountants and obtain copies of your personal records. Ask for referrals where possible.

Timeline for Moving: Four Weeks Before Move

  • Submit a Change of Address form to the post office.
  • Arrange special transportation for your pets and plants.
  • Contact utility and related companies (gas, electric, oil, water, telephone, cable TV and trash collection) for service disconnect/connect at your old and new addresses. However, remember to keep phone and utilities connected at your current home throughout moving day.
  • Contact insurance companies (auto, homeowner's or renter's, medical and life) to arrange for coverage in your new home.
  • If you're packing yourself, purchase packing boxes from your local mover. Pack items that you won't be needing in the next month.
  • Plan a garage sale to sell unneeded items or arrange to donate them to charity.

Timeline for Moving: Three Weeks Before Move

  • Make travel arrangements and reservations for your moving trip. However, don't make plane reservations for the same day that you're moving out. House closings are often delayed, and other unexpected situations often arise.
  • Collect important papers (insurance, will, deeds, stock, etc.).
  • Arrange to close accounts at your local bank and open accounts in your new locale.

Timeline for Moving: Two Weeks Before Move

  • Have your car checked and serviced for the trip. Also, make sure that your automobile is prepared (filled with the necessary antifreeze/coolant, for example) for the type of weather conditions you'll be traveling in.
  • If you're moving out of or into a building with elevators, contact the building management to schedule use of the elevators.
  • Contact your relocation consultant to review and confirm all arrangements for your move.

Timeline for Moving: One Week Before Move

  • Settle any outstanding bills with local merchants.
  • Don't forget to withdraw the contents of your safety deposit box, pick up any dry cleaning, return library books and rented videotapes, etc.
  • Take pets to the veterinarian for any needed immunizations. Get copies of pets' veterinary records.
  • Drain gas and oil from power equipment (lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc.).
  • Give away plants not being moved.
  • Prepare specific directions to your new home for your moving company. (Include your itinerary, emergency numbers, etc.)

Two to Three Days Before the Move

  • Defrost your freezer and refrigerator. Block doors open so they can't accidentally close on pets or children.
  • Have your major appliances disconnected and prepared for the move. (Again, your relocation consultant can help with arrangements for a third party to provide these services.)
  • Pack a box of personal items that will be needed immediately at your new home. Have this box loaded last or carry it with you in your car.
  • Organize and set aside those things that you're taking with you so that they don't get loaded on the van in error.
  • Contact your relocation consultant to confirm arrival time of the moving van, as well as to notify them of any last minute details.
 
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