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Packing Your Fragile Items

The nightmare of anyone who’s ever moved is damage to fragile or irreplaceable items during the process.

Whether you opt to have friends help you, or you hire a moving company to move your belongings, you have some things to consider when you pack up items that might easily break.

Here are some tips for packing your most fragile items:

Consider a specialty mover.  

Moving items such as artwork, statues, pianos, and so on, is a science. Companies who specialize in moving things such as these can coordinate the move with your moving company, and usually offer temporary or long-term storage options.

Remember that the number one cause of breakage is a drop.

If you have any question about whether you’re able to move something without dropping it, don’t try to move it yourself. It’s all too common to overestimate your ability to carry breakable items while your path might be obstructed, or while you might not see things that are in your way.

Opt for several people to handle larger fragile items, and make sure the path to the door is clear and free of obstacles.

Use plenty of packing material.

A move is no time to scrimp on packing material. Rather than opting for cheaper packing paper or newspaper, wrap your items in bubble wrap and fill boxes with packing peanuts or packing paper. Good packing material is less expensive than replacing a broken item.

Don’t overfill boxes containing fragile items.

You need to protect fragile items from shifting inside boxes, but overfilling boxes is a sure-fire way to damage anything fragile inside. Never fill a box more than 3/4 full. Fill at least 1/4 of each box with packing material, and distribute the packing material evenly on all sides to distribute vibrations and shock in the event of a fall.

Always pack boxes containing fragile things on top of boxes containing heavier items.

Moving boxes may be sturdy, but time, humidity and heat will quickly cause the sturdiest of boxes to collapse, sometimes within minutes. If you’ve packed fragile items in a box and placed anything heavy on top, the bottom container may collapse, and your fragile items are more likely to become damaged.

Pack the most fragile items in storage tubs.

Plastic storage tubs are great places to pack your fragile items. They’re stronger than cardboard boxes, usually contain handles, and can be used at your new home to store things you only use occasionally, such as holiday items.

Take Care

If you take proper precautions when packing fragile items, your move may be breakage-free.

Alternatively, if you would rather skip the hassle – at Liberty Moving & Storage, we take care of you and your valuables. We can help assure your fragile items make it to your new home in one piece.

If you are ready for a smooth and easy move, click here to learn more about what we can do for you.


How to Pack a Moving Truck – 20 Tips

If you’re planning to move your household goods yourself, you’ll need to figure out the basics about how a moving truck or van from a rental company works so you can pack it efficiently and avoid damage to your items.

Here are 20 tips for packing a moving truck effectively and efficiently:

  1. Make sure you’ve chosen the right size moving truck. While you might opt to save a little money when you’re moving, you’re probably better off getting a truck that’s slightly bigger than the one you might have planned on renting. Moving trucks come in assorted sizes. The most common are 10 feet, 15 feet, 17 feet, 20 feet, and 26 feet. The larger sizes include an overhead area located above the passenger cabin.

  2. Pack the lightest items on top. If you opt for a moving van with an overhead storage compartment, place the lightest and most fragile boxes in this area.

  3. Pack the interior of the moving truck in an “I” formation before you begin filling up all the spaces.

  4. Pack items tightly. Space between boxes allows them to shift during the trip.

  5. Distribute the weight evenly in the van. Even weight distribution allows for better handling of the vehicle as you drive.

  6. Keep small, valuable items with you in the cab, along with anything else you might need to grab quickly during your move.

  7. Your heaviest items should go at the front of the truck: Items such as dishwashers, washers, dryers, and refrigerators should be as close to the front of the vehicle as possible.

  8. Pack desks and tables in the middle of the moving truck. Take advantage of the space under them and the area on top of them to load boxes. Keep in mind the weight of boxes you place on top of desks or tables, and be sure not to overload.

  9. Put mattresses and box springs together on one side of the truck, and couches/sofas on the opposite side.

  10. Put the heaviest boxes in the center rear of the compartment.

  11. Secure the heaviest items with tie-downs (rope or bungee cords) to prevent them from shifting while driving.

  12. Wrap all unboxed items (such as lamps) in moving blankets to protect from damage.

  13. Dissemble all furniture (when possible): remove table legs, bed frames, entertainment centers, etc.

  14. Rolled-up carpets can serve as excellent padding on table legs and bed posts. Wrap table legs and bed posts with the carpet on the inside, and secure with duct tape on the outside of the rug.

  15. If you’re moving a refrigerator, make sure it’s empty and clean, and place a bag of activated charcoal inside to absorb any odors.

  16. Never tip a refrigerator or freezer, as the compressor and coils can become easily damaged, leading to costly repairs.

  17. Stack items floor to ceiling, putting heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on the top.

  18. Place the backs of heavy furniture against the walls of the truck.

  19. Pack your fragile or awkwardly-shaped items last.

  20. Use a dolly whenever possible. Most moving truck companies offer dolly rental for a nominal cost. Opt for a dolly that’s heavy-duty and one that comes with a strap.

Moving an Easier Way

If a do-it-yourself move seems a little overwhelming, give us a call. We would be happy to give you a free quote. We can help ease the moving day stress.


Last-Minute To-Dos Before You Move

As you’re getting ready to move, it’s easy to let things slip your mind.

You’re swamped, after all, and between hiring a moving company, packing boxes, and figuring out the logistics of it all, you’re probably pretty much done-in. It’s easy to let things fall through the cracks, especially at the last minute.

Here’s a list of the last-minute to-do’s you might not have considered:

  1. Have you arranged for your old bills to be transferred from your name to the new owner?

What to do: Call your utility companies and make sure the billing is stopped and transferred to the new owner.

  1. Do you have cleaning supplies to leave your old house or apartment spic and span? If you’re renting, you don’t want to lose some (or all) of your security deposit by leaving a mess behind.

What to do: Get an extra broom, household cleaners, dust rags, and anything you might need to clean your old place and keep them in your car or truck for your final household cleaning.

  1. Do you still have a key to your old home? While your buyer may change the locks, having a key doesn’t give you the right to go back in if you forget something. You may find yourself facing the consequences of criminal action should you go back into your old place to try to find something you left behind.

What to do: If you forget or lose something during the move and realize after you’ve moved out, knock on the door and talk to the new owners, or contact your real estate agent, your apartment rental company, or your old landlord to arrange for access, but don’t expect new residents to be necessarily cooperative.

  1. Have you done a final walk-through once the furniture and boxes are moved out? Hiring a moving company doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t miss something.

What to do: Before the moving company leaves your old home, walk through your home with them and check closets, crawl spaces, attics, and basements for anything that might have been missed.

  1. Have you put a forwarding order in for your mail? It’s easy to forget that your mail won’t be forwarded automatically and you risk missing essential letters after you move.

What to do: The US Postal Service allows for one-day notices to begin forwarding your mail, so even if you put it off until the last minute, you can take care of it either in-person or online.

  1. Are your cupboards and closets open? It’s essential to open closet doors and cabinets not only to make sure nothing’s left behind but to air them appropriately for the next resident of your home.

What to do: Before you walk out the front door for the last time, go through your home and open all closets and cupboards.

  1. Do you have a vacuum at your old home? Unless you have an in-home vacuum system, you need to leave the carpet in good shape when you move out.

What to do: Starting at the farthest point in the house from the front door, and from the farthest point in each room, vacuum thoroughly and close the door behind you. Never clean floors and rugs in dirty shoes.

  1. Have you packed your entryway mats?  It’s easy to forget to pack mats and rugs you use to wipe dirty feet on.

What to do: Clean the mats, roll them up outside-in and secure them with duct tape on the outside, and load them onto the moving truck.

  1. Have you removed everything from your bathroom?

What to do: Open vanities, look under sinks, open closet doors, open drawers, and use a step-stool for a final inspection of hard-to-see places to make sure nothing’s fallen behind a cabinet.

  1. Are you objective?

What to do: Have a friend or family member walk through your home with you and do a final inspection. They may see things you haven’t considered.

Good luck with your move! If we can lend a hand, contact us for a free quote


Packing Your Garage for the Move

Whether you have a one-car, two-car,, or a detached garage, it’s likely home to more than just your vehicles. If you’re like most people, your garage has become the home to boxes of things you rarely use, overstock of household items, tools, paint cans, and miscellaneous odds and ends. As you prepare to relocate, there are things to keep in mind as you begin planning your move. Here’s our list of four things you should do to pack and move items in your garage correctly.

1. Service Your Vehicle

If you’re lucky enough to be able to have a moving company pack your car into a semi-truck, that’s great. If you’re planning on moving your vehicle (or vehicles) yourself, make sure they’re in good shape. Now is the time to catch up on your car or truck’s required maintenance schedule. Have the engine tuned, the oil changed, and the vehicle checked by a professional for safety.

Whether you’re moving across town or the country, the last thing you want to have to deal with in your new home is a broken-down vehicle.

2. Dispose of Chemicals

Not only is moving household chemicals dangerous, but it’s also illegal in many jurisdictions.

Paint cans, paint thinner, spray paint, and every other household chemical can be a health and safety hazard in a move. Not only are these items dangerous, but the dangers of a move also make it far more likely that they will be exposed to extremes of heat and possible damage, leading to safety and fire hazards. Even if you have dry chemicals (like lawn fertilizer), bags and tubs can be easily damaged, releasing dangerous and possibly toxic chemicals on to your household goods.

Be sure to dispose of the items correctly, and if in doubt call your garbage disposal service to find out how to get rid of these items safely.

3. Take a Garage Inventory

‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is an adage for a reason. Items stored in your garage are often forgotten. Unless you have a meticulous labeling system, the simple fact that you don’t use things stored in your garage often can lead to a great deal of confusion.

Before you begin loading boxes onto a moving truck, make sure you’ve opened boxes you’ve stored in your garage and verify the contents.

4. Dispose of Items You No Longer Need or Want

The garage is often the last resting place for things before you finally get rid of them.  A move is a perfect time to dispose of items that are just taking up space.

Your move can be a fresh start, and there’s no better way to start over then to lighten your load. Salvation Army, Goodwill, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are great places to donate items you no longer need. Your gently-used items can make a real difference in the lives of the less fortunate, and you can get a tax write-off to boot, so set aside your unwanted items and you might help someone in need.

Follow these four tips, and packing your garage will be a snap!


Decluttering Your Basement – 4 Steps to Lighten Up Before You Move

If you have a basement in your home, chances are it’s become the resting place for odds and ends – everything from seasonal items, old furniture, boxes of memorabilia, food storage, and who-knows-what-else.

If you’re like most people, you put things in your basement for a good reason:  you don’t want them cluttering up your day-to-day living space.

Now that you’re getting ready to move, judgment day is nigh. Before you pack up everything in your basement and ship it to your new house, here are 4 steps you should follow to lighten up before you move.

Take Inventory

Before you jump right in and begin boxing things up, systematically go around your basement and identify what you want to bring with you. Do you want to bring a broken lamp or a toaster you’ve meant to fix?  Do you want to pack up canned food and haul it along with you? Do you want to deal with the headache of finding a place in your new home for your clutter? A detailed inventory is your best way to understand what you have, what’s important to you, and what you want to bring along.

Organize

Designate an area of your basement to be a place where you organize things.  Rather than leave everything where it is, you can clean out a corner and begin moving things there that you want to take with you.  

Lighten Your Load  

A move is a great time to do an accounting of your life and your stuff.  If you’re like most people, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of junk over the years, and your basement is perhaps home to much of it.  Nothing is more stressful during a move than having to pack up junk and unpack it at your new home.

Your move is a perfect time to re-think your relationship with your stuff.  If it doesn’t make your life better, doesn’t bring back good memories, or worse, brings back bad ones, give it away to a charity (like Goodwill or the Salvation Army), sell it in a yard sale, recycle it, or throw it away.  Your move is a chance to start over.

Pack What’s Left

Now that you’ve lightened up a bit, you can begin to pack things in preparation for your move.  Here’s a list of the basics:

Materials needed:

  • Permanent markers – Stick with black markers for easy visibility.
  • Packing tape – Your best choice for closing boxes is heavy-duty packing tape and dispensers, available in cost-saving multi-packs.
  • Duct Tape – Useful for reinforcing pre-cut handles of boxes, and tape closed doors of ovens, fridges, and even dressers.
  • Masking tape – Handy for taping bags of odds and ends to the inside of boxes so little things don’t get lost.
  • Ziploc bags – Get Ziploc bags in a few sizes – Gallon, quart, and sandwich. Secure all bags containing cables, brackets, screws, and nails using tape to the back or inside of your items or boxes to save you time setting up when you arrive.  
  • Garbage Bags –  Get a good supply of large garbage bags and kitchen bags – Large size garbage bags are useful for items like sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, linens, and so on. Kitchen size bags are a more manageable and lighter solution than larger bags for some items.  Label the outside of any bags with duct tape and a description of its contents.

 

Good luck with your decluttering! If you need a hand with your move, contact us for a quote!


Inspecting Your Rental Property Before Move-in Day

A relocation can sometimes mean that your ideal living situation isn’t quite ready when you’re ready or must move in.

Whether you’re moving to a different city or across the country, you may be wondering what your options are before you make a final choice to buy a home.  

You may, on the other hand, like the freedom that goes along with renting, and not want to tie yourself down to a mortgage ever, even if your move doesn’t turn out to be everything you dream it to be.

If you’re moving into a condominium, apartment, townhouse, or house rental even for a short time, there are things you need to do before you move in. Your relocation may be temporary, but failing to take the time to inspect your property and home can lead to problems, not only when you’re moving out, during your entire stay.  

Here is a list of things to inspect before you sign a lease or move in:

Inspect the property to make sure it fits your needs

Ask yourself:

  • How is the property situated?  Is it close to a busy street or freeway? How close is shopping?
  • Where are the schools my children will attend? How will they get there?
  • What about parking?  Do I have a covered parking space, a garage, or a parking lot on site?
  • Is there an external locking shed or place to lock my bike?
  • What about security? Is the property guarded? Do adequate locks protect my unit?
  • Does my rental have an alarm system?
  • Is the neighborhood safe to walk?
  • Does the property allow pets?
  • Is there a convenient place to walk my pet?
  • Is there a common area or pool, and does it have any restrictions?
  • What about quiet hours?
  • What do I do about noise complaints?
  • Does the property manager live on-site?
  • What about maintenance? Who do I call when something breaks, and when are they available?

Inspect the unit to make sure everything is in good working order

  • Make sure you do a thorough inspection and note any damage before you begin cleaning your new home. The best thing to do before signing a lease on a new rental is to do a complete walk-through and note any damage using Post-notes for dents, dings, scratches, and so on. While your lease may allow for ‘normal wear and tear,’ your best bet is to over-document, so you’re not left with any surprises when you move out.
  • Flush the toilets, turn on the water faucets, bath, and shower. Note any leaks or low water pressure.
  • Check the refrigerator and freezer. Is it clean? Are there any signs of mildew? Is it noisy?  Do the in-the-door water and ice maker work? Who is responsible for replacing water filters?
  • Check the washer and dryer. Do they turn on? Does the hot water get hot? Are there any leaks around the water supply?
  • Check the toilet. Does it flush and refill properly? Are there any leaks or cracks? Are there any signs of damage or mildew around the water supply?
  • Check the door. Is there any air leaking through it? Is it easy to lock and unlock? Does it open without sticking?
  • Check the windows. Do they open and close easily? Do they lock and unlock easily?
  • Check the air conditioning/heating. Do they turn on and off? Are they noisy? Are the filters clean? Who is responsible for replacing filters?
  • Are there working smoke detectors?

 

One final note:  Before you move into a rental unit, make sure you have renter’s insurance to protect your valued possessions.

Good luck with your rented home!


Storage Units 101

Whether you’re downsizing due to a move, or you just want to free up space in your new home, you might be considering putting some of your things into a storage unit.  There are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether to store your goods in a rented storage unit.  

Here are ten questions you need to ask yourself if you’re thinking about it:

1. Do I really need all this stuff?  

If it’s not something that you’re going to use immediately, or if it’s just part of the clutter of your life, consider getting rid of it altogether.  

2. Have I factored the cost of storage into my monthly budget?

Storage unit costs can add up quickly, and you may want to consider renting or buying a larger home to store your things. Items that are close at hand are more likely to be used, and making trips to your storage unit to sort through boxes can be time-consuming and frustrating.

3. How far is the storage unit from my home?

If you must drive across town to get into your boxes, factor into your calculations, the time and expense of driving back and forth from your storage unit to determine if the distance is appropriate.

4. Is the storage unit climate controlled?

Climate can destroy your goods much faster than you realize. Not only are your items subject to the change of weather, but they’re subject to the whims of the storage unit property owners and managers. You can’t guarantee that the climate will be controlled according to your own requirements, and even boxes are subject to decay, leaving your goods exposed to the elements, pests, and so on.

5. What about security?

Many storage units have gates accessible only by a passcode, but even a passcode and a locked gate aren’t a deterrent for a determined thief. Ask the property manager if the storage unit is guarded and monitored by a security monitoring company.

6. What times are my storage unit accessible?

Not all storage units are available 24/7, and you might find yourself getting frustrated if you can’t get to your stored goods when you want to.

7. What if I get locked out/in?

If you forget your passcode or key, or even lose your key, you might find yourself unable to get into your storage unit until you can reach the site manager. Worse yet, if your storage unit is behind an automatic gate, you might find yourself locked behind a barrier until rescue arrives, and in some cases, you may be charged a fee for rousing the manager out of bed to rescue you.

8. What can’t I store?

Storage units aren’t like your home, and every company will have restrictions on what you can and can’t keep on site. Items that are dangerous (such a paint, solvents, flammables, etc.) are typically prohibited. While food may not be explicitly banned, even food that is well-packed is subject to decay and rotting, which may invite insects and pests into your stored goods.

9. Does my homeowner’s insurance cover my stored items?

Not all homeowner’s insurance policies cover damage to, liability from, or theft of your stored goods.  Be sure to check your insurance policy carefully, and if necessary purchase a separate one for your stored items.

10. How long is my contract, and how much notice must I give before moving out?

Many storage unit companies tie you into a fixed period or rent, much like a lease, and some require a week (or more) advanced notice before you move out.  Check your contract carefully before you sign it.

If you’re able to answer these questions to your satisfaction, you can set your mind at ease if you choose to store your items in a storage unit.


Vacationing on Long Island – Great Local Sites on a Budget

Not only is Long Island, NY the largest and longest island in the United States (with an area of over 1,377 square miles), it is home to dozens of vacation spots that are family-friendly, affordable, and educational. If you’re moving to the island or just moved and are looking for a vacation spot to take your family without breaking the bank, here are some places you can visit just a few miles from home.

Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site

Located at 246 Old Walt Whitman Rd in Huntington Station, NY this historic site is an educational and affordable place to spend a day with the entire family. For only $6 per person ($4 for students, $5 for seniors and veterans), your entire family can spend a day in a relaxing atmosphere and learn about America’s quintessential (and greatest) poet. For admission details, click here.

Are you not familiar with Walt Whitman?  Read his Leaves of Grass collection of poems before you head out.

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside House

Another destination for American literature lovers is Washington Irving’s Sunnyside House located at 3 W Sunnyside Lane in Irvington, NY. Sunnyside House was home to the iconic American author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other tales about a time when New York was still part of the American frontier.

Visit Sunnyside and hear the tales of Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle, and see where the places from which the author drew his inspiration.

Tickets are available online (for a $2 surcharge), or at the door ($12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students).

Lyndhurst Mansion

One of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions, the Lyndhurst Mansion, is located at 635 South Broadway in Tarrytown, NY. With its park-like estate, it’s a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing afternoon and picnic on its spacious lawn.

It’s a bit pricier than the Walt Whitman Birthplace ($18 admission), but it’s also the home to lectures and concerts on the lawn during warmer months. Check out their website for details on upcoming events.  

The Big Duck

Long Island is home to The Big Duck, a kitschy piece of Americana. This roadside attraction is at 1012 Flanders Rd in Flanders, NY. Built in 1931, The Big Duck has become a Long Island icon, and with free admission, it’s worth stopping by for a perfect selfie or family photo op while you explore the island. The Big Duck is open 10-5 daily.

Montauk Point Lighthouse

This famous lighthouse, at 2000 Montauk Hwy in Montauk, NY, is the oldest lighthouse in New York State and offers a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean. Complete with a museum and gift shop, it has daily tours. Hours change seasonally. Also, be sure to check the weather, as this National Historic Site is only open weather permitting. Admission is $11 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for children.  

Horton Point Lighthouse and Nautical Museum

A lesser-known but equally as charming lighthouse is the Horton Point Lighthouse which boasts an impressive museum of historical artifacts, including displays highlighting the War of 1812. Located at 3575 Lighthouse Road, Southold, NY, it is also home to an impressive Whaling Collection of Captain Henry Green.

Plan your visit, as the lighthouse is only open from 10 am to 3 pm, Mondays through Saturdays, Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Admission is only $5 per person or $10 for a family.  

Appreciate the Sights

For less than you might imagine, you and your family can have a great vacation and stay in your own backyard in your new home on Long Island, and keep your vacationing costs under control. Enjoy!


5 Ways to Make a Move Less Stressful

A move means disruption to you and your family. Whether you’re moving locally, long-distance, or internationally, you’ll have to adjust to a new home, new neighborhood, new neighbors, new ways of getting around, new schools, new doctors, etc. It’s no wonder a move is considered one of the most stressful life experiences.

To lower the stress of your impending move, here are our top five suggestions:

1. Lighten Your Load  

A move is a terrific time to do an accounting of your life and your stuff. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of junk over the years. Nothing is more stressful during a move than having to pack up junk and unpack it at your new home.

Rethink your relationship with your stuff. If it doesn’t make your life better, doesn’t bring back good memories, or worse, brings back bad ones, give it away to a charity (like Goodwill or the Salvation Army), sell it in a yard sale, recycle it, or throw it away.

Your move is a chance to start over.  

2. Treat Yourself and Your Family to Something Special

Before you begin packing, spend a day at a spa, go camping, or pamper yourself and your family.

Sit down with your family and decide together on what activity you’d like to do. Make sure to allow enough time to unwind and relax. If possible, take a day off during the move to unwind and de-stress and then start again. You’ll find that you’ll be better able to cope with the decisions and stress of the move if you do something for yourself and your family.

3. Create a Ritual/Mourn

A move is a little like a death, so don’t be afraid to mourn.

Take all the time you need to drive around your old neighborhood, take pictures, collect memorabilia, talk, and remember the good times (and the bad times) you had there. If you have younger (or even teenage) children, allow them the time they need to grieve. Grief is a complicated and necessary process, and without giving everyone the space to mourn before (and after) the move, you’ll encounter more sleep disturbances and behavior problems than if you allow the process to unfold naturally.

4. Rely on Your Support System

Whether your move is due to something positive (like a job promotion) or negative (like death, illness, or divorce), you’ll need your support system more now than ever. Don’t be afraid to call your friends or family, stop by their home, or just go out for coffee. Reach out to those willing (and able) to help you deal with the emotional and practical matters of a move.

5. Make Plans to See Your Old Friends

Though we live in a connected world, people you interacted with won’t be a part of your life in the same way after a move. Make plans with them before the move to re-connect, and make sure you have their phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, social media account details, Skype IDs, etc. before the move. Make a list of the people you want to stay in touch with, and reach out to them to collect the information you need before you set out for your new adventure.

A Less-Stressed Move

A few simple steps will help you and your family cope better with the stress of moving, and make the experience a more positive and relaxing one for everyone.

If you need help with your move, we can help cut down on the stress even more. Contact us today for a quote.

 


Utilities 101: Things to Keep in Mind When You’re Moving

Part of the process of planning your move is setting up the utility services you’ll need in your new home. Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan your move.

Electricity

You may be moving to a state that has a deregulated energy market. See this map to see the current regulation status of your energy market.

Things to keep in mind when choosing an electric company:

  • Do they require a credit check?
  • Do they require a deposit?
  • What are the penalties (if any) for switching providers?
  • Are flexible payment options available?
  • Can you cost-average your electric usage (pay a fixed amount each month no matter your usage)?
  • Can you set up auto-pay from your bank account, and if so do they offer a discounted rate for doing so?
  • What is the kilowatt-hour charge, and does it vary according to the time of use or the amount you use?  

Cable/Satellite TV

You may have fewer options available when you’re choosing a cable television provider. In some areas, cable services are deregulated, while in others you may not have a choice.

If cable television isn’t your cup of tea, and your property has a southern exposure, you may want to explore the possibility of satellite television.  While DIRECTV and Dish Network are the most common satellite TV providers in the US and Canada, you have more choices in this matter than you might realize. Engadget has a list of the top 10 satellite television providers in the US.

Whether you’re opting for cable or satellite television, keep the following in mind before you sign a contract:

  • When will the technician come to install the service?
  • Can I use existing equipment (cable already in the home or a cable box or satellite receiver from your old home)?
  • Do I get a discount for signing up for a longer contract term?
  • What penalty do I pay if I switch providers?
  • Can I install the equipment myself?
  • Can I purchase pay-per-view movies and events?
  • Do you have international channels or channels in another language?  

Internet/Phone

Internet service can be provided by a local ISP (Internet Service Provider) or by your cable or satellite television company. To find a list of high-speed internet providers in your area, check out this link.

In many locations, you don’t have to bundle your cable or satellite TV service with your internet service, but you may find it more affordable and easier to do so. Even if you want to use different providers for your television and internet service be sure to ask them a few questions before you sign your contract:

  • Do I receive a discount if I bundle my television and internet service?
  • Am I penalized if I discontinue or change my plan?
  • What speed is my internet service?
  • Will I be charged if I exceed my monthly download allowance?

In some cases, your television provider may also provide a home telephone line. Check with your internet or cable provider to see if they can include a home phone number with your service. If you do bundle a home phone number with your internet service, you need to be aware that calls to 9-1-1 can’t automatically find your address in the event of an emergency.  

Garbage

If you’re moving into a house or townhouse, be sure to call your city public works department or department of sanitation to make sure your garbage pickup is scheduled when you arrive. Make sure you get answers to the following questions:

  • What CAN and CAN’T I throw away?
  • When will my garbage bin be delivered?
  • Do you offer curbside recycling?
  • Are there things that I can’t recycle (such as glass or Styrofoam)?
  • What about items set on the curb? Will you pick them up?
  • What about things like paint cans, aerosol cans, etc.? Can I throw them in the trash?
  • Do you have a bulk pick-up day (or days) for heavier items?
  • What’s the weight limit for garbage bins?
  • Do I have to provide my garbage cans?

If you’re moving into a condo or an apartment make sure you call the homeowner’s association in advance to find out how you can dispose of trash.

Water/Sewer/Septic

Many municipalities include water service with sewer service. If your city doesn’t bundle these items separately, be sure you understand who’s responsible for what.

If you’re moving into a home that includes a city sewer, chances are when you set up water service your sewer service can be included as well. If it’s not, make sure you call your city public works department to check when and how you’ll be billed for service. If moving into a home with a septic system, make sure you call a septic tank service and arrange for service before your move-in date.  Your septic tank should be emptied and prepared with adequate good bacteria to avoid problems soon after moving in.

Heating Oil/Gas/Firewood

If you’re moving to a home that uses oil as a heating fuel, make sure you call heating oil companies to arrange for delivery of fuel before you arrive. You want to be sure to have an adequate supply of oil in your tank before the first cold snap of the season. If you use propane or natural gas, the same rules apply.

Do your homework before you move, and you’ll make your new home comfortable and ready for move-in.