Moving Tips For Your Move in and Around Tallahassee

Good packing is the #1 key to a good move. If you choose to do some or all of your own packing, it’s especially important that you be familiar with the techniques and boxes that will best protect your possessions.



Your antiques are prized and valuable possessions.

Naturally, you want to protect them from any possible damage and take extra care to ensure their safe transport. Below are some of the steps you can take to guard fragile items against harm and properly prepare them for packing and loading on a moving van.

Before the Move:

Any item you own that is of extraordinary value should be appraised by a qualified person; you might want to get more than one appraisal. Obtaining an appraisal also may be necessary to verify the value of your personal property for the transfer of your homeowner’s insurance policy.

The best way to locate an appraiser is through a recommendation by an insurance agent, attorney or bank official. Membership in the American Society of Appraisers can be a sign of an appraiser’s competence. Look in the Yellow Pages under “appraisers.” Or you can request the “Directory of Certified Professional Personal Property Appraisers,” which is a state-by-state referral list. To receive the most current issue, contact the American Society of Appraisers by mail at P.O. Box 17625, Washington, D.C. 20041, by telephone at 800-ASA-VALU (800-272-8258) or visit

Most appraisers either charge a flat fee or an hourly rate for services performed. Ask in advance.

In addition to obtaining an appraisal, make sure you have clear photographs of your antiques. You might also want to use a video camera to inventory the contents of each room.

At the time of the moving cost estimate, be sure to point out to the salesperson all high-value or fragile items such as grandfather clocks, silver or china sets so advance arrangement for crating and special packing can be made. Crates can be specially built to protect items with ornate trimming or a high risk of breakage.

Protection Plans

When meeting with a moving company representative, you’ll want to discuss the amount and type of valuation needed to protect your antiques. Most major moving companies offer several protection plans in the event loss or damage occurs.

To assure your articles of “extraordinary value” (items worth more than $100 per pound) are not limited to minimal liability, complete a High-Value Inventory Form. Be sure to document any signatures, serial numbers or manufacture marks on your possessions.

Special Cleaning

Before your belongings are packed, you may want to check antique items for any special cleaning that might be required.

Check your local hardware, furniture store or antiques dealer for cleaning products for fine furniture.

Avoid the use of any type of oil or wax product on wood furniture immediately before you move especially if these items will be going into storage. Some products might soften the finish, making it vulnerable to imprinting from furniture pads.

If you are uncertain about the care of a particular antique piece, a local historical society or library might have books on the subject. An antiques dealer may have helpful hints as well.

Moving Day

It is very important that you or an appointed representative be present on packing and moving days to identify items needing special handling and to answer any questions the packers and van operator might have.

Most large, heavy pieces of furniture will be wrapped in thick pads and firmly secured inside the van to avoid shifting while in transit.

Upon Delivery

When you reach your destination, carefully check the inventory of your household goods and antiques before signing for receipt. If any servicing or reassembly is required after you reach your new home, advise your destination agent who can make any necessary arrangements. Should there be any damage, contact the destination agent for assistance in filing a claim.

Be sure to consult your mover if you have special questions or concerns. Proper preparation prior to a move will ensure the enjoyment of your antiques for many years to come.



Moving appliances from one home to another requires know-how and a great deal of coordination.

Mike’s Moving will do all of the heavy work — the actual transporting of your appliances from your home into the van and then safely out of the van into your new residence. However, the preparation of major appliances and other home furnishings is an important activity for you to schedule.

When planning the many important details of a move, be sure to properly prepare for the transportation of major appliances and other home furnishings. Depending upon the item, special precautions may be required.

It’s your responsibility to:

take care of these preparations yourself
hire an appropriate technician
request that the Mike’s Moving make the arrangements for you at an additional charge


“Servicing” means preparing appliances so they will safely withstand handling during transit or while in storage. This process can include bracing a washer tub, disconnecting an ice maker, capping off a gas line, and special handling of satellite dish components.

Moving companies do not:

Disconnect appliances (ice maker, washer, dryer, etc.) or reconnect them in the new residence.
Disconnect utilities.
Repair appliances.
Remove or install window air conditioners or television and radio antennas.
Perform wiring, plumbing, electrical or carpentry services.

Responsibility for Servicing

The Appliance Service Company Representative

Prepares the appliances for safe handling prior to transit and/or shipment.

The Gas Company Service Representative

Disconnects gas lines and caps the pipes.

Mike’s Moving

Provides personnel for careful, efficient handling of appliances during a move. Every effort is made to ensure that appliances reach destination safely.
Will, as requested and authorized by the owner, arrange for any servicing required. However, Mike’s Moving does not automatically assume this responsibility.

The Owner

Assumes responsibility for having appliances properly serviced, both at origin and destination. It is best to have a reputable service representative prepare appliances for moving at least one day before they are to be loaded on the van.
May authorize Mike’s Moving to arrange for appliance servicing. This is an accessories or third-party service which will be added to the Bill of Lading as an additional cost or advanced charge.

Preparation of Major Appliances

Thorough cleaning and drying of appliances, particularly the refrigerator, freezer and range, are necessary. This is especially important if they will be in storage for any length of time.

Cleaning instructions are included in the owner’s manual which accompanies new appliances. If no instructions are available, use a mild detergent solution. Or, use a solution of three quarts of warm water to which one tablespoon of vinegar has been added. Do not use harsh abrasives that will scratch or mar finishes. A soft cloth or vacuum cleaner will remove excess dust. Soft rags make excellent drying and polishing cloths.

The following are general guidelines for cleaning and servicing major appliances. If your owner’s manual provides other directions, please follow them.



Wipe off the control panel with a dampened cloth.
An appliance polishing wax can be lightly applied to the cabinet finish.
The interior normally does not need cleaning unless you see a buildup of food or soap.
Leave the door open for several hours to ensure that the appliance is thoroughly dry.


Shut off the electric and water supplies.
Disconnect and drain the hoses. Then wrap dry hoses with towels or packing paper, and place inside the dishwasher.
Disconnect and drain the water inlet line and water valve.
Sponge any remaining water from the bottom of the dishwasher (if applicable, removing any pump cover inside the appliance and wiping dry).

Automatic Washer


Use a soft cloth and appliance cleaner to wipe off the exterior.
On the inside, clean lint filter and tub with a soft dry cloth.
Leave the lid open so that any moisture will evaporate.


Turn off water faucets, disconnect and drain hoses.
Wrap the metal connector ends of hoses in a towel and place inside the washer.
To ensure the safe transport of your washer, it should be serviced to prevent swaying of the tub.
Regardless of the time of year you move, all water should be drained from the tub because shipments can travel through a variety of climates and terrain.
Ask your mover about third-party appliance servicing. There are more than 20 different washer moving kits available from various appliance manufacturers. The cost for third-party servicing is nominal, especially for the protection it provides to your washer.
After your move, be sure to have the washer connected by a qualified installer.



Unplug the dryer or turn off the electrical power to the appliance.
Remove any debris from the lint screen with your fingers or a dry paper towel. Do not use water on the screen.
Wipe off the exterior with an appliance cleaner and soft damp cloth.
You can remove dust from the interior with a damp sponge.
If the dryer drum is discolored, try a mild liquid household cleaner or a paste of laundry detergent and warm water. Rub the area until the discoloration is removed. Wipe thoroughly. Then reconnect to electricity and operate the dryer with a load of old rags to remove any soap residue and to thoroughly dry the drum. Remove the rags when finished.


Disconnect the electrical supply to the appliance.
For a gas dryer, the appliance should be disconnected and the gas line capped off before your moving day by a qualified service technician.
At destination, use a qualified installer who is familiar with requirements for gas and or electricity, as well as the exhaust system.



Wipe off the outer surface of the range with a mild detergent.
Detach and wash in hot soapy water any removable parts such as knobs, drip pans, grates, broiler pan and oven racks.
Plug-in coils for an electric range should not be immersed in water; spills on these units normally burn away as heated.
If your range top can be raised, clean the area underneath with hot soapy water.
Clean all removable items before packing day so they can be wrapped and placed in a carton or any storage compartment on the range.
Before placing any chemicals inside your oven, determine if it is self-cleaning.
Be sure to follow guidelines listed in your owner’s manual, or call the appliance manufacturer for information on our specific model.


For a gas range, it must be disconnected prior to moving day by a qualified service technician. At destination, you will need a qualified gas installer to check your gas supply, connect the range to the gas line, seal any openings, light the pilot and handle any other hook-up procedures.
For an electric range, generally no servicing at origin is required. However when you reach destination, have your power supply checked for the current electrical requirements. Certain ranges, such as those with air-ventilated grills, vary on the voltage they require.



Use a cloth and mild detergent to wipe off the exterior finish.
Before cleaning the interior, dispose of perishables and unplug the power cord.
Wash removable parts such as shelves and drawers with a mild detergent or in a solution of warm water and baking soda (about one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of water). Ice trays and ice storage bins should be washed in lukewarm water only.
Wash the interior walls and any non-removable parts with a mild detergent or baking soda solution.
Leave the door open for at least 24 hours. Allowing all moisture to evaporate. If your refrigerator is not a frost-free model, allow extra time to complete defrosting and drying.
Secure all loose plastic parts.
Glass shelves should be removed, cleaned and carefully packed in a carton for protection during transit.
Double-check the butter and egg compartments; be sure the appliance is totally empty and clean. A refrigerator which is not cleaned before transit can develop an unpleasant, permanent odor, making the appliance unusable at destination.
After cleaning, place an odor and mildew preventative in your refrigerator.
At the bottom of the refrigerator, remove the base covering and vacuum the condenser or compressor.
Empty and clean the evaporator pan; allow time for it to dry.


Turn off the water and disconnect the water line if you have a cold water dispenser or automatic ice maker. You should also empty the water reservoir.
If your refrigerator is an older model, you may need to have the motor or compressor bolted down. The majority of refrigerators now are sealed units that do not require this service.
At destination, do not operate the refrigerator for at least 24 hours after delivery. This allows the oil time to settle, preventing possible damage to the compressor.
Ice makers and water dispensers must be connected to a water line. Installation service or parts can be obtained from an authorized dealer for your appliance. Copper tubing, a shut-off valve and fittings may be required. Once your ice maker is in service, dispose of the first few batches of ice because of possible impurities from opening a water line.


Ideally, freezers should be empty during a move for the following reasons:

Home freezers were not designed to be used as shipping containers. The weight of food during the move can crack plastic shelves or the molding inside the freezer.
Frozen foods are highly perishable. There is no way to ensure that the freezer temperature will remain at a safe level during transit. By not transporting frozen foods, we are helping to safeguard your and your family’s health.
Vans have no electric power to keep freezers running, nor can a van operator stop along the route to connect a freezer to a power source.
Regardless of the precautions taken, frozen foods will almost certainly deteriorate on a loaded household goods moving van.
The lining and insulation of the freezer can absorb bad odors from spoiled food which may be impossible to eliminate and render the freezer unusable.

Be sure to consult your mover if you have special questions or concerns. Proper preparation prior to a move will ensure the enjoyment of your appliances for many years to come.


Your home computer represents an investment, whether you use it to plan your family’s budget, file recipes, communicate with your family and friends or simply enjoy games. Naturally, you want to safeguard it from damage. With careful planning and proper packing, your computer can be transported safely when you relocate.

Before the Move

If you do not have an exact record of the cost of you computer (including any accessories you have purchased to add to it), you may want to obtain a current retail cost of your complete system prior to selecting a protection plan from your mover. If you desire replacement cost protection, many moving companies, including Mike’s Moving, offer full-value valuation against loss or damage.


Your moving company is best qualified to properly pack your home computer. If you choose to pack it yourself, your computer should be placed in its original carton and packing material when possible.

If you have discarded the original packaging:

Choose a sturdy box large enough to permit you to surround the computer with packing material
Crumpled, unprinted newspaper and plastic bubble wrap are the best packing materials. They will serve as a protective cushion and can be purchased from Mike’s Moving.

The central processing unit (CPU) should be handled with extreme care. This unit is especially sensitive to jarring. Again, use a box large enough to accommodate the CPU and plenty of packing material on all sides. These precautionary steps also should be taken when handling an external disk drive.

The disks that contain your programming and stored data should be moved with you. They are sensitive to heat and cold, and warping could occur with extreme temperatures that can build up inside a moving van. As a precaution, you may choose to duplicate important files stored on disks and your computer’s hard drive onto backup disks. Place them in a different box or take them with you.

If you have a laser or ink jet printer, remove the toner and any ink cartridges, and carry the cartridges with you if your move occurs during hot weather. For other types of printers, the printer head should be secured – preferably with the original cardboard or plastic parts – to prevent it from shifting. Be sure to refer to the owner’s manual for preparations specific to your printer model.

The remainder of your computer – the keyboard and monitor – consists of solid state circuitry, much like that in a television set. Place crumpled, unprinted newsprint in the bottom of a box and pack the items as you would other computer components.

For additional instructions on packing monitors, please refer to your owner’s manual.

At Delivery

Carefully check and mark off the inventory when your shipment is delivered.
Allow the computer to reach room temperature before attempting to use it. If it has been particularly cold, watch for condensation, as moisture also can cause damage.
If you have any loss or damage, contact your Mike’s Moving Consultant for assistance.

Final Thoughts

For any special questions or concerns about moving your home computer, consult your Mike’s Moving Consultant or a computer manufacturer representative. Proper preparation prior to a move will ensure the safety of your computer.

Hot Tub

Your hot tub represents a sizable investment in your comfort and enjoyment. Naturally, you want to safeguard it from damage during your move. With careful pre-planning and proper preparation, it can be transported safely to your destination.

During the Estimate:

Be sure to point out your hot tub to the Mike’s Moving Consultant at the time of your estimate.
Because of the space portable hot tubs take on a moving van, a bulky article charge will be included in your estimate.
If you do not have an exact record of the cost of the hot tub (including any accessories you have purchased), you may want to obtain the current retail price prior to selecting a protection plan for your mover.

Preparation Before The Move

The construction of hot tubs varies greatly, so it’s best to call the dealer or manufacturer before dismantling any part of the unit. A few rules of thumb, however, do apply.
Most important is that the equipment pack be serviced prior to the move. The equipment pack consists of the heater, filter(s), pump, blower, and electrical and plumbing units. It weighs about 40 pounds, with most bolted down by screws.
Many dealers recommend removing the equipment pack, draining it and packing it separately in a sturdy box; however, for some models, it’s best to leave it attached to the shell.
The hot tub must be drained prior to moving day.
If you have had the unit only a short time and have not experienced draining it yourself, either call the dealer to make arrangements or obtain instructions on doing it yourself. Most hot tubs are equipped with a hose bibb drain that attaches directly to a garden hose.
After draining, a hot tub typically still contains about five or six gallons of water. You should use a wet-dry vac to remove the remaining water so it does not spill and damage your carpeting and/or floor.
If you are moving from a warm climate to a cooler one where freezing temperatures are possible during the move, the entire plumbing system should be drained by a high-pressure vacuum. This will eliminate potential damage to the pipes. You should not attempt to do this yourself.

Upon Delivery

When you reach destination, carefully check your hot tub. If there is any damage or missing parts, make a notation on the inventory. Most moving companies, as a part of their normal services, will place a hot tub in the location you request at destination. You should plan for reassembly of your unit by a local dealer. If you need help in making these arrangements, check with your Mike’s Moving Consultant prior to your move.

Remember, pre-planning is the key to successful transportation of your hot tub, just as it is with your other treasured possessions. Your efforts before the move will ensure the enjoyment of your hot tub for years to come.


Sometimes one of the toughest decisions to make when you are moving is what to do with your houseplants. Some of your choices are:

To give them to friends as a remembrance
To donate them to a local hospital, nursing home or library
To offer them at a garage sale

Pre-Planning is Key

As with the rest of your household goods, moving houseplants to a new home involves pre-planning. Whether you have only a few houseplants or dozens, there are decisions to make:

Whether to move them yourself
Whether to take every plant, only favorites or just cuttings to start new plants
When to arrange for any necessary state inspection
When and how to start preparing plants for the move

You must realize it’s possible that not all houseplants will withstand a move in spite of every precaution. There’s no one to blame – it’s simply the nature of the plant.

Movers will not move plants due to state and federal regulations, therefore the owner must find an alternate way of transport if keeping the plants are in their plans.


Most of you wouldn’t dream of leaving your much-loved “family members” behind when your move. But pets, like people, are happiest and most content when in familiar surroundings. Many have an instinctive fear of a new environment, even though they may adjust to it quickly.

Careful pre-planning will minimize or avoid relocation problems. Pre-planning for the transfer of your pet, as well as for your household goods, should begin as soon as you know you are going to move. Consider…

State Laws and Regulations

Almost every state has laws applicable to the entry of pets.
Contact the state veterinarian in the capital of your new home state to learn the laws. You should also contact the city clerk or town hall in your destination city to learn about license fees and regulations for your pet.

Vet Visit

Many states require a health certificate listing of all inoculations and verifying that your pet is free from infectious disease. Ask your vet for the certificate and keep it handy when traveling. To find a vet in your new state, ask your current vet for a recommendation. You can also call the AAHA at (800) 252-2242 and ask for the Member Service Center or visit their Web site at

Pet Identification

In addition to permanent identity and rabies tags, make an ID tag with your pet’s name, your name, destination address, and an emergency name, address and telephone number, in case you cannot be reached. A luggage-type tag with writing space on both sides is easy to use.

Familiar Surroundings

Once moved into your new home, use your pet’s familiar food and water dishes, bed, blanket, and toys to make him/her feel “at home.” Try to keep things in the same locations as they were in your previous residence – for example, food and water dish by the back door.

Moving Your Pet by Airplane

Contact airlines for their rules and regulations, transportation charges and pet insurance.
You will be responsible for a shipping container/carrier to transport your pet.
Make your reservations well in advance, because pet approval is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Feed your pet no less than five or six hours before flight time, and give him/her a drink of water about two hours before take-off.

Moving Your Pet by Auto

Plan ahead and purchase carriers, supplies and first-aid kits. Start a list of items you’ll need for a pet travel kit including collapsible dishes, favorite toys, your pet’s regular food and a few treats.
If your pet is not used to car travel, start taking him/her on short trips to get accustomed to car motion. If necessary, ask your veterinarian about tranquilizers to relax your pet.
Do not feed or water your pet just before starting. A few treats during the day will keep him/her satisfied. Plan regular stops to give your pet a drink or a short run. Take a container of fresh water with you, because a sudden change in drinking water may cause a temporary upset stomach.

Moving With a Dog

After moving into a new house, immediately walk your dog around the neighborhood so that he/she becomes familiar with the new area.
Maintain the feeding and walking schedule from your original residence.
Immediately establish boundaries in your neighborhood or yard for your dog to roam.

Moving With A Cat

Do not let your cat outside until he/she is familiar with the new living environment to reduce the risk of running away.
Constantly surround your cat with familiar items during the move to reduce the emotional effects on your cat.
Do not expose your cat to your new living arrangements all at once. Limit the number of rooms the cat is allowed in and gradually let your cat explore.

Careful pre-planning will minimize or avoid relocation problems. United has created a booklet that offers suggestions for simplifying the transfer of your pet, including a checklist of things to do and a special section on horses and ponies. For a copy of “Moving with Pets,” contact a United agent in your area.


Your waterbed is an investment in your comfort, health and well-being. With adequate planning and correct packing, your waterbed can be transported safely.

If you do not have an exact record of the cost of your waterbed, you might want to obtain a current retail cost prior to selecting a protection plan from your mover. If you desire replacement cost rather than depreciated protection, many moving companies, including Mike’s Moving, offer full-value coverage against loss or damage.

The following are some general guidelines for preparing your waterbed for shipping:

Draining and Disassembling Your Waterbed

Disassembly time will vary with each waterbed because of the difference in mattress sizes and drainage methods used. For information on how to drain a particular type of mattress, contact a local waterbed store or the manufacturer. Allow adequate time to completely drain and disassemble your waterbed. Most moving companies require customers to drain mattresses prior to moving day.
Unplug the mattress heater and allow it to cool before starting the drainage process. Otherwise, the heater can scorch or even melt your mattress.

If your mattress is to be in storage for more than five weeks:

Add mattress conditioner to the water a day or more before draining to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
Use a vinyl cleaner on the outside of the mattress as a protectant.

There are three ways to drain waterbed mattresses:

Straight siphon method – takes about an hour, can be used for “freeflow” mattresses that have no interior baffles.
Using a faucet adapter and drain pump – typically comes with mattresses, can take up to three hours depending on your water pressure and type of mattress.
Using an electric pump – available for rent or purchase at waterbed stores, draining typically takes about 30 minutes.

Get as much water out of your mattress as possible!

If you press down on the mattress and see a handprint afterward, continue draining.
Have your cap and plug handy to place on the mattress fill/drain hole right after draining to ensure a vacuum-packed seal.
Put all screws, nuts, and bolts in a plastic bag and tape it to the back of the frame.
Ask your mover about arranging for drainage and disassembly of your waterbed.

Folding Your Mattress

If you have a motion-reducing mattress, you must use special care while draining and moving it in order to prevent the interior baffles from shifting.

After the mattress is completely drained and sealed:

Fold it into thirds, starting from the head of the bed and folding towards the foot.
Make sure the baffles do not shift out of place, but if they do, try to reposition then. (They should be in place before you refill your mattress.)
You may pack the folded mattress with blankets in a box. Make sure it will not be at risk of being punctured or otherwise damaged by other items.
Finish by folding the mattress in half widthwise.
The heating pad and tube thermometer must be treated with care.
Roll the pad and thermometer – each separately – from either end.
Rolling items ensures the elements in each will not be broken or twisted.

Upon Delivery

If any servicing or reassembly is required for your waterbed, advise your Mike’s Moving Consultant at the time of your estimate so appropriate arrangements can be made. Because a waterbed holds 80 to 200 gallons of water, you should determine where you want the bed placed before you fill it.

Wine Collection

Because your wine collection represents a sizable investment, every precaution should be taken prior to moving to ensure its safe transportation.


Have your high-value collection appraised by a qualified person. Appraisal fees very widely from area to area. Appraisers charge either an hourly rate or a flat fee. The best way to locate a wine appraiser is through a local wine merchant who keeps abreast of current values on certain vintages.

Photograph your collection to document its contents.
Let your Mike’s Moving Consultant know you will be moving wine or other high-value items.
Special arrangements may be necessary to ensure your collection will reach its destination safely.
You will need to complete the High-Value Inventory Form to assure that your collection is not limited to minimal liability.

The form will be provided by your Mike’s Moving Consultant during the pre-move survey. Your Mike’s Moving Consultant will explain the protection plans from which you may choose. Replacement protection offered by most major moving companies affords you the best possible coverage against loss or damage in transit. If you choose Mike’s Moving Full Value Coverage Plan, we recommend that you provide copies of the appraisal to your sales representatives.

Legal Considerations

Check with the alcohol beverage control authorities in your destination state before you move. Some states have restrictions governing the amount of alcohol that can be brought in for personal use.


Most wine experts agree the older the wine, the more delicate its flavor.

Extreme changes in the temperature may affect the taste and appearance of your wine.
The best temperature for storing and transporting wine is 55 degrees.
White wines and less expensive “supermarket” brands are less susceptible to damage by temperature.

For a small, manageable collection, we recommend transporting the collection by car, where atmospheric conditions can be better controlled. A climate-controlled van can be used to move a very large or rare collection. However, arrangements must be made early and the additional cost may be more than you wish to spend. Ask your Mike’s Moving Consultant for details.

The best time to move your collection is early spring or late fall. The temperature in the van during the summer months can be very high, and in the winter there is the possibility of the wine becoming slushy, which can alter the flavor. If your move must take place in the summer or winter months, you may want to consider moving your collection via a commercial airline. If you want the wine to be professionally packed, consult your mover. Your prompt delivery to the airport and pick-up of the wine at destination will limit its exposure to temperature extremes.


Take care to prepare your wine for the move. Mike’s Moving has specially designed boxes to pack fragile items. If you plan to do the packing yourself, boxes may be purchased from your local liquor store.

Corked wines should be placed on their sides or upside down in the packing container to keep the corks wet.
Do not pack bottles that have been opened.
Label the box FRAGILE – THIS SIDE UP.

Even if you use extreme care in packing your wine, “bottle shock” may occur from the wine shaking within the bottle as it is moved. If opened too soon, a loss of flavor may result. To prevent this, be sure to allow the bottles to rest at your destination at least seven days for every day your shipment is in transit.

Final Thoughts

Your van operator will prepare an inventory of your shipment prior to loading. When you reach destination, carefully check your household goods and wine collection against the form. Should there be any loss or damage, be sure to note it on the inventory. Contact your Mike’s Moving Consultant who will help you complete a claim form.


A garage sale held prior to moving can help both lighten the load and bring in some extra cash.


Pre-planning brings to mind details that otherwise might be overlooked in organizing a garage sale, highlighting the various steps necessary for its ultimate success. Allow at least three weeks for preparation.

Check with local authorities for restrictions applying to garage sales. You might need a special permit or be required to pay a fee or collect sales taxes. Signs advertising the sale might be limited or prohibited.
Consider a joint sale with one or more neighbors; share the work, fun and profits. The greater the assortment of items you have to offer, the more potential customers you’ll attract and the more successful the sale will be.
Decide where to hold the sale – the garage, patio, yard, basement of if other families are involved, a central or community location.
Set a date and hours for the sale. Sales on weekends and warmer weather generally fare better. In some communities, there are “traditional” days for sales. Arrange for alternate dates in case of rain. It’s best to avoid holidays.
Let your insurance agent know you’ll be holding a sale, and make certain your homeowner’s policy will cover any liability for injuries.
Start saving shopping bags and cardboard boxes for customers’ convenience.

What to Sell

Go through your house with a record sheet or notebook, listing everything you want to sell. If you have fewer than a hundred items to offer, consider having a joint sale with one or more neighbors. Generally, proceeds are not taxable, provided the merchandise is sold for less than what you paid for it and you’ve held no more than a few garage sales in the past year.

Sorting It All Out

After identifying items you want to sell, the next step is gathering them all together and making sure they are tiptop shape.

Gather all of the items in one place for convenience in pricing and making minor repairs. Sewing a gaping seam and adding glue or a nail can mean the difference between a sale and a “leftover.”
Bundle various “go-togethers,” such as cake pans and a cake rack, all of which could be sold as a unit. Or, wrap a few unrelated items together as a “surprise” or “grab bag” specials.
See that clothing and linens are clean, and that sizes are clearly marked. Preferably, iron them and put them on hangers or fold neatly. Pair shoes and mark sizes.
If you’re having a sale with other people, be sure to mark each item with a code number and/or color so it can be identified easily when sold. This will eliminate questions about profits at the end of the sale.
As you identify items to be sold, put price tags on them right away and take to the garage sale holding area. Don’t wait until just prior to the sale to start pricing. Price tags should be placed on the underside of dishes – never on top where the pattern could be damaged during the removal of the tag.


Items should be priced according to their worth to consumers, not the seller. For items in good working order, charge about 20 – 30 percent of the original purchase price. Used clothing and books generally fetch lower prices.

Keep prices in increments of $.25 or whole dollars – for ease in figuring costs and change due. Remember, you can always go down on a price, but you can never go back up.
When setting a price on each item or group of items, keep in mind that your merchandise is used and should be priced accordingly. Try to look at your items objectively. Look for a happy medium – not too high, not too low – with enough leeway for a little bargaining. Make exceptions for the “collectibles” you think warrant a higher price.
Mark “AS IS” on anything that doesn’t work or is in some way defective, and price accordingly.
Place a price tag on each article, and list the prices on a record sheet. For convenience and to avoid lost tags, use the press-on tags available at stationary and office supply stores. Small pieces of masking tape will also work.


They key to a profitable garage sale is to operate it like any successful retail business in a competitive market. One way to do this is to advertise cleverly and aggressively. Consider coming up with a slogan to use on large signs, as well as using balloons. Be sure to play up ad offbeat merchandise that mint intrigue and attract shoppers.

Let people know about your garage sales by:

Running an ad in your neighborhood newspaper.
Announcing the sale to members of clubs in your community.
Putting signs in windows or on bulletin boards of neighborhood stores.
Inserting a notice in your church newsletter or school newspaper.
Distributing announcements throughout the neighborhood.

Put up signs in the area the day before your garage sale. Be sure to have a BIG sign at the sale site. Also remember to retrace your route and take down signs and announcements after your sale.

When making signs, BIG and BOLD lettering is a must. Include the date, times and address of the sale. Black lettering on white or yellow paper is very effective.

If you put up directional signs in your neighborhood, be consistent with their appearance so shoppers don’t get confused and attend another sale.

Don’t be surprised if you have shoppers arriving the night before the sale just to look around, or who arrive an hour before your posted start time. You must decide if you want anything sold before you are ready.


Before arranging your wares, remove from the sales area everything you don’t want to sell. Cover with a sheet or drop cloth heavy items that can’t be moved and attach a big “NOT FOR SALE” signs to them.

Organize clothing by size and set up a rack on which to hang apparel. A clothesline stretched across the garage or a ladder suspended horizontally from the ceiling will serve this purpose.
Boards set across sawhorses will serve as temporary display counter. Leave aisles wide enough for customers’ convenience.
Group similar items together. Use corrugated cartons to hold smaller article, compact discs, records, and books. Stand compact discs, records, and books on end for easy flipping.
If possible, provide a convenient electrical outlet or extension cord for testing appliances.
Have a tape measure on hand so shoppers can measure furniture to see if it will fit in a particular spot in their home.
If you have a lot of clothes for sale, consider providing a mirror and makeshift dressing room. Make sure you have someone in charge of checking shoppers into and out of the room. In order to prevent shoplifting, it is wise to use cards with numbers that correspond to the articles of clothing shoppers want to try on.

Consider making a sign for each area of your sale, such as Books, Magazines, and Music; Housewares and Kitchen Gadgets; Odds and Ends; Everything on This Table 3 for $1; and Surprise Grab Bags $.25.


There is always the possibility that your sale might be visited by people hoping to pick up something for literally nothing. To guard against this:

Try to always have at least two people present so the sales are is never left unattended. A person alone in the selling area might be subject to physical intimidation by the unscrupulous. Shoplifters often work in pairs, so one can distract the seller’s attention while the other takes wanted items. Be alert to these tactics.
Instead of keeping your cash in a small box, wear a money belt to make change, and keep large bills in your pocket.
Group similar items together. Use corrugated cartons to hold smaller article, compact discs, records, and books. Stand compact discs, records, and books on end for easy flipping.
Allow customers in the sales area only. Strangers might visit your sale solely for learning whether you have anything worth burglarizing later.
If anyone brings a shopping bag or other container, ask that it be left with you until the decision of what merchandise to buy has been made.
Keep an eye on people who loiter for no apparent reason, particularly those who seem to be watching you.
Display small, easily concealed items in an area that will be easy for you to watch – perhaps near the checkout counter.
Keep the doors of your residence locked while you are conducting the sale at your home. If you have a cordless telephone, take it with you, but keep it away from shoppers.

The most effective way of frustrating suspected pilferers is to follow them around and ask what they are interested in and whether you can help. Such close supervision will soon cause them to leave.

Ready, Set, Go!

Have everything ready the day before the sale so you will be ready to go at your advertised starting time. You’ll need:

Plenty of change, including dollar bills. Pick up coin rolls at the bank before the sale. Be sure you know how much change you have on hand to start with.
An old fishing tackle box or plastic container that has divided sections to use for change.
Paper and pencil for computing costs. (A small calculator is helpful but crucial if you have to charge sales tax.)
A record sheet. Mark off without delay the items sold and price changes made.
A trash container, which you should keep close by as items are sold so your sales area remains neat.
Wrapping supplies – newspaper, shopping bags, cardboard cartons, twine, a stapler, and scissors or a sharp knife.

Have a firm CASH ONLY policy, with big sign to that effect. Accept checks only if you know the writer well.

Ask for a deposit if a customer wants an item “held.” It also is wise to set a time limit for holding items.

It’s a good idea to keep pets confined during the sale. Some pets can become agitated by crowds and unfamiliar people, or drive shoppers away. Paws can be stepped on by over zealous shoppers.


Bargaining is expected. List price changes on your record sheet.
Discounts, especially on major items, often will close the sale. Ten percent is a good beginning discount offer.
Some shoppers might want to bargain with you at the beginning of your sale. Tell them you will discount everything after lunch if they come back.
Reduce prices near the end of the sale. A cash profit, however small, is better than winding up with many leftovers.

After the Sale

Divide up the profits if the sale was a cooperative effort, remembering to deduct the amount with which you began.
Many banks charge a fee to count and roll loose coins, so you might want to let your children have fun doing that job.
Keep the money in a safe place until it can be deposited in the bank.
Remove all sale signs you put up.
Consider donating any leftover items to charitable organizations such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army and children’s homes. They generally give a receipt for donation so the value can be deducted on a donor’s income tax return. Or, contribute leftovers to church rummage sales, resale shops, schools or community centers.


You’ve made a profit by disposing of all those things you didn’t want to take to your new home∧ wasn’t it fun, too?

Be sure to consult your local United agent if you have special questions or concerns.

Don’t Forget The Children

A move to a new home can be an exciting experience for children, if you employ careful planning from start to finish. Planning begins with informing them of the upcoming move and includes organizing the details of relocating, as well as getting acquainted with your new community.

The Positive Approach

When your family is planning to relocate, your reaction to the upcoming changes is most important. Children normally reflect their parents’ attitudes. Accentuate the positive. A positive parental attitude will go a long way toward soothing fears and creating an atmosphere of anticipation for the children.

Prepare them in advance for the move. Tell them immediately about the move. Give them time to adjust to the idea.
Answer all questions. Explain the reasons for the move as explicitly as necessary, depending on the child’s age. An honest question-and-answer session will give you an idea of the specific concerns your children have about the move. This will give you the chance to resolve their fears and let them know you are interested in their opinions and feelings.
Permit children to participate. This will give them a sense of responsibility and self-worth.
Choose a professional moving company. A company experienced in moving families will minimize your responsibilities. Then, you can devote more time to your children.

With these steps, you can ease the insecure feelings some children experience when removed from familiar surroundings. It is difficult to break strong ties to the old home, neighborhood, school and close friends. But remember, moving can be a great personal growth opportunity for all family members, including children. Take advantage of the situation and make it a truly exciting experience for everyone.

Take-Along Suggestions

Here’s a checklist of things to take in the car with you:

Suitable clothing
Diaper or utility bag
Disposable diapers
Nursers with plastic throwaway liners, nipples and pacifiers
Baby food, formula, fruit juice, water and a cap opener
Favorite cuddle toy
Baby toiletries such as powder, lotion, oil and cotton balls
Safety-approved infant car seat
First-aid kit (Discuss with your pediatrician any medications you should have on hand. Include a thermometer, baby pain reliever and a small hot water bottle, which also can be used as an ice bag.)


Collapsible stroller
Child’s portable car toilet
Safety-approved car seat
Favorite small toy

Elementary to Preteen

Children in their elementary and preteen years are easier to keep content during a long trip. Provide them with a few travel games, coloring books and comic books. Let them visit the local variety store for ideas.


Teenagers probably will have their own ideas of travel entertainment, but might enjoy favorite books or travel games. Many just enjoy watching the scenery.