Posts By: Andrew Wilson

Traditional TV vs. Streaming TV

With more than 270 streaming services on the market, many homeowners are tempted to cut the cord for good and ditch their traditional cable or satellite TV services. But what’s the better deal? Is going all-in on streaming cheaper? Does it offer the same content?


How To Protect Yourself and Family From Pet Allergies

pet allergies - utility concierge

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology statistics, nearly 62% of American households have pets, including over 1.5 million cats and dogs. With more than 50 million Americans experiencing various allergies annually, many people may suffer from pet allergies. Symptoms of pet allergies include wheezing and sneezing, a stuffy nose and runny eyes, itchy throat, and nasal congestion of varying degrees from mild to severe.


Step-By-Step Checklist for Moving

Regardless of whether you are moving to your own property or switching apartments, moving can be exciting. However, there are many things that need to be done in the lead-up, during, and after the move that can make the process stressful.

In this article, you will find a step-by-step checklist that will make the moving process a lot easier for you. If you’d like your own copy of the list, you can download it here!


8 Weeks Before

Unless you are moving due to an emergency, you will have ample time to prepare. However, this is where most people fail as they assume that there’s enough time. Ideally, you should start preparing eight weeks before your move.

1.  Check Out Your New Community

Once it’s settled that you have to move, choose a suitable area to relocate to. Go there in person to get a feel of the neighborhood and to see the amenities available. Before taking your family to a new location, it is best to see how it is.

2.  Set Aside Funds for the Move

When moving to a new house, you can either hire a moving company or elect to go the DIY route. If you are moving within the state, a DIY approach may be plausible. However, for a cross-state move, you’re better off hiring a moving company.  Either way, there are costs that you will incur.

Determine how you will move and figure how much it will cost you. If you are moving within the state, set aside $1,000. For long-distance moves, your budget could rise to as much as $5,000. For job-related relocation, inquire from your employer whether they offer any assistance with covering such costs.

3.  Find a School for Your Children

If you have school-going children, you must find a suitable school for them. Before you begin your search, notify their current school that you will be moving to get copies of their school records. Fortunately, finding good schools for your children is easy these days. Instead of doing a physical search, you can log in to, a platform designed to help parents find educational opportunities for their children.

4 Weeks Before

Most of the preparation for moving takes place in the month before the move.

1.  Start Packing

If you wait till the day before moving to begin packing, you are setting yourself up for unnecessary stress. Go through every room and drawer in your house and categorize things either as used frequently, rarely, or never going to use.

Find ways to get rid of the things you are never going to use. You can donate them or organize a yard sale. Anything that is not used frequently should be packed in well-labeled boxes.

2.  Take Your Car for Servicing and Update Your Address

When preparing for a move, it’s easy to get caught up with the ‘moving’ part and forget other minor yet crucial things. If you’re moving out of state, you need to make sure your car is ready for the journey. Take it to your mechanic for tire fixes, oil change, and the necessary tune-up.

Also, notify parties such as your current employer, credit card companies, bank, subscription services, and landlord that you will move. To change your address, visit your local post office or do it online via

2 Weeks Before

Contact the moving company a couple of weeks before the move to confirm your preparations are going according to plan. One area to focus on is insurance. Make sure it is sufficient for your valuables. Other things you need to do during this period include:

  • Clear out safe deposit boxes, storage units, and any place other than your house that you have property
  • Schedule enough time off work to prepare for the move
  • Have the rugs cleaned to make sure they’re ready by the time you’re moving

1 Week Before

During the last week before your move is when things can become a bit hectic.

1.  Finish Packing

As you count down the days to the move, step up your packing efforts. Your goal should be to have everything packed and ready to go a few days before the planned moving day. This will save you from last-minute stress. 

If it will take a few days to get to your new home town, pack a to-go bag. It should contain essentials such as a toothbrush, toilet paper, chargers, and at least one change of clothes for everyone.

2.  Visit the Pharmacy

A few days before the trip, visit the pharmacy for a refill of prescriptions while arranging to have prescriptions transferred to a pharmacy in your new area of residence.

3.  Confirm the Date with the Movers

You can never be too careful with this. Get in touch with your movers again to confirm the date and time of your move. Other details to inquire about at this time include total cost and the payment methods they accept. Make sure to get the contact information of the crew that will come. To make it easy for them during the trip, prepare written directions to your new home.

Don’t Pack Items

While you are finishing with the packing, some items should be kept separate from the things that will be loaded in the moving truck. They include:

  • Documents such as birth certificates, marriage license, passports, and documents that have details such as social security numbers and bank account information
  • Medicine
  • Checkbook
  • Credit cards
  • Jewelry
  • Cash
  • Irreplaceable items such as family heirlooms

Moving Day

With all the packing done, you will not have a lot to do on moving day. Wait for the movers to arrive and make sure each of them is an employee of the moving company. Show them everything that needs to be loaded and give special instructions, especially for boxes with fragile items. 

Even if you are moving to a better house or neighborhood, leaving the place you’ve called home for a long time is difficult, especially for kids. Do a final walkthrough of the house to say a proper goodbye before leaving.

Supervise the Loading

Once you arrive at your new place, lay down the plastic carpet protector. As the movers prepare to bring things inside, show them around and direct them to where specific boxes should go. As they offload, check for missing or damaged items.

Complete the Transaction

After the movers finish loading everything, you and the mover in charge should sign the inventory sheet. Get a copy of it to keep in your records. Proceed to pay the movers and if the job was done satisfactorily, add a ten to fifteen percent tip.

Start Unpacking

To turn your new house into a home, start unpacking your belongings and organizing. Begin with reassembling furniture so that the moving crew can assist you. If you notice any damaged items while unpacking, take photos and set them aside. The moving company will send someone to inspect them.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Moving Company

The biggest decision you have to make when relocating is whether to hire a moving company or not. Each option has some advantages and disadvantages. Here they are comparatively.

1.  Cost

For most people, the cost is the biggest factor when deciding whether to hire a moving company. A moving company will provide the truck and crew to help you with loading and unloading, which will, of course, come at a cost.

Though a DIY approach may be cheaper, it comes with other hassles that you should consider when deciding.

2.  Time and Stress

One of the primary benefits of hiring movers is the time and stress that they will save you. Instead of worrying about all the logistics of moving, they will help you with a lot of the work on moving day. A DIY approach will involve help from friends and family, which can make it a bit hectic as there will be no organization.

3.  Safety

Arguably the biggest concern of hiring a moving company is the safety of your belongings. Is it safe to trust strangers with my assets, or will I become a victim of a moving scam? These are legitimate questions. However, they can be easily addressed by doing your due diligence and only hiring a reputable moving company.

The real safety concern comes to matters loading and unloading. It’s not just about putting things in the truck but doing so in a way that minimizes risk. So, are your belongings better off being handled by professionals or your friends and family?

Is Hiring a Moving Company Worth It?

When taking upfront costs into account, hiring a moving company is expensive. However, this does not mean that a DIY approach is significantly cheaper. In essence, the only extra cost you are incurring is for a truck suitable for moving and professionalism. Either way, you will still need a moving truck and people to help you. Even if it’s friends and family, they will expect something small in return, even if it’s just dinner.

Considering the benefits professionalism brings, the added cost is unquestionably worth it, as it may just be the difference between arriving with your belongings intact or not.

Moving During the Pandemic

Moving During the Pandemic? It Can be Done Safely

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, life still has to go on…and for some people that includes moving. Moving during a pandemic is a little more challenging, but it can be done safely. You just need to keep a level head and follow public health guidelines. Obviously, there are extra precautions, but many of the concerns are similar to those you might already have.

Moving During A Panedemic

Check the Rules Where You are Going

Pandemic America is a patchwork of different restrictions and lockdown rules. One thing to check is whether the state you are moving to is currently requiring quarantine or COVID testing (or both). If you do have to face a two-week quarantine when you arrive at your new home, try to set up grocery delivery ahead of time. Use a review site like TripAdvisor or social media to locate good restaurants that do delivery (always a good idea as it can, in any case, your new location stands on business closures and mask mandates. Oh, and if you’re driving through other states, make sure you are aware of their rules too. Also, if driving, stock the car with food and limit stops as much as possible. You should not push through if fatigued, but you should also not be stopping to eat indoors at a restaurant.

Buy Extra Packing Materials

A general rule of moving is that you always need more packing materials than you think you do. It’s particularly important to buy more during the pandemic, when it might be harder to run out to an office supply store and pick up more boxes. One option is to have the movers pack and provide the boxes, but this is often a premium service that can be quite expensive. It also results in the movers being in your home for much longer, which increases transmission risk. If you do need extra materials you may have to have them shipped, which can get very expensive.

Some experts are recommending using only new boxes; if you do use recycled boxes, quarantine them in the garage for a day or so before packing them. This might not be a bad idea with new boxes either. However, the virus does not stay on cardboard that long.

Don’t forget to get bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts too. If you still get a newspaper delivered, start saving the newspapers about a month before your move so you can use it as packing material. Put the newspaper off to one side so you are not frequently touching it.

Make sure you have what you need for specialty items such as musical instruments well ahead of time.

Work Out How to Dispose of What You’re Leaving Behind

Moving is a good time to declutter your life. You may decide, for example, to replace worn furniture rather than move it, or to clear out your closet.

Donating to charity is a good way to dispose of unwanted possessions, especially furniture or clothing in good condition, but this is another thing the pandemic has made a little more challenging. Find out what local charities are doing and use drop boxes to donate clothes. Many donation centers have specific rules or require an appointment. Wash and, if possible, tumble dry clothes before donating; this is appreciated by charities and prevents any transmission of COVID.

Other options to consider include posting to Nextdoor or social media to offer items for sale or free. Make sure that you have a way to get the item outside so that the person picking it up doesn’t have to enter your home.

If stuff is not in good enough condition to donate or give away, then make sure to recycle as much as possible. Also, remember that the pandemic is affecting everyone’s judgment. Consult with friends or family on keep or toss decisions (and watch for the “friend” who will try and convince you to give it to them instead).

Take Precautions When Interacting with Movers

The movers you hire will need to enter your home. Check with the firm about what protocols they are using during COVID-19, and have a backup plan. What will you do if they all show up without masks? If you can get a quote virtually, do so…but if you do, take lots of photos. Some companies will quote based off of square footage, which is not accurate at all if you have a lot of stuff. Don’t let movers in your home if they aren’t wearing masks. You can also ask them to wear booties (which is often a good idea anyway as it reduces the amount of dirt tracked in). Many movers, however, prefer not to wear gloves, which appear to have minimal advantages for reducing transmission and make it more likely that they will drop your stuff.

Wear a mask yourself. Don’t pack all of the hand soap, but rather leave some out for both you and them to move. Hand sanitizer is good, but there’s a near guarantee somebody will need to use the restroom during this process and want soap.

Stage everything as well as you can. It’s particularly important to label all boxes with which room they are going to so as to minimize the amount of time the movers spend in your new house. (And don’t forget to label any heavy boxes, such as books). If you have furniture that has to be lifted or moved a certain way, label it with written instructions so as to minimize the amount of time you spend talking to the movers. If you do it right, you can wait outside while they do their jobs.

If you are moving into and/or out of an apartment, give the movers the freight elevator key rather than escorting them to and from the loading dock. Elevators are small, poorly ventilated areas primed for the spread of COVID.

Transmission from people is more dangerous than transmission from surfaces, but make sure to wash your hands frequently. Consider getting some hand lotion so you can protect your skin from the damage caused by frequent washing.

Also, open all of the windows while the movers are in the house to increase airflow. If you have more than one bathroom, have the movers use a specific one and ask them to close the lid before flushing. Don’t shake hands. Tip via credit card rather than giving them cash. If you want to give your movers a perk, bottled water and packaged snacks are better than the traditional pizza.

Finally, check your own temperature before the movers arrive. If anyone is sick, reschedule; you don’t want to be responsible for your movers getting sick and then somebody else’s move being delayed. Make sure you have enough overlap time to be able to do this.

Make a COVID Box

Pack a specific, labeled box with face masks, hand sanitizer, and other supplies. Put your first aid kit in there too. If you have pets, put a couple of meals of pet food and any pet first aid equipment you keep around. If you are driving to your new home, take this box with you. If not, label the box to be loaded onto the truck last so it will be unloaded first and ask for it to be put in your hall.

That way your personal protection and sanitization supplies will be easily accessible when you get to your new home. If you have vital medication, however, you should always keep it with you during the move. This includes vital medication for pets. As moving is stressful, maybe keep a bit of chocolate with you, too.

Allow Extra Time

The possibility of being sick and unable to interact with movers has already been mentioned. The fact is that moving during a pandemic is going to be more difficult and take longer.

You may have to order packing materials online and wait for them to be shipped rather than simply running to the hardware store. Your judgement when it comes to deciding what to take and how to pack it may be off. Social distancing will make it difficult to request packing or unpacking help from friends.

You need to be flexible about your move date and realistic about traveling to your new home. Due to COVID, a several day drive is safer than a flight, so it is probably better to drive your car even a long distance rather than having it shipped. If you do have to do a multi-day drive, read reviews of motels and make sure they are taking precautions.

Moving is already one of the most stressful things you can do; moving during a pandemic is only going to be worse. Above all, take care of yourself. You are doing something difficult and stressful, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a bottle of wine or your favorite binge eating food at the other end.