pizza and beer

Let’s be real: as much as we might love our friends, and no matter how many cheesy 80s and 90s pop songs there might be about the beauty of platonic camaraderie (cue the Rembrandts… clap, clap, clap, clap), when it comes to helping a friend move, is it even remotely possible to get excited about throwing on some sweats and helping them pack plates into boxes?

Well, not really… at least for most people. While most moving companies offer packing services, budgets and timing can sometimes get in the way of using them, and some of us prefer to pack our own belongings, no matter what. Still, when the clock is ticking down and we’re mere days away from loading our stuff into a U-Haul or entrusting it to the care of a moving company, sometimes the pro bono elbow grease of a few good friends is in order. So, if you find yourself in the position of asking your personal pit crew for assistance, remember this three-point process to keep the experience as pain-free — and your friendships as intact — as possible.

1. Get organized beforehand.

Figuring out a game plan is key. Having three or four friends who are willing to help is great, but without some idea of what you need them to do and how, chances are, you’re going to wind up with bathroom items in kitchen boxes and much-needed remote controls buried at the bottom of crates marked for storage.

Assign each person a room or list of items for which they’ll be responsible; a little direction (pleasantly put, of course) can save a lot of inconvenience in the long run. Even with the best of intentions, your friends aren’t professional movers; they’re your friends. Tell them what you need, give them enough boxes, markers and guidance to get it done right, and help them help you. (Oh, and in case you’re thinking you can rest on your laurels while your pals do all the work, think again. Put in an equal amount of effort; if you’re only supervising, it’ll come back to bite you later.)

As for keeping your friends comfortable, make sure to have little things available to help them out: hair ties, cold water, hot coffee, extra t-shirts in case things get sweaty and gross… the more accommodating you are, the longer they’ll stay and help. Fact.

2. Order the pizza now; save the beer for later.

The least you can do to thank the folks who are willing to get dusty and dirty on your behalf is feed them. But while boozing it up may make the process of packing more fun, it may also make it way less effective. Get a solid hour or two of good hard work logged and plenty of boxes packed before you uncork the wine or grab the six-pack from the fridge. Celebrate everyone’s awesomeness, by all means, and toast to your new adventures up ahead, but make sure you’re not creating a bigger mess than when you started by doing so. Once the crew goes home and it’s just you and your life all packed up and ready to roll, you’ll thank yourself for being responsible and planning ahead.

3. Practice reciprocity.

When was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? No, seriously. While most of us would bend over backwards for our friends without question if they needed something, it’s all too easy to forget to show a little gratitude when we’re on the receiving end. And when it comes time to return the favor, be ready to reciprocate. They pack your apartment, you pack theirs. It’s practically a law of nature, and it’s definitely spelled out in every friendship contract ever written (or unwritten)… usually somewhere in the first sentence of paragraph one.

Happy packing! Before you call up your friends for a box-filled evening of pizza delivery and old-yearbook-related mortification, call Moveline to help streamline the moving process for you at no charge. Get help with inventory and quote-gathering from the very experts who are listed by Forbes, Fast Company and TechCrunch as revolutionizing the act of moving.

It’s entirely possible to enjoy the peace of mind that your move will take place under the care of professionals who will give you a fair price and treat your belongings with care. Don’t go it alone. Let us help — it’s why we’re here.