Helping a friend move: should-does and must-brings

It is said that friends are the family you choose for yourself – they share your joy and your pain, trust you and have your trust, support you and count on you, challenge you and make you laugh… They’re always there for you – and you’re always there for them – no matter what.

So, when a friend of yours is faced with a house move – a difficult and stressful endeavor – they will certainly rely on you for help. And not only physical help, packing and hauling bulky items around, but emotional support as well – they’ll be stressed and anxious about the imminent change in their life and will need someone to comfort them and reassure them that everything will be alright.

Your friend will need you more than ever in such a challenging time. But what can you do to help them? How can you make their move safer and easier? How can you assuage their anxieties and cheer them up during the arduous relocation process?

Helping a friend move is not all about heavy lifting – depending on your own skills and available time, you can provide assistance in many valuable ways:

Offer emotional support

If your friend is moving just across town, there won’t be a big change in their life and the only thing to worry about will be the actual logistics of the move.

If they’re moving to a different city or state, however, things will be much more difficult – your friend will not only have to deal with the taxing relocation process, but will also be forced out of their comfort zone and will have to adapt to a new environment and get used to a different lifestyle. He/she is likely to be anxious about their new life and scared of the unknown, overwhelmed with relocation-related tasks and upset by leaving friends and familiarity behind. As sad and distressed as you’ll probably be yourself when a dear friend is moving away, you need to find a way to comfort your pal and reassure them that the change will be for the better.

Talk to your friend – discuss the forthcoming relocation with them, ask them for their plans, expectations, and hopes, listen carefully to their apprehensions and worries and try your best to ease their anxieties and get them excited about the big change in their life. Point out how many great opportunities they will have in their new city and assure them that even though you’ll miss them a lot, you’re happy for them and the relocation will not affect your relationship. Your encouragement will be invaluable for your friend.

See also: What to do when your best friend is moving away

Help your friend sort out and pack their belongings

Whether your friend is moving a couple of blocks down the street or halfway across the country, they’ll have to pack their items and prepare their homes for moving. It’s an extremely laborious and time-consuming task, so providing packing assistance is one of the best ways to help a friend move:

  • Help your friend sort out their belongings and decide what to take to their new home, what to sell, what to donate, and what to recycle or throw away – your objective assessment will be quite helpful, especially when it comes to sentimental items. Encourage your buddy to get rid of everything they don’t really love and won’t need in their new place – the less items they relocate, the easier, faster, and cheaper their move will be;
  • Help your friend sell their unwanted items – take it upon yourself to organize a garage sale or post the articles for sale online, so that your pal can concentrate on the moving preparations;
  • Offer to drop off donation items at local charities and organizations;
  • Bring over extra packing supplies – collect boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, packing tape, and other packing materials your friend will need to prepare their items for shipping. If you’re not sure what your pal already has or what they might be running low on, give them a call and ask, then offer to pick up the needed items and drop them off;
  • Stop by for an hour or so whenever you have the time and help your friend box up their home – make sure you use safe and efficient packing techniques and handle every item with attention and care (you don’t want your pal to find their belongings in pieces when they open the boxes, right?). See our expert packing tips for useful details on how to best pack different types of items for moving.

The packing process will go faster and smoother when you’re helping your friend and you’ll have the chance to spend some more time in each other’s cherished company.

Bring your friend healthy food

While lending your friend a hand with packing is one of the greatest favors you can do for them in such a difficult time, there are other less direct but just as helpful ways to assist your buddy with their move. Such as bringing them good food, for example.

Cooking and food hunting will be the last thing on your friend’s mind during the laborious moving preparations – overwhelmed with herculean relocation tasks and hectic relocation schedules, they won’t even have the time to sit down and eat, let alone prepare a healthy meal (the kitchen counter and table will be probably covered in packing paper and bubble wrap, anyway). So, if you show up with a bowl of fruits or sliced vegetables and a box of sandwiches, homemade pancakes, or some mac and cheese, it will be quite welcome.

Providing your friend with healthy food that will give them energy (and delight) is a great way to show how much you care and help them stay well and strong during the taxing pre-move period. Not to mention that it will also help your pal stay on track as they will be able to focus on the moving tasks at hand instead of wasting time in search of food – just make sure you bring something that doesn’t require additional preparation or results in a lot of dirty dishes.

Offer help on moving day

Moving day is the climax of the relocation endeavor and the moment when your friend needs help the most. There are many efficient ways you can be of assistance on that stressful day:

  • Go to your friend’s place early in the morning to help them prepare their home for moving – finish packing the last of their items, clear the way from obstacles, cover the floors, walls and banisters with protective materials to prevent property damage and personal injuries, etc.;
  • Bring coffee and healthy breakfast to cheer up your friend and raise their energy levels;
  • Offer your friend to watch over their kids and/or pets, so that they don’t have to worry about the little ones’ safety and well-being. Take your friend’s young children and furry animal friends for a nice walk (if the weather permits it) or keep them occupied in a quiet room away from the moving chaos. You can even offer to keep the kids and pets at your place on the Big day;
  • Run errands for your friend and fetch whatever they need;
  • Have a joke or two up your sleeve and make your pal smile and relax when things get tough. Maintaining a good sense of humor will help reduce the stress and keep the mood light throughout the strenuous day;
  • Help your friend clean the place when everything is loaded on the moving truck.

If your friend has hired professional movers, the experts will take care of everything else – you can assist in providing information or directions or you can bring home-made food for everyone, but that’s about all. Your friend will have their items safely loaded on the moving truck and delivered to their new location intact and unscathed – and on-time. The relocation will be completed in a smooth and efficient manner and your friend will be able to congratulate themselves on their successful move.

Good to remember: Using professional moving services will make the relocation easier on your friend and they won’t need much help. Yet, you can make them a big favor – help them find a good mover, so that they don’t fall victim to moving scams and don’t need to worry about leaving their items in the hands of incompetent, inexperienced, or unreliable movers. So, when your friend tells you of their plans to move house and hire professional assistance, be sure to:

  • reach out to your social circle and ask for opinions, recommendations and feedback on the moving companies your acquaintances have worked with;
  • learn the red flags of moving fraud and find out how to ensure a safe relocation;
  • read online moving reviews, visit moving websites, and compare the rates and conditions different moving companies offer;
  • make a list of licensed, insured, and trustworthy movers who seem to meet your friend’s relocation needs;
  • be there when your friend interviews the movers and ask any important questions your pal may forget;
  • review the estimates your friend receives and help them choose the right movers for them.

If your friend has decided on a self-move, they will need help not only planning and organizing the relocation but also physically moving their belongings – carrying heavy boxes and large furniture pieces, loading the moving vehicle, etc. If you can, help your friend with the heavy lifting – the more people there are to deal with the task, the faster and safer the moving process will go. Just make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions – wear appropriate clothing, put on work gloves, use safe lifting techniques, etc. Any help you can provide will be highly appreciated. (See also: How to thank friends for helping you move)

If it’s a local move, you can help your friend unload the truck, unpack, and set up their new home as well.

If it’s a long distance relocation, make your friend a going away gift and tell them goodbye in as cheerful a way as possible – use an insider joke to chase away the sadness, hug your buddy tight, and promise to stay in touch.

When helping a friend move house, even a small favor can make a big difference. Offer to assist with what you’re good at (and what you have the time to do) – do not make vague promises, but take care of specific tasks that will lift some of the burden off your friend’s shoulders. Show your buddy how much you care and save them as much time, effort, and money as you can – they won’t forget that you were there for them when they needed you.

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