Moving 101

Guide to Moving in the Bay Area

Find out what professional movers recommend for packing, labeling and more. Photo: Johnson & Daly Moving & Storage ©2018

Guide to Moving in the Bay Area

Once the excitement of finding a new place has worn off, you’re faced with the harsh reality of actually moving there. On this page, we’ve collected tips and advice from Diamond Certified moving professionals. Find strategies to take some of the stress out of moving, and start enjoying your new home faster.

  • Get Started: Read articles about the basics of moving in the Bay Area.
  • Find: Find a top rated professional to help move into your new home.
  • Research: Dive into more specific topics related to moving.

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All About Moving

  • Industry Overview: Moving

    The Basics

    Not sure what all those terms on your moving estimate mean? This article will help sort things out.

  • The Keys to a Successful Move

    Organize Your Move

    Read about strategies for keeping track of your possessions while moving.

  • 3 Essential Aspects of Moving

    Beyond the Boxes

    Moving involves more than just packing and unpacking. Make sure to also tie up these loose ends.




Jay Lucas

Santa Rosa Moving & Storage

David Robb

Robb & Messer Moving and Storage

Tatiana Acevedo

No More Dirt, Inc.

Ricardo Larromana

Larro’s Moving Services

Joshua Rengifo

Joshua’s Moving & Packing Services, LLC

Fabricio Lunardi

Lunardi Moving Services

Luis Aviles

Moving Forward

Patty Frazzetta

Storage Master Self Storage

Greg Wolfe

AMS Bekins

Pedro Hermosillo

Pedro’s Moving Services, Inc.

Cal Farnsworth Jr.

Earl Farnsworth Express

Pete Poulos

Poulos Moving Systems

5 Tips to Simplify Your Move

5 Tips to Simplify Your Move

ROHNERT PARK — To minimize the stressfulness of your moving project, take proactive steps to simplify the process. Consider the following tips:

Use an easy labeling system. For example, you can use colored tape to designate which boxes go into which rooms. This will simplify things for your movers and enable them to work more efficiently.

Label your boxes on at least two sides. That way, whether they’re stacked or placed against a wall, their labels will be visible.

Pack outdoor items first and store them in the garage. This step is commonly left until the end, at which point it can feel overwhelming, so consider knocking it out at the beginning.

Place any items that aren’t going with the movers in an unused closet or bathroom. This will help prevent confusion on moving day.

Organize your electronic cords. The last thing you want is to arrive at your new home and realize you’ve forgotten how to hook up your TV and stereo. Prevent this by clearly labelling your cords and keeping them organized. One helpful trick is to store your cords in old paper towel rolls, which will keep them neatly contained.

4 Packing Tips for a Move

4 Packing Tips for a Move

SANTA ROSA — If you’re doing your own packing in preparation for a move, consider the following tips:

1. Label all boxes. On every box you pack, write the room it will ultimately go into, as well as the general items it contains. Mark your label on two sides of the box so you’ll be able to see it regardless of which way the box is facing.

2. Pack tightly. Besides being an efficient use of space, a tightly packed box reduces the possibility of items shifting around while in transit, which lowers the chance for breakage. On the other hand, when packing a large box, avoid overfilling it with heavy items, as this can cause the bottom to fall out.

3. Avoid unnecessary packing. For local moves, certain items don’t need to be packed. For instance, clothes on hangers or in drawers can typically be moved as is. Also, it may not be worthwhile attempting to pack some awkward or bulky items.

4. Clearly designate any items not to be moved. To avoid confusion on the day of your move, set aside any items that aren’t going in the moving truck, preferably within a single room or area. Be sure to verbally communicate with your movers so they understand these aren’t to be moved.

Janitorial Tips for Tenancy Transitions

Janitorial Tips for Tenancy Transitions

SAN FRANCISCO — Running an HOA or a common workspace can be challenging, especially when it comes to tenant turnover. After all, there are many details to address in the interim between tenancies, and how you handle this transition can determine your new tenant’s initial impression. One way to ensure a positive impression is to have your rental property or workspace completely clean and ready for your new tenant’s arrival.

The interim between tenancies is typically the time for doing major cleaning, such as shampooing the carpets and washing the windows. Not only is it easier to facilitate these tasks when the space is unoccupied, it also gives new tenants a good initial impression. Even if your residence or workspace has been occupied by 10 different tenants in the past, a thorough cleaning can make it look brand new and increase its appeal to your new tenant.

Another important aspect of impressing a new tenant is to have everything move-in ready. For example, having the elevator padded in advance will show the tenant you’ve been anticipating their arrival.

Since tenancy transitions usually occur within a limited timeframe, you’ll need to be proactive to ensure all these tasks are completed on time. This means communicating with your janitorial provider well in advance and making sure all expectations are understood. Proactive communication will set everyone up for success and help you secure a positive impression with your new tenant.

How to Pack Kitchen Items for Moving

How to Pack Kitchen Items for Moving

SAN FRANCISCO — From delicate dishes to sharp knives, kitchen items pose many challenges when packing for a move. Here’s how to pack a couple of common items:


First, place some bubble wrap at the bottom of the box—this will provide a cushion to protect the plates when it’s placed on the floor or in the moving truck. Take your first plate, place it on a piece of wrapping paper and fold the paper’s edges over the plate. When it’s fully wrapped, place the plate in the box. Repeat these steps with the rest of your plates, stacking each subsequent plate on top of the previous one. Once all your plates are packed, close, seal and label the box.


There are a couple of ways to go about packing kitchen knives. If they’re stored in a butcher block, the easiest way is to pack them as is by wrapping the entire block in tape. If done correctly, the tape should keep the knives in place. Place the block flat on its side in the box for safe transport. If your knives aren’t in a butcher block, wrap three or four at a time lengthwise in two to three layers of wrapping paper. Fold the top and bottom edges of the paper and lay the packed knives in the box.

How to Pack Furniture for Moving

How to Pack Furniture for Moving

SAN CARLOS — Prior to moving a piece of furniture, take steps to protect it from damage during transit. First, remove any detachable parts, such as table leaves and chair legs, and wrap these separately. If you feel so inclined, it’s also a good idea to clean your furniture before moving it.

The method for packing a piece of furniture varies depending on what material it’s made of. For example, wood and leather pieces should be wrapped with paper or cloth padding before plastic wrap is applied. This will allow the plastic to breathe and prevent “sweating” caused by trapped moisture, which can potentially lead to warping or mildew.

If you’re moving a fabric item of furniture (such as a sofa), it isn’t necessary to apply paper or cloth padding before wrapping it in plastic. However, if the item has any sharp corners, it’s a good idea to cover these with cardboard to provide some extra protection. Wrapping is easy—just hold the roll of wrap at the center and walk around the item. With each trip around, you’ll add a new layer of plastic, until it’s completely covered from top to bottom.

Once the item is wrapped, cover it with one or more packing blankets. Use tape to secure the blankets in place. Finally, re-wrap the item in plastic from top to bottom. Once you’ve finished wrapping, it’ll be ready to move.

How to Avoid Hiring an Illicit Moving Company

How to Avoid Hiring an Illicit Moving Company

SAN JOSE — One of the biggest issues plaguing the moving industry today is unlicensed movers. Typically, these are individuals with little prior training or experience who simply buy a truck and start advertising their services to the public, not bothering to get properly licensed or insured. In the past, these illicit movers would mainly advertise on websites like craigslist, but nowadays, many are using high-profile resources like Google AdWords to show up at the top of search engine results pages. Not only is this causing many Bay Area consumers to be taken advantage of, it has put a strain on legitimate moving companies trying to compete in the local marketplace.

Licensing and insurance each cost a great deal of money, which adds to a moving company’s overhead costs. By evading such fees, illicit movers have much lower overhead than legitimate companies, which enables them to charge substantially lower prices. This makes it hard for legitimate companies to compete, as consumers are often swayed by lower prices. Unfortunately, in the absence of proper licensing, insurance and professional expertise, hiring these low-priced movers can lead to costly consequences such as lost/damaged property and injury lawsuits.

While there are government agencies in charge of sniffing out illicit movers, they lack the manpower to make more than a dent in this significant problem. For this reason, it’s up to consumers to be intentional about hiring reputable movers. The simplest way to do this is by asking a mover for their Carrier ID number with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). All moving companies are required to be registered with the CPUC, so this is a reliable form of verification. You can also look up a moving company yourself on the CPUC website:

3 Tips for Moving in San Francisco

3 Tips for Moving in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — Moving is often a stressful undertaking, but when it comes to moving in San Francisco, the level of stress can be amplified. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case: with proactive preparation, you can facilitate a smooth and efficient San Francisco move. Here are some preparatory measures to keep in mind:

1. Verify parking. As any Bay Area resident knows, parking in San Francisco can be challenging, to say the least. If you live in a busy area, make it a point to reserve one or more parking spaces in front of your home or apartment building for the day of your move. The process is fairly simple: just call the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and ask for a parking permit. To ensure your space doesn’t get booked by someone else, call to reserve at least two weeks in advance. Keep in mind that parking permits are valid from 8am to 5pm, so you’ll want to be all moved out by the end of that time frame.

2. Reserve an elevator. With the many high-rise buildings in the city, a move in San Francisco often involves as much vertical transit as horizontal. Dealing with elevators during a move can be time-consuming, especially if you have to share them with other tenants. Fortunately, if your building has multiple elevators, you may be able to reserve one for your move—just inquire with your building manager. Keep in mind that elevator transit can considerably extend your moving time frame, so you’ll want to be proactive about having your things packed and ready to go.

3. Don’t forget to make reservations at your new location. In the course of reserving parking and an elevator at your current residence, make sure you remember to reserve them at your new one, if needed. You shouldn’t have any issue reserving two different parking spots on the same day—again, just make sure you do this well in advance.

Assessing the Security of a Storage Facility

Assessing the Security of a Storage Facility

SANTA ROSA — When choosing a storage facility, one factor people often take for granted is security. While you might assume a storage facility is secure by its very nature, this isn’t necessarily the case, which is why you should always assess a facility’s security before renting. Here are some aspects to consider:

• Make sure the facility perimeter is enclosed by a tall gate. This is the first line of defense against burglars.

• Ask what kind of surveillance system the facility uses. Are cameras hidden or in plain sight? Ideally, cameras should be in plain sight, as their mere presence can deter burglars. Also, ask what measures are taken to ensure the cameras are functioning properly.

• Ask if the units are individually alarmed (this is ideal).

• Ask if the units come with locks. If so, are they high-quality locks? If not, do the units have large, stout hasps for you to attach your own lock?

• Ask what security clearance measures are in place. Is an employee present at all times? Is identification required for entry?

By assessing these crucial points, you’ll be able to choose a storage facility that offers maximum protection for your valuables.

The Importance of an Accurate Moving Estimate

The Importance of an Accurate Moving Estimate

BURLINGAME — When preparing for a big move, in addition to choosing a reputable moving company, you’ll want to make sure the company provides you with a thorough, accurate estimate. To do this, an estimator will need to come to your home and conduct a visual inspection. A moving estimate should consist of a detailed, room-by-room list of all the furniture, boxes and other items to be moved. Additionally, your estimator should take note of any items not to be moved, which will help you avoid any misunderstandings on moving day.

Using this comprehensive list, your estimator will determine and present you with a price that reflects the expected cost of the move. He should also provide you with a Not-To-Exceed price, which puts a cap on the final price in case it ends up being higher than the original estimate. By hiring a moving company that takes the time to ensure accuracy when estimating the job, you’ll have greater assurance of receiving a fair and honest price.

Labeling Your Moving Boxes

Labeling Your Moving Boxes

SAN FRANCISCO — Packing for a move may seem like a simple task, but there are some important guidelines you should always follow. In addition to using smart packing procedures (making sure not to overfill large boxes, for example), another crucial aspect of packing is labeling your boxes.

When labeling a moving box, the first thing to consider is its intended destination. The last thing you want after an arduous move is to find out all your cookware ended up in the corner of your garage, so be sure to denote which area of the house each box is to be placed. This will eliminate any guesswork for your movers and enable them to work more accurately and efficiently.

Besides labeling boxes by room, it’s also important to clearly label all boxes that contain fragile or breakable items. Many people simply mark these boxes with a felt-tipped pen, but an even better way to ensure your label gets seen is to use brightly colored stickers. When your movers know there’s something breakable inside the box, they’ll take extra precautions to prevent breakage.

How to Move a Refrigerator

How to Move a Refrigerator

SAN RAFAEL — Moving a refrigerator can be a complicated and dangerous task, which is why it’s important to know what you’re doing beforehand. By adhering to the following steps, you can better ensure a safe and successful transport of your appliance.

Make sure the refrigerator is clean and dry, and remove any items left inside. Check the refrigerator’s drip pan (located underneath the unit) for any excess water that could spill out while moving. Shut off the water supply and disconnect the power cord and water line. After the water line is disconnected, place the open end inside a bucket to avoid leakage.

Next, secure the refrigerator for moving. Use straps to attach the refrigerator to a dolly, and make sure you weave the straps through the door handles to prevent them from buckling. Place the refrigerator sideways on the dolly so the skinny side is facing forward, which will help you navigate turns and tight doorways. Also, before moving, make sure you put down adequate floor protection to prevent any scratching or other damage.

When moving the refrigerator, try to minimize tilting—maintaining an upright position will prevent the oil in the compressor from seeping into the cooling tubes. Also, find a good balance so the weight isn’t resting on the person driving the dolly. If there are stairs to be traversed, take them one step at a time. Remember, a refrigerator should only be moved with plenty of help and the right equipment.

Before loading the refrigerator into a moving truck, make sure the ramp is secure and pinned tight to prevent slipping. Once you’ve successfully loaded the unit, use straps or rope to tightly secure it to the inner wall of the cabin. Position the refrigerator with its front facing the wall—that way, if you’re moving other items in or out of the truck, you’ll limit the risk of denting or scratching its face.

Moving and Storage Tips

Moving and Storage Tips

SALINAS — Regardless of how well you prepare for a moving project, it can still be a complicated endeavor. Whether you’re directly relocating your belongings or temporarily stowing them at a storage facility, here are a few simple tips to improve your move:

Pack breakable dishes side-to-side. Many people assume plates and dishes should be stacked on top of each other to maximize space, but this actually creates an excessive amount of pressure that often results in cracks and breaks. To better ensure the safe transport of your dishware, be sure to pack plates on end, in a side-to-side arrangement.

Load large items first. When it comes to loading a moving truck, having a packing strategy ahead of time can help you maximize space. If possible, load furniture and other large items first—you’ll have more freedom to incorporate smaller boxes and items into the packing arrangement. Also, by doing most of the heavy lifting at the beginning of the day, you’ll be less likely to experience fatigue later on.

Choose an indoor storage unit. If you plan to temporarily stow items at a storage facility, it’s best to go with an indoor unit rather than an outdoor one. Even if it means a longer walk from the truck to the unit, an indoor storage unit will provide maximum protection against rodents and outdoor elements.


Mario Batz of Johnson & Daly Moving & Storage shares three downsizing tips.

Video: Downsize Before You Move

One way to cut costs when moving is to downsize your belongings before you start packing. Watch the video for three strategies to help you scale back.