The U-Haul migration

Many families and students move to Columbia just in time for school to start, but carting all your stuff can be a hassle without helpful advice from the pros
Sunday, August 17, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:36 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

As Terry Stiles knows, moving can be a real nightmare.

  Stiles has worked at TLC Moving for about a year and a half. He’s moved hundreds of houses and has seen some horrible packing jobs.

“We’ve had people who showed us how they packed their books, and they had 2,000 pounds of books crammed into a small box that’s starting to rip,” he said. “We had to turn the box over to get all the books out and then repacked for them.”

Because of the large number of incoming students, August is one of the busiest moving months in Columbia. Aaron Rose, broker/salesman for Re/Max Boone Realty, said Realtors have coined a term for August’s high moving rate.

“We call it the U-Haul migration, because Boone County has such an influx of moving during that month,” he said.

Rose said August is also a popular moving month because families want to settle into a new house before their kids start school.

“We get a lot of families who start looking right after school’s out, so they can move in and be settled before the fall,” he said.

Whether moving to an apartment or house, residents have several moving options. Several Columbia dealers, including Lindsey Rentals and U-Haul, rent various sizes of moving trucks that residents pack and drive. The charge for a moving truck varies with size and availability, but most companies charge per day and allow about 50 free miles before additional mileage costs are added.

When using a moving truck, residents are advised to load furniture and heavy items first and load boxes and smaller items last.

For those with either a daunting load or an aversion to physical labor, movers are available to pack, load and unload a resident’s belongings.

Teresa Coy Noel, general manager of Coy’s Moving, said there are several benefits to hiring movers.

“Well, you’re not going to hurt your back, that’s for sure,” she said. “You also don’t have to corral your family and friends who are going to complain for the rest of your life about helping you move.”

Coy Noel said there are also hidden costs when renting a moving truck, such as extra furniture pads, which are the customer’s responsibility.

Stiles said the custom packing service is convenient because movers will correctly pack fragile items to avoid breakage during the move.

“Mirrors, pictures, glassware — when it’s packed properly, it won’t be broken when it’s moved, stored, stacked and handled,” he said. “We also have a better idea of what size box to put items in.”

Whether a custom packing service is being used, Stiles said the most important tip for residents is to be ready for the movers.

“They need to have everything packed, and any very valuable or fragile items they might want to consider moving themselves, like Grandma’s vase, labeled so we don’t pack them by mistake,” he said.

Stiles said many times TLC movers have arrived at a house and the residents haven’t finished packing or cleaning.

“Some people think that while we’re moving their living room, they can finish packing another room,” he said. “It just doesn’t work like that — we’re experienced, and we work quickly.”

Coy Noel said it’s best to contact a moving company at least two weeks in advance to schedule a moving time. Coy Moving will do an on-site or phone estimate to give the resident an approximate cost.

Stiles said more notice, up to a month, should be given for moving dates at the end or beginning of the month.

“We’re booked right now for the 29th and 30th, and that’s three weeks away,” he said.

Coy Noel said one of the best things about hiring movers is they bear the brunt of moving stress.

“We handle all the headaches,” she said.

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