Moving Tips

by Ken Bajema

There is an old saying that says “A smart man learns from his mistakes; a wise one learns from the mistakes of others.”

Moving to a new town can be a daunting experience. Especially when you have two kids and two cats in tow and are driving over two hundred miles to your new home.  I am a Tacoma native who grew up in University Place. I’ve been living in eastern Washington a while but on a recent move to the north end of Tacoma, my family and I ran into a few snags that I will share with you so that you won’t make the same mistakes.

Prior to our planned move I had our vehicles serviced. Upon inspection my wife’s car needed new tires. New tires are cheap insurance and I never try to save money on tires.  I have an older 26 Foot Minnie Winnie Class C RV that I also had serviced prior to the move including radiator flush, belts inspected and tightened, tires inspected and oil changed. I checked all fluid levels and made sure the battery was in good shape.

I drove the RV over first and used it to move larger lighter items including our bicycles.  The old Winnie made it over two mountain passes before it decided to throw a belt which took out the power steering and stopped the water pump from working. The RV promptly overheated under the overpass of I90 and highway 18.  I quickly found out that I did not have road side assistance.  Progressive was nice enough to add this for me at a cost of $148 dollars. Given the circumstances I thought this was a pretty good deal.



If you are ever stuck in North Bend give Lorangers Automotive a call. The owner Joe Lorangers diagnosed my broken fan belt and power steering over the phone and did a good job getting us back on the road.  Lesson number one. In addition to performing a thorough vehicle check when moving hundreds of miles away verify you have good insurance coverage with road side assistance especially if you have an older vehicle. You can always drop the added coverage later.

The 20 Foot UHaul we rented required a two day notice to reserve the vehicle. Often these vehicles need to be driven to your location and are on a constant rotation. Make sure you call in advance. Rates are often by the mile and may be cheaper on weekdays. If you can give yourself a few days after closing to take possession of your new home it is a good idea to do a walk through with a tape measure and figure out where you want your furniture beforehand. This is also a good time to do any deep cleaning as this will become more difficult with boxes everywhere. Boxes should be labeled on all sides with the room they belong in. This way you can take them off the truck directly into the room they belong.  This saves a lot of time and might just save your back as well.  Lesson Two:  Most of us have a lot of things we don’t need.  If you know you will be moving start selling and giving these items away now. You can post them on craigslist, freecycle, give them to friends and family or have a garage sale. The less you have to move the happier you will be.

Phone and internet access has become crucial to most people myself included.  We did not set this up prior to our move in date because we assumed that these services would be easy to come by. Turns out there were only a small number of providers recommended in the north end of Tacoma and install times were weeks out.  Lesson number three: Research and setup all utilities well before your move in date.

It is a good idea to let your kids unpack and organize their own rooms so they can have a sense of place and ownership. My kids didn’t complain when I ordered them Pizza from Mona Pizza and Pasta on 6th Avenue, and we didn’t have to do dishes.

Moving can be stressful for pets too. Veterinarians recommend gradually introducing pets to their new environment. Make sure you have your pet’s microchip updated and update their collar with your new phone number and address. This is a cheap and simple thing to do that could make a big  difference. If you have a new pet carrier let your pet hang out in it before your move. You can put some  food and their favorite blanket in the carrier to encourage them.

When you arrive at your new location, put your pets in a room away from the unloading and let them get accustomed. It is advisable to leave them in the same room overnight. Most vets recommend keeping your pets indoors for several weeks before you let them explore outside but you can see Ninja just wanted to sleep.


The News Tribune has recently named Tacoma as a top city for first-time home buyers. Inclusion in the list of over 70,000 loan applications and city specific data included median home prices, unemployment rates and quality of life.

If you are moving more than fifty miles away for a new job you can deduct your relocation cost.  These deductions include gas and lodging if you save receipts. If you are eligible, you can start deducting expenses as soon as your belongings are on their way to a new town. Use IRS form 3903

My family and I love living and working in the North end of Tacoma and we know you will love it here too.  If you are thinking about selling or buying a home in the area give The Hume Group a call.  We would love to show you the area and make sure your moving experience is as painless as possible.  Hey, I might even help you move! 🙂 Better yet… I’ll recommend a mover:

Tacoma Movers – Puget Sound Moving



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