Making a new house a home is exciting. But the sorting, packing, hauling, and unexpected hiccups that come first? Not so much. We spoke with a pro to learn about the most common moving problems and the best moving solutions to solve them. James Ray, one of PODS’ moving drivers based in Tampa Bay, manages about 10 moves a day, start to finish — all at the wheel of the unmistakable PODS moving truck. If you’re about to embark on a moving journey of your own, take a look at James’ tales and tips from the front lines. They could save you time and energy when your moving day arrives.
Why is it stressful to move?
Let’s face it: Even when there’s a pro in charge of driving your things to your new home, moving can be stressful. But finding moving solutions begins with understanding moving problems, so let’s start there.
The main stress-inducing culprit is disruption — whether it’s positive (you got promoted and you’re moving to a new city!) or not. Good disruption is still stressful. Belongings have to be sorted and packed and labeled. Utilities need to be turned off at the old house and scheduled to be turned on at the new house (love those eight-hour windows for the cable guy arrival, right?). A change of address has to be submitted, kids registered at new schools — sometimes it feels like the tasks are never ending. The bottom line? Moving is a lot of work.
But by making sure you have the right support and preparing with a few key steps, you may be able to mitigate the stress. Read on.
What are 5 common problems when moving items?
1. Oversized furniture
When you’re moving out of a house, few things are as frustrating — and mystifying — as realizing that a giant piece of furniture won’t fit through a doorway. How did it get into the room in the first place?!
Lesson learned: When you move in, be mindful of how you make things fit into your new space, and perhaps even keep a list of hacks you use to get it done. Did you take the bedroom door off its hinges to fit the dresser inside? Write it down. Dismantle the wall unit before crossing the living room threshold? Document it.
If you’re not super handy, simply invest in a tape measure and put it to work. Assess what will fit and what won’t before you book your PODS portable containers for moving, and have a pre-move yard sale to offload those oversized pieces.
2. Uncooperative weather
Nothing we can do about this one except recommend that you just wait it out. If you’re dealing with a slight drizzle, that’s one thing. But there’s not enough plastic wrap in the world to protect against a Florida summer downpour. There’s no point in exposing your furniture, clothing, artwork, and other treasures to unfriendly elements. Go get a coffee, read a book, and wait ’til the storm passes.
3. Communication snafus
James believes in being conscientious about communication with customers. “It’s so important to be in touch, in order to save time and make the dropoff and pickup processes as seamless as possible,” he said. But sometimes circumstances get in the way of even the best-laid plans — last-minute bookings, for example. Even in that instance, talk with your driver and make sure to share your moving directions with as much detail as possible about your driveway or parking lot and specific challenges of your home. Is your driveway narrow? Do you live on a busy street? The more prepared everyone is, the better your move will be.
4. Supply shortages
Make sure you have enough packing material to take care of all the things you want to pack. We’ve heard stories about desperate last-minute packers scrounging up a gift-tape dispenser to seal the last few boxes. Don’t do that. Instead, take a few minutes to run to the store for actual packing tape. Otherwise, your boxes may not stay closed — and when your truck gets on the road, the moving may dislodge some of your belongings.
5. Container challenges
“One of the biggest customer issues is placement of the container,” James said. “That’s why it’s so important that we communicate clearly with them before we arrive at the home with the container.” Your best bet? Decide where you would like your container and which direction you want the door to face in advance of delivery day – and let PODS know.
The weight of the container is another potential hurdle. “I’ve seen PODS storage containers completely packed,” James said. “As long as there’s nothing catching on the roll-up door when we close it and there’s nothing to prevent that door from opening, you can pack the container as full as you like.” An important note here: Although customers don’t have to weigh their container, the PODS weight limit for containers ranges from 4,200 to 5,200 pounds, depending on the container size.
“Try to distribute the weight as evenly as possible in your container,” James advised. “There are hooks inside the containers for you to rope things off in sections. You should consider — especially if you’re doing a long-distance move — that the truck will likely go over hills and around curves, so there will be shifting and settling inside the container. Securing your items in special packaging and anchoring them as much as you can will help keep your things safe.”
|Pro Tip: If you have a piano, a pool table, heavy kitchen appliances, or other large, bulky items, it’s a good idea to consult PODS Customer Service before scheduling your move. Get expert advice, just to be safe.|
Why is moving difficult?
Beyond the challenges we’ve already touched on, there’s an emotional element to moving that can often be even more distressing than preparing and packing. Change can be hard — for kids and adults alike. Moving to a new home after years in one spot can spark feelings of loss and sadness. Even if you’re completely thrilled with your new home, job, or city, there’s uncertainty about leaving behind friends and familiar surroundings.
With the right preparation, you can plan for the logistical challenges. But the emotional hiccups may hit unexpectedly. How to deal? Feel the feelings, focus on self-care, and give yourself grace and time to adjust. Before you know it, chances are you’ll be feeling right at home.
What’s a typical day like for a PODS mover?
Every move is different, according to James, but a typical workday for PODS moving drivers involves about 10 to 12 stops at customers’ homes. “Our goal is to be efficient — and, of course, safe,” he said, “so I try to limit each stop to about 10 minutes or less. That’s my sweet spot.”
Ideally, when James arrives at a home, he’s already spoken on the phone with the customer and has a clear picture of where to park, where to place the container, or how to reach the container that’s ready for pickup and delivery to the PODS Storage Center. He quickly assesses the situation to make sure the truck has room to maneuver properly and that there’s plenty of space for the PODS storage container.
“We’re looking for any trees or other obstacles like parked cars that sometimes get in the way, which is why it’s important for the customers who live in apartment complexes to speak to their neighbors in advance and ask them to move their cars out of the way,” James explained. Efficiency is always top of mind, both for the customer’s time and his own schedule: “My time on site has already started before I even put the truck in park, so scanning the driveway or parking area allows me to start focusing on getting the task done.”
Once the truck is parked in the right spot, PODZILLAⓇ takes over. This innovative PODS lift system transfers the portable moving container on and off the flatbed truck before it begins its journey to a new home or a secure PODS Storage Center.
“Since the start of the pandemic, there hasn’t been a lot of face-to-face interaction with our customers, but they usually do want to come outside and watch the PODZILLA,” James said. “It’s like a transformer that wraps itself around the flatbed of the truck. And with five hydraulic controls, we lower it, lift the PODS container with hooks, and drive it wherever it needs to go.”
Is it hard for PODS moving truck drivers to learn how to maneuver the PODZILLA? “Once you get the hand-eye coordination down, it’s kind of like playing a video game,” James said. “You know what it’s going to do, and it’s really cool.”
What’s the most memorable move you’ve managed?
James has seen a lot in his time with PODS. “Our customers are mostly excited and happy because they’re moving to a new home. But sometimes you see people at a very vulnerable point,” he said. “Not long ago, there was a military guy shipping out, storing his belongings in our PODS Storage Center in Pinellas Park and heading to Los Angeles. He told me, ‘My whole life is on that truck — I’m leaving my life in this container for you to take care of.’”
“And that’s what we do, every single day. We’ve got people’s [possessions] — their family photos and heirlooms. And I love that we’re taking care of [those] things. And then, on the other side, [we’re] helping to get their lives back to them.”
On a recent dropoff, James’ last stop of the week was at a home in the Tampa Bay area. After he unloaded the storage container, he handed his customer the lock she ordered. “She burst into tears,” James recalled. He asked if she was OK, and that made her cry harder. Eventually she shared that her husband had health issues and was out of work, and they were forced to move.
“I talked to her for a little while — not about PODS or the position of her container. I just tried to reassure her that everything would get better. Sometimes it’s not about storage containers but about being a human being and seeing a slice of life.”
And there are happy slices of life, as well. “One time I delivered a container from our storage center to a woman who said it was filled with her parents’ belongings — and that the container had been in storage for 10 years,” James said. “She had no idea what she’d find inside, but she was so excited. It was wonderful to see the look on her face when I arrived with the container. She said it felt like [opening] a time capsule.”
How can I reduce problems during my move?
The best way to avoid problems during your move is to prepare moving solutions in advance. And that’s what PODS has been doing from the start, with built-in storage solutions and flexible moving options. As a leader in the moving and storage industry, we were ranked #1 for customer service. No need to reinvent the wheel. At PODS, we know the ins and outs of moving, so we can help you every step of the way.
Want more guidance to make your move less angsty? Check out the PODS Blog to find the best way to load a storage container, how to handle moving anxiety, how to make moving with kids a pleasant experience for everyone, and more.
Shannon Jacobs is a Tampa-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. She has lived in Atlanta, the Berkshires, and Nashville, but always returns to the warmth of Florida’s Gulf Coast.