Beyond the Pizza: How to Keep Your Friends When Asking to Help You Move

Here are some FRIENDly tips and tricks to ensure you are not all alone on moving day!

As a friend of this writer once said, “The only thing people dislike more than moving is helping other people move.”

Ideally, everyone would be able to hire a professional moving company and call it a day, but sadly that is not always a possibility. If you have a big DIY move coming up, it's important to plan ahead so you are not scrambling around last minute sending desperate group texts. So, here are a couple of ways to take the edge off popping the big question!

Give a Heads Up

The most common mistake people make when asking their friends and family for help moving is waiting until the last minute. It makes sense; with all of the other stressors and responsibilities that come into play, certain things can get away from us. The important thing to remember is that most people are stressed and busy already, which means the idea of adding another task to their list of to-dos is less than tempting.

Think of it this way: Considering how much you don’t want to move, imagine if it wasn’t even your house! Regardless, your loved ones will be much more likely to say yes if they are given some advance warning. Give your friends and family at least two weeks notice if possible, letting them settle into the idea of spending their Saturday helping a U-Haul truck parallel park. The more time you give them, the more likely they are to agree. Everyone says yes to next month’s plans.

Make a Day Out of It

For all of its flaws, moving day is still pretty exciting. You’re starting a new chapter in life and that energy is perfect for having a good time with friends.

If you are able to give your friends a reason to want to be there, that is a huge upper hand. For example, there is always the classic “free beer and pizza” technique. That one is tough to turn down. Beyond that, try organizing a potluck or backyard BBQ to spice up the invitation.

Here is a pro tip: Leave most of the drinking for point B, not point A. Obviously, too much alcohol before the heavy lifting or driving can be dangerous, and frankly not very efficient. This way, you can use the destination party as an incentive to get all of the work done.

Scratch Their Back

No matter what, offering your friends and family some kind of payment is the polite thing to do. In terms of rate, it very much depends on the move, so use your best discretion. There are of course more clever ways to sweeten the deal, including gift cards, drinks, home-cooked food, lottery cards and even individualized presents. Instead of payment, think of it like goodie bags for your moving party.

Now that they’ve helped you, make sure to let them know that you will be happy to return the favor. This is one of the best ways to show your appreciation because it shows that you don’t take their sacrifice lightly. Come on, this is what friends are for!

Their Own Private Yard Sale

One woman’s unwanted box of stuff is another woman’s treasure. Let your friends and family know that they get to take advantage of your downsizing by giving them first dibs on any and all superfluous items. Before that trunk full of clothes and old books heads over to Goodwill, let your helpers take their pick.

Fluff it Up

Another method that proves to be useful is playing up all the good parts of moving. Sure, it may be a bit of a stretch, but no big deal! For example, some people say that moving is a great work out, so maybe you have a friend looking to burn some extra calories. Or maybe you invite a slew of friends that don’t know each other and advertise the day as a way to make new connections.

No Suprises

It is also key that people aren’t nervous about what they’re getting themselves into by signing up. If the move primarily involves light lifting and packing up appliances, let them know so they aren’t picturing 200-pound couches and weirdly shaped dressers! Similar to giving advance notice, the more information your helpers have, the more likely they are to say yes.

Also, if your crew knows what to expect, they can better prepare. In need of a tape gun or a dolly? Maybe your buddy has one they’d be willing to share. If another car could be useful on the day, let that friend with the hatchback come your way.

Don’t Forget to Say Thank You

Last but not least, say thank you! Even with these tips, it can be a big favor to ask, so make sure the trouble doesn’t go unnoticed. A sincere thanks can go a long way.

They say misery loves company... but hopefully, with some company, your move doesn’t have to be miserable.