Polite Ways of Asking People to Help You Move
Time to pack up?
A big truck pulls up in front of your house. Large burly men wearing back braces disembark. It's either moving day or a Sheriff's Sale.
Hopefully you're moving to a new and shinier neighborhood. Perhaps a job promotion finally came down on your head. Maybe Google finally recognized your blogging and you've become an Internet Sensation. Now you need help.
None of us wants to move our own stuff. That's why we have friends. The trick becomes asking them in a politely assertive way to wake up early on Saturday and lift heavy things. Here's how.
Build up good will
Execute a preemptive strike: help them move first. Guilt provides tremendous motivation under these circumstances. Knowing that you toted their stuff to the curb encourages your friends to reciprocate. This also keeps the relationship alive because you won't want to cut them loose until you've called in your markers.
Bear in mind the statute of limitations on previous moves. Helping a friend move out of a dorm room for Summer Break does not equate to evacuating a 2-story house in the suburbs. Their college stuff was much lighter than your upright piano and handmade Amish armoire.
Everyone eats. By inference, your friends eat. This logic is infallible and you can use it to your advantage. Free food induces friends to perform incredible feats of heavy lifting on Saturday mornings.
We recommend pizza and Pringles. Alliteration aside, this combination provides crucial balances of protein and carbs necessary for carefully putting small items into boxes.
Socially, pizza and Pringles rank somewhere near the standard fare in a Mexican prison, but you're not aiming for haute cuisine. Your objective is to provide edibles that fit into the human hand while leaving the other hand free to continue packing your stuff. A sit-down meal renders your free help extremely unhelpful. A grilled cheese sandwich might also be a good idea if the electricity hasn't been shut off.
Moving requires careful planning as well as logistical support. Your friends will sacrifice their weekend but you must facilitate their efforts. They can't load boxes if there are no boxes. Plan a trip to the moving store for tape, boxes, wrapping paper, and bubble wrap. Everyone loves bubble wrap regardless of the occasion.
No one will judge you for appropriating boxes from local supermarkets or wholesale clubs. Careful planning several weeks in advance just might result in a plethora of cardboard contrivances 'donated' by major chain stores and manufacturers. If you ask nicely, they will save them for you.
Do you have a truck? Can you get a truck? Asking for moving help is socially acceptable but depending on your friends to show up in pick-ups just might leave you at the curb with your box in your hands.
They're not on your payroll. If a friend or two show up a little late, be understanding. Let them start slowly and sip a little coffee as they warm to your task. Let them proceed at their own pace until they become emotionally invested in your problems.
Moving can be daunting. One look at your collection of vintage pinball machines just might send everyone back to the cars. Coax them gently into the job by offering up small items to be packed into small boxes. You can tacitly convince them that the job isn't all that insurmountable. Break it down into manageable segments.
Be mindful of schedules. Your friends may actually have a life beyond your relocation requirements. They may arrive late and they might leave early. Any assistance provided should be received gracefully regardless of the time frame. Politely suggest a schedule, but be prepared to float. If you set the expectations properly you should end up with sufficient manual labor to get the move done.
Put everyone in the same room
Social aspects of moving should not be overlooked. Conversation makes the job proceed much more quickly even if barbells are being packed. Your friends will appreciate opportunities to interact with each other as they while away their weekend at your former place of residence.
Sequestering individuals in separate parts of the house stifles any sense of community. Your friends are there to help you but they want to see each other as well. Allow them to move around and form teams or cliques as they prefer. You'll get moved.
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