6 Etiquette Rules for Asking People to Help You Move

Planning and executing a big move may be extremely daunting, especially if you cannot afford a professional moving company. You may be in a position where you need to ask your friends and family to volunteer their time. Sometimes, however, asking for help on such a big project feels uncomfortable. Our tips may guide you on how to make moving day a positive experience and how to be a gracious leader for your helpers.

Some of the friends and family you ask for help will not be able to offer their assistance. When that happens, do not make them feel awkward or uncomfortable for not showing up. Instead, be gracious and let them know that you are not offended. After all, you do not know when you will need to ask for their help again in the future. Furthermore, you may want them to be comfortable asking for your help in the future as well.

Ask for Help in Advance

Helping with a move is a big favor to ask. Therefore, it is important to give your potential helpers enough time to plan and decide whether they have the time to offer their assistance. Asking for help too close to your moving date will increase the pressure your friends and family, because they may feel obligated to help or very guilty if they cannot. It also benefits you to ask in advance. The more time you give your volunteers to decide, the more likely it is that they do not yet have plans for that day.

Ask in a Way that Takes the Pressure Off

If you ask a friend to help you pack in front of a large group of people, he or she may feel obligated to say yes, even if the answer is really no. Thus, it may be better to ask in a phone call, text message or email. Written messages will give your potential movers the chance to react to your request in private and think about the best response if they are unable to help.

Carefully Assign Tasks Before Moving Day

It is likely that you will have a variety of volunteers with a variety of skills. The best way to approach this is to assign tasks that cater to each helper’s skills. If one volunteer specifically asks not to do a certain task, such as lifting heavy boxes, give him or her a task that does not require much physical activity, such as labeling boxes. Other non-physical activities include sorting clothing or watching your kids while you work.

Assign Days and Times of Day That are Best for Each Person

It may also be helpful to have your workers come on different days and in shifts. For instance, some helpers may come in the beginning phases to help you decide which items to donate and which to throw out. Others may come on the morning of moving day to help label and seal your packing boxes. Your heavy-lifters may then arrive in the afternoon, or whenever the packaging is complete.

Prepare Before Your Helpers Arrive

One of the most common reasons that volunteers become annoyed on move-in day is when you are not prepared for their arrival. It is a waste of everyone’s time when your helpers are waiting for you to assign them tasks. To prevent this from happening, make sure you have prepared for every assignment. For instance, have your pile of donation items ready for donation helpers to sort into boxes. Or, designate one room for labeling and place all boxes that are fully packed into that room. If you rented a moving truck, make sure that it is at your house before your heavy lifters arrive.

Additionally, be sure to accommodate helpers who have limited time to help. Plan to make the weekends your busiest moving days, so that volunteers do not have to schedule their time around their work schedules. If one person can only come before your big moving day, ask him or her to help you organize instead by making lists of tasks for you and your other volunteers.

Thank Your Helpers

Once your moving projects are complete, thank your helpers for all their hard work. This may be the most important step in the process, because you want your friends and family to feel that they were extremely useful and beneficial. You may consider taking the group out to dinner or giving each of them a small gift. If you cannot afford this, consider writing them heart-felt cards and promising to help them with their future projects.