While the contents of most household goods moves are pretty typical, there is no doubt that moving companies sometimes are asked to move some items that are, well, atypical. Here's a few of those stories.
As summer comes to a close, the rush to move is winding down. Summer is always the busiest season for moving. Relocating employees with children need to get into their new home before the school year begins. Senior citizens want to head south before the snow flies.
Breakables get wrapped, boxes are packed, and rummage sales are plentiful. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 38,200,000 households – or about 12% of the population – moved to a different location this past year. Especially during the summer, moving companies are swamped, and customers need to plan in advance to ensure they get moved and settled within their target timeframe.
While the primary objective of full service movers, like the professionals they are, is to get the job done and done well, before moving day one of a moving company’s responsibilities is to get a full accounting of everything their customer needs to move – no matter how unique. After many years of working in the moving and relocation industry, most movers have probably seen it all – from dealing with eccentric customers and requests to move virtually anything you can imagine, to packing and transporting all types of strange items.
So, what are some of the strangest things moving companies have been asked to haul? We spoke to a few northAmerican® Moving Services agents and here are their answers:
1) A northAmerican agent in Ohio recalls moving the workshop of a major national race car team – twice! “We moved Richard Petty Motorsports twice in the last four years. It was one of the largest moves in our 134-year history and the project of a lifetime.”
- The crew loaded 24 trailers, each weighing approximately 40,000 pounds.
- The 40 workers hauled more than 50 chassis, 100 axles, and 200 pallets of various racing and office supplies.
- They rented 180 specially designed crates just to pack the mufflers.
- The move took four days, four forklifts – and 56 pizzas for the crew!
2) Any college football fans out there? In 2001, an agent in Washington state had the honor of moving the 2001 Rose Bowl Game Championship Trophy, a fragile crystal trophy designed by Tiffanys. The trophy, won by the Washington Huskies, was moved from Pasadena, California to Seattle, Washington. By the way, the game between the Huskies and the Purdue University Boilermakers ended in a final score of 34 to 24.
3) A couple traveled the world during their 50+ year marriage. After her husband passed away, the elderly woman decided to move closer to her children and grandchildren. As the agents packed the van, the woman approached. “Could you please put this up front with you?” she asked, handing the driver an urn containing her husband's ashes. “I was hoping you could set it on the dashboard so he could enjoy the sights along the way.” The agent politely suggested her husband might prefer to ride in her vehicle instead.
4) Many people have interesting hobbies and getting a pilot's license is one of them. But here's a twist. A pilot asked his movers to transport a small, one seater airplane! Even with the wings removed, it was quite a complicated item to relocate. We’re not sure why he didn’t just fly it to the new hangar himself.
5) Things got really wild for a Philadelphia agent recently. It turns out their client is a big game hunter. The customer's trophies included an 8-foot tall black bear, a couple of lions, several deer heads, and even a buffalo. The collection filled one entire 35ft. truck. Each animal wasn't especially heavy, just awkward to carry. The movers recalled, “The new neighbors looked a little worried when they saw all of the stuffed, wild animals unloading off the truck.”
6) A Dallas, Texas agent was asked to move a three-story tall piece of yard sculpture across the country. It required three flatbeds to carry and a crane to load and unload. As you can imagine, moving a piece of art that large is quite different than relocating average household items. The movers had to get permits, create a custom route to avoid low bridges and overpasses, etc. The logistics took days to work out, but everything went smoothly, and the art arrived at its new home just fine.
7) One agent in Missouri had several stories to share. The first was about a client in St. Alban’s who “forgot” to mention her rock collection. And what a collection! The rocks were all in totes waiting to be loaded into the van. After an exhausted crew carried them on, it was later discovered that the shipment was 10,000 pounds over the estimate!
8) The second was from a client moving shortly before the Christmas holidays. The movers were asked to move an “already decorated (ornaments and all) eight ft. tall Christmas tree” as-is to the new destination. Apparently, the client didn’t want to have to take it down and redecorate it in their new home!
9) And finally, highlighting how a major move can sometimes be overwhelming, an exhausted husband turned to his movers and asked, “Do you have a box large enough to ship my wife?” (And no, the movers did not accommodate this request.)
Moving is not always easy. Beyond the stress of deciding what to keep and what to toss, moving can take an emotional toll as well. It can be hard to say goodbye to the neighborhood you've lived in or the friends you've made. We can't make moving less bittersweet, but we can make it easier by knowing what's ahead and helping the transferee be as prepared as possible for all the small - and sometimes big – “details” that come up during a move.
At northAmerican Van Lines, we've seen it all. We'd like to say that we will move anything, anywhere, anytime; however, there are some things we legally can't move. Click here for a list of items that we aren't allowed by law to transport.