The best ways to thank your DIY move helpers

You are a statistic. You are one of the 40 million people (according to the U.S. Census Bureau) who picked up and moved in the United States every year. Wow, that’s a formidable force. Do you know the definition of formidable?



inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable.

What I have to say is I respect you. Moving is tough work, it forces you to evaluate your relationship with your things, it strains relationships around you, it tests your actual physical strength and no matter how joyful the reason for the move, it is considered by psychologists as one of the most stressful events in our lives.

I’m not going to make a guess how many of those 40 million people completed a DIY move vs. a full service moving company but my guess is the percentage of DIYers is pretty darn high. You know what comes with DIY moves that also inspires respect? DIY move helpers. Seriously, let’s give a round of applause to those family and friends that have stepped up to the plate, no matter the weather or their own lives going on and carried the other half of the couch covered in a plastic sofa cover and loaded and unloaded those moving boxes. Bravo to them!

The best ways to thank your DIY move helpers[1]Don’t tell me you don’t thank your helpers. If you don’t, I won’t hear it and I won’t respond to it. Or, I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it. For the rest of us, have your thanks been adequate? Have they been awesome? Really, have they inspired awe? Probably not.

Here’s some ideas how to get people excited to help you move again in the future.

  1. Food is the obvious starting point. My couch is an inherited piece of beauty from my great grandparents. It’s heavy, like two grown men struggle with this heavy. I have two options here. I could buy a lighter couch or I could thank the parties that carried it for me profusely. Moving burns calories and makes people hungry. Feeding people is perfectly acceptable! If you don’t think food can inspire awe, you’ve never eaten the perfect peach in the middle of the summer with the juice dripping down your chin thinking that if life ended now, you’d be okay with it. But if you decide to feed people, this is not the time to buy a couple of five dollar pizzas. That’s why people will hate you and why they’ll be ‘busy’ next time you are moving. You didn’t even nourish them in ways that made them happy. Try regional favorites. Here in Arizona we have the best Mexican food outside of Mexico. Debate that all you want, you silly Californians with your silly burritos. Sonoran Mexican food is an art and produces beautiful and unique Mexican food. This was a cheap post-couch-moving late lunch that involved lots of salsa, cold beers and other than people being a little sore or tired, genuinely happy.
  2. Thank your moving helpers with a dinner partyCan’t dine with your helpers right then? Send them on their way with their own six pack of beer or your favorite bottled beverage (I personally love to send them with a mix of my favorite fizzy water and a few bottles of this sparkling grapefruit juice I adore) and an invitation to a fabulous dinner party in the near future. Need dinner party menu ideas? Try Braised beef ribs, caramelized butternut squash and a mixed green salad with a bright vinaigrette to cut the fat. Or fish baked in parchment, lemon risotto and lots of stir fried zucchini. Offer lots of wine, water and iced tea. Toast a beverage of your choice. Don’t mistake this for a housewarming party and recognize you may still have unpacked boxes lying around.
  3. Send each helper a personalized thank you note, post card or letter. If a couple who lives together helped, send an individual note to each person. Really, they’ll enjoy this. Be genuine and be brief. State how you could not have done it without them. Really, you absolutely needed their muscles to get the table through the doorframe.
  4. Offer up a return service, like babysitting for free or dogsitting on their extended vacation. Hopefully they helped you move because they love you and want to see you succeed in life not so they could get a return on their investment. But hanging with their kid while they take a rare date night out wouldn’t kill you, would it?
  5. Treat your moving helpers with a spa day if you have a lot of moneyAre you cash-flush and want to go out of your way? Send your helpers to beauty services like a massage for those that helped with the heaviest items or the ones that chipped their nail polish carrying all those boxes for a fresh manicure. Not that cash flush? Give each person a goody bag of arnica gel/cream (helps with muscles soreness), a new bottle of nailpolish, maybe a loofah and a bath bomb.
  6. Probably more than any thank you gift at the end, the biggest gift you can give is being organized and ready-to-go when they arrive. Make sure the moving truck is there. And the boxes are sealed. And you have a game plan like what order things should go in the truck and if you know somebody is particularly good at organizing space, delegate the task of directing where boxes and furniture should be stacked in the truck to them. The only finger they’ll have to lift is when pointing. Being organized is probably the only way to keep your relationships from suffering. Being organized extends to having plenty of water on hand, soap and paper towels for washing dirty hands.
  7. Bonus if you’re getting pizza/food delivered after moving. Get your TV or music system set-up the day prior to the move so when everybody is relaxing, there’s some entertainment to be had.

So go forth, my little gifters. Be so amazing they’ll forget about lifting those boxes full of crap for you up three flights of stairs. Be awe inspiring. Be grateful.

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