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10 Things to Do in Chicago This Holiday Season

Chicago has so much going on this time of year. Enjoy the festivities, which always remind us what a great city we live in, and how lucky we are at Elite Moving & Storage to have such proximity to amazing attractions!

1. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

This parade is pretty special. It starts off the holiday season here with a lineup of activities on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18. At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, the grand Tree-Lighting Parade goes down Michigan Avenue. Who does the honors? Why, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, of course – sprinkling Chicago with a little bit of Disney magic.

2. The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

You may have seen this one on WGN. Every Thanksgiving morning, this exciting event along State Street includes regional high school marching bands, equestrian units, celebrities, performances, giant balloons, and floats. Expect over 5,000 participants, and hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the route.

3. Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

The city’s 104th official Christmas tree lighting takes place in Millennium Park on Friday, November 17. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. with holiday music from the Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol,” country trio Temecula Road, and the Oakdale Christian Academy Choir. This year’s tree is a 62-foot Norway Spruce with a 37-foot base!

4. Ice Skating at McCormick-Tribune Rink and Maggie Daley Park

Ice skating actually takes place all over the city during Chicago’s winters, but if you want a view of the city’s iconic skyline, you have two awesome options. The McCormick-Tribune rink is located right underneath the Bean (er, we mean Cloud Gate), which makes for some cool skating. The Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon (with treat vendors along the path) actually lets you do something other than skate in a circle. Both rinks are free, but skate rentals will cost you.

5. Chicago Trolley’s Holiday Lights Tour

Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. offers an evening tour during the season to show off the city’s festive light displays. The ride includes a free Sprinkles cupcake and just a couple of stops, at Chicago’s historic Christkindlmarket and ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo. Even those of us who live here learn from the company’s knowledgeable guides, so don’t miss this!

6. Fifth Third Bank Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

The 17th annual holiday event is an indoor winter playground at one of the city’s biggest tourist spots. You can enjoy rides, giant slides, holiday decor, and the Chicago Blackhawks Ice Skating Rink. While you’re at Navy Pier, enjoy some great dining, visit the Chicago Children’s Museum, or take in an IMAX movie!

7. The Park at Wrigley

Wrigley Field is an enchanted place no matter the time of year, but this season it’s upping its game with holiday festivities at the new Park at Wrigley. The Park will have its own Christkindlmarket, starting November 24, and will also open an ice skating rink ($5 admission for 13 and up, plus skate rentals). A tree lighting ceremony takes place from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28, and then Santa’s Workshop opens. We love this new addition to Chicago holidays!

8. Visiting Chicago Museums

Museums are a no-brainer because they’re warm and fun no matter when you go. This is your last chance to see Sue the T-Rex in the main hall at the Field Museum, before she’s moved upstairs next year to make room for a new dinosaur addition. “Jurassic World: The Exhibition” and “Ancient Mediterranean Cultures in Contact” are also there right now. Also, the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light” exhibit is a long-time city tradition. The Art Institute will wreathe its lions for the 25th year running on November 24, starting at 10 a.m. with a presentation including “Hamilton” cast members and the Soul Children of Chicago.
 Also going on around Chicago during the holidays: the Museum of Contemporary Art‘s 50th anniversary exhibit “We Are Here”; the Shedd Aquarium’s “Washed Ashore,” which features life-sized animal sculptures made from ocean trash; and the Chicago History Museum’s “Race: Are We So Different?”

9. Shopping Downtown!

Locals tend to shop on State Street, and tourists tend to shop on the Mag Mile – or so we hear, although we frequent both whenever we can! Wait for a table around the giant Christmas tree in the Walnut Room in Macy’s to enjoy one of the treats of the season, or just check out the decorated windows from the outside. Whether you prefer walking into high-end stores or getting great deals on gifts, downtown Chicago has it.

10. Theatre

As you may know, Chicago is a city that loves live performances, and around the holidays we have a few can’t-miss shows – including the Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” and the Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol.” At the Lyric Opera, “Die Walkure” of Wagner’s the Ring Cycle is playing throughout November. At the Cadillac Palace Theatre, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” runs too! And we have tons of smaller theaters that deserve a look as well. 

For example, the House Theatre‘s non-ballet interpretation of the Nutcracker is always fun. For a list of holiday-themed theater events, visit TimeOut Chicago.

Chicago Holiday Style Is Here!

At Elite Moving & Storage, we are passionate about and proud of our city, and we know it well. As a local moving company, we value diversity and dependability in ourselves and others. How can we assist you with your moving and storage needs this winter? Contact us so we can help you!

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Moving with Kids: Easing the Transition

Moving may be stressful for you, so imagine what it’s like for your little ones! They may not fully understand why the move needs to happen, which can make things difficult for you. On the other hand, kids are resilient. You can help them adapt to the move by preparing them, communicating with them, and helping to alleviate their fears. Moving can be exciting, too, so focus on that aspect of this next phase of your life.

Prepare children emotionally for your move

Tell your kids exactly what to expect from the process. Provide opportunities for them to say goodbye to their friends and favorite places. Encourage them to keep ties, and help them do it since they might not be old enough on their own. Reassure them that their family is here for them no matter what.

Get them excited, and let them know that all the chaos is part of the adventure. Don’t be negative. Allow them to be invested in the new house, the new school, the new city, even your new job. As you purge items you no longer need, let your kids have a say in what stays and what goes. Get them involved!

Prepare children physically for the move

If you can, time your move for a period that will cause the least amount of upheaval – summer, for example, when school is out. If your child has recently reached a milestone like being potty-trained, don’t be surprised at some backsliding. Prepare yourself for that (have pull-ups on hand, maybe!).

Pack your child’s medications, papers, and favorite toys and activities to be easily reachable during the car ride or airplane travel, just in case. Bring extra clothing as well. Make sure there’s a bag of toys available right up to the end, so your kids have something to do while you’re packing. Label everything properly, because kids may take it harder than you do if something can’t be found when they need it. And allow them to help with navigation, so they get a real sense of where you’re leaving and where you’re headed.

Make moving an adventure for your kids

Focus on discovery to make your into an adventure. New places, new people, and new experiences are all part of the journey. Search out new attractions, and explore your new home with your children. Let them assist you as much as possible in discovering great things about the new neighborhood, and in setting up the new place.

Will they have their own room for a change? Allow them to help decorate it, so it feels like their secure spot. Take your time unpacking so that there isn’t stressful clutter everywhere. Do display personal items as soon as you can, to make the place feel familiar and emphasize that this is now where your family life is centered.

Move with Elite

At Elite Moving & Storage, we understand that moving can be a stressful time for you and your family, and we aim to reduce the upheaval as much as possible for kids as well as adults through our expertise and empathy. How can we help? Find out by contacting us and getting a free estimate. We are a moving company that cares.

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Moving With Pets: Keeping Animals Safe and Stress-Free

Did you know that one of the top reasons that people decide to rehome their pets, or leave them at a shelter, is because they’re moving?

It’s sad, but true. It may be because a new landlord doesn’t allow pets, for example, or your roommate has allergies, or the new space just isn’t appropriate for any furry friends. About five percent of pets never make it to the new home with their owners, and get left behind.

But for most of us, moving without our pets is simply not an option. And we want to do it with as little stress to our favorite pets as possible. So, here are some tips for moving your pet to your new home.

Before Your Move

You wouldn’t leave town or change living situations without thinking about your loved ones, would you? Your pets are part of your family, so make sure you consider their needs as you decide where you’re going, what kind of space you want to live in, and who else will share that space with you.

If it’s possible for you to do so, make sure your pet is part of your moving equation from the very beginning. Don’t rent an apartment that doesn’t allow cats. If you have a big dog, try to search out a house with a yard. If you answer a Craigslist ad for a new roommate, be upfront about your pets’ importance to you. Check state and local laws for licensing and other ordinances that may apply to your situation.

Research Pet Travel Options for Your Move

Will you be flying? Driving? Will you take your animals with you, or count on a family member to bring them up a few weeks later? Maybe an animal relocation service will have the charge of your pet for a while? You have many options when it comes to traveling with a pet. How you choose to transport them may have to do with your comfort level, and that of your pets.

If you’re traveling by plane, check with your airline about specific policies regarding pets – and get tickets well in advance. If you’re driving, remember to find out if restaurants and hotels along your route are pet-friendly. If not, you may have to make contingency plans. And, if you’re moving to a new country, know about quarantine rules getting your pet in and out.

Plan Your Pet’s Transition

Individual animals react to changes in environment differently. Cats, especially, are tied to locations and habit. We don’t socialize them the same way we do with dogs. So, when it comes to a move, they may need special attention. 

Acclimate your animals to the idea of a move.

Obtain a hard-sided pet carrier and put them inside for a few minutes more each day with a toy, to acclimate them and make them think the carrier is a place of safety. Take them out for rides if they’re not used to that. Confine them, or send them to a kennel on the day the movers come if they are stressed out by change. Keep them away from moving chaos, and don’t pick them up until you’re ready to go.

Pack Their Things for the Move

Make sure to have your pets’ medical information on hand. Pack a bag for each animal, with their favorite toys inside. You will also want to take a pet first aid kit, food and water (as water conditions will change from state to state), doggie bags, or a litter box. Have I.D. tags made up with your cell phone number and new address, just in case. 

Smaller animals will also need hard-sided carriers.

Consider having fish shipped for safety. If you have a good aquarium store nearby, have your fish put into bags with extra oxygen for the move. If your pet is a bad traveler, visit your vet for potential medical solutions. You may want a pre-move checkup to refill prescriptions or transfer records.

Things To Remember While Traveling

 for A Move

Keep all animals restrained. A dog can be held with a leash or harness, but cats and smaller animals should be placed inside hard-sided carriers with some breathing room. Not only does this allow for safe driving without worrying about animals getting in the way, it helps prevent escapes by stressed-out pets.

Birds, guinea pigs and other small animals are especially prone to moving-day nerves and changes in environment, so this is not the time to let them run loose. 

Animals can get car sick and disoriented by movement, so keep that in mind. Keep extra towels in the car for accidents. Cover carriers, especially for the first few hours of the drive, to prevent overstimulation. Remember that in hotels and strange places, cats will want to hide immediately.

After You Move In

When you get to your new residence, go in and inspect the house before you let your pets out. Find potential hiding places, and locate and get rid of any hazards (leftover mouse traps). Ideally, you’ll wait until your furniture is placed before your animals leave the carriers. That way, they will come out to some familiar sights.

Release your pets into one room first, let them adjust, and allow them more freedom. Keep things consistent, the way you did in your previous home, so your pets know to expect the same rules and the same behavior. You know your pet best, so watch for any signalers of anxiety, fear, or illness. Locate your resources, such a new vet, dog parks, and your emergency vets, so you know where to go from the start if anything happens. Also, if your pet is microchipped, update that information.

Give your pets some time, and they’ll be back to ruling the roost in no time. And for your move, consider the experts here at Elite Moving & Storage. We know the industry and we offer complete moving services. If you’re moving in Chicago, from Chicago, or to Chicago, we have the knowhow because we’re a local company. We’re also the best movers in town! Contact us today so we can help you.

 

 

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We’ve Received Recognition from CityOf.com/Chicago!

It’s always nice to be recognized for your hard work and the care of your customers, so we are especially proud today to have received this Premier Service Award from CityOf.com/Chicago for our moving services!

We hope all our customers have experiences with our company that exceed their expectations, and we strive for perfection in every job. We’re so glad that others are realizing that our local, community-based moving company is the best moving company out there (yes, we’re biased)! We want to prove it whenever we can, so let us know how we can help you.

Thanks to CityOf.com/Chicago for this honor! Elite Moving & Storage will do our best to always live up to it.

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Moving Large Furniture Safely During a Move

Moving is usually an exciting time! One thing that most people don’t get excited about, though, is moving those large pieces of furniture down and up multiple flights of stairs. Getting them out of moving vans, trucks or trailers is hard enough, but trying to move them through doors and narrow corridors with turns is the worst.

Have valuable antiques you’re worried about? Want to make sure those sofas and chairs with the expensive upholstery make it without a scratch? Getting your friends and family to help certainly makes it easier. Still, you’ll need to make sure that everyone who is helping is safe. Here are some tips for a smooth, accident-free move.

Know your new home’s floor plan

Before the day of your move, take measurements of your large furniture and place them in an app (such as Home Design 3D or House Design) that lets you create a digital layout of your new floor space. This way, you can position them around the “floor” to get a visual idea of where you need to place furniture ahead of your moving day. Even if you don’t use an app, draw a basic layout on a piece of paper to help you get a better idea of where you’ll be placing these items.

Another good idea is to take measurements of doorways, windows, halls and corridors in your new home as well as your current home to determine if furniture will be easy to move out and into the new place. Remember, you can remove doors and sometimes even moldings to grab an extra inch or two of space!

Disassemble and wrap large items if possible

Before you move heavy furnishings out of your current home, remove as many potential obstructions as possible, such as legs, arms, and tabletops. Keep the removed items all together and small items like screws in labeled storage bags. Take clothes out of drawers, and take drawers out of dressers. (If you decide not to do this, fasten them into place somehow so they don’t slide out.) Wrap your items, or otherwise contain them so that they are properly protected.

Consider using professional movers. One benefit of this is that they have the right tools to disassemble and prepare large furnishings for moving, and they know how to wrap large items safely for transport. They can get the job done efficiently so you don’t waste time. If you decide against this, you can still take cues from the pros. For advice on protecting furniture for a move, see Elite’ Moving & Storage’s guides for packing dressers, pianos, glass tabletops, and couches.

Use tried-and-true techniques for moving large furniture during a relocation

There are certain techniques you can employ to ensure that your furniture—and you and your helpers—move safely.

For example, in moving pieces like dressers, use a “high-low” technique that involves keeping one end of the furniture held up high and the other end low. What this does is ensure that the weight is centered so the dresser is easier to control. This is especially true when moving up and down stairs. You’ll need two people, one at each end, for this technique.

Doorway hooking to help move a large sofa or couch is another technique that makes moving them a little less tricky. Stand couches on their ends and work them through the doorway, back edge first. Once it’s cleared the doorway, give it a 90-degree swivel to bring it all the way in.

You can also slide heavy furniture pieces by using a thick blanket to pull the object across the floor. You’ll eliminate the risk of scratching edges across the floor, causing unsightly marks.

Lifting straps can also be used to lift and move heavy furniture pieces, especially where carrying or sliding them isn’t an option. Lift straps help spread the weight of a piece over a large group of muscles and give you more control. And yes, you can purchase lifting straps on Amazon.com. Other tools, like wheeled dollies and ramps, can also help.

Don’t forget to wrap your furniture properly to protect pieces from moving damage. Bubble wrap, shrink wrap, and packing tape are staples of the moving process. Use blankets to cover and protect under the wrap/tape. Don’t skimp! Most professional moving companies will sell these supplies at their locations, so check them out for your needs.

Get Ready to Move

Whether you decide to move large furniture yourself, or take advantage of the service and expertise of professional movers, make sure you do your homework before you move. That way, you’ll keep your valued possessions (and yourself) safe and injury-free. As always, if you need help with your move in Chicago or across the United States, call your friends at Elite Moving and Storage!

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5 Tips for Moving to a New City: Before You Go

Got a new job? Found your dream home? Starting at a new school? No matter the reason for your relocation, a little bit of preparation can help ease your mind and make the transition an exciting one. Here are some things you should do before you start the actual process of moving.

1. Check out your new city before a move

Research your new town. Get a guidebook, or check online. Arm yourself with useful knowledge about schools, culture, hospitals, safety, places of worship, local doctors and dentists, and social experiences. Scope out the proximity of your new residence to your workplace – or where you want to work, if you’re arriving without a job. This can help you choose the neighborhood you will call home, and help to make you more confident in your new surroundings. Find out about opportunities for future exploration.

2. Read up about your new neighborhood when moving

Try to visit your new street and get a feel for how your life will be as a resident there. Check out your route and commute time to get to work. Explore your new local grocery stores, cleaners, shops, gas stations, coffee shops, gyms, restaurants, and other places you may like to visit. Armed with this information, you can decide if the neighborhood is right for you before you arrive with all your belongings. Have a friend nearby? Get the lowdown from locals on what life is really like in your new area.

3. Know the cost of living in a new city

Find the cost of living where you’ll be moving, so you can budget accordingly and understand what kind of income you need to live comfortably there. Use cost of living statistics to project your probable monthly expenses. Don’t forget to factor in taxes, transportation (will you be driving, or are you taking public transit?), and entertainment. Also, remember to keep a financial cushion at hand just in case. You may wish to create a spreadsheet that takes your anticipated income and projected expenses into account.

4. Keep track of important information before a move

Keep bills, vital records, and other important documents with you for safety. Quick access to these documents will come in handy when it is time to set up accounts in your new location. Collect and bring important information such as medical and dental records, banking information, school records, driver’s licenses, insurance papers, utility information and account numbers to get you registered with services in your new city. Don’t forget the contact information of friends, resources, and members of your social and professional networks.

5. Get organized, but be flexible

Start as far ahead of time as you can, so that you can work methodically. Pack rooms one at a time, and label your boxes accordingly. Make sure you keep your necessities with you, just in case (keep a couple of changes of clothing and toiletries with you). Be mindful of where your most fragile items are located and know what’s being done with them. Remember that there may be bumps along the road, but if you’re as prepared as you can be, you can get through anything with a minimum of fuss.

Prepare and Get Moving

Moving can be intimidating. But with a little research, you can move on to the next adventure confident in knowing these details about your new neighborhood. Hit the ground running!

We understand that the moving process can be stressful. As always, if you need help with your move, you can talk to your friends at Elite Moving & Storage! We’re one of the best Chicago moving companies around, and we’d like to prove it to you. Call for a quote today.

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5 Take-Charge Tips for Your First Move

It’s your first move! This can be an exciting, yet stressful time. We can help, though. Over the years, we’ve developed some tried-and-true tips for maneuvering any move. Here’s what we’ve learned.

1. Hire professional movers

This is a big milestone, yet you want to save money. We get that. But please, please don’t solicit help from your friends and family to move you, unless you really only own two boxes of clothes, a laptop, a lamp, and a turtle in a tank. We know this from experience. If something goes wrong, you’ve ruined a relationship. Have a good moving company do it. Then, ask your friends over to have a celebratory/goodbye drink with you before the moving truck arrives, or after it leaves.

2. Declutter, and get organized

Moving is a great time to pare down to the essentials. The more you have to move, the more work you have to do. So, take this as an opportunity to decide what to keep and what to toss. Do you really need that sweater your aunt gave you three years ago, that you’ve worn twice – on trips to see her? Use this rule of thumb: If you didn’t use it for a year, you won’t need it again. Label your boxes, so that you know what goes where. And keep important things – IDs, pets, work papers, toiletries, tools you’ll need for your move – with you. You may also want to keep a few extra changes of clothing close by.

3. Don’t let the paperwork slide, and document everything

Change your address. Have your utilities turned off at the old place (if needed) and turned on in the new. Get insurance. Change your address with the post office. Make sure you know what’s in your rental contract, since that tells you which utilities you’re responsible for, and how much of a deposit you need to pay. If you’re not moving into your own home, take pictures of the space before you move in. That way, if there are any questions about what damage happened while you lived there, you have a record.

4. Google it

If you have questions about how to pack something, you can find plenty of resources online. Heck, we at Elite Moving & Storage have a whole page devoted to videos about packing your things properly. For the safety of your things, if you’re not sure how to pack properly, don’t just wing it. You won’t regret taking the time to do the research, working with little extra care when you pack, and using the proper padding. Learn how to pack your kitchen and other items here.

5. Make a budget – and stick to it

Make sure you have accounted, in your financial calculations, for rent, mortgage, furniture, decor, utilities, and other expenses that you may now have. Make a budget beforehand, and create a guide for living that takes your income and lifestyle into account. Remember, there’s a difference between need and want. If you’re on a budget – get only what you need, and then prioritize your wants. Don’t forget to set aside money for emergencies.

Contact us…

Planning a move to Chicagoland, away from Chicagoland, or within Chicagoland? Consider Elite Moving & Storage. We’re proud to one of the best Chicago moving companies, with great ratings, solid testimonials, and a commitment to quality. Go to the “Request A Quote” block at the top of the page to request an estimate and find out how we can help you with the moving process.

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A Top 10 List: Get to Know Chicago!

If you’re new to the area, welcome! You’re now a resident of one of the coolest cities in the country. Chicago, named after a local garlic plant in the Native American vernacular, is a great place to grow up, start a family, and bask in the charm of middle America.

We may not have the ocean, but we do have a Great Lake, Lake Michigan, right off our shores. We may be a “Second City,” but we have other nicknames, too. We’re “The City of Big Shoulders, “The White City,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” and “the Windy City.” Chicago has so many nicknames because the city means many different things to the multitude of people who’ve passed through over the years.

As a city with 2.7 million people (9.4 million if you count the suburbs), this isn’t a city you can get to know quickly. Those of us who have lived here for decades are still finding out how deep and rich the region is, in terms of its history, people, and culture. Chicago is a living place that continues to change and grow.

That means it’s impossible to get to know the city within a single blog post, but here are 10 things you should know about the city that’s now your home.

1. Yes, we love pizza, hot dogs, and Italian beef – but when it comes to cuisine, Chicagoans thrive on variety. Go try different types of food!

A deep-dish pie from Lou Malnati’s

Chicago is known for its pizza, and rightfully so. After all, deep-dish pie was born here. There are more than 3,000 pizza places in this town, and many of them are really good. You’ll have to find your own favorite, of course, but among the pizzerias locals swear by are Lou Malnati’s and Pequod’s.

But pizza, the Chicago-style dog, and meat (see our cattle-raising history) aren’t the only foods we eat. It’s true that fare here tends to be hearty and comforting. But we also have a huge variety of restaurants, from vegetarian (Chicago Diner and Green Zebra are local highlights) to fine dining (Alinea). Whatever you have a taste for, you’ll find it here, probably at a neighborhood spot close by. We follow food trends as much as any other city, and we have some of the best restaurants in the country. You’ll soon find that out for yourself.

Insider tip: You can quickly assess the character of your neighborhood by checking out the eateries that call it home. Chic neighborhoods will offer stylish restaurants, for example. So, as your choosing where to move, let your stomach be your guide. 🙂

2. Our cultural institutions and events are among the best in the nation. Go visit them.

You may have heard about the Art Institute of Chicago, which is one of the biggest museums in the world – the post-Impressionist art collection is stunning. You may also know of the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium, all by the lake on Museum Campus – but Chicago is home to dozens of other cultural institutions, from the Museum of Broadcast Communications and the Museum of Surgical Science to the National Mexican Art Museum. The Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago History Museum are also wonderful institutions.

Additionally, you can enjoy Broadway in Chicago, numerous symphony orchestras (like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), the Lyric Opera, consistently excellent shows at the Shakespeare Theatre, and a thriving theatre scene that includes everything from the famous Second City to small, independent performances and free, outdoor summer music and movie festivals all over town. There’s no dearth of culture in this town.

Insider tip: Don’t always stick with the bigger theaters in our theatrical district, or the places you’ve heard of. They’re amazing, but you can find good theater all over the city.

3. Chicago is a great sports town. Find your team, and be a fan!

If you’re into sports at all, you know about our Bears, our Cubs, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, the Chicago Fire. But did you know we have a great fast-pitch softball team? We have other great women’s sports teams as well – the Chicago Red Stars (soccer), the Chicago Sky (basketball) and the Windy City Rollers (roller derby) among them. We have minor league baseball (a new team starts playing in Rosemont in 2018!) and hockey, racetracks, and college sports, too.

This is a city that is passionate about athletics. You’ll find fair-weather fans anywhere, but here you’ll find true fan communities – and we stand behind our teams! The sports culture here is sincerely awesome, no matter which one you love most.

Insider tip: If you’re moving into a neighborhood near one of Chicago’s stadiums or fields, such as in Lakeview, try to avoid scheduling your things to arrive on a game day. The extra foot and car traffic and a lack of parking will make everything more complicated.

4. Downtown and the Loop aren’t all there is to Chicago. Get out into the neighborhoods!

Did you know that there are 77 different neighborhoods in the city of Chicago? And each of them has its own feel, its own diverse population, and its own unique character. Don’t stay in the touristy, business areas of the city. Get out and about! You’ll learn so much about the forces that have shaped the city, and the people who live here.

Chicago has a vibrant and amazing history, but it has such a shiny center that sometimes you have to go out of your way to find it. So get off the beaten path and find out something interesting! Go to Chinatown and have dim sum. Get into Andersonville to get a taste of Swedish culture and Lincoln Park for some great night life. Hike over to Logan Square to be where the trends begin. Visit Lakeview if you’re into the bar scene. Get out and explore!

Insider tip: Chicago also features 570 neighborhood parks that make up 8.5 percent of the city, and all of them have their own beauties. They’ll also feature events throughout the year, so check out your local park!

5. The suburbs aren’t a dearth of culture. They’re awesome, too! Don’t stay downtown all the time.

The Baha’i House of Worship for North America in Wilmette

The city of Chicago is great. The suburbs have character, too. They’re where you’ll find gems like the Baha’i Temple, Northwestern University, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home & Studio, the Chicago Botanic Garden, Brookfield Zoo, Lamb’s Farm, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, Morton Arboretum, Cantigny Park, and a dozen more interesting and beautiful destinations. Even O’Hare International Airport, one of the biggest travel hubs in the country, is technically in a suburb (Rosemont) filled with amenities.

The suburbs are home to historic theaters and hotels, museums, parks – even beaches. In the north, you’ll find picturesque downtowns in lakefront towns like Wilmette and Lake Forest. In the northwest, you’ll find Schaumburg with its giant retail corridor and Woodfield Mall, along with fine dining in Wheeling on Restaurant Row. In the west, Naperville is home to a growing community full of attractions, and Oak Park is filled with architectural gems. In the south, even northwestern Indiana residents come to Chicago for their work and entertainment needs.

Insider tip: Some of the best school districts in the country, such as the New Trier district, are in Chicago’s northern suburbs. If you’re looking for an “elite” school experience for your kids, try moving into towns like Glencoe, Winnetka, Northbrook, Deerfield, Vernon Hills, or Lincolnshire.

6. We love the nightlife! Chicago is social, and fun, and diverse. Enjoy it!

On weekend evenings (and that sometimes counts Thursdays), Chicago residents love to go out and be seen. Of course, there’s no point in leaving your house before 10 p.m. The city boasts more than 100 bars and establishments here that open till 4 a.m. nightly – and 5 a.m. on Saturday evenings. Whether you’re into dive bars, dance clubs, or the gay scene, you can keep the party going almost the whole night long. Some local favorites include Studio Paris, Smart Bar, and Berlin.

If bars and nightclubs aren’t your scene, we have alternatives. Take in a Brew & View film at The Vic, see a band at Lincoln Hall or Schuba’s or the Metro, or go to The Music Box for movies. As with most big cities, it’s not too difficult to meet people, as long as you get yourself out there. Fortunately, with so many different types of people here, you’ll definitely find your crew.

Insider tip: Meeting people in Chicagoland requires a bit of hustle initially. Try joining a health club or join in group activities in order to find people with your interests!

7. Our public transportation is vital to city life. We all love it and hate it!

Here in town, we use the L trains from the Chicago Transit Authority to get around (the “L” stands for elevated, but that’s not true of the entire route). Then, we use the Metra commuter rail to go the suburbs. Of course, city dwellers and suburbanites alike use Ubers and Lyfts and cabs, along with car-sharing services like ZipCar and bike-sharing services like Divvy. We even have water taxis that can get you from the train stations to the Magnificent Mile via the Chicago River in-season.

The L is clean and safe and used by millions every day, and we depend on it. But valid criticisms do exist – you’ll notice, looking at our transit maps, that there’s no way to get from north to west or south to west (can’t go east, that’s in the lake) without passing through downtown. To be honest, other cities have better systems. Partly, the problem with Chicago is that it’s so spread out. In New York, Boston, or Washington, D.C., travel times are shorter. But it’s often better than driving – and parking!

Insider tip: Our streets are numbered systematically, starting at zero at the intersection of State and Madison. Learn it and you’ll never get lost.

8. Chicago may be the “windy city” because of our politicians, but our leaders do care and do good work.

Legend has it that it’s our politicians blowing hot air that got Chicago its nickname. And it’s true that this town has long had a reputation for corruptness in its politicians. But that doesn’t mean our leaders are all bad, or that they only care about lining their own pockets. This is a resilient place, determined to succeed.

Since the beginning, the history of Chicago has included city leaders working to create a great and livable city. The way the city rebounded after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 is one major example. Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan for Chicago, which influenced aspects of how the city developed, is another. More recently, Chicago has taken the lead in creating a city that is friendly to cyclists, encourages the development of renewable energy sources, and mitigates waste. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also proactive about attracting businesses and major events to Chicago.

Insider tip: Our past mayors loom large in Chicago’s history. For example, Mayor Richard M. Daley, who retired in 2010, left behind an environmental legacy that affects us daily even today. Our City Hall has a rooftop garden with a beehive!

9. Winter here can be tough, but the city slows down only a little. Let the cold help you appreciate the other three seasons!

Actor Gary Cole once said, “I miss everything about Chicago, except January and February.” That’s because after the excitement of Christmas, citizens here do tend to hibernate a bit until March. Chicagoans, though, know how to deal with snow and ice. The city and suburbs alike prepare all year for winter – which means that when blizzards come, municipalities are ready with salt, snowplows, and good information.

Still, things happen here year round, from the Chicago Humanities Festival in October to Chicago Restaurant Week in February. Then, as soon as it’s even slightly warm out, everyone gets out and about visiting our city parks, walking along the lakefront and the river walk, and enjoying the sun. The cold here gives us a reason to get out and always enjoy the weather when it’s nice. We don’t take it for granted!

Insider tip: If you’re moving in the winter, don’t forget to start early to take advantage of as much sunlight as possible! You’ll want to make sure walks and driveways are clear before you start bringing boxes in and out of a residence.

10. People here work hard and they play hard. We urge you to support local businesses.

Chicago is the third biggest city in the country by population, and many of its residents, even if from somewhere else, are Midwesterners through and through. We love sports and shopping and we’re a bit stubborn (we still call the Willis Tower the Sears Tower). We love food (except catsup when it’s on our hot dogs), and we get outdoors when we can.

This is a huge city with many entrepreneurs and family-run businesses. They make the area unique and special. Whether it’s a donut shop or a moving company like ours, Chicago is full of great businesses run by interesting people. They are open and friendly, with a sense of history, so get to know them however you can. Your city life will be richer for it!

Insider tip: Not all the best places in Chicago look sleek, fancy or big. Step into a mom-and-pop shop or a dive, and you might make a true discovery! Every neighborhood has great local stores with character.

…Talk to Us!

And, if you are new to Chicago, or planning on moving to Chicago – or going to move within Chicago – consider using Elite Moving & Storage. We’re a family-owned business that works hard to provide a great, friendly service to Chicagoland clients. We’re proud to be the best local moving company in one of the greatest cities in the world. Elite Moving & Storage is a one-stop shop for all your moving needs. We are a family-owned full-service Chicagoland moving company, serving the city and surrounding suburbs.

We specialize in local and state-to-state relocations, packing services, and storage. We help 3000 families a year with their moves, relocations, and packing and storage needs. Elite Moving & Storage has been in business for over 10 years, with an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We are big enough to move you, and small enough to care.  Go to “Request A Quote” block at the top of the page to get a estimate and find out how we can help you with the moving process.

 

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Bad Moving Advice

5 Things NOT to Do While Moving or Packing

Everyone wants to give you advice on how to move better, cheaper, or quicker. While reading up on advice can simplify your move, be wary of the bad advice that’s out there. As a general rule, don’t cut corners when it comes to personal safety or protection of your home and items. Planning ahead and talking to professionals is always your best bet.

Below are some common pieces of bad advice we’ve heard over the years – avoid them at all costs! We’ve also provided some great tips on how to move the right way.

Bad Advice: Wrap Your Dishes and Glassware in Clothing to Save on Bubble Wrap

A commonly shared “life hack” for packing breakables is to wrap them in clothing to save on packing paper and bubble wrap. This ‘tip’ is wrong, isn’t cost efficient and certainly isn’t safe.

Packing breakables in clothing increases chance of injury and you likely won’t know something is broken until you unpack it. Your safety, clothing, and breakables are more valuable than a sheet of packing paper.

Good Advice: When packing dishes,

start with a DishPack box.  Put a double layer of crumpled moving paper in the bottom of the box.  Starting with the heaviest dishes on the bottom layer, wrap each plate and place it in the box vertically, like a record.  After the largest plates are packed, use more packing paper and place crumpled pieces between each plate to keep the plates stable and in place. Another layer of crumpled paper, and you can add the lighter plates in the same way until the box is full.

Bad Advice: Keep Drawers Intact by Wrapping them with Press’n Seal

Press’n Seal barely keeps your food safe – what is it going to do to protect your drawers? You will need a more substantial wrapping material to keep your drawers safe from chips and scratches.

Good Advice: Professional movers such as Elite use heavy moving blankets to move and pack heavy and expensive furniture such as dressers and couches. Not only do moving blankets protect against scratches – they provide some additional padding as well.

Bad Advice: Keep Belongings in Drawers to Save on Boxes and Save Time

It may be tempting to keep your belongings in their respective drawers, but moving can shift objects and can cause damage to both your drawers and belongings.

Good Advice: In order to move safely, you’ll need to empty all drawers, but be sure to put the drawers back before moving the overall piece of furniture. The empty drawers in the dresser help stabilize the overall structure during the move.

You’ll want to pack up your belongings into their own boxes to protect your drawers from damage. If there are fragile objects in your drawer, make sure you wrap them properly with packing paper and bubble wrap. See how Elite wraps breakables such as glassware and dishes. Drawers are not built to withstand being moved with items inside, so don’t use them as boxes while moving.

Bad Advice: Book Movers at the Last Minute to Get a Cheaper Price

Everyone wants to score a great deal, and sometimes deals do exist for those who wait – such as last minute hotels on Priceline or buying overproduced clothing from an outlet store for a discount. In the moving industry, these deals do not exist. If you wait too long, you might not even be able to get a mover!

Good Advice: Movers run on a tight schedule, often planned weeks in advance, so if you try to book after the schedules have been set, they might not have room in their schedule for you. Busy moving times such as weekends and the end of the month (25th-2nd) are often booked at least 4-6 weeks in advance. If you are moving out of or into a building with an elevator, those must be booked in advance as well, no matter the date of the move.

If you’re still convinced you’ll get a better price last minute, it’s best to make a reservation with a mover that will refund your deposit, like Elite. That way you can still shop around, but you’ll have a backup plan in place in case you don’t find a cheaper price, and avoid a last-minute scramble for help.  Elite offers refunds of deposits up until 3 business days before the move.

Bad Advice: Keep Large Furniture in One Piece to Move Quicker

While the thought of taking your furniture apart only to reassemble it at your new location may seem unnecessary, it can actually make your move easier, and helps to prevent injury and damage to your home and furniture.

Good Advice: How does disassembling furniture save time? Well, large furniture causes the most trouble during a move. It’s hard – and sometimes impossible – to carry through doors and up staircases. Large, assembled furniture also takes up more room in the moving truck. Taking the legs off of a piano, for example, not only saves space in the truck, but makes it less likely for the piano to be broken during the move. You’ll also want to pack glass table tops separately from the rest of the table, for example.

Most injuries are caused by improperly moving large furniture, so by breaking things down to a more manageable size, you also significantly reduce the chance for injury.

Any Other Bad Advice?

At Elite, we perform thousands of moves per year, and have heard and seen countless bad practices when it comes to moving. As a rule, don’t try to cut corners when it comes to the safety of your items or yourself, and plan as much in advance as possible to make your move less stressful and more efficient.

Now for some good advice!

At Elite, we perform thousands of moves per year, and have heard and seen countless bad practices when it comes to moving. As a rule, don’t try to cut corners when it comes to the safety of your items or yourself, and plan as much in advance as possible to make your move less stressful and more efficient. As always, if you need help with your move, you can call your friends at Elite!

Moving Checklist Chicago

Things People Commonly Forget to Do When Moving

There’s a lot to take care of in order to have a successful move. Most people focus on the actual move itself – the scheduling, the packing, the organizing – but a lot of times they’ll forget some smaller details, such as setting up mail forwarding or changing certain information to the new address.

As professional movers who have helped thousands of people move all over the country, we’re familiar with everything you should be checking during a move. This checklist below outlines some of the most commonly forgotten details. Once you take care of these items, your move will be even easier!

Notifying People of Your New Address:

In the era of digital everything, it is easy to forget about those companies and services that still rely on your physical address. Make sure you notify these companies and services as they won’t automatically know that you’re moving.

  • Your Employer. Even if you are staying local and won’t be switching jobs, it’s important to update your company with your new address so that they can send you your W2 and other job related documents.
  • Financials (Credit Cards, Banks, Investments, and Bills). Keeping your addresses updated with all your financial institutions is important. Not only do many loans, banks, and investments rely on physical mail to send you tax forms and due dates, you don’t want a stranger getting your personal financial correspondence. You should also update government services such as Social Security and the IRS of your move.
  • Subscriptions. During the move, you probably won’t have the time to read all your favorite magazines and newspapers, but having them delivered to your new address will have you feeling at home even sooner! Change your address so you won’t be paying a stranger’s magazine bill. If you get your prescriptions refilled through the mail, make sure you update your local pharmacy as well.
  • Organizations, Friends, and Family. Are you a member of an organization? AAA? College Alumni Network? Charity? Organizations you are a part of will likely want to reach you. Update your address so you don’t miss out on important updates.
  • Mail Forwarding. Changing addresses with each company individually will help make your move less rocky and keep important deadlines from being missed. However, there will likely be someone who will still send mail to your old address. Setting up a mail forwarding service with your local post office can help catch those letters that didn’t get the memo that you moved. Mail forwarding services don’t last forever, though, so they are not a replacement for updating your mailing address.
  • Your Veterinarian. Let your vet know that you are moving so that you still get notices about vaccines and check-ups. Also keep in mind that moving is a stressful time for pets, so it’s a good idea to get a check-up with your vet before and after your move.

Insurance and Fees:

Just like all of the services and companies above, you’ll need to inform your insurance company about your move. Remember, changing addresses may change your insurance rates. If you are moving around the block, your rates may not change, but home and auto insurance rates depend on location.
If you are moving across state lines, you might have to change health insurance companies as well, because many health insurance providers are state specific.
A new city or state will mean different taxes, laws, licenses, and registrations than your current locale requires.

Utilities:

Moving to a new address will also require setting up new gas, electricity, internet, water, and sanitation services. If you are staying local, you might just be able to change over your address and keep your existing utility accounts open. In cases where you can’t keep the same services and accounts, moving your utilities will be a two-fold operation. First, you will have to cancel your existing utilities so that you are not paying for the next tenant’s electricity (make sure that that the cancellation date is effective the date you move out, as you don’t want your services to stop before you leave). You will also have to set up utility services at your new address. Keep in mind that some utilities can take up to two weeks to set-up and start, so call ahead of your move so you have internet and electricity as soon as you get to your new address.

As always, if you need help with your move, you can talk to your friends at Elite Moving & Storage!