Moving Tips: Plan, Prepare, Save


You no longer need to stress about moving. The Oak Parker is here to help you take the right steps to ease the many challenges leading up to the big day. We recently sat down with industry expert, Kevin Keleher of Kolovitz Movers, for tips to help you plan, budget, and save on your next move.

Keleher knows all about moving and all about Oak Park. He is a long time Oak Parker, OPRFHS class of ‘69. After serving in the military he moved back to his hometown and joined the moving industry where through years of experience, he became quite the expert. How long have you been in the moving industry, and how did you get started?

KK: I have worked as a mover for about 40 years. Kolovitz Movers was started by a fellow Oak Parker and I went to work for him. About 20 years ago I purchased the business. What is the first step to plan a move?

KK: Decide what you want to move. I specialize in local moves; and local movers charge by time, not weight. If you have access to your new place, you can move a lot yourself and save yourself money and time the day of the move. What is the best way to get an estimate/budget for a move?

KK: Be prepared, ready to go. Minimize what we have to do for you. If you can disassemble beds, take care of that yourself. We will walk through and give as accurate of an estimate as we can. However, if we come in and you are still packing, or if you have packed poorly, that will affect the cost. If your boxes have stuff coming out the top, we can only carry that one box at a time. But if your boxes are sealed and have a moderate weight, we can stack boxes and the move goes a lot faster. Also, if you are still packing, you are not ready. People underestimate how long it takes to pack the last few items. Don’t pay us to watch you pack. How can people save on the costs of a move?

KK: Purchase packing supplies like tape, bubble wrap, and boxes at big home stores. Movers won’t insure anything they didn’t pack themselves, but it is more expensive to have us pack for you, including the cost of the boxes we must use. If there is a reason to pay us to pack, you still have the option to choose to only have some items professionally packed. If you are worried about dishes, then just have us pack the kitchen. Remember, we have to treat every item with care. You might know that an ashtray is not a big deal, but for all we know it could be special to you. So if you are not concerned about an item being insured, pack it yourself. What are some things that can affect the cost of the move?

KK: There are a lot of factors. Parking can affect cost. If I have to park further away, that takes time which adds cost. A person might have a studio, but it is not the number of rooms that makes the difference, it is the amount of stuff. Stairs also add cost; an elevator would be quicker and quicker is less expensive. How much time does it take to prepare for a move?

KK: You can’t over prepare. First you need time to sort, decide what you want to take, sell, or leave—that can take longer than the actual packing. Then you have to carve out the time to pack. Six months might be right for someone in a house, but maybe someone in an apartment could take care of things in two months. It is important to build in extra time because things happen. If your child gets sick, you might not be able to pack for a week. Do you have any moving horror stories, and tips on how to avoid them?

KK: People don’t prepare well for downsizing. They try to fit all their stuff from a bigger home into a smaller home. You should really take care of that in the sorting process and realize what you can’t take. Once again it is lack of preparation. I can’t tell you how many times we walk in and it looks like the person just woke up and decided to move that day. Kolovitz Movers offers full-pack. Is there a guide for knowing when you need that service?

KK: If it has to be insured, you should have it professionally packed. Keep in mind that a full-pack can double the cost of a move; so even if you hire us to pack, you can save money by packing and moving items that don’t need to be handled with as much care. For the items you pack yourself, keep in mind that trucks ride rougher than cars so you need to do a good job. Okay can you give me a step by step short guide for a move?

  1. Movers are paid by the hour so: BE READY TO MOVE!!
  2. If you are still packing moving day, you are NOT ready.
  3. Moving is stressful, but keep your wits. For example: Don’t ignore logic by packing boxes that are impossible to move.
  4. Remember that if you save the movers time, you save yourself money.
  5. Be available at BOTH locations. Don’t disappear, we will not know where to place things.
  6. Be patient. You may move once every few years, but the mover does it every day.
  7. Try to relax and trust us to do our job. We are professionals. Do you have any extra tips?

Since we pack items in a certain order, be sure to clear off flat surfaces like tables, dressers, and desks. Sometimes people pack everything, except a few items on, say, a dresser, but we might need to load the dresser in the truck first. A clean surface may not seem like a big deal, but if you do this instead of having a mover do it, this step can save you a lot of time and money.

Keleher says most of his business comes from referrals. Kolovitz Movers has two trucks and a group of ten steady employees including two of Keleher’s sons. Keleher feels that having a steady team, some who have been with him for 25 years, adds to the level of expertise and professionalism at Kolovitz Movers.


Kolovitz Movers is a local Oak Park business. You can reach Kevin M. Keleher at (708) 383-5567 or

By Tina Levy

Photo by Heather Weaver