Pizza and beer are classics, but why not go the extra mile when thanking friends and family for being awesome moving helpers. We’re sharing our favorite ideas.

We’ve all been on both sides of the moving equations: the person moving and the moving helper.

Both experiences can usher in emotions of dread because everyone knows that moving is hard and one’s time is a precious thing.

Whether you’re moving to another country, just down the road, or putting your belongings in storage for a few months, having friends as moving helpers is usually the least expensive method.

But how to repay them for the favor?

The classic approach is with beer and pizza.  It makes sense, of course.  People like beer and pizza, they’re relatively inexpensive, and easy to have around while moving boxes from one place to another.

And it doesn’t take that much thought.  However, the entire point of the beer and pizza is to show appreciation, of which requires thought, specificity, and being genuine

So, Here are 10 OTHER ways to say thank you to your moving helpers

1) Be the Designated Driver

Now in the world of Lyft and Uber, the designated driver role has taken the proverbial backseat.

But don’t forget that both services cost money, especially if traveling considerable distances.  This is a good option when you and your moving helpers are going to a sporting event or concert in a city an hour away.

2) Gift Cards

Who doesn’t like gift cards?

It’s more thoughtful than straight cash and makes the exchange feel less like business.  The key here is to select a gift card that you know the friend will use.

3) IOUs

Repay your moving helper with your time.

Does your friend have a dog or kids?  Offer to watch the dog when your friend is out of town, or to babysit so your friend can have a night out.

This not only saves your friend money but can help grow your friendship. After all, you are caring for something that is near and dear to your friend.

After all, you are caring for something that is near and dear to your friend.

4)  Fun Experience

Unless your friend really loves moving boxes, the experience is way more of a favor to you than a commentary on your moving helper likes to spend time.

Fun experiences can provide memories, learning, and strengthen friendships.  The are also found to be greater sources of happiness than buying things.

Consider:

  • hosting a brewery tour around the city
  • organizing a bike outing around an unfamiliar part of the city
  • cooking and hosting a meal
  • getting tickets to a concert, sporting event, or museum exhibit

5) Handwritten Thank You Note

Consider the following: You helped your friend move last Saturday. It took most of the day, and while the weather was good, you were wiped out all of Sunday with exhaustion.

Today you received:

  1. a) a text message that said, “Thx for helping me move.”
  2. b) an email that said, “Thanks again for helping last Saturday.  I owe ya.”
  3. c) a handwritten note in the mail giving thanks, mentioning how helpful it was to have your expertise in Tetris for getting all of those boxes in the storage unit, and how the sender can’t wait to meet the girl you were talking about.

Which one would you appreciate more?  Which one would make you said, “yes” the next time the sender asked for a favor?

6) Let Your Friends Go Shopping

Now this probably sounds a little funny, but considering that there are more self-storage units than McDonald’s restaurants, it’s likely you might be moving things in or out of a storage unit.

Storage units can be treasure troves of long-forgotten items.  And while you might not find the need for ALL of your belongings, your friends might.

And, there is nothing more annoying than being a moving helper, only to find out that afterward he or she got rid of things you spent time and sweat moving.

Before your friends show up, go through your belongings and identify which items you don’t want and will not be moving with you.

Lay the items out so they can be easily seen, dust them off, and offer them up for no charge.  If something remains after your friends have left, then you can try to turn it into cash.

7) Clean House!

Well, clean their house.

Cleaning the house is a chore on everyone’s list, but the people who enjoy it are few and far between.

In order to make this a success, though, you must keep in mind that one’s house is a very idiosyncratic thing that people take seriously: where things go, what ‘clean’ means, and some people just don’t like others seeing their mess.

So before you show up with a broom and mop, ask:

  • if this is something your friend is interested in
  • which rooms would be okay to clean
  • what products are acceptable
  • what time and date are best

Your friend spent valuable time helping you move houses, perhaps a perfect thank you is to help them tidy up theirs.

8) Pay it Forward

This is hopefully an obvious one, but when your friend comes calling for you to help them move, your answer should be a quick and enthusiastic, “Yes!”

Short of the birth of your child, a funeral, or wedding, you have to show up.

And, to do one better? Offer to come over early to help pack and label boxes.

9) Offer a Place to Stay

If you’re moving to a new city, invite your friend to visit and stay with you as you show them the best there is to see and do.

Leading up to the move, you can send tourist links, pictures, and facts about your new city to entice them visit.

10) Be Prepared

It might not feel like you’re giving a gift, but it is actually the one your friend will appreciate the most.  When your friend arrives on the day of the move, you should:

  • have everything already packed and labeled
  • have the appropriate amount of people there to do the job efficiently and safely
  • bring water, food, and music
  • have a plan for how to load the truck, storage container, or car
  • make a good guess of when people can expect to be finished
  • have an understanding of what your friends’ strengths are and their physical capacities
  • remember to introduce people.

So next time you’re on the move and enlisting the help of your friends, step it up and go beyond just beer and pizza!