First steps to take to get what you’re owed.

By Craig Offman
Updated September 17, 2004
Request that presents be sent to loved ones with large basements. More important, register only for things you adore and want to incorporate into your life right away. Know, however, that most companies maintain registries for up to two years after the last logged activity, so friends and family may rely on it for future gifts, which may keep showing up at your chosen location. Another option that requires no space: registering for donations (to those in need, not for your own house fund). Check out, which helps you register for donations to charities such as UNICEF and the Sierra Club. At, you can register for global charities or ones closer to home.
Peter LaMastro

The good news is the "white glove" movers you hired didn't drop your carefully packed box of Grandma's china. The bad news is they lost it.

What should happen: File a loss or damage claim with the moving company as soon as you discover the problem. (Numbering your boxes and making a list of their contents will make it easier to check that everything has arrived safely.) But beware: No matter how precious the dishes are to you, a moving company is obliged to reimburse you only for their monetary value―not for your emotional distress. And that, alas, doesn't amount to much: If you haven't taken advantage of a mover's additional insurance policy, the basic reimbursement rate is 60 cents a pound. (Check your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy to see if it covers household goods while they're in transit.) To avoid conflict, movers will often replace items that can be replaced, says Scott Ferree, president of the Illinois Movers and Warehouseman's Association―that is, dishes from Pottery Barn, not one-of-a-kind heirlooms.

If you're getting the runaround: The American Moving and Storage Association suggests a dispute-resolution program offered through the National Arbitration Forum for AMSA-affiliated movers. (For further details, go to and look under "resources.") The minimum charge is $225 per party, although some moving companies will pay the fee.

Learn how to find a reliable mover; read 12 Steps to Hiring a Mover.

Feeling overwhelmed by your upcoming move? Get organized with the Moving Checklist.