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Practical Tips to Make Moving Easier

Aug 8, 2008
Practical Tips to Make Moving Easier

From packing to keeping track of pets, kids, and valuable items, moving day can be an absolute nightmare from start to finish. It doesn't have to be, however--use these eleven practical tips to take the stress out of your next move, and start enjoying your new home sooner.

The Earlier you Start, the Better off You'll Be on Moving Day

Organization starts well in advance of moving day--and the earlier you start, the smoother your move will be. Two months before you plan to move, make a "plan of attack" and get most of the major decisions made, such as whether you'll hire a moving company or rent a truck and drive it yourself. Other important points to consider include whether you'll need to hire storage space, have someone drive your car (if you're going to drive a moving truck, for example), or arrange to have your pets transported to your new location by air. You'll also need to plan for some time after the movers come to clean up your old home and make it ready for the new owners - this always takes way more time than any of my clients anticipate. Remember often times vacuums, brooms, dustpans and cleaning supplies get packed up in the frenzy to move it to the new home. Don't forget you'll need to plan what to keep behind or borrow from a friend if necessary. Hire a cleaning company if time doesn't permit you to do it yourselves.

Next up, you'll need to organize a packing system--before you pack even one single box. A good packing system is particularly important if you're planning to move the contents of a home, and you'll be glad you made the effort when it comes time to unpack. Your system should include a unique designation for each box you pack, a way of identifying which room a box belongs in, and a master list on which you list the contents of each box. A system like this means you'll know where every box should be in the new house, and help you track down any items which unfortunately sometime go missing.

The next item to think about is packing materials. It pays not to skimp here, especially when it comes to packing valuable or breakable items. It might be tempting to grab old boxes from the grocery store, but spending a few dollars on boxes from a moving company will keep your possessions that much safer. You can make the whole process trouble-free by ordering online, and many companies will let you return unused boxes for a full refund, so you won't need to pay for anything you don't use.

Smart Packing Makes for Easy Unpacking

When it comes to packing, you can never start too early. Obviously there are items you won't want to pack more than a few days in advance of the move, but there's plenty that can be packed a month or more beforehand. Items such as out-of-season clothing, extra appliances or electronics can easily be packed up and ready to go ahead of time. Also take down photos and patch up walls way ahead of time...on moving day with making sure everything gets on the truck and cleaning, there is too much going on to leave this until then.

This is also a great time to downsize, and get rid of any items that you no longer use. Donate or sell old clothing, toys, and other items, and you'll have less to pack and less to unpack.

When you do start packing, there are some smart packing techniques you can use to keep your breakables in good shape. Use smaller boxes rather than larger ones, for example--that reduces the weight and means they're easier to handle. Pack boxes with heavy items at the bottom so lighter items aren't crushed, and use towels or sheets to wrap your breakable items to save space and money. Another good space and money saving technique is to pack clothing in your luggage or other bags, and to pack small items in the waste paper bins and plastic storage containers you use at home.

Another tip that will save you plenty of time and reduce your stress when unpacking is to pack like items together. Pack books and bookends, extension cords, power strips and appliances together, for example. Put picture hooks or screws in an envelope or Ziploc bag and tape to the item they belong with, and you won't have to go hunting for them in the new house.

Finally, pack everything you consider valuable--from jewelry to passports, birth certificates, and prescription medicines--together in a small, strong box and keep it with you when you move. This is also a good place to store contact details for utility companies in your new location, as well as maps and phone lists for other important contacts.

Last-Minute Moving Day Organization

Following all of these tips before moving day will go a very long way towards making it as stress-free as possible. Of course, there are a few more things you can do on the day itself to help keep things going smoothly.

Keeping track of kids and animals can definitely add to the stress, so it's a good idea to arrange for a relative or friend to take care of your children, and even your pets, on moving day. Have your children pick out some toys to keep them occupied on the day but make sure they don't choose anything with small parts which could get lost.

There will most likely be a few items you'll need to keep using right up to the last minute, as well as things you'll want immediately to hand when you arrive at the new house. Keep these stored in their own box, and take them with you in the car or load them into the moving truck last. Each family member can also pack a box with items they'll want to have on hand.

Finally--don't panic when you arrive at your new home and see how much work you still have left to do. Take a deep breath, and approach unpacking in an organized fashion, just as you have with packing and moving, and you'll find it much easier to deal with.
About the Author
Calum and Kathleen are Owners of Real Living Southern Homes a leading Tampa real estate company serving the Wesley Chapel real estate and Land O' Lakes real estate markets.
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