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The earlier you start, the better off you will be. Plan your move well in advance and set a timetable. Making all the arrangements within the limits of a reasonable time period will greatly ease pain and frustration.
• Prepare a checklist of your possessions. This will help you keep track of all the items that need to be packed, donated or sold in a garage sale and will allow you to monitor the progress you have made.
• Decide if you are going to rent a truck and do all the packing and unpacking yourself or if you are going to hire a moving company to do the “heinous” job for you! Anyone who has moved before knows that this process can be tedious and frustrating.
• Contact several moving companies and get bids on how much it would cost you to transport your belongings. If your move is job related, find out from your accountant which moving expenses are tax-deductible and which receipts you have to keep for proper accountability of expenditures. If you are using the services of a moving company, it is always a good idea to keep contact information available throughout the move. Problems may arise that would require the company to be informed. Do not forget to call the moving company a few days in advance to confirm that your truck will arrive at the correct time and place.
• Start packing your belongings as early as possible. Begin with items that are not used on a regular basis. This would probably mean packing first all the “valued possessions” stored in the attic, basement, garage, closets, etc. After organizing those, designate a day or two for each room in your house. This will allow you to pace yourself and be aware of the amount of work you have left. The perishable items in your cupboards should be last on your packing list. Of course frozen foods should not be transported.
• Make sure that you write the contents of each box on the outside of the box. You should also designate the future location of those particular items in your new home. This will help you sort through your belongings easily upon arrival and save you all the energy and hard work of moving boxes around from room to room. If you decide in advance where in your new home you will place your furniture and personal items and how you will arrange them, the truck can be loaded in an order that will allow removal one room at a time.
• Place your toiletries, several sheets and some towels in a separate box, along with any other items that will be needed as soon as you arrive at your new home. Otherwise, you will have to shuffle through numerous boxes to locate your most essential items.
• Stock up on moving coasters. They will be your best friend while moving and will tremendously alleviate back stress. Take extra care not to chip the corners of your furniture or scratch items while loading them on the truck. Some of your smaller and more valuable pieces could be covered with bubble wrap. Exercising care is about all that can be done for the larger items.
• Be sure to remove all bulbs from your light fixtures. Moving fragile items like lamps, chandeliers, computers, TVs and other electronic equipment has always been a challenge. Such items will need an extra layer of protection and no room for friction while in transit.
• Take extra care when packing your fragile and highly expensive items. Wrapping them in linens, towels or plain paper would be best. Newspapers are not recommended since they may leave ink imprints upon your belongings. Stack your pictures and plates vertically rather than horizontally to help prevent unwanted accidents. Be sure to pack both heavy and light items in each box. Use your best judgment regarding the weight a box could sustain without ripping open at the bottom.
• Have a special suitcase or bag to be carried with you for all your important documents, jewelry and other valuables. This will keep them handy and safe. Be sure to take a phone book of your current and new location if possible. Keep with you any important numbers and information that might be needed in case of an emergency. These should include your family doctor's name and number, contact information for relatives, your employer information, a list of prescription and/or over-the-counter medications you take, old and new address and phone number, etc.
• Separate all items that you do not really need and make an “honorable” contribution to your garbage can! You will be surprised how good it feels after you dispose of an item or two! It is probably a good time to part with all those “priceless family antiques” that have been occupying your attic for the past century. Make arrangements to donate those items to the less fortunate or simply have a family fun-filled “garage sale” fiesta!
• Wipe the interior of your refrigerator and make sure there is no moisture left on the inside walls and freezer or you would have a serious mold problem later. A little coffee or baking soda in a nylon bag inside your refrigerator will prevent any stale odors.
• Thoroughly clean your home after you have loaded all your belongings. You will be surprised how dirty your floors will be after the packing and moving ordeal. Go for a final walkthrough in the house. Check all rooms, closets, and cabinets for anything that might have been forgotten. Please check all water and gas valves, circuit breakers, smoke detectors, etc. It is better to be safe than sorry.
• Have a neighbor or friend watch your pets the day you are moving. The hustle and bustle of moving is a little too much commotion and unrest for your peace-loving animal friends! Arrange for a special carrier for your pets transportation that is large and high enough for freedom of movement. Many carriers allow only enough room for the pet to lie down and this would cause discomfort if a long trip is involved. It is imperative that your pets are never left alone in a vehicle. Temperatures could run extremely high in the summer or dangerously low in the winter.
• Move your plants in your car rather than in a truck with no light or ventilation. Remember to water them before putting them into the vehicle and have them in a shaded area if possible. Otherwise, the leaves may get badly scorched and withered.
• Remember to have some toys and games handy in your vehicle to keep your children entertained while on the move and when you first arrive. Involving children in the moving process is wise to a certain degree. Have them pack their own toys and clothes and unpack them in their new room. This will allow them to feel part of the team. Beyond that, it might be best if they are in a different room while all the loading and unloading is accomplished.
• Arrive at your new home with renewed courage and great expectations! After all you will have to go through the same ordeal twice… once while packing and then while unpacking. Sorry we could not make it easier on you! So get up, load it up, and buckle up.