Save Time & Money By Preparing For Your Move

Preparing For The Move

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There are many small tasks that will help you prepare for your big move. If you can, start a month or more in advance.

  • Have a garage sale. Get rid of everything you don't need before you move.
  • Get organized now. Don't wait until the last minute. Make list of things you need to do and when.
  • Make sure you are ready for the packers and movers. Don't forget to do the laundry, wash the dishes, pack your suitcases, disconnect computers, stereos and VCRs.
  • Set aside those items that you will be taking with you and clearly mark them as Do Not Pack.
  • Arrange to close your accounts at your local bank and opens accounts in your new hometown.
  • Obtain a change-of-address kit from your post office or go to https://moversguide.usps.com
  • Drain the gas and oil from all your power equipment (lawnmower, edger, etc.)
  • Schedule house cleaning and other home services for the day after loading.
  • Have your utilities shut off the day after loading (gas, electric, telephone, etc)
  • Make your travel arrangements for the day after loading. In case of weather delays or other unforeseen problems, you wouldn't want to miss a flight or other travel related appointment.
  • Before the moving truck leaves for your destination, give the driver your phone numbers where you can be reached. It is also a good idea to get the driver's cell phone number.
  • When using a mover, remember that you are the customer and the boss. If you have any concerns at all, contact your move coordinator immediately.

Electronics

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Household electronics often require several components in order to work properly.  Lost cables and cords can make electronic devices unusable until the component is replaced, which can become costly if the component to replace is hard to find or manufacturer specific.

Confusion can be avoided by packing electronics one at a time, instead of all at once, especially if several devices occupy the same room.  As each device is unplugged and packed, each corresponding wire or cable that goes with the device should be wrapped and placed with the device in the same box.  If the device to be shipped isn’t going to be packed in a box, the device’s corresponding components can be placed in a plastic bag, labeled, and placed in another box of items going into the same room as the electronic device.  This way, when the moving truck is unpacked, the components necessary to make the devices work will be in one of the boxes that followed the device to the room it will be placed.

To make sure the tips of cables and wires don’t become damaged, they should be completely removed from the device before packing.  Left plugged in, connection pieces can become bent or broken if the device they are connected to jostles in transit.  Zip ties or rubber bands can be used to keep cables from becoming tangled, which can lead to a great deal of frustration when a person wants to use their electronics.   

If small personal electronics like cell phones and digital music players will be used by their owner while they travel to their destination, any corresponding wall chargers and docking cables should be carried close with the device at all times.  A backpack or messenger bag works great as a carry-on or travel case for those who want to use their personal electronics as much as possible during their trip..

Packing A Room

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You can save a lot of money by doing the packing yourself. That's why knowing how to pack a room like a pro is so important.

The most efficient way to pack a room is to start with a plan. Set up an area in the center of the room and keep your boxes and materials nearby so they are easily accessible. Pick a starting point and begin packing in a clockwise direction. Packing is a tedious process, but having a plan can greatly improve your progress. Also, keep in mind that packing is a science. Make sure to put heavier items on the bottom of each box with more delicate at the top. Using the right sized box is essential in order to avoid storing too much weight in one box or ending up with too much empty space.

Be sure to take every precaution to keep your possessions secure during transit. Line your box with padding material—newspapers, bubble wrap, etc—Place your item several inches below one corner and fold it over so the item is covered. Fold the item over so the backside is exposed. Wrap a side corner over, turn it over and wrap the other side corner over. Repeat this process until the item is adequately protected.

Labeling is one of the most important parts of packing. It not only helps to keep track of the items being loaded, but it helps when it is time to unload and unpack in your new home. Labeling each box with both its contents and the room it came from will help you be sure what’s in each box and where it’s supposed to go. This type of organization makes moves much less strenuous.

Source: Jon Nunan, http://www.servicemagic.com/article.show.Moving-How-to-Pack-a-Room.12079.html

Kitchen

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The kitchen is probably the hardest room you'll  have to pack, with all its small items, and drawers and cupboards, there's just so much stuff to sort through. So use this guide and take each task, step by step, to make sure you get everything sorted, packed and ready for when the movers arrive.

Sort, Select and Simplify

Before you move, select those items you're taking with you and remove the items you're leaving behind.

Make sure you have "homes" for the things you won't be taking and check that you're not moving items that shouldn't be packed. Go through each cupboard and drawer and be very selective. Donate items to shelters, food banks, have a garage sale or give useable items to friends.

Prepare an Essentials Box

Put aside the things you'll need for your last two days in your current home and the first two days in your new home, including dishes, cutlery, food items, appliances (coffee maker/toaster), dishtowel, dishcloth, cleaner, soap, etc.

Collect Packing Materials

For a family-sized kitchen, you'll need the following:

  • 5 Large Boxes (18 x 18 x 24): For lightweight and hard to pack items such as plastic kitchenware, dish racks, small appliances, baking tins.
  • 10 Medium Boxes (18 x 18 x 16): For heavier items such as small appliances, pantry items, pots and pans, silverware, contents of drawers, cookbooks.
  • 5 Heavy Duty Boxes (18 x 18 x 28): These have thick, double-walls, perfect for packing fragile items, such as plates, glasses, stemware, wine and canisters.
  • Unprinted Newswrap: To pack fragile items, including food items, small appliances. Purchase a 4-5 lbs bundle.
  • 5-10 Cell Kits (18 x 18): Cell kits are extremely useful for packing glasses, stemware, wine and liquor bottles. I've also used them to pack figurines, vases, and canisters. Check the sizes of your cell kits to ensure they'll fit into the boxes you have.
  • Packing/Sealing Tape: Purchase in bulk as you'll need it for packing all your rooms.
  • Marker labels: Again purchase enough so you can pack your entire house.

Pack Items Not Frequently Used

Start by packing those items in your cupboards and drawers that you don't use on a daily basis. It could include:

  • Vases, crystal
  • Food storage containers
  • Wine glasses,
  • Mixing bowls
  • Cookie sheets, pie pans
  • Small appliances, such as mixers, blenders, etc.
  • Cookbooks
  • Extra dish towels, dish cloths, and oven mitts
  • Special utensils, such as barbecue tongs, meat mallets, ladles, and spatulas.
  • Special-event dishes, such as serving plates, condiment dishes, cream and sugar containers, etc.
  • Pictures and wall hangings

Pack Wine, Liquor or Other Unopened Bottles

Wine and alcohol can be packed early on in the process. Select the bottles you plan on opening between now and the move, and pack the rest. Other items you may want to pack now are food items that are in glass bottles, but are still sealed, such as cooking oils, specialty oils, and fine vinegar. Remember, ask yourself if the weight of each item is worth the cost of moving it. For items such as aged olive oils, balsamic vinegar or truffle oil, it's worth the cost of moving.

Pack Drawers and Shelves

Start with the messiest drawer. Get rid of extra items or items you no longer use. Rule of thumb: if you haven't used it in the last 6 months, don't move it.

Pack the cutlery drawer, keeping only one set per family member. These sets will be kept in your essentials box.

If you still need to pack your cookbooks, do it now. Remember to pack books flat to prevent bending the spines. Place the books in the box according to preference; keep the books most used on top. If there's a book you'd like to include in your Essentials Box, keep it out. Just make sure you only set aside one. Your Essentials Box should be only for the most critical items.

Pack Dishes

Put together the cell boxes for glasses and stemware. Take your time with this step, ensuring items are packed well. It is also the time to pack plates and bowls and any odds and ends.

Pack Pots and Pans

Keep at least one all-purpose pot for your essentials box. Pack the rest, including lids and crockery.

Pack the Pantry

The pantry should've been sorted by now, keeping only those items you want to move. Start with the spices then work your way to the larger items. Canned goods aren't worth moving unless you're moving yourself. Again, check the weight of each item and measure the cost to move it. Tape up any opened food packages and get rid of all perishables, including freezer items unless you're moving close-by.

Prepare Appliances

Make sure you properly prepare large appliances for your move. It should be done at least 24 hours in advance. Improper preparation can lead to gas leaks, broken parts, and appliances that won't work. Read the manuals, and if you're unsure of how to prepare them, call a professional.

Forbidden Items

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Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods include any material that is flammable, corrosive or explosive. Dangerous goods are considered unstable and illegal to move. If you have dangerous goods, call your local recycling pickup service, fire station or the closest EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) office to find out how you can properly dispose of these items. Or ask a neighbor or friend if they could use it. 

While this list is fairly exhaustive, make sure you ask your mover for a full list as some movers might move specific items if properly packed and marked or labeled.  For instance, some movers will carry your full propane tanks while other companies will refuse to move them. Best to ask to ensure there aren't any surprises on moving day.  

  • Acid
  • Sterno
  • Darkroom Chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Motor Oil
  • Gasoline
  • Charcoal
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Fertilizer
  • Paints
  • Car Batteries
  • Matches
  • Nail Polish & Remover
  • Ammunition
  • Liquid Bleach
  • Aerosols
  • Kerosene
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Chemistry Sets
  • Fireworks
  • Motor Oil
  • Paint Thinner
  • Batteries
  • Loaded Weapons
  • Weed Killer
  • Ammonia
  • Lamp Oil
  • Propane
  • Cleaning Fluid

Perishables

While perishables aren't dangerous, they can make a mess and cause damage to other items if not packed and stored properly.

If your move is local, proper packing and storage can enable you to take perishables with you. Just be careful with meat, eggs and dairy products. Spoiling can happen quickly even in colder temperatures.

If your move is to a new home far away, requiring a long distance move, dispose of all perishables. You may also want to find a new home for your plants especially if you're moving to another state or to another country.

Again, ask your movers about plants and how best to pack them if they agree to move them to your new home. You should also be aware of rules about moving to a new state. Often when I move, I take my plants with me in my car which means I can ensure they're packed properly and get to my new home without too many problems. 

Items of High Value

Now, high-value doesn't necessarily mean it has a high price value, rather it is sentimental or a "can't live without" item. I like to think of them as the "can't live without them" stuff, things that you might grab if racing out of the fire. As an aside, if we're moving any distance, I photocopy all important documents such as any identification, licenses, insurance records, etc... Just in case.

So when you're packing, please keep these in mind:

  • Personal Files (marriage license, passport, birth certificate, wills, insurance papers)
  • Home Movies or Personal Video Tapes
  • Address Books
  • Flight Tickets
  • Financial Statements
  • Photos
  • Photo Albums
  • Car Keys, house keys, safety box keys
  • Deeds
  • Tax Records
  • School Records
  • Check Books
  • Jewelry
  • Collections (art, coins, stamps, etc...)
  • Letters
  • Stocks
  • Computer Software
  • Computer Back-up Disks
  • Medicine
  • Children's artwork

After Your Move

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After the last box is moved into your new home, you might think the hardest part of the move is over. And you're right. But that doesn't mean there aren't things you need to do when you move once you're in the new space. In fact, there's a lot of stuff that needs to get done before you can relax completely. 

Check Major Appliances

If major appliances are moved, such as a stove, dishwasher, washer or dryer, TV check to make sure all appliances and electronics are working to ensure nothing was damaged during the move.

Your insurance policy has limited time in which to make a claim.

Check all Boxes and Furniture

Make sure you check all boxes and furniture to make sure nothing was damaged during the move. You should also make sure everything arrived and nothing was lost. You can do this by conducting a home inventory. Again, if you find your stuff was damaged at all, please contact us immediately. It's important to do this immediately upon moving in or the insurance company may not reimburse you.

Get Your Utilities Set Up

Before you can check your electronics, make sure all your services are up and running. There's nothing worse than arriving at your new place, late at night, and the lights don't work. Get more information on setting up utilities.

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