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Secrets to a Successful Move

Planning to move this summer? You’re not alone — summer is the busiest time of year for professional movers, according to the American Moving and Storage Association. It’s an arduous process, but these tips will make your transition much smoother.

  • If you’re planning to use a moving company, call now. As busy as they are, they usually need plenty of notice — often at least six weeks or much more if you’re moving a long distance.

  • Be sure to build in some overlap between the closing/possession date of your new home and the last day of the lease on your rental (or closing date of your current home). Moving always takes much longer than you think. If you want to make any changes to your new home — for instance, paint some walls, put in new carpeting or refinish wood floors — plan enough time to do it BEFORE you move in so your furniture and belongings are not in the way.

  • Pare down your belongings. There’s no sense moving things you don’t need or want. Look through your house for rarely used items. Discard anything that’s beyond repair, have a yard sale to get rid of the rest, and plan to load unsold merchandise into your car right away so you can take it to the charity of your choice.

  • Make notes about your new house — room measurements, door measurements, location of electric/cable/phone outlets — so you can determine exactly where your belongings will go. Measure appliances to make sure they fit the space available. When I moved from Florida to Colorado, I measured my refrigerator’s width but not its depth. I hadn’t taken my new kitchen’s floor plan into consideration, and my fridge stuck out so far that I couldn’t open the dishwasher. I’ve also had friends who bought wonderful overstuffed furniture, only to find they couldn’t get it through the doorways of their new house.

  • If the previous homeowners are taking their curtains and blinds, you’ll want to measure windows in places you want privacy immediately (like bedrooms and bathrooms) and buy curtains or blinds before you arrive.

  • Start arranging now for phone and utility hookups. Phone companies, especially, now need a few days (or even a week or more) to get you connected. Arrange now for the type of internet connection you want (if it’s DSL or broadband rather than dial-up), and order extra phone jacks or cable outlets if you need them. Fill out a change of address form with the Post Office ( If you have automatic debits on your bank account, alert your creditors if you’re changing banks.

  • You can buy boxes and packing material from a moving company or other sources, but that can be expensive. Instead, ask grocery stores, electronics stores and office supply stores for their discarded boxes. They usually are large enough, sturdy enough — and free. Invest in a tape gun, and start saving up newspapers (ask your friends for theirs, too) so you’ll have plenty of packing material if you don’t want to buy bubble wrap.

  • Whether you use a mover or pack yourself, consider using a product like Pack-N-Label’s moving kit ( Your realtor may already have these kits available for you, or you can purchase them yourself for about $37. Dozens of preprinted labels for every room of the house provide an instant checklist of items; no more writing each item on the side of the box yourself. Labels are color-coded by room so your movers will instantly know where to take each box. The comprehensive kit also includes the IRS form for moving expenses, preprinted lists for taking a household inventory, as well as a sheet of moving and packing tips.

  • Be sure to pack a box of essentials — a telephone, a couple of changes of clothes, a few pots/pans/dishes/utensils, toiletries, medications — to get you through the first few days. Also, if your mover is late and there are items you couldn’t live without for a few days (like a computer, if you work from your home), consider taking that in your own car.

  • If using a mover, be sure to pack any small, nonbreakable, valuable items (such as jewelry) separately so you can take it with you in your own car. Large valuable items, such as artwork or electronics, should be clearly noted on the mover’s inventory form in case of damage during transit. Do buy insurance to cover any damage that may occur. (Note: movers generally will not insure anything that you pack yourself unless the box itself is missing.)

  • Take the time to record the makes, models and serial numbers of your electronics and other items in a notebook or on a sheet of paper. Put this information, along with owners’ manuals, extra keys, birth certificates, car titles, wills, insurance information, and other vital documents, in a special folder that you’ll keep with you. In your new home, find a place for this folder (or put it in a safety deposit box), so you’ll always know where these important papers are (and can easily grab it in case of a fire).

  • Clean as you pack. Unpacking is hard enough work without the added effort.

  • If you’re renting right now, be sure to clean your apartment or rental house so you don’t risk losing your security deposit.

  • Before you unpack, get a clean start by wiping out drawers and cupboards, sweeping out closets and solid-surface floors and vacuuming the carpets. Next, make up the beds and put towels in the bathrooms. Then you can take your time with the rest of the unpacking.

Enjoy your new home!

Written by Diane Benson Harrington for www.RealtyTimescom. Copyright