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By Jennifer E. O'Brien - Kansas City StarMarch 19th 2006
If there is one thing Americans excel at, it is acquiring stuff. When facing an impending move, though, having a large knickknack collection or china service for 20 suddenly loses its appeal.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 40 million Americans moved in 2002 and 2003. That makes for a lot of wineglasses to wrap and boxes to label.
No matter how you cut it, moving is stressful. Here are some tips to help make your next move less stressful and more organized:
Hire a mover. There are four levels of moving: local, which is charged hourly; and intrastate, interstate and international, which are charged by weight. Get at least three in-home estimates before hiring someone, advises Mark Motler, general manager of Mabey’s Moving and Storage in East Greenbush, N.Y. While companies might offer Internet or phone estimates, Motler thinks a face-to-face estimate is best. When the movers come to give you an estimate, they not only get to see the furniture they’ll need to move, but they also will determine how to navigate basement stairs and whether the driveway is wide enough for a truck.
Ask prospective movers whether there are materials they will not move (chemicals, plants etc.) so you can make other plans, and whether some large items might require special packaging.
Motler cautions consumers making long-distance moves to be wary of “rogue movers.” These companies often give cheap phone or Internet quotes. “They’re brokers who don’t have their own trucks or men,” Motler says. When it comes time to deliver the consumer’s belongings, they have been known to charge twice as much as the original quote and refuse delivery until they receive the money.
Check the calendar. Hire a mover early on to increase your chances of being able to move on your chosen date — especially in summer. There is a reason it’s called peak time.
There is a lot to do when moving. Print blank calendars to keep track of moving responsibilities. Along with packing, you’ll need to complete change-of-address cards, change utilities, cancel subscriptions, etc. Cross off items as you go, so you feel like you’re accomplishing something.
Start purging. Before filling boxes, assess what you have and what you can get rid of, suggests Barry Izsak, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers and author of Organize Your Garage in No Time. Izsak is a Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist (CRTS) and a move coordinator in Austin, Texas.
Izsak’s company, Arranging It All, organizes moves and relocations and specializes in moving seniors. “Why pay to pack and move things that are no longer useful or important to you? Make a clean sweep through the house and you will be amazed at how much you can donate, give away or sell,” Izsak says.
Pack it up. This is the biggest task involved with a move, which might explain why some homeowners leave it to the last minute. The No. 1 mistake people make is not being prepared the morning of the move. If the movers have to wait while you finish sealing and labeling boxes, it will make for a longer (and more expensive) day.
When it’s packing time, be sure to have plenty of bubble wrap, sealing tape, newsprint, markers and boxes on hand. Most people get overwhelmed at just the thought of packing their entire house, so Izsak suggests starting with items that you don’t use each day, such as holiday decorations, books and fine china. Good rooms to start in are the dining room, guest room or living room.
While bubble wrap is great for delicate items, it can become costly. Izsak suggests being creative with your packing materials: Towels, pillows, blankets and throw rugs can do the job. Wrapped items can then be put inside harder containers such as waste baskets, tissue holders or decorative boxes before being packed in a box.
Little time? Label! Properly label your boxes with a list of the contents and the rooms in which they should be placed, Izsak says. If movers know where your boxes are supposed to go, it will save you from moving misplaced boxes. And be specific. For example, “tall brown bookcase” will be much more helpful than “books.”
Last on, first off. Consider what items they will need immediately — medicines, toiletries, linens, garbage bags, light bulbs, flashlight, phone books, pet food, aspirin. Make sure this box is the last item packed so it will be easy to retrieve. Also make sure that tools are handy for reassembling beds and other items.
Don’t rush. You can move items only so quickly, and to keep things safe and intact, it is best not to rush the movers. Depending on the time of year, you’ll want to make sure movers have access to the doors and entrances they need. During inclement weather, movers should put down floor runners to protect your floors or rugs.
You moved what? If you hire professional packers, be sure you have emptied wastebaskets, or they will be packed, garbage included, Izsak says. “One family’s shipment arrived, and the house began to smell almost immediately. It took us several days to find that the movers had packed the disposable diaper pail,” he says.
Arranging it AllSM is owned and operated by a Certified Professional Organizer® (CPO®) and a Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist (CRTS).
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