Moving, and all its attendant chores, may be inevitable. But the accompanying sense of chaos, while common, isn't necessary. This schedule outlines essential tasks, both large and small, that need to be addressed and allows several weeks for you to tend to the details (although everything can be accomplished in far less time). As you prepare, don't overlook the simplest way to ease your burden: Consider which belongings you really need to keep. A lighter load means not only an easier move, but less to unpack.
Ask friends for recommendations and get quotes from three licensed companies. On-site estimates tend to be more accurate, whether pricing is by weight and distance or a flat or hourly rate. Decide if the movers or you will pack (regardless, you may want to wrap fragile or costly items yourself). Ask if the quote is binding or nonbinding, what charges could arise, and what insurance is included. If necessary, contact your insurance company for additional coverage. Request a copy of the signed contract.
Stock up on moving supplies, including boxes, box cutters, tape (packing, masking, and blue painter's), tape dispensers, wrapping material (bubble, plastic, and tissue paper), and labels. If in doubt, purchase extra; you can return any unused products. Wardrobe boxes, with built-in bars for hangers, can transport clothing as well as light fixtures. Used boxes from bookstores, which are built to carry compact but heavy loads, are excellent for most other items.
Box infrequently used items, including the contents of the garage, the attic, and other storage areas, as well as out-of-season clothing, holiday decorations, books, and special-occasion dishware. Number the boxes, and keep track of the contents on a master inventory list. Try to limit each box's weight to enable easy lifting. Fill large boxes with pillows and other light things, and reserve smaller boxes for your heavier possessions. Always reinforce the bottoms with packing tape. Secure fragile objects with cushioned packaging material and painter's tape, which releases easily. Pack electronics and small appliances in their original packaging or in snugly fitting boxes.
Pack your day-to-day necessities so that they're together in one place, including bedding, towels, toiletries, toilet paper, basic tools, cleaning supplies, medications, a camera (to document anything broken in transit), snacks, a few dishes and utensils, and a coffeepot -- plus coffee and mugs. Take the box with you in your car.
A few tricks can help make your move more manageable, ensuring your belongings will travel safely and easily from one home to the next.
If your moving boxes don't have pre-punched grips, make a set of your own. Using a box cutter, create inverted triangles on opposite sides of an empty box. The top edge of each triangle should be wide enough to accommodate all hand sizes. Take care not to overpack your boxes, as they'll be more difficult to maneuver, with or without handles.
Download our moving labels, and print them onto self-adhesive paper. Write your name and the box's contents on each label. Assign a color to every room, and mark the boxes with coordinating stickers so you and the movers will know where each one should go. When coding furniture, be mindful where you affix stickers.
Make a masking-tape X across mirrors and framed artwork. While this technique won't prevent shattering, it will help absorb shock and hold the glass in the frame should the item be dropped. Pack objects in a tightly fitting box clearly marked "fragile" on all sides. Make sure the corners are well padded, so the objects won't slide around.
When transporting anything with doors or drawers, such as bureaus, cabinets, or large appliances, wind a few layers of plastic wrap around the item to secure it. This eliminates the need for tape, which can damage delicate surfaces, and helps safeguard against scratches. Plastic wrap can also protect upholstered furniture against dirt.
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