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Moving Tips

  • Clear out items you have been meaning to get rid of – hold a garage sale if need be.
  • Get rid of flammables – paint, petrol, gas cylinders.
  • Empty fuel from mowers, clippers, trimmers and so on.
  • Separate books – disposable, family reading, valuable.
  • Check all electrical goods – will they work in the new home?
  • Start making up your change of address list.
  • Arrange to have mail forwarded.
  • Arrange date for electricity, gas, oil, telephone and other main suppliers to be switched off.
  • If you have children, separate the cherished toys to travel with you.
  • Round up personal documentation – marriage/birth certificates, driving licenses and so on.
  • Keep passports separate so they are not packed if moving out of the country.
  • Items that should not go in the van are any type of personal valuable, i.e. cash, jewelry, important papers or furs. These things should go with you.
  • With regards to family pets- make sure vaccinations and documentation are up to date.
  • Will your new home be ready? If not, you need to arrange for temporary storage.
  • Find out where the shops, schools, theaters, etc… – it’s never too early to find out about what’s around your new home.
  • Arrange your finances – close or transfer bank accounts, savings accounts and so on, if necessary.
  • If you’re among thousands of people who have picked up and moved their family to a new home or a new community, you have fresh memories of some of the ups and downs or thrills or frustrations of moving.

Drawing from personal experience, we know there are lots of ways to help make your household move easier and smoother. Read below for help to get your life, and your possessions, organized for a peaceful and exciting move.

Make a list.
Write everything down! You’ll thank yourself later. Before you pack even one box, create a simple record keeping system. Create a computer-printed list of numbers with a space to write the contents.

Or have a spiral-bound notebook for the job. You’ll place a number on EVERY box you pack and list the contents on your list. Don’t put the list down unless it’s in a place you’ll call Packing Central. This is where you’ll find your labels, marking pens, box tape, and other supplies. When describing the box contents, be specific — “A-D files” is better than “files”, and “Tulip dishes” rather than “misc. kitchen”.

Have plenty of supplies.
Don’t make us say this twice– you’ll need LOTS of boxes–probably more boxes than you think, and having enough boxes will make your life easier! (If you buy your boxes from a moving company, you can always return unused boxes for a refund. If you got them free from the grocery, just toss any leftovers.) Have about 10 boxes set aside to use for last minute items on moving day, such as bedding, clothing, and cleaning supplies. You’ll need strong plastic packing tape to close up the boxes securely. Use unprinted newsprint (newspaper can stain your items) or packing paper or bubble wrap to wrap and cushion household goods. Again, you’ll need lots more supplies than you think, so get extra so the packing can go smoothly. Return any unused supplies after the truck is packed.

Utilize wardrobe boxes.
These tall boxes are perfect for bulky, lightweight items such as comforters, pillows, and blankets, as well as clothes that need to remain hanging. Call your mover to ask the width of the wardrobe boxes they’ll be bringing. Then measure the clothes in your closets (including coat closets) to see how many wardrobe boxes you’ll need. You can also use them for closet storage boxes, shoe boxes, and other bulky items such as fabric bolts, large baskets, or gift wrap tubes. Make sure not to make the boxes too heavy to lift. Packed boxes should weigh less than 50 pounds.

Strategize wardrobe box use.
Moving companies will be happy to deliver boxes ahead of your moving day. Or if you’re doing the move yourself, get things organized as early as possible. A few days before your move, fill some sturdy handled shopping bags with bulky closet items such as shoes, sweaters, belts, and jeans. On moving day, fill the bottom of the wardrobe boxes with some of the shopping bags, and then add your hanging clothing. Pack hanging items tightly so things won’t move around and fall off of hangers. Finally, cover the shoulders of your clothes (a dry cleaning bag works well), then add a few purses or sweaters on top. You’ll have fewer boxes, and closet items remain together. Also, the shopping bags will make it easier to retrieve your belongings from the bottoms of a tall wardrobe box.

Color coordinate.
Designate a color for each room in the new home, such as yellow for kitchen, orange for dining room, etc. Apply colored stickers on the box near the box number. In your new home, put a matching sticker on the door to each room. The movers will know where to put everything when they arrive at your home. It’s also helpful to post a big sign on the wall in the room where you want boxes stacked, (“Boxes here please”) to keep them out of furniture and traffic areas.

Keep things together.
Insist on keeping things together when you or the movers are packing boxes. Keep bookends with books, light bulbs with lamps, and extension cords with appliances. Small, loose parts can be attached to the item they belong to with tape or placed in small envelopes — to keep picture hooks with pictures, shelf brackets with a bookcase, a special wrench and bolts with the wall unit. Keep larger corresponding items (such as a cable TV cord) in Ziplock bags, and tape these to the underside or back of the item. As a backup, have a “Parts Box” open on the kitchen counter and fill it with cables, cords, parts, pieces, brackets, or nails that are removed from any items of furniture. Keep this box with you, or mark it well with a rainbow of colored stickers so it can be easily located on move-in day.

Pack ahead.
Anything you can pack ahead will save you time on moving day. If it’s summer, get your winter clothes out of the way. You don’t really need 5 radios or TV’s around your house for the last few days there. Box up your shampoo and extra toothpaste and live out of a travel cosmetic case for the last week or two. Pare down cooking utensils and food supplies to bare essentials. Wastebaskets can also be packed (put things in them!) while you switch to using plastic grocery bags (hang them on a cabinet door or door handle to collect trash.)

Consolidate cleaning supplies.
If you must clean your old place after moving out, put together a kit of basic cleaning supplies and rags. Clean anything possible ahead of time (the inside of kitchen cupboards, the oven, windows, etc.), and if possible, vacuum each room as movers empty it.

Use your luggage.
Fill luggage and duffle bags with clothing, sheets, towels, and paper goods. Even for local moves you’ll be able to quickly spot your navy suitcase holding your favorite sweaters, whereas “Box #189” might remain elusive for days.

Safeguard valued items.
It’s a good idea to keep valuable possessions, such as silverware, collections, jewelry or antiques, with you. If you have a long move and no room in your car, bury the items in a box titled “Misc. from kitchen pantry”.

Keep important papers with you.
Your list of “important” papers might include: birth certificates, school records, mover estimates, new job contacts, utility company numbers, recent bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, realtor info, maps, and more. Don’t leave these with the mover. Keep them with you!

Personal boxes.
Use brightly colored storage tote boxes, one for each person. Let each family member fill theirs with items they’ll want ‘right away’ in the new home — a set of sheets, a towel, a couple of extension cords, a phone, nightlights, address book, pens and paper, keys, kleenex, and travel cosmetic case, and so on.

Gas-powered Items
These items are usually an odd shape, heavy and awkward – not easily packable. To prepare these items for moving, drain them of all harmful liquids. This includes oil and gas from lawn mowers, weed whackers and chain saws.

• Purchase protective covers for chain saws, lawn mower blades and grills.
• Remove all attachments and pack these separately in well-protected boxes. Label them accordingly.
• Remove and empty propane tanks from barbecue grills and purge the hose thoroughly. Make sure lids and all parts are secured.

Collect all tools that are the same length and secure them together using strong plastic tabs or cord.

Keep small tools in the toolbox. For tools that do not fit or if you do not have a toolbox, use a strong box and pack the items well to ensure they don’t shift during the move.

Use bubble wrap, old rags or linens to protect any sharp edges or blades before you pack them. If you’re packing sharp-edged tools in a box, make sure you properly label it to make sure whoever is unpacking the items is aware of the contents.

Lawn and Deck Furniture
Clean furniture and dismantle it as much as possible, including umbrella from the table, table legs, and any glass table tops. Place chair padding in a separate box or clear garbage bags that can be used to cushion other items on the moving truck.

Wash down the umbrella, let it dry then collapse it and use a mattress bag to wrap it. Secure the plastic bag by winding packing tape around it. If you prefer, bundle the umbrella with other same-sized tools.

Cars and other Motorized Vehicles
Check with your mover to see what the best way is to move your vehicle. Most people opt to drive it or use a car carrier.

For all other motorized items, check with your mover for moving options. This includes a boat, Jet Ski, skidoo, motorcycle, etc.

Children’s Stuff and Outdoor Equipment
Dismantle all swing sets, slides and climbing apparatus. Keep bolts, screws and other small parts in a strong, clear plastic bag. Secure this to one of the larger pieces of equipment or store it in a box that is properly labeled. If the equipment seems complicated, write down the steps you’re taking to dismantle it so when you go to set it back up again, you can read your instructions backwards to reassemble it.

For long distance moves, it’s best to box bicycles to ensure they aren’t bent during the move. Contact your local bus or train service and ask for bicycle boxes. If you’re using a moving company, they can also provide you with information on where to obtain these specialized boxes.

For satellite disconnection or TV antennas, contact the dealer or company who did the initial installation. Ask for packing instructions and reassembling information.

Planters, Pots and Bedding
If you’re moving out of state, check to see if plants can move with you. If you’re moving locally, ask your moving company how they prefer to move potted outdoor plants. There are several ways of transferring bedding plants.

If you cannot move potted plants, give them to a neighbor or friend. If you want to keep the pot, transfer the plant, then pack the pot as you would any fragile item. Wrap it well then place it in a box. Planters can be stacked one inside another, just as you would with plates and bowls. Just make sure the box does not get too heavy.

For large planters or planter boxes, clean them thoroughly and if appropriate, mark them as heavy items.

Moving may not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but planning ahead will go a long way toward making the process bearable. Feel free to give us a call with any questions you may have about moving.