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Helpful Tips to Make Moving Easier

Whether you're moving across the street or across the country, moving can be a hassle. But there are proven ways to minimize stress, confusion and damage when you leave one home for another.  Here are some ways you can make the move easier:

Friends or professionals?  Make your arrangements in advance.
Whether you have friends to help you move or decide to hire professionals, make your arrangements several weeks ahead of time. Even a DIY move may mean renting a truck or arranging for short-term storage.

Start Packing Well in Advance.
Waiting until the last minute to pack is a recipe for disaster. Start with little-used, decorative and seasonal items, saving the functional "must-have" items to pack for the very end.

Sell or donate unused clothes and household items.
Moving is a great time to "clean house" by staging a garage sale, putting rarely-used items on Ebay or Craig's List, and making donations to your favorite charity. You'll not only end up with less to move, but you'll have some extra cash in hand as well.

Use clothes to wrap fragile items.
Bubble wrap is expensive. So use your clothes to wrap dishes and other breakables. Put glasswear inside clean socks.

Stack plates on their edges.
Speaking of dishes, if you're packing plates in a box, insert them vertically like vinyl records. They're a lot less likely to break that way.

Pack stemware glasses upside down.
Placing stemware upside down puts all the pressure on their large rims instead of their fragile stems.

Pack in layers.
When boxing up mis-matched items, pack in layers. Put the heaviest items on the bottom and the lighter ones on top. Put crushed paper on the bottom of each box for cushioning.

Make sure each box is packed solid.
Boxes shouldn't rattle and items shouldn't shift inside. Also, make sure each is sealed tightly.

Put your "first use" items in clear plastic bins.
The last items you pack will probably be the first ones you unpack. Pack these "first use" items in clear plastic bins so you know exactly what and where they are.

Mark each box by destination.
Put all kitchen items together. Likewise, pack living room items and bedroom items together. Mark each box accordingly. Using different color tape to color-code destinations will make it even easier to properly target the boxes when you reach your new home.

Number your boxes.
All done packing? Now number the all boxes and record the total. This way you'll know quickly if any box goes missing.

Vacuum seal clothing.
Buy vacuum seal packs for your clothes. Squeezing all the air out of your clothes will help you cut down on the number of suitcases/boxes/containers you have to transport.

Save your hardware.
You may need things like brackets, clamps, screws and other hardware for any curtain rods, mini-blinds, shelves, etc. that you're taking with you. Pack these in plastic ziploc bags and identify them clearly with an ink marker.

Photograph the backs of your electronics.
Re-wiring all your computers, televisions and sound systems will be a lot easier if you have a photographic guide that shows you which plugs go where.

File a "Change of Address" form with your local post office.
This is something you should do at least two weeks before you actually move.

Keep important papers with you.
If you have important documents like legal papers, addresses, contracts or passports,put them in a single envelope and carry it with you when you move.

Pack an overnight bag with all your personal essentials.
Even if you're just moving next door, you should have an overnight bag with all your personal items — and a fresh change of clothes — so you'll be ready to function the next day.