Think today is too soon to get started? It isn't. Moving day will creep up on you, but a bit of pre-planning can save money and your sanity!
So how did all that stuff get in your house? It came in via little shopping bags. Start today by doing the process in reverse. Take a shopping bag and start shopping around your house. Pull out things that you haven't touched in the last year and drop them in the bag. Continue to go through the entire house in this method and leave everything you are keeping in place (Now is probably the time to start taking stock of how much you have to move and how many boxes you will need). Closets, those dens of piled clothes and tchotchkes, are probably best left for the weekend. A good rule of thumb for your clothing and shoes is: Out with everything that has not been worn for over a year.
Don't be clingy. This is your opportunity to make a clean break with those things of the past. Call your favorite charity and arrange for a free pick up! You will be amazed at how much better your current home looks without all that clutter. Double bonus: Your new home starts with a bit more organization and your donations can be a tax deduction.
Get a floor plan of your new home. If one isn't available take measurements and create your own. Spend a little time measuring your existing furniture and drawing it in the new space. Interior doorways are standard 32" in width - but be sure to double check. You may find that some of your existing furniture will not work in your new place. Better to find this out now before you have paid to move it. Keep your plan and use it to direct furniture placement on moving day.
Now that you're free from clutter and have a better grasp on the bigger pieces you'll be moving, get ready to discuss estimates for your move. And if you're relocating because of work, make sure you look into the company's fineprint. About a month before your move, (two months if moving during peak season - May through September - or two months if you are moving long distance) call for moving estimates. Avoid the phone book - the larger the advertisement the more that company depends on new business. Ask your friends, hairdresser, realtor, or the neighbor that just moved in. The obvious question is: Would they use this company again? Three estimates are standard and should give you a good idea of the costs involved.
Now, let's get packing. A few tips to ensure your things arrive in one piece:
- Many moving companies sell used boxes at a discount. Check for local recyclers, some smaller companies will deliver recycled materials to your door. A quick search on Craigslist might even help you score used moving boxes.
- Unprinted newsprint is your new best friend. Less expensive than bubble wrap, and better for the environment, paper is the choice of professionals. Scrunch it up and place in the bottom of boxes.
- To pack dishes and china, use unprinted newsprint to wrap each plate and stand them on edge. The weakest point of the plate is the center, so avoid stacking.
- Pack boxes full (but not too full) or use packing paper to completely fill the box to insure the box does not collapse when stacked.
- Art work should go from wall to box. Frames and glass are much more likely to be damaged if stacked around the house. Mirror boxes will hold about 3 framed large prints. Be sure to place a towel or packing paper between each one to prevent the frames from scratches by the hardware.
- Remove shades from lamps and pack separately. Screw the finials back on the lamp, and pack in a lamp carton, not with the shade. Place each shade in a large box.
- Do not ship your suitcases empty. Pack any you are not using for the trip with clothing to save space and boxes.