10 Tips for Your Next Move

From planning to packing, streamline your next move with these pointers.

Compare written in-home estimates. Movers have to come to your home to give you a truly reliable estimate, so skip estimates over the phone or internet. Get at least three in-home estimates and compare the prices. Usually, two of the estimates will be close in price, while one will be very high or low. Choose one of the median prices.

Don't save packing for the last minute. When you procrastinate on packing, you're more likely to pack things you don't need. Start a few weeks in advance, and create a separate box for items you no longer use. Sell these items at a yard sale or donate them to charity.

Stock up on packing materials. You'll need cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, newsprint, packing tape and markers. You can likely get some of these items for free from local businesses; most stores throw away boxes after they unload the contents.

Pack with materials you already have. For an eco-friendly and less expensive move, fill up your suitcases and plastic containers before packing cardboard boxes. Rather than bubble wrap or paper, use towels, pillowcases and other soft materials to wrap breakable items.

Keep a moving inventory. Label each box you pack with a number and the room where they belong. Then make a detailed list of each box's contents so you can make sure everything arrives safely.

Get the children involved. Let the kids make a smooth transition into their new home by keeping them informed and getting them involved in the moving process. If they are old enough, have them pack their own rooms and decorate their boxes.

Prepare a "load-last" box. Save one box for all items you'll want easy access to once you get to your new abode, like toiletries, medications, and sheets. Label this box "load last."

Take care of pets and plants. Make sure both get plenty of water and don't get too hot or cold. Pack your plants in open boxes and pad the sides with newspaper. Dogs should ride in the front seat with a window cracked so they don't get carsick.

Prep your new home before moving furniture in. It's easier to clean and paint the home while it's empty, so take care of this step before moving your belongings in.

Don't be overwhelmed by all those boxes. Once moving day is over and you're finally in your new home, unpacking can seem daunting. Tackle one room at a time, starting with the kitchen, which is the hub of most homes. Little by little, you'll get yourself settled into your new home.

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