Top 10 Time-Saving Tips for Your Move

Use these pointers to make your next move fast, efficient and hassle-free.

1: Make a moving schedule.

Starting 60 days before your move, use a week-by-week checklist to keep the process on track. The tasks to accomplish further from moving day might seem trivial now, but staying on schedule will help you avoid last minute headaches. Time will be at a premium on the days right before your move, so be diligent in checking off these tasks.

2: Hire a quality moving company.

Resist the temptation to hire a company who offers you a too-good-to-be-true rate. An unreliable mover will cost you time and money in the long run if you have to replace any lost belongings. Check out the company's credentials with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

3: Pare down your possessions.

If an item isn't enhancing your life or won't be necessary in your new environment, don't waste time packing it. Notorious clutter items -- such as unread books, unfinished projects and half-empty cleaning products -- are especially worthy of being left behind. Hold a garage sale, or give away the unwanted stuff to your friends and family.

4: Pack like a pro.

Come up with a packing system so all of your boxes end up in the right rooms when they get to your new home. One option is to buy a box of magic markers and create a "color code" system for your movers -- red-labeled boxes for the living room, blue for the kitchen, etc. On moving day, draw a floor plan of your home with each room labeled and hang it somewhere the movers can easily see it.

5: Make the house move-out ready.

Most movers won't disconnect anything that's hard-wired into your house, so unplug appliances and lighting fixtures if you're taking them with you. Make sure all paths are clear from your house to the moving truck. You can also help out your movers and speed up the process by knowing the ground rules for what they will and won't move -- movers won't touch flammable items, perishable foods or plants.

6: Stock up on packing supplies.

Avoid the dilemma of running out of packing tape the morning of your move by having plenty of supplies on hand. Early on in your moving process, start gathering boxes, tape, bubble wrap, newsprint, box cutters and markers. You can also save time and the environment by packing with materials you already have. Load up your suitcases and plastic containers and use pillows, scarves and towels to protect fragile items.

7: Pack a moving survival kit.

Don't throw everyday essentials in with your other belongings, only to have to dig through boxes later searching for your ID or your medications. Instead, pack a "last-to-go" box with all of the necessities -- toiletries, snacks, important documents and the like -- and keep it with you rather than on the moving truck.

8: Spruce up your home before moving your belongings in.

It's easier to clean, paint and make other improvements while your home is still empty. Before you haul in your furniture and boxes, vacuum, dust the baseboards, wash the kitchen and bathroom floors, and paint the walls.

9: Map out your floor plan.

Give your back a break by deciding how you want to arrange your furniture before moving it into the house. The best way to do this is to make newspaper cutouts of the furniture. Measure the dimensions of the item and tape together newspaper pages to match the "footprint" of the furniture. This allows you to easily try out several floor plans without repeatedly reshuffling your furniture.

10: Change your address and notify companies before you move.

Filling out a change of address form before you skip town can prevent major hassles like past-due bills, service lapses and even identity theft. Prior to your move, you should also schedule dates to discontinue your utilities, phone, cable and Internet and arrange for these services at your new address. Several new services even let you save time by doing all your utilities hookups online.

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