One of the biggest stresses in life can be a big move—the kind of move where boxes are stacked from the floor to the ceiling in multiple rooms filled with a lifetime
of possessions.

​The stress can be alarmingly elevated and a large family with many children is a task made even more daunting. Getting all that stuff you have accumulated over the years from one home to the next may seem like an overwhelming endeavor.

Below are some tips to help you come up with a solid strategy in advance of your moving day.

Change of Address

Get the incidentals taken care of first. Arranging your change of address requests sooner rather than later will save you from a headache or two. Change-of-address requests usually take some time, so filling out the forwarding form for the post office should immediately be followed by notifying your financial institutions, magazine publishers, and friends and family about your new location, even before you start your packing. Check out the Official USPS Change of Address here.


To-Do List

Avoid complications by sitting down and making yourself a list of the things you need to get done for your move. Checking off the items as you go will give you great satisfaction and more importantly, peace of mind. If you have children and animals to consider, a to-do list can be yet another stress-reducer. You would be well-advised to make your list in the order of priority by including deadlines. If you have or intend to get insurance for your possessions this is also a perfect opportunity to make an inventory of that which you want covered. This will also be handy for you when you later unpack everything—you’ll know you’re not missing anything. 

Be sure to add to your list any utility companies that need to be contacted for shut-off and turn-on at your new home. Also, do you have any items that need last minute fixing or services to cancel? Do you need to call an electrician, plumber or roofing company, or cancel cable, phone or security monitoring?

 
$ave Money

Moving is a lot of work and it can really add up. Think about the number of boxes you will need for all your stuff then tack on another 20 percent to be sure. You can save a lot by visiting your local appliance and department store to find used boxes, from small to large. But be careful, at supermarkets you would be well-advised to avoid boxes that had anything frozen in them; they may have water damage or left-over food residues. Many times your moving company will offer boxes at a discounted rate.


Plan Early

Obviously, you won’t be able match everything in your new home exactly the way it was before, but change is good! This is an opportunity for you to create your place from scratch and lighten your load of unused, unnecessary stuff you have accumulated over the years. Start by taking pictures of all your rooms before you start to empty out your old place. This will be helpful in aiding your unpacking process. Using properly labeled boxes and those pics, you will see how it all once worked and remember what is hidden in each. Remember to have pictures of those spider-webs of complicated electronic hook-ups to avoid a techie nightmare. You might even sketch out a floor plan for your new home, so you’re prepared with an even more detailed plan of action.
 

Plants

Don’t water anything you plan to take for 2-3 days before the move. Smaller plants can be put in boxes and moved in your car, while the big plants should be moved in their pots within a big box to avoid spilling their soil all over everything in the truck and on your personal items.

 
Hire the Pros!

And finally, if you don’t have the time or you just can’t stand the idea of lugging heavy things up and down stairs again and again, you should hire a professional moving company. Getting it done right will make life so much easier.

 
Tips for Moving Day

Don’t let time lapse before you start packing. It takes about 30 minutes to fill a box. That means that an average apartment can be packed up anywhere from 15-20 hours. If you have a single family home, you’re looking at almost 40 hours of work.

Make sure you have plenty of packing tape and felt pens ready for sealing and labeling all those boxes. Some of the info on the label should include what’s in the box, if it is fragile, and the room where the contents belong.

Pack up stuff you use the least first, like books. Leave the essentials until the end. A good idea is to pack a suitcase like you’re going away for a week on vacation. You may not be sipping pina coladas on the beach, but you also won’t be wondering where the toothbrush and toothpaste may be.

Make sure all the boxes are well-taped, both tops and bottoms, and double-tape cartons that contain the heavy items. Pack the heavy stuff on the bottom and the lighter things on top. Never put heavy things in with fragile items! Wrap paper and add cushioning like bubble wrap or peanuts between the layers of breakable items. Don’t just throw towels and linens in separate boxes; use them for packing as well.

Although your local movers will be helpful and willing to move whatever you have, they cannot always guarantee the safety of glass-framed pictures and artwork, lampshades, mirrors or your small electronic devices. Packing and moving companies sell bubble-wrap for the fragile things and you might request mirror boxes from them too.

Your mattresses can be wrapped in furniture pads, but specially-made boxes can be bought as well. Request that your movers wrap your furniture with shrink wrap for further protection.

Don’t forget to disassemble any particle board and pressed wood furniture before moving day; if you don’t, you may be making another visit to IKEA.


Finally

Complete all your packing before the crew arrives on moving day. Though you can make arrangements to have movers pack all your things for you, if you choose not to, then don’t be caught unprepared.

Reserve elevators, loading docks or parking areas as needed for the time necessary.
Also be there to direct the movers and answer questions. Use that floor plan you drew up. Tape it to the doors to show where everything should go to save you time and money.

Fred Craig is owner of Craig Van Lines, which has provided quality moving and storage services for both residential and commercial clients through four generations of the family. Craig Van Lines is proud to be a supplier member of the American Moving & Storage Association.

DON'T FORGET TO ADD THESE TO YOUR TO-DO LIST