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Make a list.

Before you pack anything, create a simple record keeping system.  Make sure to write down everything.  When describing the box contents, be specific so you know exactly the contents.  For example, knives instead of kitchen items. Give each room in the new house a number so when items are moved there, they can be placed in the appropriate areas.

Color coordinate.

Designate a color for each room in the new home. Apply colored stickers on the box and near the box number on your list. In your new home, put a matching sticker on the door to each room. The movers will know where to put everything when they arrive at the destination. It’s also helpful to post a big sign on the wall in the room where you want boxes stacked to keep them out of furniture and traffic areas.

Have plenty of supplies.

You will probably need more boxes than you think, and having enough boxes will make life a lot easier.  If you buy your boxes from a moving company, you can possibly return unused boxes for a refund. If you got them free from the grocery, just toss any leftovers. Have about 10 boxes set aside to use for last minute items on moving day, such as bedding, clothing, and cleaning supplies. Remember; don’t make the boxes too heavy to lift.

You will also need strong plastic packing tape to close up the boxes securely. Use unprinted newsprint (newspaper can stain your items), packing paper, bubble wrap or linens to wrap and cushion items in the boxes that might need it.

Keep things together.

Insist on keeping things together when you or the movers are packing boxes, such as keep extension cords with appliances and bookends with books. Small, loose parts can be attached to the item they belong to with tape or placed in small envelopes.  As a backup, have a “Parts Box” and fill it with cables, cords, parts, pieces, brackets, or nails that are removed from any items of furniture. Keep this box with you, or mark it well with a rainbow of colored stickers so it can be easily located on move-in day.

Pack ahead.

Anything you can pack ahead will save you time on moving day.

Consolidate cleaning supplies.

If you must clean your old place after moving out, put together a kit of basic cleaning supplies and rags. Clean anything possible ahead of time and if possible, vacuum each room as movers empty it.

Use your luggage.

Fill luggage and duffle bags with clothing, sheets, towels, and paper goods.

Safeguard valued items.

It’s a good idea to keep valuable possessions, such as jewelry, silverware, collections, or antiques, with you. Check your homeowner’s insurance to see how you are covered during the move, and if you need additional insurance from the mover. Also, find out what paperwork (receipts, appraisals, and photos) you might need to file a claim in case of loss.

Keep important papers with you.

Your list of “important” papers might include: birth certificates, school records, mover estimates, new job contacts, utility company numbers, recent bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, realtor info, maps, and more. Don’t leave these with the mover, always keep them with you.