With an average of 11 “residence changes” during their lifetimes, most Americans have considerable experience packing up, moving out, and then settling in again.
Make your next move your best move with a few tips to preserve your patience, your money and your back.
Begin to “sort and purge” about two months before a move. Go from room to room and decide what can be thrown away. Single out valuables and fragile items for special packing or extra insurance coverage. Keep track of everything - estimates, receipts, and a detailed inventory list.
Six weeks before the move, order supplies and plan logistics. Take measurements to make sure furniture fits through narrow spaces. Label contents and destination of each box. Label anything you’ll need right away as “essential.”
One week, before, finish general packing. Pack suitcases with clothes for the next few days. The sooner things are in place, the better.
While taking stock, determine the size of the truck or van needed. Draw up final plans. Determine the order of items moved out, and the order they will be place in the van. A plan for placing the same items in “target” home can really speed up the job.
Tools of the trade:
Many heavy items should only be lifted by trained professionals. Try towels or cardboard to help slide these across floors.
One of the most underused and unappreciated tools in the world is the simple moving dolly, or hand truck. Some have a pair of auxiliary wheels on the handles to help tote items up or down stairs. Many larger items require the assistance of one or two other people for guidance.
A hand truck can be used to move tall, lightweight items, like dressers or filing cabinets, but it’s usually more practical to carry them.
Shoulder straps are another terrific tool of the moving industry. Also called or “hump straps,” they rely on leverage and large muscle groups, leaving movers’ hands free to maneuver items. They also take the strain off the back. They can be tricky on stairs because the weight is shifted almost entirely to the person on the downhill side.
With two people, carry tall items at an angle to center weight. The carrying angle should match the angle of a set of standard stairs.
Take a tip from the moving experts, and always set a couch on one end before moving it through a door. Use a tarp to protect the side of the couch if outside or in the garage. Setting the couch on end gives a true sense of how long it is. If it is taller than the doorway, slant the high part away from the door to gain a few inches of clearance.
Point the seat toward the side of the door without the hinges and use the shape of the seat to “hook” the couch through if it won’t slide through easily.
No matter what you decide to do, save all your receipts, and make sure to claim your moving costs (if possible) on your tax return.