17 Tips for Packing Like a Pro

Moving to a new home can be stressful, to say the least. Make it easy on yourself by planning far in advance and making sure you’ve covered all the bases.

  1. Plan ahead by organizing and budgeting. Develop a master “to do” list so you won’t forget something critical on moving day, and create an estimate of moving costs. (A moving calculator is available at REALTOR.com)
  2. Sort and get rid of things you no longer want or need. Have a garage sale, donate to a charity, or recycle.
  3. But don’t throw out everything. If your inclination is to just toss it, you're probably right. However, it's possible to go overboard in the heat of the moment. Ask yourself how frequently you use an item and how you’d feel if you no longer had it. That will eliminate regrets after the move.
  4. Pack similar items together. Put toys with toys, kitchen utensils with kitchen utensils. It will make your life easier when it's time to unpack.
  5. Decide what, if anything, you plan to move on your own. Precious items such as family photos, valuable breakables, or must-haves during the move should probably stay with you. Don't forget to keep a "necessities" bag with tissues, snacks, and other items you'll need that day.
  6. Remember, most movers won’t take plants. If you don't want to leave them behind, you should plan on moving them yourself.
  7. Use the right box for the item. Loose items are prone to breakage.
  8. Put heavy items in small boxes so they’re easier to lift. Keep the weight of each box under 50 pounds, if possible.
  9. Don’t over-pack boxes. It increases the likelihood that items inside the box will break.
  10. Wrap every fragile item separately and pad bottom and sides of boxes. If necessary, purchase bubble-wrap or other packing materials from moving stores.
  11. Label every box on all sides. You never know how they’ll be stacked and you don’t want to have to move other boxes aside to find out what’s there.
  12. Use color-coded labels to indicate which room each item should go in. Color-code a floor plan for your new house to help movers.
  13. Keep your moving documents together in a file. Include important phone numbers, driver’s name, and moving van number. Also keep your address book handy.
  14. Print out a map and directions for movers. Make several copies, and highlight the route. Include your cell phone number on the map. You don’t want movers to get lost! Also make copies for friends or family who are lending a hand on moving day.
  15. Back up your computer files before moving your computer. Keep the backup in a safe place, preferably at an off-site location.
  16. Inspect each box and all furniture for damage as soon as it arrives.
  17. Make arrangements for small children and pets. Moving can be stressful and emotional. Kids can help organize their things and pack boxes ahead of time, but, if possible, it might be best to spare them from the moving-day madness.
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Any time there’s a major change, whether it’s going into a relationship, getting out of a relationship, moving to a new city, a death -- that usually provides a catalyst for an explosion of creativity. ~Lucinda Williams

The Surprising Things Your Movers Won’t Move

Let’s face it: Moving companies can be lifesavers. They’ll carry everything you own, they can handle three flights of stairs, they don’t flinch at bad weather, and they’ll move you any distance. Hey, is there anything they won’t do?

Well, yes, actually. Movers draw the line on certain things, and if you don’t know about it ahead of time you might end up out of luck on moving day. So here’s a handy no-go list.

Hazardous materials

OK, it may not come as a surprise, but “federal law bans moving companies from transporting hazardous materials,” says Lindsey Schaibly, operations coordinator of Two Men and a Truck, a franchised moving company based in Lansing, MI. This is probably a good thing.

That list includes the obvious things like propane tanks, gasoline tanks, and ammunition, but it also includes some things you might not expect.

According to Atlas Van Lines, these items can’t go on the truck:

  • Car batteries
  • Charcoal
  • Darkroom chemicals
  • Batteries
  • Nail polish
  • Scuba tanks
  • Liquid bleach

If you do have anything hazardous—or even vaguely toxic—your best bet is to dispose of it properly before you move and restock once you’ve landed at your new place.

Household plants

If you’ve invested in potted plants, brace yourself—this might sting a little.

“Plants are tricky,” says James Sullivan, president of Humboldt Storage & Moving ofCanton, MA.

While a few moving companies might be willing to toss a plant or two on the back of the truck for a short move, most won’t allow any on local moves. And that goes double for intrastate and cross-continental moves. You may just have to bite the bullet and transport your cherished domestic vegetation yourself.

“Some states are really sensitive about plants,” Sullivan says. “Officials are afraid of bringing in bugs or other problems into the state.”

Food and pantry items

When it comes to all that stuff clogging up your pantry, there’s a simple rule: Nonperishable foodstuff can be transported but perishable items are a strict no, Schaibly says.

Keep in mind that anything open is considered perishable, no matter what the expiration date is. So it’s better to play it safe and pack only sealed food with a long shelf life—like canned vegetables, boxed cereals, and jarred spices.

Outdoor equipment

Lawn and pool equipment can quickly become a source of stress on moving day.

Generally, any pool paraphernalia  that could pose a danger—such as acid or other treatment chemicals—will have to be disposed of. Same goes for weed killer and other pesticides. However, you can move the actual equipment—such as your lawn mower or generator—as long as you plan ahead.

“We ask customers to remove as much gasoline from engines as possible before we can move the item,” Sullivan says (rather sensibly).

Rickety or scary stairs

Once you’re packed, there are still a few potential snags to watch for. Most moving companies will do anything they can to move you, but everyone has limits.

“Each mover is probably a little different,” Sullivan says. “But we do everything we can to get a customer moved in, even if we have to hoist furniture over the balcony.”

But don’t expect that to be the norm. Many moving companies won’t risk rickety stairs, tight spiral staircases, or narrow balcony walkways. Trust us, we know this from experience! If you know your new place might pose a problem, tell the movers about it ahead of time.

Remember: Companies can simply decline to move you, even if you’re scheduled to move that day. It’s better to play it safe and be honest about any potential problems beforehand than to be stuck without a mover on moving day. Come clean: You’ll thank us later.

 

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Legal disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While The Yeatman Team of Ebby Halliday Realtors has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources,  The Yeatman Team of Ebby Halliday Realtors makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on TheYeatmanTeam.com.

Any legal or other information found here, on TheYeatmanTeam.com, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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