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Lay Your Plans

Timing is important. Ask your movers about reserving a date. Make lists for the schedule for notification of schools, employers, utilities, health care providers, banks etc of your move, new address and other details, for both the place your leaving AND the one you will be moving to.
Put together a list of all loans and other monthly payments you’ll need to make.

Check on your moving company

Look into whether your moving company provides insurance on your goods during the move. Check if they have a DOT license, and if you need to find out go to the Dept of Transportation. A mover without a DOT license should not be used. You can also see if they are listed with the BBB (Better Business Bureau).

Packing Up

Start collecting packing materials early. Newspapers, bubble wrap, plastic bags (bunched up, these make good shock absorbers between items), packing peanuts, and strong boxes all will be helpful. Or order these from the moving company. Similarly, emptying closets etc early and deciding what to keep and what to discard will make your move much simpler and more economical. Donate, sell on ebay or have a yard sale to dispose of anything you don’t want to move.

List the boxes you pack and label each with its contents. Pack with stout, heavy items on bottom and lighter things on top. If you use wardrobe boxes, make sure you pack them tightly to keep clothing on hangers from shifting, so they can be rehung quickly when unpacking.

What’s Not Allowed

Federal law prohibits moving companies from transporting several classes of items, plus some others also. These include flammables, explosives and corrosives. Liquids including laundry additives (bleach, ammonia), fuels, acids, pesticides, and poisons. Weapons, ammunition, fireworks, fertilizers; household and car batteries.

Most movers are unwilling to move your plants. It is illegal to move them across state lines; they will often die due to either heat or cold during a move, and cannot be packed efficiently.

The Most Important Stuff

As you plan and pack, reserve an area for the most valuable of your possessions. The larger things need to packed more carefully with the collaboration of your mover, with extra insurance if necessary. The smaller items you should pack and carry WITH you. These can include precious heirlooms and keepsakes, expensive small electronics (cell phones, laptops, ipods, gameboys), deeds, titles, financial documents, school and medical records, jewelry, photo albums or media with precious family memories (CDs and DVDs), and prescription drugs. Also a list of important emergency information about each person or pet.

Pets and children should be off the premises the day of the move – daycare or friends etc can be helpful here.