"Smooth Move"--Tips and Techniques to Make Your Move as Painless
Whether you are moving around the block, across the country or
just packing Junior off to college, the entire moving experience
is one of the most difficult events of modern living. According
to Joe Harrison, president of the American Moving and Storage
Association, "Research tells us that moving is usually one of
the most stressful events in a person's life, ranked as high as
the death of a loved one or a divorce." Moving is tiring,
complex, and costly.
Despite the excessive stress and the high costs, Americans are
on the move! In the year 2000, about 120 million Americans over
the age of five--46 percent of us--lived in a different home
than they did in 1995, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report.
The reasons for moving are about as numerous as the number of
people who move. It could be for lack of space in the old
apartment, a job transfer, college graduation, starting a
different career, a new marriage (or divorce), or a desire to be
closer to relatives. Surprisingly, a recent study found that
number three on the list of reasons to move was to "get away
from family and relatives."
Whatever the reason, an estimated 1.4 to 1.6 million American
household moves take place each year, and although most go
smoothly, a significant number of others do not. The U.S.
Department of Transportation receives about 4,000 complaints
each year from people who charge that moving companies
The single most important thing you can do to make the
transition go as smoothly as possible is to PLAN, PLAN, PLAN.
Make a schedule--you can get a free "moving calendar" from many
sites on the Web--and stick with it. Preparation, organization
and forethought will help you minimize the headaches and allow
you to complete your move with your sanity intact.
If you decide to hire a professional moving company, it can be
nerve-racking trying to find the one you can trust to move your
household valuables. Tip--make sure you give yourself enough
time to choose and retain a reliable mover. The major
professional moving companies are busy, especially during the
summer months when a majority of the moves are made. Consumer
Reports recommends allowing six to eight weeks to get the van in
your yard on time. The American Moving and Storage Association
reports that some companies offer discounts for moves made
between October and April--the slow months. Ask your moving
company for details.
Once the moving company is under contract, it's time to pare
down your belongings. There's no sense moving things you don't
really want or need. Question the value of your belongings. As
you pack your house to move, ask which items are personally
valuable to you--sentimentally, aesthetically, or monetarily.
Give your possessions the two year test. Attics, closets and
basements are widely-known "black holes" that collect stuff you
don't use but just can't seem to throw out. Do you really need
to haul that never-used, three-year-old salad shooter to your
new home? Discard things that are broken or beyond repair. Hold
a garage sale to get rid of the rest (and make some money to
help pay for the move), and haul the unsold "goodies" to the
charity of your choice (get a receipt for a tax deductible
Order your packing supplies online or from your local mover.
These include: strong packing boxes, bubble wrap, ink-free
packing paper (not newspaper for your delicate items), wardrobe
boxes (not garbage sacks), strapping tape, broad-tip markers to
label your boxes, and a knife or scissors to open boxes on the
Pack one room at a time, thus keeping similar things together.
Label the room on the outside of the box. Pack boxes firmly,
protect fragile objects and try to keep each box less than 50
pounds. Keep an inventory of your boxes and the contents.
Let the kids help pack up their room and give them special
attention as they deal with their fears of leaving friends and
familiar surroundings. Let them write their name on their boxes.
Pack their rooms last so their break in routine is as minimal as
possible, and let them pick out a favorite toy to carry with
Important tip--Use Form 8822 to inform the IRS of your new
mailing address. If the IRS sends a notice to you at your old
address, any delays caused by mail being forwarded may mean that
you will miss important IRS deadlines and may have penalities to