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Gotta move? Get organized first

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IT’S NOT TOO often that someone says “I love moving, and can’t wait to do it again!”

Whether it’s across the country or around the corner, moving can test yourorganizational prowess. According to the Census Bureau, some 16 million Americans will go through the upheaval of moving this year, and many of them over the summer months.

It is helpful to think of your move as a series of small steps, and not one major task. By breaking the move down into parts, you can manage the process and accomplish your mission with less overwhelming feelings.

The single most effective action you can take to make your move easier is to weed out your belongings. Now is the time to sort through books, clothes, toys, furnishings and household items. Get rid of anything you can live without. The less stuff there is to move, the less stuff to organize at the new place. You’ll also pay less to the moving company if your load is lighter.

Donate, sell, or toss
Call for a charity to pick-up your donations, have a garage sale to off-set the cost of moving, and/or call for a special pick-up for extra trash that accumulates as you clean out. (Many garbage companies offer an extra pick-up free.) Check out (mention Code 439643 for a $5 price deduction) to get the maximum fair market value of donations.

Notify the world
As you sort your daily mail, note who needs to be notified of your change of address. Obtain a change of address kit from the post office, and provide your new address to the post office. Most creditors can be notified by completing the change of address section on your statement. Be sure to notify magazines as soon as you know your forwarding address – they take 6 weeks or more to process. Here is a partial list of other people to notify:

•  Doctor and dentist
•  Veterinarian
•  School
•  Bank
•  Church
•  Newspaper
•  Insurance
•  DMV
•  Utility companies (arrange for disconnection/connection)
•  Friends
•  Employers

Get address labels that you can use for the above notifications. The fastest way to get these is to print them from your home computer. Back up your computer files in case of a technical disaster during the move.

Use up as much food from the refrigerator and freezer as you can. Save the Costco run until after the move. For local moves, pack perishables in a picnic cooler for transfer to the new refrigerator. Give the leftovers to neighbors and friends.

Get ready
If you’re using movers, ask friends for a recommendation, and then get two estimates. If moving yourself, arrange for helpers and a truck. Don’t try to go it alone — the moving process will be prolonged and exhaustion will affect your performance at work.

Work on one room at a time. Begin by packing items (such as china and out-of-season clothes) that you use least often. Think of the highest shelves and garage contents. As you pack, label the side of each box, indicating the general contents, so you can locate items even when the boxes are stacked. Write the name of the room that you would like the box placed in at the new location. To save on brown packing paper, use towels, sheets, and other linens to wrap dishes and other breakables. Useful packing supplies include:

•  Boxes
•  Packing tape
•  String
•  Note pad
•  Ziploc bags (for hardware when disassembling)
•  Felt tip markers
•  Scissors and box cutter
•  Basic tools such as a hammer and screwdriver

Make a floor plan of your new house for the movers, whether professionals or friends. A simple drawing showing the rooms and where you want furniture and labeled boxes placed will ease the unpacking process and save muscle.

The old place
Arrange to have your house maintained if not yet sold. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on the house, making sure that no flyers or other unexpected items sit outside, announcing that the house is empty. Place a timer on a light at the front of the house.

The big day
Have food/snacks for your family, friends and helpers on moving day. Make special arrangements for pets. The best might be a quiet room in the new location with water and food. For the children, have a relative or friend who is there just for the kids while you tend to the details of moving.

Make a survival box, including the essential items you need right away at the new house: medications, first aid kit, linens to make beds (or sleeping bags), towels, basic toiletries such as soap and toothpaste, toilet paper, special “lovey” toys for the kids, change of clothes, etc.

Recognize that your move is a major change, and it will take time to process and adjust. The silver lining of a move is getting a fresh start.