It can take years to accumulate a home full of treasured belongings but only a matter of days to pack it all into boxes for a move. Packing up and moving require organization and planning. In fact, it can be the greatest test for a procrastinator – what seems like few belongings can take far longer and use more boxes than expected. The following tips can help keep your breakables intact, your pets safe, and make the whole process as efficient as possible.

Most people have at least a month’s notice before a move. During that time, there are a number of preparations that will make the move easier including the following:

If you have a pet and plan to take a flight to your new home, be sure to contact the airline early for information about vaccination requirements, tranquilizers and acceptable cages. Airlines have strict rules regarding pets and it is essential to be prepared in order to avoid delays.

Reserve a rental truck or make arrangements with a professional moving company. Remember to check out the company with the Better Business Bureau and get all quotes in writing. Check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to ensure your belongings are covered during the move.
If applicable, make travel arrangements with airlines, bus companies or car rental agencies.

Have a yard sale or give unneeded items to charity. Some charities will pick-up bagged or boxed items and may issue a donation receipt for tax purposes.

Ask your doctor and dentist for records, x-rays and prescription histories. Also be sure to get your prescriptions refilled before moving day.

Make a list of the companies that send you mail on a regular basis and provide them with a change of address. Arrange with the post office to have mail forwarded to your new address. Update the address on your magazine subscriptions with your new address. Notify your cable, telephone, power and water companies of your move. They can arrange to have your final bill prorated to the end of the month in order to close or transfer your account.

Take inventory of your belongings before they’re packed in the event you need to file an insurance claim later. Take pictures or videotape your belongings. Record the serial numbers of electronics and cameras.

Cut back on grocery shopping and start using up food items you already have so there will be less to pack. Start collecting boxes from grocery stores early – at the end of the month stores are usually flooded with requests for boxes.

If you are moving into an apartment building, be sure to reserve the elevator a few weeks in advance. The building manager will arrange a time with you when one elevator will be locked off for your use.

And the number one rule is…start packing early! Assign one room or corner of a room as the spot to pile boxes. Pack one or two boxes a day and pile them in the designated spot to avoid clutter and simplify moving day.

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