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A little planning can save you a lot of hassle when you move.
There's no doubt about it. Moving takes a fair amount of work, and there are multiple details to remember. At the same time, moving can be an exciting adventure, full of possibilities.
Here are a few suggestions to help you work through the details, along with a six-week schedule of what to do and when to do it. Your circumstances may vary, of course, but these tips can put you on your way to a smooth move.
 

SIX WEEKS BEFORE MOVING:
Complete a change-of-address form at the post office, effective on your moving day. As bills and magazines come in, send in the change-of-address forms. Some magazines now offer a toll-free subscriber number where you can call the change in.
Keep a file of important papers you'll need over the course of the move. You can use a portable plastic file cabinet, an accordion file or a three-ring binder with pocket dividers to group items by category. Be sure to keep all your receipts. You may be able to deduct moving expenses from your taxes.
Call at least three moving companies for estimates, and check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints. The peak months for moving companies are May through September, so plan accordingly if your move is scheduled for the summer.
Call the chamber of commerce in your new city for a new resident information package. Most chambers or Realtors offer one, and you'll find it to be an invaluable resource when settling into your new home.
 

FIVE WEEKS:
Choose the moving company and confirm the date for your move. You can save money by packing items yourself. If the movers are doing the packing, they generally come the day before your move.
Get rid of everything you don't need or won't ever use again. Clean out closets, cabinets, garage, attic and basement. Have a big garage sale or donate anything you don't want to charity. Be sure to save the receipts from any donations to deduct from your taxes.
Make an inventory of your valuable household items. Include an estimate of their value and when purchased if possible. Many insurance agents recommend photo or video records as well.
Start packing the items you won't be using before you move, such as books, off-season clothes, tools and yard equipment. You don't want to live with moving boxes all over for the next few weeks, so designate a spare room or the garage for storing them.
Consider shipping some items such as glass or valuables by registered mail or UPS; it may be cheaper than putting them in a moving van.
 

FOUR WEEKS:
Get your financial, legal and other affairs in order. You can handle some of these items on your own, but for more complicated matters, you're better off consulting with an attorney, insurance agent, accountant, and/or your Realtor. The trouble you'll save is well worth the money you'll spend on professional assistance.

Financial items that may require your attention include:
Closing out utility service at your old home and setting up service in your new one.
Transferring bank accounts and credit cards. If you have investments with a national firm, ask your broker for a contact in your new city.
Transferring polices for homeowner, automobile, medical and life insurance. Your current agent should be able to refer you to an agent in your new city.
Making arrangements for transferring wills, trusts and other financial or legal documents you may have in a safe deposit box.
Have your pets examined by your veterinarian and get any necessary shots. Pick up their records as well, and ask your vet for a referral in your new city if possible. If you're flying to your new home, check with the airline about any traveling restrictions for animals. Some states have quarantine restrictions on pets.
 

THREE WEEKS:
Pick up your medical and dental records as well as your children's school transcripts. Ask you doctor and dentist for a referral, if available, in your new city
Fill any prescription you might have. Ask your doctor for a copy of the prescription you can take to the pharmacist in your new city.
Pick up any items you've dropped off to be repaired. Also pick up any dry cleaning or items on layaway.
 

TWO WEEKS:
Go back to your list of address changes. Be sure you've notified everyone.
Map out your route if you're driving to your new city, and make motel reservations for your trip along the way. Don't plan to drive more than 400 miles per day, especially if you have small children or animals. Collect games and books for the drive to keep your kids occupied, and have your car serviced.
If you're flying to your new city, make your reservations. Most airlines have restrictions on changes or refunds. If you choose the lowest fare, you won't be able to change your tickets later on if you need to.
Check the owner's manual on your major appliances to see if they need service.
Start saying good-bye to friends and neighbors and verify their addresses for writing letters. The last few days in your old house will go quickly, and you may not have a chance to see them again before your leave.
Try to use up the food in your kitchen before you move.
Return any library books or other items you may have borrowed. Be sure to get back any items you've loaned out.
Arrange to send children to a friend's house on moving day if possible. It will keep them out of the way and give them a chance to say good-bye.
Stop your newspaper subscription effective on your moving day.
Call the utility companies to schedule turning off service the day after you move.
Arrange to have utilities turned on in your new home the day before you're scheduled to arrive.
Drain the oil and gasoline from your lawn mower and other gas powered tools into an approved container.
 

THE DAY BEFORE YOU MOVE:
Pack a box of essential items such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, canned or dry food and light bulbs for easy access when you arrive at your new home. Load this box with personal items in your car.
Go to the bank and close out your account or, if possible, transfer your account to a bank in your new city. Get traveler's checks for the trip as well as a cashier's check for the closing on your new house if necessary. You may also need a cashier's check to pay the movers because some do not accept personal checks.
Finish packing any kitchen, bathroom, or personal items.
 

MOVING DAY:
Strip the beds if they haven't already been dismantled. Pack the dirty linens in a box to be washed when you arrive at your new home.
Mark the contents of your boxes and the rooms they go in before they're loaded into the moving van.
Be available to the movers if they have questions, but try to stay out of their way. Check the inventory carefully.
Make sure the movers have your new address and phone number and give them a map to your new house. Also give them the number of a friend or relative with whom they can leave a message if necessary while you're en route.
Check all rooms, closets, cupboards and drawers for items you may have forgotten. Check the attic, basement and garage as well.
Empty the trash, and borrow a broom, or vacuum cleaner from a neighbor to pick up any remaining debris.
If you're leaving any appliances behind, leave the owner's manuals and warranty information with them. Leave your new address as well so the new owner can send any of your mail that isn't forwarded.
Give the house a final check. Leave the key and garage door opener with the neighbor, Realtor or other designated party.
 

WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR NEW HOME:
Try to arrive at your new home early, at least a day before the moving van comes.
Make sure the utilities are connected.
Unpack the box of essential items. Clean anything that needs it before the movers arrive with the rest of your things.
When the movers arrive, give them a floor plan sketch to indicate where you want furniture placed.
Check items off the inventory list as they are unpacked. Check for any damage before signing a receipt.
After the movers have finished unpacking, start putting everything else away. Take your time and put things where they're most convenient.
Settle in and enjoy your new home!
 

LET'S MAKE MOVING EASIER:
If you're considering a move, your Realtor can help you market your current home and negotiate the best available selling price. And if you're moving to a new city, he can refer you to an agent who can find the home that's just right for your family. Call your Realtor to start your move off right.

Making a Move Don't Forget About Your Checks

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