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Hints and tips for a stress-free move

Congratulations! You’re moving into your dream home. Or maybe you’re relocating for a new job. Or downsizing now that the kids are gone. Whatever your reason, packing and moving can take away from the excitement of a new home. Here are some tips to help you get organized, save money and ensure a smooth move.

Part 1: Packing and prep

The first step, of course, is choosing a mover. It’s recommended you get three written estimates before making your final choice. So you are comparing apples to apples, be sure 1) each mover comes to your home to do a site inventory and determine exactly what services you need/want, 2) all are fully insured (and you understand exactly what your coverage includes) and 3) compare total weight for each estimate, including number of boxes.

“Estimating furniture is fairly easy,” says Tom Schratz, vice president of corporate sales for Cook Moving Systems of Buffalo. “But the number of cartons is where it can get tricky. As a guideline, the industry norm is 12-15 cartons for every 1,000 lbs. of furniture shipped.”

Want to know what questions to ask potential moving companies? Visit

Will you do your own packing or will you have the moving company do it for you? Typically, it’s a combination of both. Of course, the more you pack, the more money you’ll save. And the fewer items you move, the more money you’ll save. So before you interview movers, have a very good idea of what you will not be moving.

“The biggest mistake we repeatedly see is people moving items they don’t really need, use or want,” says Schratz. “Sentimentality takes over and that can get costly.”

When it comes to packing, Schratz says to allow “three times the amount of time you think it’s going to take you.” He recommends leaving the fragile items — china, stemware, artwork, mirrors — to the experts, and pack unbreakable items — linens, clothes, pots and pans — yourself. Be sure to use the right boxes — for example, pack heavy books in smaller boxes — and pack them carefully so all items are in a motionless state. Label the outside of each carton with your name, the room in the new house where the carton should go and a brief description of the contents.

Know what your movers will NOT move, such as plants, hazardous materials, ammunition and perishable goods, and make arrangements to move them yourself or properly dispose of them.

Pack a box that will travel with you that contains important items, such as insurance documents, medical information, your realtor’s contact information, the alarm code for the new house, pet supplies and food — even items such as light bulbs, toilet paper, soap and tools you’ll need as soon as you get to the new house.

Part 2: Loading, driving and delivery

When moving day arrives, be sure your pets are enclosed in a safe space where they will not be disturbed, with food, water, bed, etc. Or, better yet, remove them from the house.

At the completion of the loading process, there should be a supervised walk-through of your old house with the crew foreman to ensure everything that needs to be on the truck is on the truck. The same walk-through should take place at the new house once the truck has been unloaded.

If you think something has been lost, broken or damaged during the move, be sure to report this to the moving company as soon as possible, so they can investigate and take appropriate action.

Finally, did you know all or part of your move might be deductible? Learn more at With a little research and planning, your move to your new home should go off without a hitch!

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