Moving can be the most stressful times in life. You know you have a lot ahead of you, so why wait until the last minute to throw things together? Plan well in advance and start taking steps now to make your move more manageable.

Be an Informed Mover

Start by creating a “move file.” You’ll need a place to keep important information and receipts for moving related expenses. Contact the IRS or visit their Web Site to determine what expenses can be deducted on your next tax return.

Research your new community. Start by visiting your new city and state’s Web Site or contact their chambers of commerce for relocation services packets. Check out local entertainment, shopping and restaurants. This can be lots of fun and will give you much to look forward to. You’ll also want to order a phone book and city map for your new location. This will allow you to start researching new schools and service providers and is a must for your “essentials” box. Finally, consider ordering a local newspaper. Most news providers will send a complimentary issue to prospective customers.

Start Paring Down

Moving is tough, but it can also be an opportunity. This is the perfect time to get rid of the extra “stuff” you’ve accumulated. Take it one room at a time and prepare to make tough decisions.

Survey each room and ask yourself:

Does this have sentimental or monetary value?
Does anyone really use it?
Is it worth lugging around?
Is there room for it in our new home?

If the item in question doesn’t make the cut, ditch it! Plan a yard sale, post an online auction or simply donate anything that does not meet your criteria. This is a great way to earn a little extra cash or another tax deduction.

Start using up items that can’t be moved to your new home. Properly dispose of flammable or potentially hazardous chemicals. This would include anything in an aerosol can, cleaning and lighting fluids, paint, matches and ammunition. Eat foods that are frozen or stored in glass jars and don’t plan on replacing these items until you are in your new home. Finally, be aware that live plants cannot be shipped with your other household goods. Plan on taking these in your car or find new homes for them.

Take A Moving Inventory

Sorting through your home gives you the opportunity to take inventory of your belongings. Make a list of everything you decide to keep and assign replacement values for insurance purposes. Make note of items that are difficult to replace. Either carry these items with you or ship them by insured or certified mail. Such items might include:

Photos and home videos
Birth certificates, wills and other legal documentation
Jewelry, rare coins and special collections
Stock certificates, insurance policies and financial records
Computer diskettes with backups of important files.

Know what you will need upon arrival to your new home. Plan ahead and make a checklist of things you will need to pack in suitcases and an “essentials” box. Allow for extra clothing and be sure to make room for treasures, toys and snacks for the kids. Your essentials moving box should include things you’ll be scrambling for upon arrival.

Scissors, masking tape, utility knife, can opener
Coffee cups, paper plates, paper towels
Plastic forks, spoons, knives
Dish soap, trash bags, towels
Instant coffee, tea, beverages
Toilet paper, toiletries
Prescriptions, aspirin or other pain relievers
Flashlight, light bulbs, hammer
Phone books, pencils and paper, your “move file”
Telephone, radio, batteries

Plan on keeping your essentials box and luggage handy, preferably in your automobile

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