This month’s blog post is very personal because I’m in the middle of a cross country move from South Dakota to Texas. Since I’ve been married, we’ve moved nine time and I’ve got a system down to make life easier on you ... and your movers (whether that’s you or someone else).
1. Create a Packing Kit. Gather everything you need to pack: tape, plastic on a roll, scissor, tape measure, black marker, red/pink marker, multi-tool, FRAGILE stickers, and a notebook or clipboard. Keep all those items together in your tool box and you’ll save yourself the repeated frustration of trying to figure out where the marker or tape is at. It’s wise to also buy blank newsprint paper and bubble wrap to cushion your belongings.
2. Consider buying insurance. If you’re having a commercial business do your move, ask about the insurance they offer: basic and replacement value are usually the options. Or if you’re doing it yourself, check with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance agent. The important thing to know is that only the full market replacement value will reimburse you at a level equivalent to your cost to replace the item. Otherwise, the carrier’s liability is limited, sometimes to $100 per item/box. If you insure your move, check the fine print: you will be required to do an inventory and identify any objects/boxes with a value over $100. This is required if you want to make a claim.
3. Inventory your items. Regardless of whether you’re insuring your move, consider creating an inventory of your possessions now that you can update every time you move. It’s a great tool for keeping track of your belongings, and for use in homeowner’s or renter’s insurance claims. Give your insurance agent a copy because without that, theft of an expensive electric bike, for example, will not be covered without proof of ownership and value. Make a simple spreadsheet to number each item, provide a description and comments (such as FRAGILE or ID numbers), and where each item goes in your home. You can create separate sheets for unboxable things like furniture, highly valuable things like collectibles, art and jewelry, and things typically kept in storage. (Be sure to include any off-site storage, too.)
4. Get boxes. These can get expensive if you have to buy all of them, so make friends with staff at your local grocery store. The bakery, floral, and wine departments have very good boxes, in uniform sizes, and they get shipments every day and they’re consistent sizes. If you don’t rescue them, the store will bale them and pay someone to take them off their hands. However, be prepared to buy specialty boxes for specific items, like art work and wardrobes. The better things are boxed up, the easier it will be to load up.
5. Label on top and side. You want to be able to tell at a glance what is in a box, and your mover needs to know, too. On the top and one side of the box, write the contents of your box, and the room where you want it put when they are delivering your goods. If boxes are stacked, you’ll be able to read what’s in them, as well as if you’re carrying a box you’ll be able to read from the top of the box. Resist the urge to just put everything in the garage – your goods can get damaged by heat and cold, as well as pests. Save yourself a second trip and deliver to the room where your items will live.
6. Fragile and heavy items. Do yourself a favor and buy the orange “FRAGILE” stickers (I got mine at Office Max – no affiliation). I apply mine so part of the sticker is on the top of the box and part on the side – just to cover my bases. Make sure that if you’re keeping an inventory, you note which items were marked fragile or heavy.
7. Organize the contents. Make sure that everything you put into the box belongs in the same room. With the exception of towels and pillows that you might use for padding, filling a box with things from various rooms will create more work for you unpacking. Do yourself a favor and keep each room separately boxed. Use blank newsprint or bubble wrap to keep items from rubbing against each other as the moving truck bounces down the highway. It may seem over the top, but you’ll have virtually no breakage if you follow this tip.
It might seem like there are a lot of excess steps, but if you want your belongings to arrive safely or (heaven forbit) if you need to make an insurance claim, you’ll be glad you followed these steps. Trust the voice of experience and organization and you’ll have a smooth move!
Wish me luck, friends, I'm into the final stretch this week!
For the last time, goodbye from South Dakota!
KonMari Certified Consultant
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