Top 5 in Real Estate Network® Members are dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date, helpful real estate information. This monthly newsletter, "Real Estate Matters," offers articles on a range of topics that will inform you in your real estate pursuits.

Ten Time-Saving Tips to Take the Stress Out of Moving

When it comes to moving, a little preparation goes a long way. As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, my experience tells me that tons of time and energy can be saved by planning ahead, staying organized and focusing on details.
Here are 10 great, time-saving tips to make moving fast and efficient, courtesy of HGTV’s FrontDoor.com:
1. Make a moving schedule. Starting 60 days before the move, use a week-by-week checklist to keep the process on track. The tasks to accomplish further from moving day might seem trivial at first, but staying on schedule will prevent last-minute headaches.

2. Hire a quality moving company. Resist the temptation to hire a company that offers a too-good-to-be-true rate. An unreliable mover will cost time and money in the long run if items are lost or broken. Check out moving company credentials with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

3. Pare down your possessions. If an item won’t be used in the new home, don’t waste time packing it. Notorious clutter items—unread books, unfinished projects and half-empty cleaning products—are prime targets to leave behind.

4. Pack like a pro. Come up with a packing system so all boxes end up in the right rooms when they get to the new home. One option is to buy a set of magic markers and create a “color code” system for the movers—red-labeled boxes for the living room, blue for the kitchen, etc. On moving day, draw a floor plan of the new place with each room labeled and give it to the movers.

5. Make the house move-out ready. Most movers won’t disconnect anything that’s hard-wired, so unplug all the appliances and lighting fixtures that go. Make sure all paths are clear from the house to the moving truck. Speed up the process by knowing the ground rules for what movers will and won’t do.

6. Stock up on packing supplies. Don’t run out of packing tape the morning of the move; have plenty of supplies on hand. Early on in the moving process, start gathering boxes, tape, bubble wrap, newsprint, box cutters and markers. Try to save time and the environment by packing with materials you already have. Load up suitcases and plastic containers and use pillows, scarves and towels to “wrap” fragile items.

7. Pack a moving survival kit. Don’t throw everyday essentials like ID and medicine in with other belongings, only to have to dig through boxes later. Instead, pack a “last-to-go” box with all of the necessities—toiletries, snacks, important documents—and keep it with you instead of packing it in moving truck.

8. Spruce up the new home before moving in belongings. It’s easier to clean, paint and make improvements while the new home is still empty. Before hauling in all the furniture and boxes, be sure to vacuum, dust baseboards and wash the kitchen and bathroom floors.

9. Map out the new floor plan. Decide how to arrange the furniture before moving it into the new place. The best way to do this is to make paper cutouts of the furniture. Measure the dimensions of the piece and tape together newspaper pages to match the “footprint” of the furniture. It’s much easier to reshuffle newspaper than all that heavy furniture.

10. Change the address and notify companies before the move. Completing a change-of-address form before you head out can prevent hassles such as past-due bills, service lapses and even identity theft. Schedule dates in advance to discontinue utilities, phone, cable and Internet, and arrange for these services at the new address.

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