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The single most important piece of advice for people planning a move is to start making arrangements as early as possible, especially if you have budgetary constraints.

  • Clean house.
    Do not pay to move things that you don't use. Donate or discard everything unnecessary.
  • Choose a good moving company.
    Good companies guide you through the process and minimize surprises on moving day. They have local knowledge and a proven track record, and they can also advise you on receiving building permissions. Moving companies have no incentive to create extra hours of work for themselves, if they work for a flat fee.
  • Order boxes and moving supplies early so you can start packing.
    Moving companies provide boxes that are purpose made and easily marked. If your moving company allows you to return unused boxes, order more than you think you'll need, by 20%. Likewise, do not scrimp on tape. It is inexpensive and prevents boxes from splitting open. You need fresh felt tip pens for labeling. Use colored ready-stick labels to designate boxes to their respective rooms.
  • Start a book about your upcoming move and keep it in one place.
    Create a “Move Book,” using a large noticeable notebook, to centralize all the important details of your move. It should contain any lists you make, including that of labeled boxes. Supplement this with a computer printout of box contents. E-mail this to yourself as a backup. You can also access it remotely.
  • First, pack up what you don’t use.
    Items, such as books, you do not immediately need can be packed right away. Keep your list up to date. Do not make the boxes too heavy for a person to carry, and place heavier objects at the bottom.
  • Change of address notifications.
    Complete a US Postal Service Change of Address form online, at http://www.usps.com/.You must notify credit card and utility companies, newspaper subscriptions, and internet and cable providers that you are moving. Check into their procedures ahead of time. You may need to return your old cable box or join a waiting list for installation. You can take care of notifications in one step at:
  • Document your media connections.
    Take photos of or make notes on how your media equipment is set up: television, sound equipment, modems and computer equipment. Keep track of your remote controls and wires so you can locate them quickly in your new home.
  • Make arrangements for pets.
    Moving can be particularly stressful for animals. You may want to consider leaving them with a friend or retaining a professional pet boarding service.
  • Place essentials in a suitcase or designated bag, and don’t lose it.
    Crucial items you will need during the move should be kept in one, easy-to-find place. Include your Move Book, prescriptions, checkbooks, address books, toiletries, phones and chargers.
  • Keep cleaning supplies handy.
    If you are planning to clean your old place, or your new one, assemble materials in a special box for moving day. Clean each room as the movers empty it.
  • Plan to care for your valuables and vital documents yourself.
    Most homeowner’s insurance will not cover property in transit. It may be desirable to insure certain items separately. Remember to take photos in case you need documentation to support loss or damage claims. If the items are irreplaceable (family heirlooms) or complicated to replace (passports and birth certificates), carry them with you.
  • Keep your moving receipts for income tax deductions.
    In many cases, moving expenses are deductible from federal income taxes. If you are moving because of a change in employment, you may be able to claim this deduction even if you do not itemize. Consult your tax preparer. Also note that there is an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers in the economic stimulus plan, signed into law by President Obama. To learn more, visit: