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Many couples who find themselves in long-distance relationships, also find themselves considering relocation so they can be closer to their loved ones.You may be making a move to be closer to family or—as in the case of my husband and I—moving due to a job change.

As my husband, Alex, and I packed our house to move to Virginia, I was reminded of my sister’s advice. Two months ago I called her while she was in the throes of moving her family across the Atlantic for the third time. Here are the tips I gathered from her experiences and some of my own:

1. Plan ahead. Start planning no later than a month before your move.

2. Throw out broken items. Donate or sell things to slim down the bulk of what you’re moving. Consider the following: cost of moving those items, the money earned from selling, the cost of repurchasing after moving, and the cost of storing belongings.

3. Make a box of essentials. Keep a box of items you’ll need to use right away in your new home and label, “Open Immediately!” This should include bath towels/kitchen towel, bath rug, toiletries, toilet paper, paper towels, band aids, dish drain, pot holders, knives, a few pieces of cookware and utensils, curtains (including shower if needed), paper plates, plastic cups, laundry detergent and basket, computer, I.D., medical files, birth certificate, social security card, and other important papers.

4. Prepare for a medical emergency. Contact all your current doctors for the “Medical Record Release” forms. Keep them with your important papers in your “open immediately” box. Look into your new health insurance packet, and research doctors who are covered. After you move, contact the new doctors for a meet and greet appointment, and fill out those forms to have your previous records released to them.

5. Be in your best health. Fill up on your current prescriptions before you move. If necessary, ask your current doctor if you can get an “advance” for the next month to help cover you for any insurance gap. Sometimes they can change a monthly prescription into a three month supply. Also see your dentist, optometrist, etc, and have a physical before you move. This will ensure you’re in your best health before starting a new job, and avoid taking time off for those appointments early in your new career.

6. Collect packing supplies. Gather your packing supplies: colored stickers, black permanent markers, newspaper, tissue paper, bubble wrap, several rolls of packing tape with dispenser, and boxes.

7. Ways to save. Boxes can be collected through begging your friends, or calling your local Walmart or other superstore to collect their boxes for free. We had our friends make a last minute stop to a liquor store for free boxes, and they worked out great! If you happen to have friends with a lot of babies, ask for those (empty) diaper and baby wipes boxes.

8. Save your back. Use the smaller boxes for heavier items such as books and dishes, and save the larger boxes for lighter items such as pillows and linens.

9. Organize. Colored stickers are great for organizing your boxes for each room. This way anyone helping you unload your boxes can easily identify to which room the boxes belong. A specific color can be used to identify fragile items, too.

10. Pack smart. Use the tissue paper for delicate items such as china, but use the newspaper for everything else (it’s cheaper). Just be warned the ink can sometimes rub off on things. Save the bubble wrap for picture frames and furniture you won’t want scratched. Or you can use household towels or rags to cushion glasses and fragile items. This way you’re packing once for two items!

11. Take inventory. If you’re using a moving company, take photos or videos of your possessions for insurance purposes, especially as you pack.

12. Save time unpacking. Write a list of the items on the outside of each box for easy reference when unpacking. If you’re using a moving company or are worried about security, be a little discreet in your labels so as not to give away the location of your valuables! For example, instead of labeling “china,” you could write, “floral dinner plates.” Label the boxes or use stickers on all sides, too. It’s an extra step while packing, but it’ll save you time when unpacking.

13. Plan the unloading. Get the room dimensions of your new place so you can plan where your furniture will go. Make sure to take note of windows, air-intakes and vents, and closet doors. Draw out a plan to show your movers or friends. This will help as you unload furniture, and it’ll save you the hassle of rearranging things later.

14. Keep your sense of humor. Moving can be overwhelming, so keep it in perspective. Focus on your end goal, and stay positive!

These tips have been tried and were true for us! What other moving tips can you add?

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3 Comments

  1. Teresa-525463 October 6, 2013

    Lots of great ideas!

    I had friends move me last year and used colored stickers for different rooms in my house. The two guys that helped me loved it! They did not have to stop and read what was written on each box.

    I also number the boxes so I didn’t have to open them in order to know what was inside each box. It was kind of a master list or inventory. I never thought of taking pictures for insurance purposes but that’s a good idea, too!

  2. James H. October 9, 2013

    Nice tips!! Moving will be stress free if movers will make a plan for it. As well many movers pack all stuff in the boxes, which is not necessary to them in a new place. So, its better to remove old junks & pack only important items.

  3. Jonathan R. October 24, 2013

    Recently we have moved out from our old residence, it was not an easy task to move. It was tiring though to pack all our valuable things and then remember where we have kept them. Making labels for different types of boxes helped a lot. Using of tissue paper for delicate items seems to be very useful as well. Most important thing was to prepare in advance with arrangement of boxes. I bought boxes of Large Removal Pack and few more from- http://smurfitkappadirect.ie/

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