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Moving Tips

Making Moving Simple and Organized:

For many people moving is one big headache. Yet when you’re changing your home, moving belongings is part of the job. Moving typically requires numerous details and plenty of paperwork; having everything in one place will make the move easier on everyone.
Following provides helpful tips for those who are getting ready to tackle a big or small move. Get a big three-ring notebook binder because that’s a place where you can keep all your notes.
As you’re packing up your items, the best way to ensure organization is to label and index all your boxes. It sounds like a lot of work but this can be a real lifesaver. When you pack your boxes, mark what goes inside each box. You can even inventory your possessions and capture the contents on film or video.
Keep a copy of the contents with the box and another one that you can put inside your notebook. If a box doesn't turn up at the new location, then you will know exactly what is missing. The other thing that’s good to do when you are labeling your boxes is to label it as bedroom box 1 and then you’ll have the index with it. Then bedroom box 2, and bedroom box 3, etc. Remember that packing and moving boxes is only part of the job. Don’t forget to take care of cleaning arrangements, children and pet care. Also pack a comfort box with food, snacks, juice boxes, and water for the day of the move so that you don’t have to rely on finding stuff. And have two additional suitcases that will travel with you and not be shipped or packed on a moving van. Inside the suitcases pack needed medications, wet wipes, masking tape, paper towels, scissors, extra clothing, and anything else you might need immediately. A separate box should contain all your important documents and your three-ring moving notebook. While not everyone has several weeks to organize a move, it is suggested that if you can organize your moving activities based on an eight-week schedule it’ll simplify moving and ensure an organized move. Here is a brief look at the schedule:

Weeks before you move:
Eight weeks: notify your landlord in writing with your intention to move, set up a zippered three-ring notebook, keep all important documents in it, record payments made, have a copy of your budget, contact information, maps to your new location, keys, etc.
Six weeks: inventory and index your possessions, begin giving away items you do not need/want, make arrangements to consign items.
Four weeks: start packing up things you don’t use frequently, label boxes with indexes, hold a garage sale to unload items you won’t be moving, contact a moving company.
Three weeks: assemble packing materials, arrange to cancel phone and utility services and have them installed in your new location, find childcare and pet boarding, and arrange for cleaning help.
Two weeks: arrange for any necessary banking changes, service you car.
One week: order and pick up prescriptions, pack two suitcases with items mentioned above and keep them handy during the move.
Two to three days before your move: defrost the refrigerator, unhook any electronics, and set aside a box that contains your legal documents.
Day of the move: make sure your address is correct on the bill of lading, double-check everywhere in the home.
Here’s the motivation to make it an organized move, “For every one minute you spend planning, you save three to five minutes in execution time.”

Take precaution to avoid being taken for a ride by movers

WASHINGTON -- A recent federal grand jury indictment against more than a dozen household movers should set off alarm bells to anyone who is planning to relocate.

Complaints against movers are normal. The Better Business Bureau fielded nearly 10,000 grievances from consumers in 2006, the last year for which statistics are available. Movers often are late and take less than the utmost care of your property. But the 14 defendants -- including drivers and salesmen from two firms operating in California and Florida -- went way beyond that, according to a three-year probe by the FBI, the Department of Transportation and the Internal Revenue Service.
The defendants offered clients extremely low estimates, the indictment charges. Then, once they took possession of their customers' goods, it charges, they jacked up the price and withheld delivery until people paid the inflated price.

Whether you are moving across the street or across the country, con men are lurking, as their victims can attest.

"Thousands of people each year fall prey to theft, extensive hidden costs and bait-and-switch tactics," said Craig Broback, president of Graebel Van Lines in Denver.

If you research your choices, you'll go a long way toward protecting yourself and your property. "Selecting a mover shouldn't be a 15-minute decision," Broback said.

For starters, obtain references from friends, neighbors and relatives. Ask the moving companies themselves for a list of their last 10 clients. Then call those people, asking, among other things, whether the movers were careful and on time.

If you use the Internet, make sure the company's site and collateral material provide licensing information, offer valuable moving tips, spell out warranties, list a local address and note that crews are put through background checks.

"Just because a mover has a website doesn't mean it is licensed or insured," said Linda Bauer Darr, president of the American Moving and Storage Assn. in Alexandria, Va.

After you have narrowed your choices to the top three, check their backgrounds and complaint histories with the business bureau, the moving association and the Department of Transportation.

Never select a mover on price alone, or on a verbal promise. Always require an in-home estimate.

Also ask whether your goods will be kept on the truck in storage or transferred to a warehouse. If storage is necessary, visit the mover's warehouse to be certain the facilities are in good condition -- or even exist. This is another "see for yourself" step that Broback of Graebel Van Lines said will help protect you from doing business with a rogue mover.

Along the same lines, if there are any long, narrow driveways or other possible quirks to your move, make sure the mover visits your destination. Extra labor may be necessary, which could lead to additional charges.

Nonbinding estimates are not always accurate, so the actual charges can change. By law, though, movers are required to deliver your goods for no more than 10% above a nonbinding estimate. However, that holds only if you don't change the scope of the work after the estimate has been provided. So, don't add an extra stop or two to drop off, say, a bedroom set at the kids' house, or include a number of items that weren't on the original estimate. If you agree to a nonbinding estimate, confirm the method of payment in writing. Whether cash (not a good idea), certified or cashier's check, money order or credit card, it should be payable when the move is complete. If an up-front deposit or prepayment is required, find someone else.

Estimates will be based on a number of factors, with weight ranking high.

By law, movers are only liable to pay 60 cents per pound for lost or damaged goods. But you might be eligible for more protection through your insurance policy.

If not, you can opt for more coverage through the carrier or a third-party insurer.

By Lew Sichelman, United Feature Syndicate
Lew Sichelman can be reached at lsichelman@aol.com

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