- The Washington Times - Friday, November 17, 2000

I have found the best way to get help on moving day is to hire it out. This summer brought with it a ton of friends who needed assistance moving.
Now, I've about decided to sell my truck. Owning any vehicle capable of hauling furniture pretty much puts you on the top of the "To call" list for friends who are moving.
Nevertheless, as you approach moving day, you don't want to find yourself without enough backs to get yourself moved quickly. After having personally been involved with five moves this summer, I was able to compare the differences and pass on the advice to you. (The following suggestions are for those folks who are moving themselves and not hiring a moving company.)
Get help, get it quick and get lots of it.
Approach moving day about the same way you would approach surgery.
You wouldn't want to show up for a gall bladder operation only to find out the surgeon got a better offer, the nurses went to a family reunion and the only person left there to relieve your pain is the candy striper. You're left with someone with good intentions, but not enough skill to get the job done.
You can never have too many people show up moving day. The moves that go the easiest are the ones with the most people.
I was involved with one move where the family had about 15 men from their church arrive and were in their new dwelling by lunch time.
The total move took about four hours. It was amazing, considering they were moving into (and filled to the brim) a four-bedroom home with a full partially finished basement.
Pack early and often.
I have found many times that while some people have lined up plenty of people to help on moving day, they should have scheduled as many people a week before to help pack. Even if you do have a dozen people show up to help you move, if they are standing around while you pack boxes, that's wasted labor and needlessly prolongs the moving process.
If you think you need one week to pack all your belongings, then plan two.
If you assume 50 boxes are enough to pack up everything, hunt down 100.
Leave out your towels, blankets and sheets to help protect your fragile items and furniture. Buy lots and lots of packaging tape.
Hang onto old newspapers for packing your fragile household items, such as dishes and knickknacks. (I know this sounds like common advice, but after this summer, I saw some pretty scary packing practices.)
Bribery with food always works. Don't just invite people for the joy of the moving process, let them know that you are willing to feed them with such grandeur that they will talk about the event for years to come.
In other words, have some doughnuts for breakfast and a few pizzas toward midday break and plenty of fluids (nonalcoholic is preferable so that packing judgment is not impaired).
Another way to show appreciation is to either take everyone out to a nice restaurant after the move or move your steaks, burgers and hot dogs last, so that you can cook them on the grill as soon as you get to your new place.
Live out of suitcases.
This is in addition to the above mentioned "Pack early and often." By the time you get to the last week before moving day, you should be down to living out of your suitcase as if you were on vacation. Pack up into suitcases what you would need for a week and then pack everything else.
Thin out.
This is a great time to get rid of the junk in your life.
As you're packing, take a look at each item and ask yourself, "Have I used this in the last year?"
If not, consider passing it on to your children, friends or a charitable organization. One of my friends realized a $200 tax deduction earlier in the year from items donated to the Salvation Army.
If real estate's key words are "location, location, location," then the guidelines for a good, easy and hassle-free move is "planning, planning, planning."
M. Anthony Carr has covered the real estate industry for 11 years. Send inquiries and comments to 8411 Arlington Blvd., Fairfax, Va. 22033; or e-mail macarr@nvar.com.

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