- The Washington Times - Friday, February 9, 2001

Just when you think the move is over, it keeps coming back.
I've been in the new house for about a week now and the new tips I have are going to make you sing.
First, a quick review: Remember to pack early and often; you can never have too many boxes or tape; pack everything before your movers (helpers) get there so they are not standing around waiting for boxes to carry; the rental truck is for getting you from point A to point B, you don't have to worry about all the weird noises it makes during the move that is the rental company's problem; and feed your helpers well and have plenty of drinks (preferably nonalcoholic).
My five helpers and myself were able to pack, transport 20 miles and unload a truck (17-footer) of furniture and boxes in three hours.
Now phase two begins and it's going to take days, no, weeks to complete unpacking.
Nevertheless, here are some more tips I've learned since the move.
Label boxes well. Obviously, you want to write the rooms on the boxes so they get placed in the right place. Go the extra step, however, and write a synopsis of the box's contents. Not item-by-item, but a general overview clothes closet, knickknacks, bills, mystery books, etc.
Measure all furniture. Eyeing a piece of furniture and figuring it will go down an L-shaped staircase is not a good idea. I now have a metal futon bed frame and entertainment center both waiting for dis-assembly in the living room. They were supposed to be taken downstairs to the rec room (with the help of my four burly buddies). Now I have to complete the task on my own.
Dump more junk. In the case of bringing two households together, talk with your bride or groom about what she or he already has, decide who has the best stuff and give away the rest. After phase one, conduct an inventory and simplify even more. I surmise I could have saved at least 10 boxes of packing if we had rid ourselves of duplicate items before I walked in the door.
Cancel all social events. After moving in, if you're serious about unpacking, say no to all invitations and calls for favors. No matter how much pain your friends or neighbors are experiencing, point them to another friend for help. While you may think you need a break from the moving process, tear into it and complete it.
Schedule a party. With the aforementioned in mind, you can deflect much guilt from friends and family by planning a party in the not-too-distant future, say, six weeks. This does two things: it gets them off your back and lets you concentrate on making order out of the moving chaos; and it also gives you a deadline to aim for in your unpacking.
Forward mailing address. OK, after all the reminders to my readers about forwarding your mail, this is something I let slip by. But I did find it an easy process on line (www.USPS.gov), at the official Web site of the Postal Service. It has a form to fill out and print, then mail in to your old post office or to just hand to your carrier.
By delaying this, you will have to rely on the good graces of the new owners of your old house to forward your mail.
Utilities reconnect. Obviously, you need to change your information with your utilities; however, with all the deregulation, that means all the service providers. Just canceling your local provider the local phone doesn't necessarily remove your obligations to other service providers that use your local provider for billing long distance, Internet service, cable, etc.
My Internet service provider allows us to merge our accounts into one with no charge. The rest are sending a final bill to my new address.
M. Anthony Carr has written about real estate issues for more than 12 years. Comments and questions can be sent to him via e-mail (macarr@nvar.com.)

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