- The Washington Times - Friday, February 2, 2001

Well, the deed is finally done and I have to admit, this is the easiest move I've ever been involved with.

I've been handing out information about how to make your next relocation a smooth move, a lot of it from personal experience as I've had my condo on the market. It sold within four weeks.

Many of my recommendations were now staring me in the face. In essence, would I practice what I preach?

I'm happy to say, the principles ring true. Plan your move, pack early and often, line up your help, feed them and get them in and out as quickly as possible. (If you're moving yourself, as I did, it also helps to move some of your dear friends so that if you must, you can shame them into helping you.)

I had all but three boxes of my household goods packed before the first person walked in the door. The shelves and furniture were ready to load (including dusting to prevent allergic reactions from my helpers).

The only standing around was to figure out how best to place these puzzle pieces in the truck.

Since contract day, I've been reviewing the contents of my dwelling, looking at how to get out of there with as much ease as possible and minimizing my possessions.

The world is divided into two groups: packers and chuckers. Packers are the folks who just seem to have a knack for filling their dwellings with all sorts of possessions and then can't get rid of them.

Chuckers, of course, are the opposite. While they may like to collect neat stuff, they also have no problem getting rid of it. Sometimes this works to their detriment in the case of financial and tax records, for instance.

I'm a chucker. Even so, it was a painstaking experience to get rid of stuff I had grown fond of over the last five years.

I mean, when you grow used to seeing that stack of clay pots in the storage closet each time the door is opened and even though they must be moved every time access to the closet is needed you grow an attachment to these inanimate objects. Many dreams hang on our possessions. Someday I aspire to possess a deep, dark-green thumb. Tossing those clay pots seemed to symbolize a dumping of those dreams … sort of.

But off to the trash bin they went for a real gardener to find with much joy and jubilation.

After all the advice columns and books I've read about making a move simple and error-free, you always learn some new tricks while in the heat of battle and so now I share them with you.

• You can never have enough boxes and tape. After all the scarfing of boxes from friends and local liquor stores, I had an eerie feeling on moving day that I still had too few corrugated cages.

So I plopped out an extra $30 for 13 boxes from a moving company. It was a good investment as I ended up using all of them.

• Have an ample supply of packing paper or plastic bubble wrap. All the best boxes in the world don't do a bit of good without something to protect the fragile contents.

• Don't pack fire extinguishers. Accidents do happen. Enough said.

• If you rent a truck, remember that the truck is there to get you from point A to point B. It is not your truck. It is not your friend's truck. It is not your father-in-law's truck.

You must only return it in the same condition as it was when it was handed over to you. Therefore, you can ignore all the excruciating noises emanating from under the hood. While you do want to make sure there is enough oil in the big rig, you don't need to top off the window washer for them, nor get the vehicle detailed before you return it.

• A good radio in the rental is imperative, if for no other reason than to drown out all the noises emanating from the engine, power steering, brakes and bearings.

• Thank your moving buddies with nice, expensive gifts (at least that's what my friends told me to write).

I probably will end up sending them all a really, really nice card. Nevertheless, thanks Bob and Cheryl, Neil, Lorenzo, Andrew and Ed.

The next step in this process is unpacking. I'll keep a diary and let you know how it goes.

M. Anthony Carr has written about the real estate industry for more than 12 years. Comments and questions can be sent to him via e-mail ([email protected])

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