- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 17, 2004

Preparing for your move is the most important part of relocation. Last week, I shared a few tips on making the move go more quickly. I was with a group of men who moved a mutual friend from one three-bedroom house to another five miles away in less than three hours.

Here are more tips for a quick, injury-free local move:

Padding and tape

Just as you can’t have too many boxes, you can’t have too much padding. Reserve your blankets and sleeping bags to help cushion items that need protection, such as mirrors, fine furniture, beds and other belongings you want to keep from scratching and breakage.

Once you run out of blankets, rent as many pads as you can. They’re not expensive, but they may help protect items that are.

Don’t forget the tape, either. It’s nice to have blankets and pads to wrap around the dresser; it works even better if you can use duct tape to secure the pads. Tape your mirrors, as well.

In addition to the tape, don’t forget some twine, rope and bungee cords.

Duct tape won’t secure a couch into the back of a pickup very well — bungee cords will.

Tools and necessities

I don’t know who brought it along, but it was a great idea to have a simple toolbox with adjustable screwdrivers, nut drivers, wrenches, etc., handy in case we needed to fix or remove something quickly — the front door, for instance. The toolbox was left out in plain view so the volunteer movers could use it to work on a quick project.

Other necessities include food — lunch, for instance. Make sure to supply some breakfast or snack grub for your workers.

It keeps everyone on the premises instead of wandering off in search of Big Gulps and chips to power through your short-term project.

Leave the cleaning products for last.

Once you’re moving out, most leases and contracts require that the property be turned over “broom clean,” meaning you are expected to conduct a courtesy cleaning of the premises.

Don’t pack everything

There are some things you really shouldn’t pack for a short-term move. Your clothes, for one.

I remember a new employee who had just moved into a new house, walking in to work on his first day decked out in his suit, tie, nice shoes — but no socks — he couldn’t find the box they were in.

Other items you should maintain close watch over include your legal and financial papers, such as the will, insurance and checking-account information.

Be sure to keep these items where you can get access to them quickly.

Moving meister

Designate someone as the lead truck packer.

One person needs to direct all the volunteers as to what’s coming into the truck at what time and where to place it.

Obviously, the most experienced self-mover should be this person — not necessarily the person who has moved the most.

I found it humorous to have to show a military officer how to open the moving van.

I forgot that although he had moved every three years over his career, he never had to pack everything up himself.

Once at the new destination, don’t feel guilty for standing at the new home’s entrance, telling everyone with boxes in their hands where to go as if you’re not doing anything.

You are doing something: You’re maintaining the flow of your stuff into its new place.

M. Anthony Carr has covered real estate for more than 15 years. He can be reached via e-mail ([email protected]).

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